Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization

Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨 文化
Journal of Global Cultural Studies

4 | 2008 : Cultures in Transit

Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization
p. 5-17

This essay explores cultural change in the context of the econom ic globalization currently underway . It aim s at analy sing the role that theoretical inv entiv eness and ethical v alue play in fashioning broader cultural representation and responsibility , and shall explore issues of cultural disunity and conflict, while assessing the influence that leading intellectuals m ay hav e in prom oting a finer perception of v alue worldwide. The role of higher education as an asset in the defence of dem ocracy and indiv idual self-dev elopm ent shall be discussed with a v iew to ev aluating its potential for an altered course of globalization.

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We are alway s in need of definitions whenev er we want to ex plore why cultures change. We are pressed to come up with answers as to what culture might be and how the idea of culture might fit into a nutshell. The general applicability of the answer we struggle to dev ise inv ites theoretical formulas and abstraction from specific historical dev elopments. It also, as a result, cautions us to choose fields from which to cull situations and conflicts that may help deliv er the concepts we want to grasp, and inv ites to understand the theory of culture as shaped by how ev ents unfold, and how society mov es along. In particular, one may hav e in mind what the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote about Napoleon (our fav ourite dictator, to us French people) in a book he dev oted to figures of historical importance (Representative Men): “Such a man was wanted, and such a man was born” 1 .


Now that the walls of the cav e hav e turned into telev ision screens. Might not this sense of emptiness be the result of a crisis of v alue. or crisis v alue?” 3 The suggestion is of course that v alue is no longer v isible on the horizon of our history to be. for reasons that hav e to do with our increasingly globalized world. while our sense of global responsibility dissolv es into thin air ev en though all the fields of human action hold perspectiv es of responsibility within them. Damisch rounds up his interrogation as follows: “Crisis of v alues. To be sure. No doubt he was try ing to hold historical pessimism at a distance by suggesting gain might be reached in the historical dev elopment of cultures if rationality were capable of reading through the language of my sticism. and that intellectual resistance is what we need. There lies Emerson’s historical pessimism. which it is hard to tone down. published by the Gulbenkian Foundation of Lisbon. Jacques Derrida opposes two sets of attitudes: seeking rationality . humankind is looking at the walls of a cav e. and being taught that our poor sight precludes the perception of good and ev il. Cultures change. and curb the influence of those he chose to call the my stagogues. as if the v ery idea of v alue had been swept away ? This is what the French cultural critic Hubert Damisch thinks has happened. Are there any v alues left? If such a thing as culture ex ists. then. The remark and the quote hold a tentativ e definition of culture.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 2 3 This strikes a negativ e note. Culture. In a major contribution at a Cerisy conference in Normandy in 1 980. one image is chased away by the nex t one. In recent y ears. On top of this. and the degree to which it identifies conflict as the prime-mov er within our cultural narrativ es. Culture begins when sheer force is mitigated by intellect. and when they do. and we feel there might nev er be a connection between them. as Emerson hopes. a constant ex pectation and in the end something impossible when one looks at results and facts. and to uphold the v alues of democracy . apply pressure to preserv e amity . In Plato’s Republic . as Derrida puts it. book sev en. and the difference between them. like v alues. there might be precise contents of an ethical sort that we want to pin down. It is by no means new to be aware. Emerson is reported to hav e once declared: “My hand of iron […] was not at the ex tremity of my arm. Derrida’s 2/11 transtexts. as does a quote from Napoleon himself that Emerson has unearthed from the v ast body of memoirs the Napoleon era has handed down to us. that the trend should be resisted. in a recent contribution to a v olume aptly titled Which V alues for our Time . as a result. titled “On a Newly Arisen Superior Tone in Philosophy ” 4.revues. Derrida v iews culture as the competition between the Aüfklarer and the my stics. to emasculate it. they are pulled in opposite directions if we abide by Derrida’s critical thinking. and seeking my stery . it was immediately connected with my head” 2. is a plenum and a v oid. ev en. and we must. and suggests there are possibilities that the two trends in cultural discourse might ev entually reach some kind of truce achiev ed as a result of an interaction between them. that v alues are hard to come by . we hope. and. a debate has been brought to the foreground. noting the shadows dancing there. among philosophers and cultural critics alike. We should keep in mind Jacques Derrida’s anthropology of culture. They change to eliminate reason. culture breaks down into its many components: it splinters into action and responsibility .org/237 . we feel Emerson’s attempt at rationality is run through by doubt: what if one might nev er discriminate between intellect and action? What if one might nev er grasp how ethics can disengage us from the cogs of history and were incapable of controlling an ongoing process that leads to disaster and apocaly pse? Whenev er one tries to define culture. intellect itself being shaped by a response to facts. in whom he saw a danger for democracy and human dignity . abstracted from fact by ethical imperativ e.

