The Synchronization of National Policies: Ethnography of the Global Tribe of Moderns, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Synchronization of National Policies

Ethnography of the Global Tribe of Moderns, 1st Edition

By Pertti Alasuutari


204 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-10-27
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The Synchronization of National Policies shows how it is possible that there is remarkable uniformity in the policies that the nation-states adopt, although there is no world government. Mainstream research attributes such global governance to the influence of leading countries, to functional requirements created by capitalism and technological development, or to international organizations. This book argues that to understand how national policies are synchronized we need to realize that the global population forms a single global tribe of moderns, divided into some 200 clans called nations.

While previous research on the world culture of moderns has focused on the diffusion of ideas, this book concentrates on the active role of local actors, who introduce global models and domesticate them to nation-states. In national policymaking, actors justify new policies by international comparisons, by the successes and failures of models adopted in other countries, and by building and appealing to the authority of international organizations. Consequently, national policies are synchronized with each other. Yet, because of the way such domestication of global trends takes place, citizens retain and reproduce the understanding that they follow a sovereign national trajectory.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, world culture theory, globalization, international relations, and political science.


"In recent decades, policies and rationales for them have spread around the world to an extraordinary extent. The diffusion is amplified by international organizations of all stripes, and by the common world cultures of the rapidly-expanding professions. Pertti Alasuutari has written a most impressive review and analysis of the processes involved, integrating ideas and adding many new ones. His book will be of great interest to anyone interested in contemporary globalization."

John W. Meyer, Professor of Sociology, emeritus, Stanford University

"The book establishes a paradigmatic research strategy for examining situated discourse that opens up the interplay

between global and local, resulting in an original understanding of global similarities and differences. The comprehensive theorising and well-crafted empirical work do much to explain, but they also stimulate new questions. The result will be energising for the next generation of scholarship."

George M. Thomas, Arizona State University, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Synchronization Through Epistemic Governance 3. The Formation, Spread and Use of World Models 4. The Construction of Parallel Domestic Realities 5. Cross-National Discourses and American Unilateralism 6. The Epistemic Capital of Organizations 7. The Transnational Circulation of Catchwords 8. The Global Incorporation of Uniqueness 9. Conclusion

About the Author

Pertti Alasuutari, PhD, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampere, Finland. He has published widely in the areas of social theory, cultural and media studies, and social research methodology. His current research focuses on the role of knowledge production in global governance. His books include National Policy Making (Routledge 2014), Researching Culture: Qualitative Method and Cultural Studies (Sage 1995), An Invitation to Social Research (Sage 1998), Rethinking the Media Audience (Sage 1999), and Social Theory and Human Reality (Sage 2004). He is co-editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies and he has published in numerous international scientific journals.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General