Global Modernity from Coloniality to Pandemic
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Published By Amsterdam University Press

9789048553921, 9789463727457

Marius C. Silaghi

The chapter explores relations between modernity and the decentralization of authority, kitsch and partial centralization, the avant-garde and social media. Decentralization is identified as an important expression of modernist philosophy in current technology. As a characteristic of current directions of social progress, authority-opposing trends of modernism and post-modernism find significant support in new technology via less falsifiable decentralization based on crypto-currencies, blockchain, social media, search engines, and other products of the internet era. The scalability of classic athenian democracy to large societies is not yet accomplished by technology. Against the early modernity tendency to cheaply give the masses an almost effortless sense of participation (features associated with kitsch), the system of representative democracy promises to become more genuine through opportunities for electronic civic involvement.

Daishiro Nomiya

High modernity claims that the modernity project gave rise to institutional organs of modern nation states, culminating in an emergence of ultra-military states with wartime economy in the early twentieth century. It also argues that the same developmental pattern continued to dominate in the post-World War II period. This chapter examines this high-modernity thesis, employing Japan and Hiroshima as cases to be analyzed. Against the high-modernity thesis, many believe that Japan had a historical disjuncture in 1945, being ultramilitary before the end of World War II and a peaceful nation after. Examinations show that, while the modernity project controlled a large-scale historical process in Japan, it met vehement resistance, and became stranded in Hiroshima.

Rachid Id Yassine ◽  
Beatriz Mesa

This chapter bases itself on the premise that the society that will emerge from this COVID-19 health crisis will inevitably differ from the current one. People have become more vulnerable, and this sense of vulnerability, fragility, and uncertainty has spread throughout society, and is no longer limited to certain social groups. The contemporary idea of security has also collapsed in societies that no longer seem secure, predictable, or under control. This situation of a weakened society is the first paradigm shift, brought forth alongside the notion of identity linked to time, space, and humanity. To that end, we carry out a review of the events which triggered the crisis in Europe and Africa.

Alain Touraine

Modernity is an action, a work (deed) that transforms the relation between a human group and its environment. The notion of “subjectivation” is the way I define human societies’ discovery and their creative capacity. Meanwhile the nation/states’ withdrawal into themselves, the closure of the borders to the full scope of globalization, and the acceptance or refusal of migrants become the central issue of all sociopolitical conflicts, replacing the previous labor-based conflicts that have been at the core of the industrial society. Sociological analysis today addresses the fundamental issue: What is the future of democracy? The answer lies in criticism visà- vis the idea of states and institutions as agents of democracy, and the assertion of a social definition of democracy.

Aide Esu ◽  
Simone Maddanu

This chapter mainly points out how militarization as a bureaucratic and discursive “apparatus” results in a colonial modernization. Furthermore, the chapter establishes a direct link between military settlements – by various occupations – and a narrative of modernization and modernity. Both military protocols and the scope of the military activities contribute to a form of colonization and dependence, economically as well as culturally. Militarization is a wider concept involving at least two dimensions: the economic and political factors sustaining the expansion of military spending; and the social, cultural, and ideological dimension. However, the master narrative of modernization clashes with rising claims to autonomy in the local population that assert an alternative modernity.

Shumaila Fatima ◽  
David Jacobson

This chapter considers anti-colonial and postcolonial movements as modernizing and globalizing, particularly the three main streams: nationalist, Marxist, and Islamist. Nationalist and Marxist movements convere with the Western project, as represented in their vocabulary and emphasis on development, science, and self-determination. All anti-colonial and postcolonial societies have faced the task of reimagining their history. Education has played a key role, as both a product of colonial history and a response to it. The Islamic movements of interest to us represent a more versatile narrative. Led by leaders such as Qutb in Egypt and Ilyas in India and though grounded in anti-modern and anti-Western principles, these movements mostly evolved to embody modern and contemporary civic and political models.

Hatem N. Akil ◽  
Simone Maddanu

This chapter unifies cross-disciplinary references, analysis, and conceptualizations of modernity and modernization, highlighting a clear distinction between the spirit of both modernization and modernity. As we saw from different perspectives and criticisms, although modernization operates as a levelling process, modernity still appears to be worth a potential update. From coloniality to pandemic, by connecting modernities and histories, modernity can now represent a global necessity, where awareness of injustice, inequality, and human and environmental crises would create the possibility of a modernity-to-come.

Engin Sustam

Western modernity with its colonial application has created an identity trauma and patriarchal domination of the memory of colonized and oppressed peoples. Critiques from colonized territories encourage us to reread the colonial epistemes of modernity, whether or not centered on the West. The Kurdish political movement thus defines a new interpretation of modernity based on the critique of colonialism and global capitalism: “democratic modernity.” This chapter problematizes the relations between modernity, the nation state, the destruction of ecology, social confinement, the relationship of the forces of these relations, but above all the modalities by which it becomes possible to act on them to break the “stalemate” of the modernity of thought in the twenty-first century.

Antimo Luigi Farro

This chapter discusses the environmental movement vis-à-vis modernity in the last century. Starting in the early 70s, the contemporary environmental movement consists of articulated collective action opposing polluting agents in different areas of the world, and pursuing a new planetary natural equilibrium. This movement aims to construct a new more balanced model for natural development by scientific and technical means. This movement doesn’t pursue a romantic project to protect nature against modernity and modernization, nor a denial of modernity, nor modernity as a crisis, but a new way to understand and change the world. The environmental movement produces a critical consciousness of both itself and modernity.

Barry Mauer

How do we know when a belief or behavior qualifies as pathological? Are institutions vulnerable to pathological beliefs and behaviors? Nicolas de Condorcet sought answers to these questions using Enlightenment reason. This chapter argues that Condorcet’s modern liberal approach to diagnosing and treating pathological beliefs and behaviors (1) didn’t go far enough, and (2) contained significant blind spots that we are only now coming to appreciate through scientific discoveries. Currently the United States and much of the world is crippled by two pandemics: the coronavirus (a physical virus) and the right-wing cult (a cognitive virus). This chapter introduces the theory of the cognitive immune system and discusses the affordances and limits of the metaphor to medical epidemiology.

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