“School of the South”: The world as contradiction | EUROtoday

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How does it really feel right here? At least extra nice: Michel Foucault favored to go to the artists' village of Sidi Bou Saïd in Tunisia © imagebroker/​imago pictures

One can think about the interval of classical modernism as a time of ideological rigidity. Men wore fits and hats, ladies needed to hold a low profile, and subordination and subordination took priority over self-determination. Until the Nineteen Fifties, the fundamental mental tools included the European perception in its personal superiority, the autonomy of the (white, male) topic, fixed, particularly technical, progress as a fundamental promise and, extra typically, a mechanistic rationality as the important thing to understanding the world.

One of the good achievements of French philosophy from the post-war interval to the Nineties is that it has damaged free of those trendy rigidities of European-Western thought and illuminated its intellectual-historical contexts and darkish spots. From immediately's perspective, it’s hardly stunning that the theories of distinction and deconstruction, the analyses of energy and the ambivalences of the self didn’t emerge in Parisian cafés and salons, however have been impressed by life on the periphery of the crumbling French colonial empire, i.e. the place the fractures and inconsistencies of Europe have been instantly seen. Nevertheless, the shut connections between postmodern philosophers and the France colonized nations of North Africa have surprisingly hardly been mentioned to this point. The guide School of the South by Onur Erdur, a historian who teaches at Berlin’s Humboldt University, now makes up for this – and in doing so touches on central factors of present id politics debates that might not have been potential with out the so-called French Theory appear hardly conceivable.

The origin of Bourdieu’s habitus

Erdur tells of the stays of French intellectuals in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria within the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties and the way they influenced their pondering and work. He describes, for instance, how colonial injustice shocked a younger soldier within the Algerian War: Pierre Bourdieu. There Bourdieu's systematic sociological observations of the “empaysanized peasants”the “uprooted peasant” of the previous tribal societies of Algeria, who discovered neither place nor assist within the Europeanized social order imposed on them. Years later, Bourdieu developed his theories of habitus and social capital on this foundation, which have been to make him well-known.

Erdur describes Jean-François Lyotard's huge disillusionment throughout his time as a trainer in Algeria. Like Bourdieu, he was shocked by the brutality of the colonial energy's “civilizing mission” and joined Marxist resistance teams that wished to assist the Algerian liberation wrestle. He shortly discovered himself caught up in irresolvable contradictions, as a result of the political scenario in Algeria, which was shortly dominated by a brand new ruling class, had little to do with the Marxist thought of ​​the liberation of employees and peasants and with dialectical materialism. For Lyotard, this was a “hopeless contradiction” that might not be overcome with dogmatically inflexible ideology and that was to grow to be the idea for his later “End of the Great Narratives”.

But there weren’t solely shocks. Roland Barthes travelled to Morocco and Michel Foucault to Tunisia, the place they loved the privileges of life as Europeans and indulged in hedonistic tendencies and sexual preferences with out commenting on the colonial scenario with its nice imbalances and injustices. Only later, says Erdur, who virtually appears to defend each authors in opposition to accusations, did essential reflections on colonialism and repression discover their means kind of instantly into their works and actions.