takes aim at the reproduction of essentialism that post-colonial
sociologists perceive in comparative studies of civilisations. Furthermore, post-
colonial sociologists are explicitly critical of the comparative sociology of multiple modernities on the grounds that it fails to meets its own stated objective
of going beyond Eurocentrism. Their critiques home in on how comparative
sociologists have retained an unreconstructed notion of modernity incapable of
reflecting the breadth of historical experiences of colonialism. Between the two
fields there are significant
that stretch the imagination. His formulation of the ‘anarchopsychological critique’, as an alternative to the principal narrative of modernity,
which is driven by authority, scientific progress and mediated experience, is an
important approach to thinking about anarchism and ontology.
Alternative perspectives on modernity are also provided in the chapters by Steve
Millett and Jonathan Purkis, albeit from considerably different standpoints.
Millett’s comprehensive study of the Fifth Estate publishing project documents the
emergence of the now highly influential anti
defines civilisations? What creates them? Is it their materiality, their art or their religious
ethics? Are they old and evolutionary, or constituted anew in modernity? How
have moderns judged them, or rather discursively cast them? What ideological
uses are made of the idea of civilisation and how should they be disentangled
from archaeological, anthropological, sociological and historical investigation
and methodology? Each question is a debating point. Images of the character
of civilisation and civilisations underpin the diversity of explanations. Are they
, Arnason perceives greater space for interpretation, reconstruction and reinterpretation of civilisational dynamics in the centres of power.
Strategic orientations have a more decisive part and thus Arnason attributes more
historical specificity to processes of change, including in modernity. Arnason’s
rendition of the Japanese trajectory asserts more latitude for transformative processes to be analysed. Furthermore, there is greater room for the ramifications of
transformation for the overall pattern of duality to be taken into account.
Like Eisenstadt, Bellah conceives
rather more universal. In particular, the readings of southern Irish society
that are encoded within the conceit of the Celtic Tiger clearly draw from
specific understandings of ‘the modern’ that have enjoyed a renaissance
over the last dozen years or so. It is to these distinctive constructions of
modernity that we turn our attention next.
The new world order of things
The decades that immediately followed the Second World War offered
witness to a fierce and prolonged ideological contest as to which path of
development humanity should follow. During the Cold War, the
formation of national identity. Primordialists claim that the nation was not
therefore ‘imagined’ or constructed outside prior forms of social community
and neither was it a revolutionary or completely novel product of the march
towards modernity. Instead, they argue that national identity is based directly
on previous forms of group identity and draws upon the myths, languages and
social practices of these pre-national groups.
Edward Shils and Clifford Geertz are often cited as the
-continent as an offshoot of Western modernity. Hartz and modernisation
scholars in sociology and political science left an intellectual impression of ‘two
Americas’: a pace-setting northern civilisation and a deficient southern variant. After his break with functionalist sociology, Eisenstadt sought to rectify the
impressions left by modernisation analysis in an important essay on the Americas
as multiple modernities and a zone of civilisations (2002b). Arguing for the distinctive trajectories of all the Americas, he demarcated a proper civilisational status for Latin
modernity and blackness to their imagined opposite. They have also been subjected to racialising judgements themselves. Often, they have been involved in processes of racialisation running ‘up’ and ‘down’ simultaneously, even as the region's peripherality in European colonial history and its peripheralisation in the contemporary European economy have been adduced as reasons to disidentify Yugoslavia and its national identities from race. There are thus at least three modes for relating race to the Yugoslav region: a mode of indifference, colour-blindness or – to use the
Horkheimer and Adorno, she sought to
come to terms with something which, in her mind, fundamentally altered the
conditions not only of Jewish life but also of human existence.
Modernity and antisemitism
In an interview conducted in 1964, Arendt
reflected on the impact that news of Auschwitz had on her in terms that echo
Adorno and Horkheimer's rethinking at the time.
What was decisive for me was not the year
-conservative mode of cultural politics (Kapustin,
2009: 151). On the terrain of public discourse the neo-conservative politics of
civilisational clash has been rigorously contested. But within the ‘big discourse’
the uses of the language of civilisation and civilisations were contested in different ways also by civilisational analysis and post-colonial and other radical critics.
The critical response involved reconsideration of religion, tradition, nationalism and modernity (Arjomand, 2014b). African, Indian and Asian perspectives