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393 REPRINTS AVAILABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE PUBLISHERS. PHOTOCOPYING PERMITTED BY LICENSE ONLY© BERG 2007 PRINTED IN THE UK CULTURAL POLITICS VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3 PP 393–398 CULTURAL POLITICS DOI 10.2752/175174307X226915 BOOK REVIEW THE GLOBAL SPHERE: PETER SLOTERDIJK’S THEORY OF GLOBALIZATION LIESBETH NOORDEGRAAF-EELENS AND WILLEM SCHINKEL Im Weltinnenraum des Kapitals. Für eine Philosophische Theorie der Globalisierung, Peter Sloterdijk, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 2005, 415 pages, 25.50€, HB ISBN 3–518–41676–6 Im Weltinnenraum des Kapitals (2005) delivers what its subtitle promises: a philosophical theory of globalization. This book and the theory it expounds extends the morphological philosophy of space put forward previously by Sloterdijk in the Sphären-trilogy (p. 14),1 which discusses a philosophical history of what he calls terrestrial globalization. For Sloterdijk, the globe as a philosophical concept (Globus, Kugel, sphaira) is a result of terrestrial globalization (p. 37) – the processes of materialist expansion that produce the world system. Terrestrial globalization marks the middle stage of a threetier process. It is the only part of “humanity” that Sloterdijk LIESBETH NOORDEGRAAF-EELENS IS AN ECONOMIST AND PHILOSOPHER AT ERASMUS UNIVERSITY ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS. WILLEM SCHINKEL IS A SOCIOLOGIST AT ERASMUS UNIVERSITY ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS. > CULTURAL POLITICS 394 BOOK REVIEW finds worth calling “world history in a philosophical sense” (p. 28). Terrestrial globalization follows a cosmic-Uranian or morphological globalization – marked by the Greek metaphysical discovery of the globe as apparent in their love of the spheric form – and is followed by the electronic globalization, in which we are currently enmeshed. It marks a stage in the history of European (“Christian-capitalist”) colonial expansion which historians tend to pin down to around 1492 to 1945 (p. 21). In its emphasis on the intersection of philosophical and materialist processes through which the globe comes into view, the book continues a philosophical style that radically differs from continental hermeneutics, critical theory, or Deconstruction. Instead, it offers a self-proclaimed metanarrative that seeks to overcome the flaw of former metanarratives, which, Sloterdijk says, were not “meta” or global enough (p. 14). Im Weltinnenraum shows the earth to have gradually become an excentric globe, focusing on being-inthe -world-of-capital because economic globalization has, Sloterdijk argues, proven to be “the most effective totalization, the contraction of the earth by means of money in all its appearances” (p. 17). In the first part of the book, Sloterdijk pays attention to what one might call three discoveries and one invention: the discoveries of space, water, risk, and the ensuing invention of the modern subject. Sloterdijk discusses how geographers and seafarers mapped this modern vision of the world. The very notion of humanity as a single species becomes possible only after Magellan, Columbus, and others of their kind. Monogeism – the emergence of the single globe – involved a number of changes. For one, the processes of terrestrial globalization produce a changed sense of locality and subjectivity. In the modern age, the earth becomes the planet to which one can return (p. 41). Not the inside, but the outside, the faraway, the “there” is what tempts (p. 175). The interior becomes a mirror of the exterior (p. 44), as becomes apparent in cabinets of curiosities and in curiosities-collections. When the interior is the mirror of the exterior world, living conditions condition knowledge conditions (p. 45). Thought thus becomes oriented toward space, faraway places, toward the unknown but knowable. It transcends traditional world spaces. Terrestrial globalization becomes apparent in its most formalized form in Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, whose travels around the world in eighty days (1874) mark, as Sloterdijk says, the birth of the modern tourist: Fogg travels, with blinds closed, to places he knows (from the prospectus); Fogg also knows what they look like, for the point of his travels is not education but travel itself (p. 66). The message is: the earth is round and can be rounded. Yet the modern age also understands that the “earth” is really an incorrect name for our planet. Rather, water is discovered as the “leading element.” This discovery of water means that the conquest of the globe takes place over water, resulting in the modern shift from shoreland-thought...


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