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March 17, 2003


New book by John Brown Childs looks at preserving diversity in the midst of globalization

Sociology professor John Brown Childs has published a new book, Transcommunality: From the Politics of Conversion to the Ethics of Respect (Temple Univ. Press; 2003). The book presents Childs’s vision of how groups, communities, and nations can preserve their uniqueness while engaging across race, class, and gender in a new social movement he calls "transcommunality."

As a resource for Childs’s development of the concept of transcommunality, the second part of the book includes 12 commentaries by a diverse range of authors, several of whom have UCSC affiliations, including Bettina Aptheker, professor of women’s studies; Hayden White, University Professor Emeritus of history of consciousness; Guillermo Delgado-P., a lecturer in Latin American and Latino studies; and Herman Gray, professor of sociology.

As Childs says, he "did not want to have a monologue about dialogue," so he invited commentators to expand on the idea of transcommunality in their own ways.

A major consequence of globalization in the 21st century, observes Childs, is the emergence of a "monoculture" that contributes to both homogenization and fragmentation of people. What remains, he says, is the basic human desire for social affiliation and rootedness in place and in systems of belief.

As people are broken down by global forces into "ever more atomized elements," Childs believes that constructive responses are blending heterogeneity and cooperation to produce resistance and freedom.

"I propose that there is a way to both maintain particularistic rooted affiliations and create broad constellations of inclusive cooperation that constructively draw from such diversity," Childs writes. "I call this way of cooperation transcommunality."

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