The Complexities of the Global.

Urry, John (2005) The Complexities of the Global. Theory, Culture and Society, 22 (5). pp. 235-254. ISSN 1460-3616

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‘Complexity theory’ seems to provide some metaphors, concepts and theories essential for examining the intractable disorderliness of the contemporary world. Relations across that world are complex, rich and non-linear, involving multiple negative and, more significantly, positive feedback loops. This article shows how globalization should be conceptualized as a series of adapting and co-evolving global systems, each characterized by unpredictability, irreversibility and co-evolution. Such systems lack finalized ‘equilibrium’ or ‘order’; and the many pools of order heighten overall disorder. They do not exhibit and sustain unchanging structural stability. Complexity elaborates how there is order and disorder within these various global systems. The global order is a complex world, unpredictable and irreversible, disorderly but not anarchic.

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Journal Article
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Theory, Culture and Society
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12 Aug 2008 13:59
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21 Nov 2022 18:06