(Post)modernism and the Other

No. 2 - Year 1 - 06/2011

Editorial

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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Featuring

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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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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Although the novels of the French writer Lydie Salvayre tend to be soliloquic, they are far from being mono-logical: founded on the clashes of different logics and systems of value, discourses and desires, they embody the protagonists' inherent antagonism and rage, reflecting the violence of the outside world. This study analyses some common matrixes underlying Salvayre’s prose. It focuses on the manifestations of resistance to either external or self-imposed oppressions, restrictions and mystifications. It aims to demonstrate that Salvayre’s novels not only represent subjects in permanent and incurable crises, but also challenge the very imperative of the subject's constitution through the foreclosure of the other, of what is outside the self.Salvayre’s texts are typically monologues in which an individual strives to affirm his or her distinct unicity and separation from the rest of the universe. These discourses are defensive, since the protagonists present themselves as endangered by an external element, oppressed in a relationship or socially marginalized. At the same time, they are sarcastic and often (self)destructive. In those cases where the word is given to more than one character, the interaction does not result in a dialogue but in a series of speeches which do not intersect. The subjects blindly plead their cause and recognize only aggression and malevolence in the others’ discourse. The most obvious example can be found in the novel The Cintegabelle Conference (La Conférence de Cintegabelle): a local intellectual delivers a lengthy, pompous and heavy lecture on what he calls the lost art of conversation—cultural heritage which was once preeminently French, and is today sadly abandoned. Ironically, he who speaks out as a defender of the conversational virtue, remains blatantly monological; although very careful not to lose his listeners, he does not leave them any time even to answer his questions, showing interest in nothing but his own voice. Another irony resides in his confession that he used to be bored by the conversations with his wife while she was alive, whereas now that she is dead, he converses with her regularly and with great satisfaction. ...

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The following contribution to a discussion that purports to “rethink the humanities” stems from the field of American Studies which has, since its beginnings, challenged and put pressure on disciplinary borders and institutional structures of both the humanities and the social sciences. The approaches it has espoused has led observers to see it as a domain of inquiry where virtually anything goes. One of the explanations that has been put forth to account for the heterogeneity of both the research agendas and the multiplicity of methods within American Studies is the dynamics of demography within the United States and the way that this dynamic has impacted both the enrollment statistics at American universities and the diversifications of its teaching staff. According to this oft-repeated view, the research agenda of American Studies reflects the stages of empowerment of the different groups making up the United States polity. Although one would be hard put not to acknowledge these, distinctly American, developments, on the present occasion my point of departure is a more general rationale which American Studies, like other disciplines today, rely upon when setting their research agenda and deploying their methods: in simplest terms, they harbor a desire and feel a need for relevancy. ...

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