International Communities Study Association
Damanhur, Italy – June 2007
What are the challenges and prospects for intentional community in the Twenty-First Century in the light of the processes of modernity, post-modernism, and globalization.
The Israeli philosopher, Eliezer Schweid, has described the emergence of post-modernity as distinct from modernity after WW II. In the modern, social and political movements sought to achieve desirable goals as determined by a particular philosophy and ideology. The post-modern rejects ideology and has recruited the social sciences to ascertain “reality” as the benchmark for proposing public (particularly economic) policy. Perforce, movements of intentional community, based on ideas and ideals, are modern and can never be post-modern.
Both modernity and post-modernity have been/are phenomena within the context of globalization – the evolution of an international economy propelled by market forces. Mass communication has enabled these forces to promote a global culture that apotheosizes individual achievement as reflected mainly by material consumption. Such a value world melds well with post-modernism but is antithetical to outlooks of intentional community.
Thomas Friedman’s latest analysis of the stages of globalization, The World is Flat, (2005) has interesting implications for the future prospects for intentional community. In Friedman’s view, we have now reached a new stage of globalization – the “Flat World Platform” resulting from the internet as a tool of low cost global connectivity – including “uploading” which has the potential of “globalizing the local”.
The exponential growth of global connectivity constitutes an even more effective basis for the dissemination of the extant global world culture. However, the “Flat World Platform” also enables intentional communities to effectively juxtapose alternative world value-outlooks to those of post-modern globalization and market them to those who seek a life of meaning.
Download the whole paper here: post_modernity_and_globalization.rtf