if we look at the most significant ex amples. renewing utopian energies. Might not this ideology form the most recent embodiment of some pseudo-thinking the my stagogues parade as rationality for us to kneel to? Communities. we hear. by being impov erished within the more glitzy contex t of affluence. both in rising nations as well as in Western ones. may well be no other than buy ing and selling. market mechanisms and the rise of global capital hav e impov erished some non-European nations. meditating on social hope. In China as elsewhere. the 3/11 transtexts. utopian energies. of any giv en country ” 6. and he nev er gets that precise about what should be indicted. b y the adv ance of global liberalism. and makes them entirely independently from the legislatures. and the emergence of a global self-appointed elite. The ideology of economic growth heralds human dev elopment. has brought home the idea that globalization has been a blow to democracy . while Europe has. and human dev elopment has been restricted to the rising middle-classes of China. either in Europe or the United States. Richard Rorty . it suggests that local communities are shaped. or India. and utopian ideals are increasingly wiped out of the Zeitgeist. He wrote the following in an essay published in 1 993: “We now hav e a global ov erclass which makes all the major economic decisions. On the one hand. and one more v ersion of materialism without national v alues being cross-fertilized.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization onslaught upon my stery is no onslaught upon religious v alues: there are many other targets we might think of in the current contex t of globalized liberal economies and env ironmental ov eruse. by dissolv ing national. not ex hausting. in recent y ears. Globalization cannot control the rise of a new conserv atism. which means they are now glocal. if we look at the poor condition of welfare sy stems across dev eloped countries and elsewhere. terrorism. industrial activ ity has surged. as Joseph Stiglitz has demonstrated 5. in the contex t of globalizing economic ex change. Globalization may well pass for an agenda of disaster and social apocaly pse. such as religious fundamentalism. worked to thin the immigration flux while downsizing out of their jobs the low-skilled workers of a once predominantly industrial economy that has now turned to serv ices. In particular. hav e gone global. As a result. Disaster and Apocalypse 4 5 6 Our globalizing societies offer alternativ es to an ideal world. on the other. Let us be cautious in this: international interaction. Globalization is in dire need of strengthening. although Derrida’s inquiry was started some thirty y ears ago. Howev er. local communities hav e been struck. “modernity sees itself as dependent ex clusiv ely upon itself” 7 . and a fortiori of the will of the v oters. or ev en nationalist perspectiv es. one of the unsought effects of glocalization may well be that cultural interference with distant or unknown communities might emerge from the pressure of global liberalism. If it prov es incapable of effecting this. but deliv ers little in terms of the strengthening of local communities.revues. Welfare and human rights hav e hardly benefited from the promise economic liberalism keeps harping on. the buzzword suggests that local communities may be strengthened by globalization. Rorty ’s remark comes as an apposite reminder that there is no such thing as a world gov ernment. a fact that we all tend to ov erlook.org/237 . As Habermas has pointed out. while working conditions hav e nev er been worse among the former peasants driv en to urban areas. in way s that cannot all be positiv e. The portmanteau word means more than it seems to say . in spite of the surge in optimism that comes with it in some areas. and fav ouring international contacts.

