(Post)modernism and the Other

Broj 2 - Godina 1 - 06/2011

Uvodnik

There is always a good reason to cherish and celebrate a second issue of a journal. In our case it would probably be the fact that in spite of the severe world financial crisis and its repercussions on the academic world we found a way to beat the odds and publish what is hopefully a progressive, intellectually competitive and, at the end of the day, an interesting collection of academic papers. As opposed to the first issue, dedicated to the theme of the endangered "body", the second one functions as a form of proceedings from the conference that was held at the University of Zadar in September 2010. The conference entitled Re-Thinking Humanities and Social Sciences questioned the issue of (Post)modernism and the Other through an extremely wide variety of scientific approaches, creating an atmosphere of highly academic competitiveness surrounded by a distinct Mediterranean ambiance. The second issue of our journal is an intellectual and textual extension of that unique experience. Obviously the papers presented here are merely a fragment of that experience but nevertheless we believe that they will provide the reader with an interesting and challenging insight into the issue of (Post)modernism and the Other. ..

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Izdvojeno

The dissolution of Yugoslavia was an immensely complex, difficult and violent turmoil, whose full implications, even after a decade and a half, are relatively well known and, at the same time, still in need of further explanation. Thus, when speaking of the collapse of communism, Alain Badiou's term „obscure disaster“ is pertinent as a designating term, a metaphor for the lack of meaning itself, for an absence further exacerbated by specific conditions in which socialism crumbled in former Yugoslavia. This obscurity is only reinvigorated by the latest set of problems with which the South-East European states are faced after the late-2000s global financial crisis. For our present needs it will be enough to state that Yugoslavia’s dissolution affected every aspect of social life; the unprecedented scope of this transformation, as well as its current inscription in ongoing „suspended“ histories of newly founded nation-states certainly adds something to this „obscurity“. Our aim in this paper is to provide a somewhat speculative account of post-socialist ideological constellation by focusing on a single discoursive aspect, which we identify as a certain distinctiveness of these spaces. Although only an aspect of a more wider conjuncture, it is our belief that this cluster is highly symptomatic, as it represents the crossroads between various discourses and processes that are fundamental for understanding the current “transitional” societies, or to be more precise, the places where these “transitional” societies fail to deliver on their promises. These range from the predominant depoliticized vision of the clash of the civilizations (Europe vs. Balkans, West vs. East etc.), the (still ongoing) dissolution of the welfare state, the complex changes in the institution of social and economic rights, profound metamorphosis of the public sphere, the rise of nationalist hegemonies, all to the neoliberal assault on the last remnants of the, by now, thoroughly „nationalized“ socialist heritage etc. ...

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In the beginning of this short text, which will discuss the question of the postmodern Other, I will propose that the post-Other, or Other in the postmodern condition, be called the biopolitical Other. The thesis is as follows: when we think about the question of the Other in the contemporary condition, which for want of a better definition and following Lyotard could be named postmodern, the dominance of the biopolitical Other can be observed on a global scale. In approaching the question of the biopolitical Other, I will not follow the path usual in problematizing the biopolitical. When thinking about biopolitics, the usual path begins with the creator of the term, Foucault, to theorists who adopted and somewhat changed its original meaning, such as Agamben and others. I will approach the term of the biopolitical Other using terms borrowed from political theory which problematizes notions such as State, sovereignty, Nation-State, Law, international Law. I will begin the analysis starting with some aspects of the notion of sovereignty, problematized in the 1920s by Carl Schmitt and relate it to the notion of biopolitics, recently popularized by Agamben. But the path to the notion of biopolitics will be slightly different than Agamben's....

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Generally speaking, in the postcolonial literary theory the other is represented as the object of colonization. The O/other is inevitable, essential and important to the defining of the subject identity in both cases – if we deal with the subordinate, marginalized and exploited other, or on the other hand with the Other who is itself the representation of the imperial discourse of power and in whose gaze the subordinate identity is being constructed and exists: In both cases the opposition simply must exist, it is usually the result of a basic distinction between the dominant and subordinate class and it is not rare that in post-colonial texts the process of othering may also become extremely violent. Simply speaking, the Empire by definition colonizes and subjugates the objects of colonization. Political independence of the former colonies did not bring equality to all social groups in the new countries, and the process of subordination continued in some other aspects and distinctions. Ania Loomba in the chapter named “Situating Postcolonial Studies” in her book Colonialism / Postcolonialism states the following: ...

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The concept of social capital has been used very often in sociological researches over the last two decades. Measuring social capital in civil society, neighborhoods and educational systems is merely a part of its popular usage. Many sociologists tend to use the concept of social capital very freely and therefore expand the definition of social capital. The author’s personal experience indicates that there have been a great number of academic discussions, research planning and public speeches implementing the notion of social capital without taking a detailed consideration of what that concept truly entails. By overviewing the available literature on social capital, it is actually no wonder that both sociologists and the noted concept were in this confusing situation. As Field stated in his book Social Capital (Key Ideas), published in 2008, his work was “the first attempt to provide an extended introduction on increasingly influential concept of social capital” (Field 1). Quibria notes that even though there is a vast number of research conducted on social capital in many academic fields and with various approaches ‘the concept of social capital remains largely elusive’’(1). That obviously is not an obstacle because there is a constantly growing interest in social capital. A vast body of research concerning, measuring, and defining social capital is available today, which helps a researcher to analyze and compare all of the perspectives concerning social capital. This can be of great importance when researchers approach a somewhat new subject of research such as online communication and, more specifically, online games....

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