The issues of transnationalism, globalization, consequences of the colonialism, and the current aspects of industrialization are actively discussed in the modern society. In the chapter on the world system and colonialism, Gezon and Kottak discuss a lot of associated questions, and it is necessary to pay attention to the parallels which are determined by the researchers in relation to the period of colonialism, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and current situation in the world.
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All the historical and social processes are interdependent and to understand aspects of the modern society’s development, it is important to refer to the past. Although all the points mentioned by Gezon and Kottak in the chapter are significant and require their further discussion, it is useful to focus on such aspects as the role of industrialization in the past and today, the social stratification, and the correlation between the notions of colonialism and identity.
Gezon and Kottak are rather convincing in their analysis of the role of industrialization for the society in the 19th century and for the modern world. Thus, the Industrial Revolution changed the world significantly and influenced the social and economic progress of countries.
The authors state that the approaches to economy changed, and the development of the capitalist economy is closely connected with the Industrial Revolution. However, there were a lot of negative consequences of the extreme changes for workers, and the modern stage of industrialization is also associated with definite problems.
Gezon and Kottak state that “around the world contemporary nations are repeating – at an accelerated rate – the process of resource depletion that started in Europe and the United States during the Industrial Revolution” (Gezon & Kottak, 2011, p. 221). It is also interesting to follow the authors’ discussion of the Industrial Revolution’s role in determining the new social stratification.
If it is possible to determine capitalists and workers as the main social classes of the 19th century, to state strictly the contemporary social classes is a rather problematic task. Thus, “modern stratification systems aren’t simple and dichotomous” (Gezon & Kottak, 2011, p. 208). Gezon and Kottak’s discussion makes readers think about their social position and belonging to the definite social class the criteria for which are not determined strictly.
Today, these criteria differ from such Max Weber’s dimensions as wealth, power, and prestige because there are more additional factors which can influence the social status of the person. Moreover, the authors effectively accentuate such aspects as social mobility and social equality. From this point, it is possible today to refer to the social mobility as the possibility to change the position within the society.
Furthermore, Gezon and Kottak’s views on the correlation between the notions of colonialism and identity make the reader pay much attention to the problem. In spite of the fact the authors’ discussion on the point cannot be considered as complete, there are definite implications which provoke the further rethinking of the issue.
The most controversial aspect in this context with references to the economic questions is the role of “white man’s burden” in the modern society. It is possible to agree that the role of “white man’s burden” is significant, and the causes for the phenomenon can be explained with references to the particular features of the historical and social development.
Thus, Gezon and Kottak’s arguments and considerations on the world system in association with colonialism provide a lot of opportunities to develop the further discussion of the problem.
Gezon, L., & Kottak, C. (2011). Culture. USA: McGraw-Hill Humanities.