Posts Tagged 'America'

American Tianxia: The Chinese term for American power

Salvatore Babones discusses the position and power of America in global politics and economics in this adapted preface of his new book, American tianxia: Chinese money, American power and the end of history

Salvatore Babones

The Chinese word tianxia (pronounced tyen-shah) means “all under heaven.”

As China has come to play a major role in global affairs, Chinese scholars have resurrected this classical Confucian term to describe the kind of international system they would like to see: harmonious, ethical, relational, and (it literally goes without saying) centered on China. The classical Chinese tianxia was an East Asian world-system focused on one central state (China) to which all other peoples looked for legitimation and leadership.

Today’s millennial world-system is similarly focused on the United States. Chinese scholars have the right concept for today’s world, but they’ve applied it to the wrong country.

The size of the US economy and its location at the center of the world-system has led to a merging of US and global systems of distinction: in almost every field, success in the world means success in the US, and vice versa. This is most true in business, where global value chains are overwhelmingly dominated by US companies, but it is true in most other fields as well.

Continue reading ‘American Tianxia: The Chinese term for American power’

Understanding the Trump Moment: Reality TV, Birtherism, the Alt Right and the White Women’s Vote

Jessie Daniels

Jessie Daniels

Policy Press author Jessie Daniels on understanding the Trump moment, and what led to it. Originally posted on Racism Review.

Many of us woke up to a November 9 that we never could have imagined. Donald J. Trump, real estate developer and reality TV celebrity, is president-elect of the United States.

Over the last 18 months of his campaign, he has engaged in explicitly racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim language that has both shocked and frightened people. The implications of what a Trump presidency could mean for ginning up racial and ethnic hatred are chilling.

trump-1

But first, it’s important to understand the Trump moment, and what led to it. This is an election that will spawn a thousand hot-takes and reams of academic papers, but here’s a first draft on making sense of this victory. Continue reading ‘Understanding the Trump Moment: Reality TV, Birtherism, the Alt Right and the White Women’s Vote’

Trump, Brexit and the EDL: the left’s failure to capture the electorate’s trust

The US election results have brought out aggression and hostility from supporters of both the right and the left. In particular, the left seems to be contentiously repeating one question: 

“Why did so many people feel safer putting their trust in Trump rather than in Clinton? “

Many people are quick to blame racism and bigotry, but there are deeper reasons. Simon Winlow, Steve Hall and James Treadwell, authors of The rise of the right, discuss the ways in which the left has failed to capture the trust of much of the electorate. 

 

simon-winlow

Simon Winlow

The mainstream liberal media outlets are outraged. For the liberal commentariat, Trump is the embodiment of all that ails the world. A racist, homophobic and misogynistic billionaire, a climate change denier, a man who apparently inspires loathing throughout the free world, a cocky and self-confident, tax-avoiding bigot whose election suggests the end of progressive liberal multiculturalism and dawning of a new Dark Age.

How could a man such as this win a clear mandate to govern the world’s most powerful nation?

Already our mainstream liberal media elites are asking what it all means. Political activists on the left look crestfallen as they call for a new solidarity in the face of adversity.

Now we need to ask why

Initial analyses tend to suggest that Trump has been voted into office by tens of millions of racist, homophobic and misogynistic white men who are angry about the erasure of their traditional power. Such analyses, fuelled by justifiable ire and shock, offer us only simplistic and predictable cultural reductionism.

What we need are careful empirical and theoretical analyses of the forces that appear set to carry us all into a new era of right-wing nationalism. Why are so many people angry at our established political elites? Why has fear come to play such an important role in the new politics? Why is there such a popular desire to move beyond the established parameters of marketised liberal democracy? What is it that inspires such open hostility towards minorities? These are important questions that demand a clear and objective response shorn of sentimentality and free from the usual academic constraints and injunctions.

 

“What we see at EDL protests, and what we see with Brexit and the election of Trump, is an inverted and distorted mirror-image of our own ideological failure.”

Continue reading ‘Trump, Brexit and the EDL: the left’s failure to capture the electorate’s trust’

Off to America

I’ve somehow ended up volunteering myself for the inaugural blog entry as I am, at heart, a frustrated diarist and will happily ramble on even if no one’s listening…

I’ve had a busy week in my inbox, with several new proposals in on everything from action research to working with children (shame I haven’t had anything on zemiology so I could do a real a to z). Anyone would think the students have cleared off and academics finally have time to contemplate their book projects! I hope everyone is enjoying some summer peace and quiet.

In contrast, the end of July is always a hectic time for the commissioning team at TPP. On top of all those new proposals, with the end of the academic (and therefore financial) year there is an impetus to tie up lots of loose ends, just at the same time that the people you need to speak to have disappeared to a remote holiday destination! While August usually allows us a bit of breathing space, conferences keep us busy with follow up from the conference silly season in June and July and preparation for the next meetings in September. This week I’m going to the American Sociological Association conference in San Francisco, so no rest for me at all!

I’m very much looking forward to going to the ASA. I used to travel to the US often for work in a previous job, so I miss my regular state-side fix and the opportunity to stock up on cheap Carmex, Dr Brandt moisturiser and Converse All Stars. Breaking into the US is also new for us, so I find it really exciting to meet with new people and to see how our books are perceived. The theme of this year’s ASA conference is ‘The new politics of community’ and communities is a strong area for us (look at our Social Geography & Urban Studies subject pages to find more); the conference programme (all 180 pages of it!) looks really upbeat too. There’s definitely an Obama effect, and a lot of papers directly on various aspects of Obama’s victory. I’m wondering if the US is going to feel like the UK in 1997… and what it will feel like 12 years down the line!

I think there might also be a Patricia Hill Collins effect at the ASA! Her plenary at the British Sociological Association conference earlier this year was great: dynamic, engaging and elicited a genuine excitement about opening a debate about communities. Even her welcome message to the conference is enjoyable to watch! You can see for yourself at www.asanet.org – the link is on the ASA’s homepage.

So, wish me luck in the States. I look forward to meeting with people there. I’ll report back on my return, or possibly from San Francisco if I’m wide awake in my hotel room at 4am! If anyone has a Levis or peanut butter M&Ms order they wish to place, please do so by 6 August!

Karen Bowler
Senior Commissioning Editor


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