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Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization Hardcover – April 28, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"If globalization brings us closer together—to exchange goods and share ideas—why does it also make us feel less free?  David Grewal gives us a fresh and illuminating take on globalization and the challenge it poses for democratic politics. Of the mountain of books on globalization, Network Power stands out as one of the most original and insightful, a splendid synthesis of economics, philosophy, and political science in the grand tradition of moral and political economy."—Michael J. Sandel, author of Democracy's Discontent 
(Michael J. Sandel)

"This is a major, learned and wide-ranging contribution to our understanding of the processes of globalization. Grewal, whose knowledge of sociological theory is thorough, studies globalization as the development of a complex and often contentious civil society across borders. He focuses on the diverse forms of network power and on the conflicts among conceptions of cooperation (particularly in the world economy). He also pays attention to the battle between this civil society of multiple networks, and the political sphere of multiple sovereignties that have not abdicated their traditional powers. An indispensable work."—Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University
(Stanley Hoffmann)

"Grewal's analysis, presented in admirably clear, jargon-free prose, not only identifies the nature of power that characterizes the contemporary form of globalization but also proposes some of the means to counter that power and its structures of domination in the interest of a more free and democratic globalized world." —Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire and Multitude
(Michael Hardt)

"A splendid book. Grewal's account of network power is elegant and compelling, and his approach to debates on globalization is bold."—Jedediah Purdy, author of For Common Things and Being America

(Jedediah Purdy)

"In Network Power, David Grewal offers a unifying lens with which to view a set of otherwise disparate and confusing phenomena, thus helping us to understand better the underlying dynamics of present day globalization."—Sanjay Reddy, Barnard College and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

(Sanjay Reddy)

"An ambitious and original new work of social theory. . . . Grewal wants to keep people and cultures from being flattened by the power of global networks."—George Scialabba, Boston Sunday Globe
(George Scialabba Boston Sunday Globe 2008-08-24)

"In this ambitious and broadly erudite work . . . Grewal seeks 'to avoid the bloodshed' that followed earlier eras of globalization by focusing on what he terms 'network power'. . . . The book deepen[s] and enrich[es] the globalization debate in important ways. Essential."—Choice

"An excellent book. Straightforward and well written, it not only succeeds in establishing a framework to analyze issues of contemporary globalization, but does so in a way that opens up avenues for exploration of a wide range of other topics."--Jamaica Ai-Etsuko Brown, International Journal of Communication
(Jamaica Ai-Etsuko Brown International Journal of Communication)

About the Author

David Singh Grewal is a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows and an affiliated fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300112408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300112405
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Black on April 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Perceptive analysis of global social and political networks; elegantly written and closely reasoned. Essential reading for any serious student of politial philosophy or economics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Saleem Ali on November 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This engaging book presents the remarkable positive potential of social networks in wielding power, but also exposes the darker side of such power as it inexorably moves to a collectively self-inflicted conformity that can constrain choice. As a Harvard doctoral student in political science (or "government" as people in the old yard like to call it), the author is clearly well-versed in all the theoretical literature on the topic. While the book is written in a fairly accessible narrative, occasionally some rather cerebral passages make their way as well that may put off a casual reader of globalization.

Grewal is particularly concerned about globalization in its darker context since he believes that "everything is being globalized except politics". He is referring to our tendency to move towards common norms on language, dress and other harmonizing influences of globalization.

Coming from a multi-ethnic family with roots in America and India, he is perhaps personally influenced by this constant challenge between positive conformity and cultural dilution.

Grewal gives examples of the historical dominance of the gold standard and the growing dominance of English as a language to make his point. He also considers other areas where network power has encountered difficulties such as the failure of global trade talks in 2008. He does not have much sympathy for the collapse of the Doha Round of trade talks because the network power generated by this kind of system would have required a "suppression of democratic politics at a national level".

However, Grewal is perhaps too sanguine about the triumph of national politics, given various other challenges that confront us on a planetary scale.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joe H. Chu on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Network Power is the first detailed, published analysis that I have read on how globalization works. The author explains a very complicated subject in a very readable way. It is a must read book for those who teach or study sociology, economics, business, political sciences or in business.
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