Third Culture


A Talk With Anthony Giddens [1.30.00]

The second globalization debate is now upon us, and it's no longer just an academic debate. It's in the streets, as we know since Seattle, since the meetings in Washington, since the carnival against capitalism in London, and similar kinds of events all over the world.

EdgeVideo Anthony Giddens(5 min.)
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by John Brockman

Though the notion that we live in an era of unprecedented globalization is becoming increasingly evident, that change is more often than not attributed exclusively to the convergence of technology with the financial markets. But too often in these discussions, the larger point is missed: that we have a historic opportunity. As Anthony Giddens, director of the London School of Economics, writes, "we have the chance to take over where the 20th century failed, and a key project for us is to drag the history of the 21st century away from that of the 20th."

According to Giddens, "the driving force of the new globalization is the communications revolution," and beyond its effects on the individual, this revolution is fundamentally altering the way public institutions interact. Giddens uses the idea of risk as an essential component of this future-oriented environment, asserting that scientific innovation explores "the edge between the positive and negative sides of risk." Risk management, then, becomes a necessary a field of analysis.

— JB

Appointed as Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 1997, ANTHONY GIDDENS was previously a Fellow and Professor of Sociology at King's College, Cambridge. Among his 34 books are The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy, The Third Way and It's Critics, and Runaway World : How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives. There is a substantial body of academic writing and criticism about his work.He co-founded the academic publishing house Polity Press in 1985. He was the 1999 BBC Reith Lecturer.

Anthony Giddens is the most widely-read and cited social theorist of his generation. His ideas have profoundly influenced the writing and teaching of sociology and social theory around the world. Frequently referred to as Tony Blair's guru, Giddens has made a strong impact on the evolution of New Labour.

Anthony Giddens Edge Bio Page

A Talk With Anthony Giddens

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One of the big debates at the moment concerns the theme of globalization. This is a completely amazing thing, because only about 10 to 12 years ago it was hard to get people to talk about it, to use the notion of globalization at all. And now only a decade later, everybody's using it. It's in the papers all the time. Politicians talk about it. Businessmen talk about it. The whole globalization debate has itself become globalized, and that shows you that this truly is a period of dramatic, intense change. When you get a notion which comes from nowhere and comes to be everywhere, it's obviously going to get debate about it, and there is a very intense debate, and there were two phases to that debate.