Posted on | september 18, 2012 | No Comments
The discourse on non -western cultural expression, its ontology and its fundaments are consistently hijacked by proponents of what I call Eurocommunists; leftist forces in and outside Western academia in fact challenged proponents of capitalism and Western culture nothing more, nothing less. The silence of non-western scholarship in this discourse became cloaked by writers such as V.S. Naipaul, Gabriel Garcia Marques and Wole Soyinka, all writers of the non-fictional, fictional, criticizing and challenging colonialism, imperialism, modernity and “Eurocentricism”.
The absence of credible and good quality scholarship to identify and describe characteristics and patterns of the decolonial and the transitional, the tryst of reform and re-institutionalization gave rise to intellectual fallacy and bias. Indeed, the accusatory tone that works when writing from the premise of artistic freedom, leads to academic abominality.
One of the biggest problems is that today eurocommunism still determines scholarship, specifically in the discourse on cultural dominance, capitalism and imperialism. But do these propositions hold true in the contemporary, determined by other social cultural and technological realities? How can we place these conceptions of the previous century in today’s reality in a world that is reshaped by miscegenation and crossing over of idea and culture?
PRABAL GURUNG, JASON WU, RETU BERI AND THE NEW GLOBAL AESTHETIC
The fashion industry is a clear exemplification of our changing world, of a changing aesthetics and new elites. No longer is fashion determined in Paris, Milan or London. Today’s fashion is determined by the street and global trending and than picked up by the fashion industry.
A new generation of fashion designers emerging from every corner of this globe, setting new trend of what is hip and contemporary, are indeed a sign of the times, ZEITGEIST, but also the symbol of a new weltanshauung, a transforming world no longer revolving around Europe and the North, a new Avant Garde supported by new cultural, political and social elites in various parts of the world.
Fashion is the most prolific sign of the zeitgeist; the crossing over of music and cuisine is a trend that has been developing for a longer period of time, kindled by migratory waves and the demand of Diasporic communities in Europe and the USA.
Indeed these developments symbolize transformation, the acceptance of a new aesthetic that is typically ignored by eurocommunists and proponents of cultural dominance.
Their consistent criticism, denouncing modernity and modernization in fact diametrically opposes the idea of a newly emerging Avant Garde, grounded by a new global and social reality.
MIDDLE CLASSES, POLITICAL PROTEST AND SELF-EFFICACY
The pessimistic stance of the Eurocommunists, who consistently argue the existence of a dominant culture, paraphrase the ideas of scholars such as Frank and Gramsci. This problematic and rather controversial position is oftentimes embraced by laypeople and self-proclaimed academics, whose ideas and perceptions are grounded in what I call experiments of the imagination. To establish a working link between unmet wants and needs and the available resources, one cannot rely on the fictional for credible answers. The nature of conflict that arises if needs and wants are unmet is in fact socio-psychological exercise, objectified by measurements instead of perception.The aptness to organize and aggregate demand can only manifest itself under the strictest of conditions: without the colloquially put “full belly”, a roof over ones head and a steady job, one cannot become neither a political nor a renaissance men. The hierarchy of needs explains why transitional societies oftentimes lack good quality political parties, technical expertise and affable leadership. The universality of the hierarchy of needs also explains uneven global economic and political trending, because poverty is no longer an intricate part longer part of the South. Today the world is a mosaic of fast-growing centers and peripheries scattered over the different continents. The economic crisis taught the world that more than ever, opportunity and self-efficacy are no longer beholden to the western world, but to those strong enough to escape existing spatial interpersonal and gender inequalities (Perrons 2009).
These new economic and social realities call for a different outlook on the relevance of the middle classes and political organization. Eurocommunists have always defied the notion of a strong middle class, apt to challenge the political leadership to demand change and transformation. The relevance of mass parties, eloquently described by seminal scholars such as Giovanni Sartori, their aggregative powers, that helped organize the masses at the beginning of the 20th century, is never recognized by the Eurocommunists, who consistently propose a radical solution to end economic and social disparities. The irony is that a more moderate solution tends to have positive effect on democratization, governance and trust. The skips and bouts of democratization in many developing societies are in fact responsible for ever increasing economic and social disparities, since societies continue to linger on the threshold of either democratic consolidation or breakdown. In such an uncertain environment, economic progress remains at large, and economic disparities become even more challenging to overcome as time passes by.
The fight that occurred within western academia between the proponents of capitalism and modernization and the eurocommunists has nothing to do with the people in the developing world. The loud nein so often uttered by anti modernists had no bearing in the reality then and has certainly no bearing with today’s fast advancing world, determined by internet technology and consumerism. People want their needs and wants met, whether they live in North America or in Cameron. The new centers of the world have ushered in new economic and political realities that defy ideas of South-South solidarity and Western style imperialism. China today rivals the former colonial powers in its hunger for raw materials and natural resources, trampling upon the rights of the local people as it scavenges the globe to quench its thirst. But it seems that China’s role as the new predator hegemon is overlooked, overshadowed by antiquated ideas on North-South dichotomies and non-alignment. Lack of analyses on the controversial role of China strengthens my hypothesis that the debate was not about the fate of the people in the Third World, it was about dialetic, about thetical-antithetical, the ideological divide that determined the western world between 1945-1989.
The new Avant Garde brought on by Prabal Gurung and others has not reached the doors of the Academia, because people have yet to accept that times are changing, that dominant cultures today are no longer, and that the theory of the dominant culture is debunked by the empirical, taken over by crossing over and miscegenation , Diasporic preferences and street style. Dominant cultures, have become the classics, the Picasso’s and the Mozart’s, the blueprints and the Canvases on which new Epistemics will build.
AUTHOR: Natascha Adama
E-MAIL: nataliapestova23 [@] yahoo.com