The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition
Book: The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition
Written by: Arjun Appadurai
Published by: Verso, 2013
The book tries to lay the foundation for an anthropology of the future that can provide a foundation for a politics of possibility over a politics of probability. He aims to propose an anthropological perspective on the circulation of commodities in social life. The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, the author puts his views on the issues such as the circulation of values and ideologies in a global context, the place of Gandhian ideas about non-violence as a form of political action, his father’s memory of Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Indian National Army and so on. The second part of the book focuses on the transformation of Mumbai with regard to globalization. For Appadurai, the image of ‘Bombay’ as a wonderful cosmopolitan possibility of youth, where people from many parts of India and elsewhere mix and co-exist, has ceased to exist.. “The transformation of Bombay into Mumbai is part of a contradictory utopia in which an ethnically cleansed city is still the gateway to the world (p.147).” The renaming of Bombay is more than the simple rejection of colonialism. ‘Mumbai’ is an artefact of the Shiva Sena that projects an ethnic-Marathi identity over the cosmopolitan Bombay. The third part deals with the theories and concepts of modernization raising the question of whether the world has failed modernization theory or reverse. Drawing from Max Weber’s concept of modernization, the author examines modernization theory as a social project induced by social change, a theory of justice, and a capacity to aspire.
“My own position is that modernization theory failed the world… In my view, modernization theory failed the world not so much because of its generic qualities…nor because of its premature reliance on specific ideologies of development….In my view, the biggest flaw lay on the predictive side” (pp. 221-222).The Future as Cultural Fact- Essays on the Global Condition