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Globalization and Its Discontents (Anglais) Relié – 30 janvier 1998


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Groundbreaking essays on the new global economy from "an expert observer" (Forecast).



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26 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Warning: Contents Older than Globalization 29 septembre 2002
Par Volkswagen Blues - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
What purports to be a book on globalization is actually only peripherally about globalization writ large. Sassen is interested in more specific aspects of globalization: its impact on migration (the huge theme of this book), its place-specificity, and its resultant dispersal of powers that used to belong solely to the nation-state. Her points are good, but you don't need this book to get them, since she's made them all elsewhere and ages ago; in brief, the occasional new insights are not worth it.
Sassen's biggest contribution to the theorization of globalization is her attention to the global city, which she posits as a site of the physical infrastructure that enables the more diffuse projections of the world market. In these cities (like New York, L.A., Tokyo, London, Rio, etc.), high-wage, white-collar workers brush against the low-wage, largely immigrant diasporae that keep the global city running; immigrants form blocs that see a certain degree of enfranchisement and force adjustments in transnational immigration law; and globalization marches on. It's interesting stuff, but it's not new. Sassen's own book on "The Global City" scoops these chapters. And that's pretty much true of the rest of the book.
The two chapters on gender and globalization are much more valuable (and more recent) here, as she starts in on what she calls "the unbundling of sovereignty," the appropriation of political punch from nation-states and the relocation of it into the hands of NGOs and the global market. Unfortunately, while she opens up a great area of inquiry, she doesn't take it very far at all, "since the effort here was not to gain closure but to open up an analytic field." As they stand, these chapters are frustratingly suggestive but ultimately not very thorough or useful. Hopefully she'll revisit the theme later.
The stylistic question is a thorny one; several reviewers have already blasted Sassen for the way she writes. She's certainly not the easiest read, and her incessant neologisms are annoying. ("Operationalizing"? Can we not say, "making operational"?) You can fault her for that. But you can't fault her for writing like a sociologist, and that is largely how she writes. It's dry, there are charts and facts and figures, but the prose is economical and fairly clear (fake words aside!).
By and large, though, this isn't a must-read. If you're really interested, check out her books, "The Global City" and "The Mobility of Labor and Capital." They treat the same subjects, but in more useful detail.
31 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Globalization and Its Disappointments 16 novembre 2000
Par Daniel Harrison - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I had much hope for this book. I was expecting a work which would shift debates about globalization in a new direction. What we get, on the other hand, is poorly written, badly argued, and repetitive work that offers very little in the way of substantive theory or analysis.
The book is a collection of essays that Sassen has published elsewhere between 1984 and 1997. Except for the introduction, there is no new material here. Furthermore, in many cases the content of one article is reproduced in another article in the book. Rather than reinforcing important arguments, it seems clear that Sassen is trying to get as much mileage possible out of her work. It doesn't work.
The book contains hundreds of endnotes (in many cases they contain the most important information) which should have been incorporated into the text. Furthermore, she offers no conclusion to her analysis and the last chapter itself is quite unsatisfactory.
In short, this book is poorly written, tedious, and unoriginal.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
brilliant ideas, mediocre writing 7 novembre 2005
Par varmint - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is probably as good an introduction to Sassen's work as any, as she covers most of her major ideas with relative brevity. The title is rather misleading (as is the case of Stiglitz's (later published) work of the same name)--she focuses on the dynamics and effects of globalization and does not discuss organized resistance by social movements to it. Sassen sees three macro-level phenomena at work--the hypermobility of capital, the "unbundling" of state sovereignty, and the rise of global cities. It is the last of these ideas for which she is probably best known. She does not really get into an analysis of the hypermobility of capital here, but many other authors have covered that matter. Her analyses of the unbundling of state sovereignty and the rise of global cities are far more original. Against the background of these macro-phenomena, Sassen also analyzes the rise of the service economy, immigration patterns, and the changing roles of women.

I'm not sure how to fairly summarize Sassen's ideas in a brief review. To hit the high points, she argues that as systems of international law grow, the traditional sovereignty of the state is transformed, with its pieces of it being unbundles and some elements being transferred to international organizations, such as the UN and WTO. There are actually two distinct international law regimes--the human rights regime and the more powerful neoliberal regime, enforced by the likes of the WTO and IMF. This neoliberal regime has enabled the rise of the global economy.

Contrary to all the hype about globalization, the internet, and a "dematerialized" economy though, Sassen argues that the politics of place remain as important ever. This brings her to her analysis of global cities. If we are to have the high speed communications created by the internet, we need a physical infrastructure for it, fiber-optic cables and all that--a seemingly obvious point, but one often overlooked. This infrastructure is not evenly distributed either internationally or nationally. It is in fact concentrated in global cities, most of which are, not coincidentally, in the first world. The three chief global cities are, in fact, New York, London, and Tokyo. These global cities are at the heart of the new service sector that is so important to the global economy. As corporations' operations are more globally decentralized, power--control of these operations--has become more centralized in the global cities, which have the telecommunications infrastructure to do all the necessary coordinating of information.

Much of this coordination is in fact outsourced to specialized corporations providing services to the other corporations, in such fields as accounting, insurance and--the truly dominant force in gloablization--finances. These corporations are staffed by a new professional class, which has moved to the city, abondonning the suburbs, demanding upscale services. The downside of this is the shrinking of the traditional middle-class and the old economy based on mass production, mass consumption, and mass prosprity. Instead what is growing is a poor working class of workers providing personal (as opposed to corporate) services (such as house-cleaning, child care, janitorial services, or retail), often to the professionals who work doing corporate services. Thus there is a growing economic divide in the global cities. A disproportionate number of the people working in the poorly paid personal service sector are women and immigrants.

Sassen notes that, not only is globalization responsible for the rise of the poorly paid service sector, but immigration as well. Contrary to popular myths that the best way to stop immigration is to encourage foreign investment in immigrant-sending countries and create jobs there, Sassen actually argues that this creates more immigration, not less. Current patterns of foreign investment tend to exacerbate poverty, not cure it. And by working for foreign companies, workers gain some familiarity with the cultures of the US, Europe and increasingly Japan. This familiarity makes it easier for them to then immigrate to the first world in search of work. And there are a lot of other ideas I'm leaving out.

So, if I think this book is so brilliant, why am I only giving it four stars? Poor writing. As a previous reviewer noted, all the essays in this book were previously published elsewhere. I don't think this makes this book worthless (and therefore worthy of only one star)--it is convenient to have them gathered all in one place--but it does make the book somewhat disjointed and repetitive. But original works by Sassen, such as /Global City/, have the same problem. The fact is, despite her intellectual brilliance, she is a poor writer. Mind you, she is not like some writers, such as Hegel or Baudrillard, who seem to revel in their own incomprehensibility. She can be understood, but her writing is often something of a slog. She needs a good editor or some writing lessons.

Despite that, this book is definitely worth reading if you want to explore in-depth some important, unorthodox ideas about globalization.
Five Stars 24 juillet 2015
Par cauanna - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Very good. Just like in the picture and arrived in quickly. I reccomend!
11 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Muddled and Confused 21 février 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book suffers from the kind of obfuscated language that a growing number of scholars seem to be able to get away with. Don't get me wrong: there are some interesting ideas in here. But their rewards do not outweigh the costs of sifting through the jargon-laden prose. The author should take a basic writing course.
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