Global Complexity

Global Complexity

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Global Complexity is a path--breaking book, which examines how the ideas of chaos and complexity can help us to analyse global processes. Urry argues that there are major advantages in thinking about global processes in this way. The idea of complexity emphasizes that systems are balanced between order and chaos, that a system does not necessarily move towards equilibrium and that events are both unpredictable and irreversible in their effects. Hence specific events can have unexpected effects, often distant in time and space from where they occurred. This book combines new theory with many illustrations of how global processes operate. Urry distinguishes between a global networksa and a global fluidsa , and shows how forms of global emergence develop from the complex relationships between these networks and fluids. He draws out the implications of global complexity for our understanding of social order and argues that complexity requires us to reformulate the main categories of sociology and to reject any globalization thesis that is over--unified, dominant and unambiguous in its effects. Global systems are always a on the edge of chaosa .
This book will be of particular interest to students and scholars of sociology, politics, geography and economics and to and to all those concerned with rethinking the nature of globalization.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 184 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 20mm | 458.13g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745628176
  • 9780745628172
  • 2,323,823

Back cover copy

Global Complexity is a path-breaking book, which examineshow the ideas of chaos and complexity can help us to analyse globalprocesses. Urry argues that there are major advantages in thinkingabout global processes in this way. The idea of complexityemphasizes that systems are balanced between order and chaos, thata system does not necessarily move towards equilibrium and thatevents are both unpredictable and irreversible in their effects.Hence specific events can have unexpected effects, often distant intime and space from where they occurred.


This book combines new theory with many illustrations of howglobal processes operate. Urry distinguishes between 'globalnetworks' and 'global fluids', and shows howforms of global emergence develop from the complex relationshipsbetween these networks and fluids. He draws out the implications ofglobal complexity for our understanding of social order and arguesthat complexity requires us to reformulate the main categories ofsociology and to reject any globalization thesis that isover-unified, dominant and unambiguous in its effects. Globalsystems are always 'on the edge of chaos'.


This book will be of particular interest to students andscholars of sociology, politics, geography and economics and to andto all those concerned with rethinking the nature ofglobalization.
show more

Table of contents

Preface. Chapter 1: Societies and the Global. Chapter 2: The Complexity Turn. Chapter 3: Limits of 'Globala Analyses. Chapter 4: Networks and Fluids. Chapter 5: Global Emergence. Chapter 6: Social Ordering and Power. Chapter 7: Complexity beyond Society. Bibliography. Index
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Review quote

a Urry offers a rewarding look at the ways in which complexity theory can be applied to the theorization of globalization. It brings together a large number of different foci and teases out their interconnections. The authora s willingness to corral such a large array of topics comprises the key strength of this volume...this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in a new direction on the sociology, political science, geography, or economics of globalization.a Steven M. Manson, University of Minnesota, Progress in Human Geography "This is a fascinating analysis of the non--linear relationships underlying global complexity. By carefully using the metaphors, concepts and models of complexity theory, Urry avoids the trap of oversimplification and shows us many insights that are likely to stimulate and shape future research in this largely unexplored field." Fritjof Capra, author of The Web of Life and The Hidden Connections "John Urry provides a remarkably fluent account of the complexities of the fluid world in which we now find ourselves. And in the process of understanding the world as process, he lays down a challenge to all social scientists to rework their traditional intellectual boundaries. Inspiring." Nigel Thrift, Bristol University "This is a short book with a large and compelling agenda ... [it] paints a unique picture of the current state of the world." American Journal of Sociology
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About Professor John Urry

John Urry is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University and is the author of The End of Organized Capitalism and Sociology Beyond Societies.
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17 ratings
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