The Human Paradox : Worlds Apart in a Connected World book cover
1st Edition

The Human Paradox
Worlds Apart in a Connected World

  • Available for pre-order on May 26, 2023. Item will ship after June 16, 2023
ISBN 9780367617912
June 16, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
424 Pages

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

In The Human Paradox: Worlds Apart in a Connected World, author Frank Gaffikin probes widely and meticulously into our past and present to analyse the connections between the many acute polarisations that mark contemporary times. Addressing profound issues related to Trumpism, Brexit, the outbreak of Covid-19 and ensuing pandemic, and environmental change, the book argues that beneath all the present social tumult lies a fundamental dilemma for human stability and progress, namely how we can be estranged from what we refer to as humanity.

The book begins with an appraisal of populism and authoritarian nationalism, and later explores whether, in our human development, we are bound for enhancement or extinction. Interrogating these big ideas further, the book identifies three central challenges that confront us as a society: living on the planet, living with the planet, and living with one another on the planet. These challenges prompt a re-think of what it is to be human and social, and hinging on these key themes, the book thus concludes with consideration of a radical agenda for future social improvement.

Rather than peering through the conventional lenses offered by separate disciplines, this book argues for interdisciplinary appreciation and recognition, especially so if we are to address the dilemma at the center of its concern. The Human Paradox will appeal to readers interested in the major conflicts of our times, as well as students of subjects including sociology, politics, history, and economics.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  Prologue  Part 1 – All Shook Up  1. What on Earth?  2. All the Rage  3. Mistaken Identity  4. False Economy  5. Power Play  Part 2 – Hello Goodbye  6. Only Human  7. Dead End  8. Net Effect  Epilogue  Bibliography

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Frank Gaffikin, Ph.D, has been an academic for nearly four decades, in the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast, and for periods at two universities in the United States, with a special focus on urban scholarship and, in recent years, on planning in contested space. Among his many publications on this theme, is his book with Mike Morrissey, Planning in Divided Cities: Collaborative Shaping of Contested Space (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He has been co-Director of the Urban Institute at the University of Ulster; a Senior Research Fellow at the Great Cities Institute in Chicago; and Director of the Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning, at Queen’s University.


"Frank Gaffikin has produced a truly magisterial, thought provoking, path-breaking and page-turning book. He courageously confronts the ecological, political economic, social, technological and cultural challenges facing the human species during this period of profound change and existential uncertainty. Frank paints on a broad global canvas, asks uncomfortable questions, draws on wide academic reading and on his long experience both as a public intellectual and as a radical community activist. He writes incisively, persuasively and wittily. You will want to buy this and recommend and discuss it with friends and colleagues."

Professor Emeritus John Benington, CBE, Warwick University.

"A masterful, connect-all-dots interrogation of our polarising and foreboding world. No political, economic, or cultural fault-line is left unexamined in this probing analysis of today's boiling points."

Scott A. Bollens, Warmington Professor of Peace and International Cooperation, University of California, Irvine

"The Human Paradox: Worlds Apart in a Connected World is a must-read book. It offers a critical, political, and intellectual discussion of our urgent global challenges namely social polarization and diversity as well as global and local injustice, and also analyses the power of the new world of information and its effect on culture, economy, and democracy. The book systematically analyses human development and progress and the ways these have been shaped by populism and authoritarian nationalism. Instead of looking at such issues as populism, climate change or geopolitical hegemony separately, the book offers an integrative understating of these challenges and further offers a radical approach for humanity, looking at the importance of the next generation’s social improvement. This book will be of interest to researchers and students as well as for a wider audience interested in matters of political economy, sociology, and politics."

Professor Haim Yacobi, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London