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Earth EEs/EHEs; Planetary Consciousness
Record Type: Review   ID: 63

Orientalism, Postmodernism & Globalism

Turner, Bryan S.

 In this important work, sociologist Turner brings together three major keys to changing views of society, culture, and the role of sociology. Although he writes primarily as a sociologist about sociology and to sociologists concerning the capability of sociology to deal with Orientalism, postmodernism, and globalism, I will concentrate on the relevance of his ideas to exceptional human experience. But I will say his main point is to ask: If sociology is the study of people in groups, which in the past has centered on various individual societies and cultures, what will be its subject in a postmodern global world where everything is considered to be local? I suggest sociology may just be coming into its own as the study of the entire planet—or global sociology—as the unit of study. At the other end, we have the situated local self. I think sociology, even more than psychology or anthropology, may have the best tools to deal with how the individual constructs self and reality within a global society. Here I think exceptional human experiences, whose kernel is almost always an anomaly, at least in the West, may serve as catalysts for globalization, because they can lead to the experience of oneness with the self that is all things. Yet they can only do so by building on and constructing a unique local self into a primary way of being in the world in a way that is connected to the All-Self. Turner brings Weber’s concepts of self and vocation up to date and shows how they still can serve as a beacon in these fragmented days. The sameness we know as our global self can only be contacted in experiences of the anomalous and the other: the areas of experience that are beyond the pale of scientific rationalization, which has undermined personality, as Weber feared it would. But there is a lot of green grass out there—coming up through the cracks.
Publisher Information:New York: Routledge, 1994. 228p. Bibl: 209-223; Ind: 224-228
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