Development policy rests on the conceptual division of the world between developed and underdeveloped countries. The article argues that this dichotomous way of splitting the world into one collective self, on one side, and a collective other, on the other, pertains to the category of what Koselleck has termed “asymmetrical counterconcepts.” Moreover, many of the characteristics of our modern concept of development directly derive from older counterconcepts or dichotomizations e.g. the idea that the underdeveloped can, in principle, “develop” and that developed countries should assist others in developing themselves. In this essay some historical examples of such dichotomies are examined, with a special emphasis on the civilized-uncivilized conceptual pair and on the idea of civilizing the “Barbarian.” The recapitulation of past dichotomies not only unearths the historical influences on the idea of development. Above all, it contributes to a better understanding of its present-day complexities.
Philipp H. Lepenies
João Feres Júnior
The author argues that the development of a critical history of concepts should be based on a programmatic position different from that of original Begriffsgeschichte, or of its main interpretations. By drawing upon theoretical insights of Axel Honneth, he reassesses the basic assumption of Begriffsgeschichte regarding the relationship between the history of concepts and social history, and calls attention to the problems that spring from focusing analysis almost exclusively on key concepts. According to Feres, special attention should be paid to concepts that are socially and politically effective, but, at the same time, do not become the subject of public contestation. Based on this programmatic position, he ends the article proposing a sketch for organizing the study of conceptual history in Brazil along three semantic regions.
Conceptual Translation and the Politics of Historicity
does not hinge on “traditional values” or “tradition” as its asymmetrical counterconcept. Even if Laroui develops a modernist critique of “tradition,” this critique does not neatly align it with modernist claims of both a “cut” of the present from the
Sartori, eds. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 134–158. On “counterconcept”: Reinhart Koselleck, “On the Historical-Political Semantics of Asymmetric Counterconcepts,” in Koselleck, Futures Past , 155–191; Kay Junge and Kirill Postoutenko, eds
Promises of Proximity as Articulated by Changing Moral Elites
. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 88. 17 Reinhart Koselleck, “The Historical-Political Semantics of Asymmetric Counterconcepts,” in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time , trans. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia
Semantic Investigations of a Counterconcept during the French Revolution
dynamic, if not progressive, orientation and made not the slightest allusion to political regression. Second, this contemporary understanding of revolution’s most prolific “asymmetrical counter—concept” 3 stands in contrast to a mainstream
New Granada, 1818–1853
Francisco A. Ortega
struggle is between voting with words and voting with daggers.” 103 The fiery language fashioned asymmetrical counterconcepts: “The opposite of civilization and morality is immorality and barbarism.” Such language did not seek nor admit moderation; it