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Discrepant Modernities and Their Discontents

Discrepant Modernities and Their Discontents Modernity may well have some kind of universalizing power, though I do not think all people are equally invested in the category or the condition. We should not, however, be seduced by its universalist pretensions. On the other hand, it will not suffice to reduce the discrepancies of modernities to cultural pluralism. By discrepant modernities I mean a world of forced and violent interactions in which emerges an imaginary space that produces deferred relationships to modernity. Modernity is something people struggle over because it has life-affirming as well as life-threatening effects. This struggle is what people share, like the floor of a boxing match (including fixed bets and outcomes), rather than a universal form with its local particulars. The latter view is the ideology of structural adjustment programs. Those of us intent on resisting and reworking the onslaught of imaginations and programs in the name of modernity have had to grapple with a number of paradoxes. One means of handling these paradoxes, through the method of “critical interruption,” recognizes the necessary multiplicity of political interpretations, using one position to critically interrupt or find the limits of the other.2 The method of critical interruption allows us to address two http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Discrepant Modernities and Their Discontents

positions asia critique , Volume 9 (3) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-9-3-637
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Modernity may well have some kind of universalizing power, though I do not think all people are equally invested in the category or the condition. We should not, however, be seduced by its universalist pretensions. On the other hand, it will not suffice to reduce the discrepancies of modernities to cultural pluralism. By discrepant modernities I mean a world of forced and violent interactions in which emerges an imaginary space that produces deferred relationships to modernity. Modernity is something people struggle over because it has life-affirming as well as life-threatening effects. This struggle is what people share, like the floor of a boxing match (including fixed bets and outcomes), rather than a universal form with its local particulars. The latter view is the ideology of structural adjustment programs. Those of us intent on resisting and reworking the onslaught of imaginations and programs in the name of modernity have had to grapple with a number of paradoxes. One means of handling these paradoxes, through the method of “critical interruption,” recognizes the necessary multiplicity of political interpretations, using one position to critically interrupt or find the limits of the other.2 The method of critical interruption allows us to address two

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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