a different era: their paradoxical attitude towards myths reflects a contradiction in postmodernism. Linda Hutcheon mentions ‘the paradox of the desire for and the suspicion of narrative mastery – and master narratives’. 11 Postmodernism
Postmodernism and Myths about Great Artists
Thoughts on Sartre, Lacan, and Contemporary Psychoanalysis
’s use of Sartrean concepts (desire as lack of being, the look or gaze of the other, the ego as illusory object rather than subject), even if, in contrast to Sartre, he takes them in the direction of postmodernism. The question I ask myself in looking
Stefano Tamburini's Comic Book Work
surface of things is inexhaustible]. 2 As is known, Calvino's literary farewell is also his most postmodern work in themes and conclusions, even more so than his previous Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore [If on a winter's night a traveller], and
Teaching Religious Zionist History in the Postmodern Era
In recent decades, the impact of postmodern approaches to history teaching has triggered an extensive worldwide debate that accommodates diverse and contrasting voices. This article examines how the education system of Religious Zionism, one of the most important ideological movements in Israel, copes with this issue. This inquiry, which is based on Peter Seixas’s conceptualization, analyzes the system’s history curriculum, its latest textbooks, and an array of lesson plans. The analysis reveals a complex method of coping with postmodernism, including the adoption of clearly postmodern attitudes at the declarative level and the neutralization of their influence in practice.
‘And how should I begin?’ Naturally, or post-naturally enough, at the end. We have been hearing for some time recently of the end of things and this paradoxically, is where we must start. Book titles have warned us of the End of the Nation and Nation State, the End of Print, the End of Architecture, The End of Work, the End of Man, the End of Economic Man, the End of Time, the End of the Future, the End of History and yes, the End of the World. It doesn’t take a salaried cultural critic to see here the symptom of an encroaching mood, the expression on the part of marooned journalists and intellectuals of what Raymond Williams termed a ‘structure of feeling’. It expresses not so much conviction – though these scenarios of the end could not in one way be more final – as the waning of common beliefs and values. Hence the appearance world-wide of millennial sects, outcrops of New Age mysticism, the thrill of out of body experiences and the paranormal; even if, thanks to postmodernism, these tend to be more normal than para, and to come at you via the X Files or the Virgin multiplex than anywhere more distant. New media combine oddly with the new mysticism, advanced technologies with advancing teleologies. This is the way then that we are seeing in the fin de siècle, the beckoning end of century when Bakhtinian carnival will at last take to the streets, fleeing its confinement in works of cultural theory, and we shall all go belly up and dance our heads off. Or when half the world will fall into poverty, disease, and starvation and the other half wear itself out in vainglorious in-fighting, leaving a sybaritic residue to enter upon a computer-aided decadence of virtual existence. Or when we shall go up in smoke in a bang and whimper all at once.
Much recent theory of an anti-foundationalist or ‘post-ist’ hue has made a point of returning us to historicity. If modern theory sought the universal, then postmodern theory has favoured the particular, the situated, and the historically contextual: the little narrative, the silenced voice, the marginalised other. This is, to be sure, a simplification of both sides of the comparison. But it opens up a pressing question. What kinds of relationship to historicity are opened up by postmodern theory? In an age when relations with the past have taken on a particular kind of resonance—through truth commissions, retrievals of underplayed or silenced events, commemorative projects, and in a more general sense, a concern for the historical contexts of group and individual identities—what help does such theory offer us in seeking a grasp of such relations?
James G. Carrier
Recently anthropology has experienced an intellectual crisis of confidence, a sense that the discipline has lost its way, and an institutional crisis, a loss of resources following the financial crisis. Together, these crises provide a perspective that helps us to make sense of what preceded them. This article argues that both crises are signs of the failure of the neoliberalism that rose to prominence in the 1980s, both as a foundation for public policy and as an important, though unrecognized, influence on elements in anthropological thought. It focuses on that influence. It does so by describing some of the changes in anthropological orientation since the 1980s. Prime among these are the loss of disciplinary authority, the solidification of the focus on culture at the expense of a focus on society, and the rejection of systemic theories of social and cultural order. It is argued that, together, these changes have left anthropologists with no critical perspective on the world, just as the ascendance of neoclassical economics left economists with no such critical perspective.
