Taming the Uncontrollable Situation?: Towards a Critical Re-Examination of Cosmopolitan Modernization from a Socio-Spatial Perspective

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 304
Oral Presentation
Kazuhito ONOZUKA , Waseda University, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
What are the significance and problems in Ulrich Beck’s concept of cosmopolitan modernization? How do the particular characteristics of a society change in relation to the influx of ‘outsiders’ across the nation-state? This paper aims to develop a new theoretical approach to the concept of cosmopolitan modernization by integrating a socio-spatial perspective that moves beyond nationalism and the nation-state. While Beck’s argument has important implications for conceptualizing the future of modern society by drawing attention to the ways that boundaries between insiders and outsiders are constantly being erased and redrawn, ultimately his model of cosmopolitan modernization aims to locate alternative forms of ‘with-ness’ (or being together with fellow citizens) and thus shares basic traits of nationalism. To this end, this presentation firstly examines Beck’s concept of reflexive modernization by focusing on the changes in territorial formations, individual conceptions, and the linear growth model. Secondly, this paper critiques Beck’s concept through a specific focus on critical discussions of social space developed by Ghassan Hage, Uma Narrayan and David Harvey. Building off of these insights, this paper argues that socio-spatial conceptions that represent ‘outsiders’ need to re-examined in relational terms. Specifically, this paper proposes Harvey’s idea of relational space as a way of taking into account the shifting and emergent boundaries of inside/outside and self/other that characterize the ‘uncontrollability’ of contemporary social space. It further suggests an integrated socio-spatial perspective for understanding the dynamic tensions within ‘cosmopolitan modernization’.