Globalization and the Struggle
for Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise
ince the 1990s, the present moment has been increas-
narrated as one of globalization and, with more inten-
sity in the last few years, also as one of crisis. Beyond the con-
troversies on whether globalization is a new phenomenon or
not, there has been tacit understanding among scholars that the
concept refers to ongoing processes that are bringing about so-
cial, economic, cultural, and political orders worldwide, which
in some respects mark a difference from those said to character-
ize earlier stages of modernity. Although there are some dissent-
ing voices, as we will see later, most scholars involved in these
discussions tend to agree that certain processes are bringing
into being globality, or the global age. In turn, the nature of the
“crisis”—or its very existence—and its relation to globalization
greatly complicates this agreement. Commentators, the media,
and social movements have signaled various environmental, so-
cial, economic, and political crises as indicative of great transfor-
mations that require adequate response. Of course, what kinds
of responses are advocated greatly depends on one’s diagnosis
of the present moment. Is this a moment marked by the crisis of
hegemony of neoliberalism? Is it the crisis of capitalism in its dif-
ferent forms? Is it a crisis of the modern state? Or is it the crisis
of modernity?
The story I tell in this book is offered both as a plausible di-
agnosis of the present moment and as a response to that diagno-
sis. The present moment can be most fruitfully understood as
marked by the increasingly visible and generalized ontological
conflicts that are associated with the struggle to shape the global
age as an alternative to, rather than a continuation of, modernity.
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