Social Theory and Regional Studies in the Global Age

Edited by Saïd Amir Arjomand

Subjects: Sociology, Cultural Studies, Social Theory
Series: SUNY series, Pangaea II: Global/Local Studies
Paperback : 9781438451602, 496 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438451596, 496 pages, June 2014

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Table of contents

Foreword: Pangaea II: Global/Local Studies
Introduction: The Challenge of Integrating Social Theory and Regional Studies
Part I. Comparative Sociology, Civilizational Analysis, and Regional Studies
1. Three Generations of Comparative Sociologies
Saïd Amir Arjomand
2. History, Sociology, and the Reconfiguration of Civilizations
Björn Wittork
3. Civilization in the Global Era: One, Many… or None?
Edward A. Tiryakian

4. Power: Nation-States, Civilizations, and Globalization—A Multiple Modernities Perspective
Willfried Spohn
5. Reconfiguring Area Studies for the Global Age
Wolf Schäfer
Part II. Historicizing Axial Shifts and Patterns of Evolution and Modernization
6. Historicizing Axial Civilizations
Johann P. Arnason
7. Crystallization of Islam and Developmental Patterns in the Islamicate Civilization
Saïd Amir Arjomand
8. Evolutionary Grades within Complex Societies: The Case of Ethiopia
Donald N. Levine
9. From Civilizations to Modernity: Divisions and Connections of the World, and Their Legacy—A Historical Social Geology
Göran Therborn
Part III. World Regions, Colonial and Subaltern Modernities in the Global Periphery

10. World-Sociology Beyond the Fragments: Oblivion and Advance in the Comparative Analysis of Modernities
Peter Wagner
11. The Americas, Civilized Analysis, and Its Current Competitors: Bringing (Revolutionary) Politics Back In!
Wolfgang Knöbl
12. Atlantic Capitalism, American Economic Cultures
Jeremy C. A. Smith
13. Second Slavery versus Second Serfdom: Local Labor Regimes of the Global Periphery
Menuela Boatcă

14. Subaltern Modernity: The Case of the Arab Iranian Community of Bushehr
Babak Rahimi
15. The Construction of Regional Identities in East Asia
Thomas Kern, Lotta Mayer, and Sang-hui Nam
16. Gazing Backward or Looking Forward: Colonial Modernity and Making of a Sociology of Modern India
Sujata Patel

A pioneering approach to social theory that rectifies overreliance on Western historical experience of development and modernization.


In this pioneering volume, leading international scholars argue for the development of a new approach to social theory that draws on regional studies for the conduct of comparative analysis in the global age. Social Theory and Regional Studies in the Global Age moves beyond facile generalizations based on the historical experience of modernization in the West by highlighting differences rather than similarities and contrasts rather than commonalities, and by examining civilizational processes and culturally specific developmental patterns distinctive of different world regions. Essays combine comparative and historical sociology with civilizational analysis and the study of multiple and alternative modernities. Different patterns of modernization are compared within the framework of global/local compressed communication and interaction that results from globalization. The introductory chapter puts the present effort in the context of the seminal work of three generations of comparative sociologists, and what follows is a penetrating analysis of modernization and globality, opening the way for rectifying the erasure of the historical experience of a very sizeable portion of humankind from the foundation of social theory.

Saïd Amir Arjomand is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author and editor of many books, including (with Nathan J. Brown) The Rule of Law, Islam, and Constitutional Politics in Egypt and Iran, also published by SUNY Press.


"This book is a long-needed bridge between the increased transnational, regionalized, and interconnected world. It offers a sound foundation on which future scholars, particularly those with interests in comparative analysis, will be able to draw. " — H-Net Reviews (H-USA)

"…the book contains all sorts of information and argument that make it worth reading … [it] represents an advance in sociology, from the concentration on industrial societies to a full and proper concern with the historical record. " — European Journal of Sociology