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Valuing Diversity

Buddhist Reflection on Realizing a More Equitable Global Future

Peter D. Hershock

Publication Year: 2012

Uses Buddhist philosophy to discuss diversity as a value, one that can contribute to equity in a globalizing world. Diversity matters. Whether in the context of ecosystems, education, the workplace, or politics, diversity is now recognized as a fact and as something to be positively affirmed. But what is the value of diversity? What explains its increasing significance? Valuing Diversity is a groundbreaking response to these questions and to the contemporary global dynamics that make them so salient. Peter D. Hershock examines the changes of the last century to show how the successes of Western-style modernity and industrially-powered markets have, ironically, coupled progressive integration and interdependence with the proliferation of political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental differences. Global predicaments like climate change and persistent wealth inequalities compel recognition that we are in the midst of an era-defining shift from the primacy of the technical to that of the ethical. Yet, neither modern liberalism nor its postmodern critiques have offered the resources needed to address such challenges. Making use of Buddhist and ecological insights, Valuing Diversity develops a qualitatively rich conception of diversity as an emerging value and global relational commons, forwarding an ethics of interdependence and responsive virtuosity that opens prospects for a paradigm shift in our pursuits of equity, freedom, and democratic justice.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-23

Diversity matters. Whether it is in the context of talking about ecosystems, educational institutions, corporations, the media, or politics, diversity is now widely recognized as something positive and worthy of being both preserved and actively pursued. This has not always ...

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1. Toward a New Paradigm of Difference

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pp. 25-45

As it happens, we no longer have the relative luxury of indifference with respect to difference. Even a casual survey of news and entertainment media, on any given day, anywhere on the planet, leaves little doubt that present day scales and depths of globalization processes are serving as ...

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2. Variety and Diversity

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pp. 47-64

The historically evident trend of especially the last century has been toward both global integration and fragmentation, both homogenization and the multiplication and magnification of differences. If, indeed, differences are always occurrences or propensity-expressing processes of differentiation, this trend ...

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3. Time Differences

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pp. 65-96

In distinguishing between variety and diversity as two qualities and directions of differentiation, I have stressed the irreducibly temporal nature of difference. In terms introduced earlier, differences are only insofar as they mean. Every difference signals the presence of a situationally specific arc of ...

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4. Writing Histories, Making Differences

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pp. 97-120

It was famously announced by Winston Churchill that “history is written by the victors.” If so, we have every reason to believe that histories have been “rewritten” for as long as there have been conflicts resulting in broken winning streaks. And, as made clear, for example, by the new histories drafted ...

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5. The Commodification of Difference

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pp. 121-154

Mass media have played so profound a role in embedding modern and market values throughout the contemporary lifeworld that they merit direct critical attention. In addition to being a primary connective tissue between the public and private spheres, mass media have been instrumental in bringing ...

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6. Ethics and Differentiation

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pp. 155-176

The aporia of difference signals our arrival at a global climax of both modernity and marketization—our arrival at an historical vantage from which it appears necessary for the pursuit of equity to begin with imagining a world no longer organized around modern universalisms and the ...

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7. Convergence on Variety

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pp. 177-202

The current, predicament-rich complexion of contemporary global dynamics is a karmic function of an historically extended interplay among locally, nationally, regionally, and globally dominant patterns of values, intentions, and actions, including those involved in the practices of envisioning, building, and maintaining ...

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8. Delinking Equity and Equality

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pp. 203-224

Over the course of the last several chapters, I have tried oscillating between historical and philosophical optics to generate depth perspective on the emergence of difference as a crucial contemporary issue and concern. Historically, my aim has been to compose a convincing set of precedents ...

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9. Diversity and Equity

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pp. 225-240

Public goods are now generally understood to be goods, services, or institutional arrangements which are clearly beneficial both to individuals and to society as a whole, which are nonexcludable in terms of the distribution of their benefits, and which are nonrival in terms of their use or ...

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10. Making a Difference

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pp. 241-283

Contrary to postmodern orthodoxies, something like a metanarrative is required for us to critically engage and effectively transform the kinds of global processes that are currently serving as engines of inequality and inequity. The complex realities of contemporary globalization require ...

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pp. 285-293

As I have described it, valorizing coordination points us in the direction of an aesthetically enriching politics of strength. Widely enough realized, this would enliven a political counterculture of concerted movement oblique to the tension between free variation and unification— movement ...


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pp. 295-316

Bibliography of Works Cited

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pp. 317-326


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pp. 327-332

Back Cover

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p. 340-340

E-ISBN-13: 9781438444604
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438444598

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2012