ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Manifesto in Disguise

Subjects of Modernity: Time-space, Disciplines, Margins by Saurabh Dube, Manchester University Press, 2017; pp 248, £75 (hard cover).

It is only in this accelerated part of the 21st century that we can finally announce that the project of modernity, equally reviled and rejoiced, can &finally be dissected through the microscopic lens of distributed time. Modernity, a project of uneven spread, ambiguous antecedents, ambiguous approaches, and unexpected consequences, has often been characterised as the defining standpoint of a post-war global reconstruction. The fold of modernity has grown from geopolitical impulses of the West/Europe and expanded to becoming a global wrapper that shrouds the various contestations of imperialist nation building, militarised democracies, pop&ulist cultural hegemonies, and global wars against straw men identified by nation states seeking to reinforce their claim at defining the legitimate global subject of modernity.

There have been many attempts at conceptualsing and rewording the scripts of what it means to be modern. Arjun Appadurai’s positing of “scapes of enc&ounter” (1996) and Saskia Sassen’s idea of “flows of intersection” (1991) have been useful to define the visual form of modernity. David Harvey’s notion of “time-space compression” (1989) and Anthony Giddens’s forwarding of a “double edged” (1985) temporality have made us aware of the unevenness of modernity. Bruno Latour’s philosophical inquiry into the modes of existence of the moderns (2013) and David Theo Goldberg’s scathing critique of the conflation of the postmodern and the post-racial (2015) have shown how the long tail of modernity continues to perpetuate systemic and structural ine&quities. The phenomenon of moder&nity, in its materiality, ope&rations, and mec&hanics, has found many scholars and theorists inquiring into the nature and form of what constitutes the condition of being modern. The idea of “modernity” has found equal critique in postcolonial articulations that point &towards the invisible roots of European imperialism and provincialism and the invisible risk of gendered, sexual, and racial bodies that have borne the task of building foundations of modernity that are essen&tially oriented towards extended forms of exploitation.

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Updated On : 25th Jul, 2018

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