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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The period since has been marked by the global endorsement of open markets, the free flow of finance capital and liberal ideas of constitutional rule, and the active expansion of human rights.
Why, then, in this era of intense globalization, has there been a proliferation of violence, of ethnic cleansing on the one hand and extreme forms of political violence against The period since has been marked by the global endorsement of open markets, the free flow of finance capital and liberal ideas of constitutional rule, and the active expansion of human rights. Why, then, in this era of intense globalization, has there been a proliferation of violence, of ethnic cleansing on the one hand and extreme forms of political violence against civilian populations on the other?
By exacerbating the inequalities produced by globalization, the volatile, slippery relationship between majorities and minorities foments the desire to eradicate cultural difference. Powerful, provocative, and timely, Fear of Small Numbers is a thoughtful invitation to rethink what violence is in an age of globalization. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Fear of Small Numbers , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Fear of Small Numbers. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 05, Fotooh Jarkas marked it as to-read Shelves: philosophy. I should give up :. Dec 25, Tucker rated it liked it. All modern nations, Appadurai says, attribute their sovereignty at least in part to "some sort of ethnic genius"--that is, a national identity or spirit--a belief that can all too easily lead to a simplified worldview and then to genocide.
The book's title is explained here: "Small numbers represent a tiny obstacle between majority and totality or total purity. In a sense All modern nations, Appadurai says, attribute their sovereignty at least in part to "some sort of ethnic genius"--that is, a national identity or spirit--a belief that can all too easily lead to a simplified worldview and then to genocide. In a sense, the smaller the number and the weaker the minority, the deeper the rage about its capacity to make a majority feel like a mere majority rather than like a whole and uncontested ethnos.
Although he is just one man, he is perceived as symbolic of an entire army who has been brainwashed by propaganda p. In the age of globalization, states have particular fears about "about their own minority or marginality real or imagined ," and since there is no way to kill globalization, minorities instead become the victims of "ethnocide".
One of these pairs or sets of identities often turns predatory by mobilizing an understanding of itself as a threatened majority. What if a terrorist's bomb targets the majority group? I imagine Appadurai would clarify that, while the bomb threatens loss of life and property, it doesn't necessarily threaten the majority group's ethnic identity.
What the bomb threatens, more precisely, is the majority's self-perception of being "pure" and "uncontested," a perception that they use to ground their right to national sovereignty. And so--if I understand rightly--a social identity is predatory as an identity if it needs to eliminate another identity or category; however, if simple violence does not count as a method of eliminating the other, it is hard to understand what such elimination would consist of. My question, to put it more simply, is whether the majority's perception of threat can ever be well-founded.
Appadurai also makes this curious observation: "In fact, the idea of a minority is in its political genealogy not an ethical or cultural idea but a procedural one, having to do with dissenting opinions in deliberative or legislative contexts in a democratic framework. Social and cultural minorities, what we may call substantive minorities, are permanent minorities, minorities that have become social and not just procedural. Jan 03, Juliette added it Shelves: , nonfiction. I'd always considered the image of the elitist scholar in his ivory tower to be unfair.
Appadurai writes as one who never did actual fieldwork, never spoke to people who aren't academics, and never bothered with people whose opinions were different from his. This book reads like a man shouting into an empty hall -- his echo pleases him. Throughout the book, Appadurai blames the victims of terrorism. There's a whole chapter dedicated to how everyday Americans are themselves respons I'd always considered the image of the elitist scholar in his ivory tower to be unfair.
He couldn't help himself. Jan 01, Aakash rated it liked it. The problem identified, explained and exemplified in the book is an important one. Minorities are being hated all across the world today. Minorities, by definition and some implication are a weak entity, the concept having developed out of census work.
So isn't it ironical that the same minorities are being feared and consequently hated? For Appadurai the answer lies in the very globalization that hasn't been yet critically analyzed from the point of view of the kind of violence that it helps pl The problem identified, explained and exemplified in the book is an important one.
For Appadurai the answer lies in the very globalization that hasn't been yet critically analyzed from the point of view of the kind of violence that it helps plan, organize and carry out by the cellular organizations as against the State who should ideally be the monopoly over violence according to Max Weber. The examples cited come from almost all over the world which could make it accessible to an even larger audience.
The book is good in the sense that it is neither too deep in theory nor in ethnographic description and charts the middle which makes it accessible to a diverse range of readers. But that is also what is a little disappointing about it.
The entire discussion about the world wide nature of a growing sense of anti-americanism is very appealing intuitively but the evidence seems anecdotal. The book also lacks detail in terms of explaining the economic side of globalization that plays a role in the kind of violence that the same phenomenon is able to carry out.
The book is a great read because of the rhetoric and metaphors at play. But because there are so many case studies, one finds a lack of theoretical discussion about issues like say terrorism which have a very specific set of contexts and issues. Lastly, the discussion about the positive characteristics of the same side of the phenomenon in the example of collaborating NGOs could have been discussed in further detail. Again, it the very end where the author almost just introduces the theoretical underpinnings of the undertaken and leaves the reader asking for more.
The reader who knows Appadurai from having read Modernity at Large will be a tad disappointed. But that doesnt mean that this book shouldn't be read. The well-respected academic has pointed us to a very interesting and important side of globalization that not many of us are aware of. Dec 11, Mark Fitzpatrick rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. What I gathered from the book is that Enlightenment-era liberalism treats minorities as "small numbers", where the minority as an individual is able to exist within a constitutional context procedurally.
In other words, the minority as individual is able to redress the vertebrate structures of the state through the rule of law and other constitutional protections. As a result, there is an inherent fear of minorities as groups or identities since they do not act as rational, libertarian actors in liberal democracy, but as cellular growths within the vertebrate structures of a nation-state.
Even if they are just a small immigrant group, liberalism is inherently scared of the "small numbers" of peoples who enter not as economic agents and individualist automatons, but as peoples. With the rise of terrorism as a result of globalization, this fear ever grows, in nations like the United States and India. Yet these fears totally ignore the inter-cultural communications of peoples throughout time.
Instead, liberalism often goes toward a populist, primordialist route against immigrants and Others see Samuel Huntington. This was a nice, relatively brisk read and I did not find it too overtly complex. View 2 comments. Apr 12, Sumallya Mukhopadhyay rated it liked it Shelves: favourite. Fear of Small Numbers, Arjun Appadurai The central question that Arjun Appadurai tries to address is this: what prompts the modern nations to unleash terror among the national minority?
Through the theoretical framework of globalization, Appadurai avers that globalization has highlighted strange ambiguity and pathologies within the modern nations. Globalization can be defined as the free flow of finance capital, better methods of statecraft and preservation of human rights; at the same time, howev Fear of Small Numbers, Arjun Appadurai The central question that Arjun Appadurai tries to address is this: what prompts the modern nations to unleash terror among the national minority?
Globalization can be defined as the free flow of finance capital, better methods of statecraft and preservation of human rights; at the same time, however, globalization has also resulted in the migration of people from one community to another, from one nation to another.
They appear as impediments towards attaining the national purity. Hence, the smaller the number, the greater the virulent attack on the minority to create a homogenous unit of the nation. In a liberal democracy, the figure of the individual is an important one. The suicide bomber is his classic example who all by himself has the power to unleash a reign of terror.
In fact, terrorism, according to Appadurai, is the flip side of globalization. May 25, A. David Lewis rated it it was amazing.
Why is the U. Appadurai explained it all back in
El rechazo de las minorías : ensayo sobre la geografía de la furia
Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger