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Abstract

In a 1999 symposium on "The Origins of Postmodernity", Perry Anderson gave a gloomy account of the state of contemporary world culture. In his view, ever since the French Revolution there has existed an enormous wealth of revolutionary possibilities and social alternatives, as well as a rich array of narratives that have virtually ceased to exist due to the collapse of the socialist paradigm in the late 1980s. All that is left now is global neo-liberalism, which has spread to the furthest corners of the world by way of technological developments, mass media and the working of international corporations. The result of these processes has been a homogeneous global culture characterized by brute standardization through the channels of the world market, one of the main features of late capitalism. These developments and the global neo-liberal hegemony in particular are the reason for Anderson's despair.

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