The Globalization of Nothing

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George Ritzer theorizes in his provocative new book, The Globalization of Nothing, that the "grand narrative" or social story of this period is a movement from "something" to "nothing." Building on but going beyond his renowned Mc Donaldization thesis, Ritzer contends that societies around the globe continue to move away from "something," defined as a social form that is generally indigenously conceived, locally controlled, and rich in distinctive content. He argues that we are moving toward "nothing" – that which is centrally controlled and conceived and relatively devoid of distinctive substance. It is in the movement toward the globalization of "nothing" that "something" is lost. More than likely, that "something" is an indigenous custom, a local store, a familiar gathering place, or simply personalized interaction. Thus, the central problem in the world today is defined as "loss amidst monumental abundance (of nothing)."

The Globalization of Nothing takes the subject of globalization in new directions, introducing terms such as "grobalization" (the growing influence of, for example, American corporations throughout the world). This book is structured around four sets of concepts addressing this issue: "places/non-places," "things/non-things," "people/non-people," and "services/non-services." By drawing upon salient examples from everyday life, George Ritzer invites the reader to examine the nuances of these concepts in conjunction with the paradoxes within the process of the globalization of nothing.

The Globalization of Nothing is ideal as a primary or supplemental text for courses in sociology, anthropology, communication, business, and related disciplines. This book is also recommended for anyone interested in the critical study of contemporary social phenomena.

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Editorial Reviews

Savannah Jones
"Readers will come away from this revision with not only a new way of looking at globalization but also a sense of the problems posted by the globalization of nothing and the need to find ways to deal with its pernicious aspects. "
Victor N. Shaw
“The author does an excellent job in describing and explaining nothing, something, grobalization, glocalization,
globalization, and their interrelations. Examples are drawn closely from life.
They are touchable and powerfully illustrative. The discussion flows well and the text is highly readable.”
Douglas H. Constance
“The book will make a valuable contribution to literature. . . . This book continues the trajectory of Mc Donalization by providing a more sophisticated analytical frame to interpret globalization.”
Steve Zehr
“The book’s strength is that it takes a look at the big picture and is not timid in developing a case for the nothing/something continuum and the increasing globalization of nothing. We have an insufficient number of books in sociology that take on big agendas.”
Hernan Vera
"The Globalization of
Nothing is a brilliant essay that develops revolutionary ideas based on sharp, penetrating observations. This book is truly the product of a
"sociological eye." I do no exaggerate when I use the term
"revolutionary." The author presents a phenomenon—or set of phenomena—that stretch sociology's phenomenological field. . . . After you become aware of nothing, you need to rethink the world and the way you look at it."
Douglas Kellner
“George Ritzer’s The
Globalization of Nothing provides a highly original take on globalization that illuminates aspects of globalization neglected in standard works. Ritzer produces a wide range of categories, some original, to delineate how globalization produces
massification, homogenization, and standardization of consumer products and practices and thus produces a worthy successor to his books
The Mc Donalization
of Society and Enchanting a Disenchanted
World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption.”
The Midwest Book Review
"The Globalization of Nothing is an articulate economic thesis by Professor George Ritzer that articulately postulates the short and long-term effects of globalization. . . The Globalization of Nothing is a philosophical and clarion warning regarding the creeping and homogenizing impersonality of severe economic forces. "
"The Globalization of Nothing is an articulate economic thesis by Professor George Ritzer that articulately postulates the short and long-term effects of globalization. . . The Globalization of Nothing is a philosophical and clarion warning regarding the creeping and homogenizing impersonality of severe economic forces."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761988076
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

George Ritzer is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, where he has also been a Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and won a Teaching Excellence Award. He was awarded the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award by the American Sociological Association, an honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Australia, and the Robin Williams Lectureship from the Eastern Sociological Society. His best-known work, The Mc Donaldization of Society (8th ed.), has been read by hundreds of thousands of students over two decades and translated into over a dozen languages. Ritzer is also the editor of Mc Donaldization: The Reader; and author of other works of critical sociology related to the Mc Donaldization thesis, including Enchanting a Disenchanted World, The Globalization of Nothing, Expressing America: A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society, as well as a series best-selling social theory textbooks and Globalization: A Basic Text. He is the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2 vols.), the Encyclopedia of Sociology (11 vols.; 2nd edition forthcoming), the Encyclopedia of Globalization (5 vols.), and is Founding Editor of the Journal of Consumer Culture. In 2016 he will publish the second edition of Essentials of Sociology with SAGE.

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Table of Contents

1. Nothing: A Brief (No Need to be Lengthy) Introduction
An Illustrative Excursion to the Movies
Nothing (and Something): Further Clarification
Nothing Is Nothing
In Defense of Nothing
The Production of Nothing
2. Conceptualizing Nothing (and Something)
Unique-Generic, One-of-a-Kind-Interchangeable
Local Geographic Ties-Lack of Local Ties
Specific-to-the-Times-Relatively Time-less
How Does This Relate to Globalization?
Objective, or Are They?
3. Meet the Nullities
Non-Places (and Places)
Non-Things (and Things)
Non-People (and People)
Non-Service (and Service)
The Relationship Between Forms of Nothing (and Something)
4. Globalization
Glocalization and Grobalization
Some Complexities
5. Grobalization-Glocalization and Something-Nothing
The Grobalization of Something
The Grobalization of Nothing
The Glocalization of Nothing
The Glocalization of Something
Expensive, Globally Available Types of Nothing
Loose Cultural, Tight Structural Models
What About the Local?
Why Now?
Which Comes First: Nothing or Its Grobalization?
6. The Ultimate Example of Nothing and Its Grobalization? Large-Scale Consumption Sites on the Internet
Some Important Caveats
Back to the Main Argument
Meet the Nullities on the Internet
Large-Scale Consumption Sites on the Internet as Non-Places
The Non-Things for Sale on Large-Scale Consumption Web Sites
Non-People on Those Large-Scale, Internet Consumption Sites
Non-Services on Those Large-Scale Consumption Web Sites
7. A Few (by Necessity) Concluding Thoughts on Nothing (and Its Globalization)
The Increase in Nothing! The Decline in Something?
The Positive Side of Nothing and Its Spread
The Negative Side of the Spread of Nothingness
Grobalization and Loss
Explaining the Gap
Changes Over Time
How Can We Make So Much Out of So Little?
Making Something Out of Nothing on the Internet
The Economics of Nothingness
A Lot of Nothing Is Still Nothing
8. Concluding Thoughts on Globalization (and Nothing)
Grobalization Versus Glocalization
Can the Local Be Resuscitated?
The Globalization of Nothing and September 11, 2001
Consumption and Beyond
The Role of Brands
Responding to the Grobalization of Nothing
Appendix: Nothing-Theoretical and Methodological Issues
Nothing: Previous Work
Some Modern Methodological (Epistemological) Problems
Modern Concepts in a Postmodern Age
Salvaging a (Semi-) Modern Approach
A (General) Standpoint Theory
Alternative Perspectives
Potential Criticisms
Rational Choice?
Are Consumers Judgmental Dopes?
About the Author

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