Is universality the object of globalization? Political geographies of contingent universality

No Social Science without Critical Theory

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1483-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-538-3

ISSN: 0278-1204

Publication date: 28 July 2008


Toward the end of the 20th century, some work within political theory, of a kind that primarily foregrounds ethical considerations and another kind within political geography that links such ethical concerns to explication in terms of social space, territoriality and scale, has resuscitated the notion of contingent universality as an alternative to the either/or embrace or rejection of universality (and consequent denigration/celebration of particularity). As witnessed by the so-called spatial turn in many of the social and cultural sciences, this very circumstance, at least in the English-speaking world, has been one wellspring of current interdisciplinary interest in various geographical concepts and traditions. For political geographers, the idea of contingent universality arguably invites a fecund perspective from which to reflect upon a range of substantive and epistemological outcomes, which this essay will argue, are densely bound up in what, in short hand, is labeled globalization.


Natter, W. (2008), "Is universality the object of globalization? Political geographies of contingent universality", Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) No Social Science without Critical Theory (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 109-153.

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