Arjun Appadurai’s Jar of Fears of small numbers provides a conceptual framework for understanding the violence that plagues self-proclaimed liberal societies. His analysis highlights the role of fear of powerlessness as a factor in violent acts against minorities. In his book, Appadurai explores how globalization has affected social structures and reshaped ethnic and cultural boundaries.
Arjun Appadurai’s Fear of Small Numbers
The author of Modernity at Large and the Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation, Arjun Appadurai, has written an intriguing new book entitled Fear of Small Numbers. Both books explore how we perceive and use complexity, and how it causes us to fear the powerless. This is a timely book, as globalization continues to break apart nation-states. It also addresses how we treat minorities in the West.
While he may not be the first to raise this topic, this book is necessary reading for anyone interested in globalization. In this book, Appadurai explains how the growth of globalization is responsible for the rise of extremism and violence. It is not enough to simply call the world “free”, however. The problem is that it can be both unjust and counterproductive. And, as a result, it may be the most important book of our generation.
Arjun Appadurai’s Analysis
Though the book is a relatively small physical text, it casts a heavy shadow over the broader discourse. While a social anthropologist, Arjun Appadurai uses this book to discuss the darker side of globalisation and the increasing violence against minorities. The aphorism that Appadurai cites as his starting point in his book is a classic example of this phenomenon. In Jar of Fears of Small Numbers, he explores the inverted logic behind violence and the “we/they” dialectic that results.
The book’s focus on the US and its foreign policy is a prime example of how fear of small numbers is related to national security. But while Appadurai makes the connection between religion and nationalism, the analysis fails to identify why such fears are common in the first place. Rather, it’s a result of a general lack of understanding of the role of religion in society.
Self-Proclaimed Liberal Societies
While there is no doubt that violence against minorities is not new, Appadurai’s study reveals how the phenomenon is manifested in even the most virtuous, self-proclaimed liberal societies. He argues that the increasing economic and cultural interdependence of the world’s majorities has spurred rage and violence against minorities. In his analysis of the globalisation of violence, he suggests that the development of capitalism and globalization has created an environment in which majorities are increasingly able to exploit their power and marginalized minorities. He also points out that in many cases. A combination of these factors can create a toxic relationship between the majority and minorities. Fueling the desire to eliminate cultural differences.
“The main cause of such violence is the genocidal impulse that is directed toward minorities,”. Writes Arjun Appadurai in his major collection of essays. The genocidal impulse. Which he identifies as a symptom of the broader issue of globalization, can only be directed against minorities when they are numerical, cultural, or political.
Fear of Small Numbers
The title of Arjun Appadurai’s book, Jar of Fears of Small Numbers, implies that it is a small physical text. With colossal consequences in the world of multidisciplinary discourse. Appadurai, a social anthropologist, repeatedly repeats Philip Gourevitch’s brutal aphorism about the Rwanda genocide. Focusing on the “we/they” dialectic and its social productivity. Similarly, he argues, the world’s “we” and “they” dialectic is at the root of most human violence.
In addition, this book argues that the idea of “small numbers”. A mere million or two – has historically been associated with tyrants and elites. Appadurai asserts that the specter of “conspiracy” is heightened by small numbers, and the gap between rich and poor is increasing, even as a single terrorist act in the name of freedom.