March 17, 2003
New book by John Brown Childs looks at preserving diversity in the midst of globalization
professor John Brown Childs has published a new book, Transcommunality:
From the Politics of Conversion to the Ethics of Respect (Temple Univ.
Press; 2003). The book presents Childss vision of how groups,
communities, and nations can preserve their uniqueness while engaging
across race, class, and gender in a new social movement he calls "transcommunality."
As a resource for Childss development of the concept of transcommunality,
the second part of the book includes 12 commentaries by a diverse range
of authors, several of whom have UCSC affiliations, including Bettina
Aptheker, professor of womens studies; Hayden White, University
Professor Emeritus of history of consciousness; Guillermo Delgado-P.,
a lecturer in Latin American and Latino studies; and Herman Gray, professor
As Childs says, he "did not want to have a monologue about dialogue,"
so he invited commentators to expand on the idea of transcommunality in
their own ways.
A major consequence of globalization in the 21st century, observes Childs,
is the emergence of a "monoculture" that contributes to both
homogenization and fragmentation of people. What remains, he says, is
the basic human desire for social affiliation and rootedness in place
and in systems of belief.
As people are broken down by global forces into "ever more atomized
elements," Childs believes that constructive responses are blending
heterogeneity and cooperation to produce resistance and freedom.
"I propose that there is a way to both maintain particularistic rooted affiliations and create broad constellations of inclusive cooperation that constructively draw from such diversity," Childs writes. "I call this way of cooperation transcommunality."