This article offers the concept of `global modernity' (in the singular) as a way to understand the contemporary world. It suggests that the concept helps overcome the teleology implicit in a term such as globalization, while it also recognizes global difference and conflict, which are as much characteristics of the contemporary world as tendencies toward unity and homogenization. These differences, and the appearance of `alternative' or `multiple' modernities, it suggests, are expressions, and articulations, of the contradictions of modernity which are now universalized across, as well as within, societies. If we are to speak of alternative or multiple modernities, which presently valorize the persistence of traditions and `civilizational' legacies, we need to recognize that the very language of alternatives and multiplicity is enabled historically by the presupposition of a common modernity shaped by a globalizing capitalism.
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