Cooperate or Bust: The Existential Crisis of the European Union

Eurocrisis_220x54 Ulrich Beck in Eurozine:

When a world-order collapses, then the analysis of it starts. Though that doesn't seem to go for the type of social theory currently prevalent, which with universalist aloofness and somnambulant certainty levitates above the low-ground of epochal change: global warming, financial crisis, the crisis of democracy and national institutions. Today this kind of universalist social analysis, be it structuralist, interactionist, Marxist, critical- or systems-theoretical, is antiquated and provincial. Antiquated because it excludes what is patent: a paradigm shift in modern society and politics. Provincial because it falsely absolutizes the path-dependent scope of experience and expectation in western European and American modernization, thus distorting the sociological view of its particularity.

It would be an understatement to say that European sociology needs to understand the modernization of other societies for supplementary reasons, in order to complete its world-view. More the case is that we Europeans can understand ourselves only if we “deprovincialize” – in other words, if sociologically and methodologically we learn to see through the eyes of others. This is what I call the cosmopolitan turn in sociological and political theory and research.