Vacation Advertising, Globalization, and Southern Regionalism
Amy J. Elias
On January 5, 1999, the evening news programmes in Birmingham, Alabama reported that the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. Day might be marred by civic unrest. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had spent the 1998 King holiday inciting riots in Memphis, Tennessee, and this year, they were apparently going to focus on downtown Birmingham. Newscasters such as the urbane African American female anchor from Channel 13, Malena Cunningham, featured clips of Birmingham’s five-term, African American mayor, Richard Arrington, saying gracefully and with a hint of condescension that constitutionally the Klan had the right of public protest but that Birmingham’s best strategy would be to pay them no mind. The Klan was coming to Birmingham, Alabama.
The Denial of Jewish Messianism in Freud and Durkheim
This essay presents a reading of the work of two central figures of modern social theory that locates their work within not simply mainstream Jewish thought, but a particular Hasidic tradition. Further, I argue that lying behind this, in a repressed form, is an even older tradition of Jewish alchemy. I make no claim to have evidence that either Freud or Durkheim were directly influenced by Hasidism or alchemy, but I examine the parallels between the structure of their thoughts and those of the two traditions. Both Freud and Durkheim display a social psychology that is analytically similar to the dualism of Hasidism's Tanya and the general transformational models of alchemy. This formal model is in opposition to the messianic tradition in Jewish thought and analyzes Freud and Durkheim as anti messianic social psychologists. Hasidism offers a template for modern theories of social psychology, social interaction and the relation between the social and the individual, that is, collective identity. This essay also considers more generally how modern social theory might make sense of contemporary social phenomena by opening itself to the messianic and mystical traditions in Jewish thought. I suggest that the social and structural transformation associated with the information or network society requires new analytic tools that allow us to explain social energy differently to the way Freud and Durkheim have guided social theory. Contemporary analyses of individualization, social movements and sacralization as forms of and reactions to alienation are inadequate. Instead, I ask whether we should not 'restore a messianic, truly utopian "lost unity", which the alchemical, secular gnosis of modern social science displaced, and so renew social theory?'
Experiences of development in Mexico
Martin J. Larsson
English abstract: This article discusses the idea of policy coherence for development, and its relation to the experience of development along the Grĳalva River in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Through an analysis of different understandings of the garbage in the river, and of the attempts to deal with the garbage, I highlight tensions between different generations of policies, between different levels of government, and between implementing the goals of governmental representatives and a meaningful participation by citizens. To understand these tensions, the article draws attention to the coexistence of experience-based rationalities, which are important to take into account when formulating policies, and when moving from policies to concrete projects.
Spanish abstract: Este artículo discute la idea de la coherencia en las políticas públicas para el desarrollo, y su relación con la experiencia de desarrollo sobre el Río Grĳalva, en el estado de Chiapas, México. A través de un análisis de diversos entendimientos de la basura en el Río, subrayo las tensiones entre diferentes generaciones de políticas públicas; entre diferentes niveles de gobierno; y las tensiones entre la implementación de metas de los representantes gubernamentales y una participación significativa por parte de los ciudadanos. Para entender estas tensiones, el artículo enfatiza la co-existencia de racionalidades basadas en la experiencia práctica, que son importantes considerar al formular políticas públicas, y al moverse de las políticas públicas a proyectos concretos.
French abstract: Cet article examine l’idée de cohérence dans les stratégies politiques pour le développement et sa relation avec l’expérience du développement autour du fleuve Grĳalva, dans l’état du Chiapas, au Mexique. À travers l’analyse des multiples significations des déchets dans le fleuve, je souligne les tensions entre différentes générations de politiques publiques, entre différents niveaux de gouvernement, et entre la mise en oeuvre des objectifs par les représentants gouvernementaux et la participation significative des citoyens. Pour comprendre ces tensions, l’article insiste sur la coexistence de rationalités fondées sur l’expérience pratique, qu’il est important de prendre en compte dans l’élaboration des politiques publiques, et lors du passage de ces politiques publiques aux projets concrets.