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Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity by Couze Venn

By Couze Venn

This significant publication severely addresses the `becoming West' of Europe and investigates the `becoming glossy' of the area. Drawing at the paintings of Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, Lyotard, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur, the publication proposes that the query of postmodernity is inseparable from that of postcoloniality. The argument totally conveys the feel that modernity is in drawback. It maps out a brand new family tree of the start of the trendy and indicates a brand new means of grounding the belief of an emancipation of being.

Postcolonialism has emerged as a critical subject in modern social technological know-how and cultural stories. This publication informs readers as to the critical strands of the controversy and introduces a bunch of recent principles on the way to be a wealthy fund for different writers and researchers. The publication will entice complex undergraduate and postgraduate scholars within the social sciences and in cultural and media studies.

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Extra resources for Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity

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The immediate implication of this proposition is a shift from universalist assumptions that essentialize the subject, for instance in terms of concepts of reason, gender, genetics or race, all of which presuppose invariant characteristics. The concept of the subject has admittedly appeared relatively recently. Yet we have become so accustomed to thinking about subjectivity within the perimeter of the discourse of modernity that it requires an adjustment of perspective to recognize what it means to say that the subject is a recent invention, and thus that it has a genealogy, and that such a standpoint undermines all the universal categories that are usually deployed in its theorization, as, for instance, in psychology or psychoanalysis.

The debate clearly goes to the heart of the problem of the grounds and the narratives of desirable futures which could be reconstituted after modernity. My reason for addressing the issue of foundational principles derives, besides, from the conviction that no society so far has been ethical in the sense that I shall be developing throughout this book. Part of the reason is that before or outside modernity, the question of ethics and of being has been posed on the grounds of religion, whereas I am searching for secular principles to guide the questioning of being as to its way of being.

Equally, previous techniques and apparatuses for measuring speed made unthinkable the possibility of measuring the speed of light. The two sets of development, that is, the conceptual break and the technical innovations, were necessary conditions, themselves conditioned by speci®c changes in scienti®c knowledge and concepts of nature. Or take Darwin's concept of natural selection. Without the developments that were at once cultural and technical and scienti®c, the evidence for such a concept and the conceptual framework within which it has been formulated could not have appeared (see Venn, 1982, for details).

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