Tag Archives: modernity

Al sur de la modernidad

I will get rid of my photocopy of this book since our library actually has it, and others do, too. I like Martín-Barbero’s work a lot, even though this book seems old now.

The book, very loosely speaking, is about the poverty of progress, as E. Bradford Burns put it in a related context, or the (alleged) desencuentro of modernization and the razón histórica of Latin America. I will check it out as a book and read it as recreaction. But it is hard to let go of the photocopy so I will copy the first paragraph here.

Mucho antes de que la escuela de Frankfurt tematizara el concepto de razón instrumental, América Latina tuvo la experiencia de una racionalidad moderna convertida en “arsenal instrumental del poder y la dominación” (Quijano, Modernidad 53), esto es de una modernización cuya racionalidad, al presentarse como incompatible con su razón histórica, legitimó la voracidad del capital y la implantación de una economía que tornó irracional toda diferencia que no fuera recuperable por la lógica instrumental del mal llamado desarrollo. El debate en torno a la modernidad nos concierne entonces porque a su modo –al replantear aquel tramposo sentido del desarrollo/progreso– hace posible percibir la pluralidad y discontinuidad de temporalidades que atraviesan la modernidad, la larga duración de estratos proundos de la memoria colectiva “sacados a la superficie por las bruscas alteraciones del tejido social que la propia aceleración modernizadora comporta” (Marramao, “Metapolítica” 60). Este debate contiene a América Latina: la resistencia de sus tradiciones y la contemporaneidad de sus atrasos, las contradicciones de su modernización y las ambigüedades de su desarrollo, lo temprano de su modernismo y lo tardío y heterogéneo de su modernidad. Debate que se ha constituido además en escenario del reencuentro de las ciencias sociales con la reflexión filosófica de ésta con la experiencia cotidiana: esa que tanto o más que la crisis de los paradigmas nos está exigiendo cambiar no sólo los esquemas sino las preguntas. (Martín-Barbero 9)

…Really, there is so much in this book that is such a good review, I will perhaps keep the photocopy and give it to a student so they know these things… for instance, that one can consider cultura nacional, identidad colectiva, espacio audiovisual and comunicación ciudadana together…and honestly, so much here is worthwhile as material to make the mind limber again.


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On death in Vallejo. On Pyncheon.

Is it something like this? Something in an apocalyptic landscape? My piece, which is “killing” me, begins and ends with Nelson Osorio and the avant-garde as a “reajuste cultural a nivel global.”

The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain. Or we can learn to see each day as the death of what came before, freeing ourselves to deal with whatever problems the present offers without attachment or fear.

The linked article is really worth reading. This is another piece about modernity and the subject that one should really consider. Vallejo is about being in modernities, and so much work on him that does not reduce to biography still reduces to individual experience and a few clichéd problems or philosophical ideas. I exaggerate, of course, as there is other and better work.

Still I think there is something yet larger afoot in this writer than has yet been articulated — and at the same time as I say this so grandly, I know I have not mastered either his texts or the bibliography on them. Some of the bibliography, it must be said, is highly illuminating and other parts of it are so stultifying as to make one want to give up the field. The patience for sifting is what I need, and the time — and the courage, because I lack necessary intellectual background to grasp all of these things, and that is not my usual situation, even with unfamiliar material. A good scholar told me in October that that is how it is with this poet.


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