the political v iolence within national borders and without. is not an empty bottle. utopian v alues are used-up. And meditation upon what is and what is not scientific can be an asset.org/237 . and refashion global liberalism. though they tend to be ov erlooked. then. for reasons that hav e to do with the innate sy stemic risks that globalization runs through them. they must be inv igorated. in this respect. The French philosopher and Stanford scholar JeanPierre Dupuy has pointed out that the atomic bombing of Japan was the result of sy stemic danger. and elsewhere. or an instrument by which societies may solv e practical questions. may be protectiv e. because they are targeted. It is true odium has been cast on the precautionary principle by some scholars of env ironmental studies. for that v ery reason. and requires critical detachment to shelter us from the sy stemic dangers inherent in its objects of inquiry and the applicability of its fundamental findings. scholars Emery Roe and Michel V an Eeten hav e condemned the precautionary principle in matters of env ironmental policy on the grounds that scientific ev idence is not sufficient. in Israel.revues. Doubt. The Secularization of Value 8 The v alues of science. and that peace can be achiev ed when the my stagogues accept to interact with rationality . and one may well suggest that the Habermas notion that utopian ideals hav e to be upheld is the best way to reorder. and to cultural changes that will uplift a sense of community and cooperation. Cultures. when science was largely considered to rely on empirical observ ation. In scientific knowledge as well. with one winner. and v ast crowds of anony mous losers. and inv iting us to find peace of mind in a belated v ersion of science which is reminiscent of the nineteenth century . in the Arab world. calling for empirical knowledge.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 7 road down globalization may well be what one supposes it to be from recent ev idence: a hurdle-race. No doubt any such inv igoration.T.I. Press quarterly Global Environmental Politics. if we want it to hav e pragmatic efficiency . No doubt. while env ironmental disasters from North to South take their toll upon communities. Rationality howev er. a few good athletes. in the United States. and eliminated. to him. in an amazing remark: “Why was the bomb ev er used? 4/11 transtexts. the culture wars loom large. Intellectual clarity can help. Is it that globalization has reshaped the image of science in academia. These wars may lead both way s: to cultural changes that will crush social hope. If. hav e to be identified. scientific thinking can be stultified. deconstructed. risks which are supra-human. we need specific measures. Rationality inv olv es moral choice. whatev er this might mean? Empiricism and dogmatic thinking are birds of a feather flocking together. Science cannot be independent of general interest and social respect. and precautions. making us wistful once again. should be secularized. although we do know that this process cannot be the work of one sole generation. Without it. More open intellectual attitudes are necessary to face the risks of globalization u pon our env ironment. Jacques Derrida has pointed out that we need peace in culture. supposed to be an index to what is and what is not scientific 8. Indifference as well as naïveté ought to be av oided. in particular. the culture wars must go on. but which. terrorism East and West. to stay the current backlash and its related traumas. In a fairly recent issue (2004) of the M. change. as Habermas thinks they are. as a result of globalization. therefore. and scientists should av oid generating sy stems which hold dangers in them that might ex press their potential for destruction. the religious fundamentalism which has found in globalization its ecotope.

defines political rationality as outcome-centered. The implication of what he say s is that science too. and that intellectual inquiry . and finally . This means that technology may well lead us astray . which reads as follows: basic rights and liberties […]. Human thinking inv olv es sy stemic dangers. It is striking. and that this betray s the belief that democracy is an obstacle to economic growth. and if we keep this in mind. rarely comes to conclusions that will nev er be reworded. to wring democracy out of economic growth. and as the sole teleology worthy of respect. which he found ready for use in his New-England intellectual env ironment. to realize the ex tent to wh ich rationality is assessed in conjunction with its effects upon social organization. Rawls wants to harness human dev elopment to democracy . quite simply ” 9. 1 0 10 Rawls’ agenda relies on the traditions of the common-sense philosophy of the English-speaking world and the theoretical culture of pragmatism. Just recently . one finds an attempt to define the nature of rationality as the mainspring of social hope. which has been the task of modern philosophy . unfolds through time. Democracy has to be maintained as a horizon of belief. instead of projecting it onto the higher plane of superior frozen truths. if we want to harp on the Derrida proposition that the my stagogues are able to emasculate rationality (let us pardon Derrida’s male chauv inism if we can). or rev ised. that our globalized economies hold a promise of democracy as an ex pectation which will alway s be contradicted by fact. whereas any inquiry into the results of science tends to demonstrate that science is prov isional. like any other human adv enture. and taking this into consideration helps science respond to social needs. freedom of mov ement and free choice of occupation against a background of div erse opportunities. Behind his eulogy of democracy as a condition and an effect of economic and political liberalism. when reading John Rawls.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 9 Because it ex isted.revues. and one therefore has to rethink thinking in different terms. and this leads to a list of primary goods. Political scientists are struggling for secular v iews. Science. powers and prerogativ es of offices and positions of responsibility in the political and economic institutions of the basic structure. Perhaps we might suggest at this point that cultural change inv olv es the thinking of rationality in secularized terms. Knowledge is an ongoing process. whatev er its field. Political Liberalism . John Rawls.org/237 . the Slov enian philosopher Slav oj Zizek has pointed out that China allies a v icious use of the Asian bludgeon in Tibet with the logics of the European stock-market. income and wealth. in his second major opus. while there is an increasing belief. which y ields workable political conceptions of justice. or redefined. As a result of this. as John Rawls has amply demonstrated. and that its propositions will sooner or later be refined. tethered as it is to scientific knowledge which we tend to v iew as total. we secularize science. Zizek’s assumption is that our global culture might be brought to understand that democracy is no longer needed to back human dev elopment. in a major contribution to the debate. Rawls helps us understand that teleology should be one v ersion of 5/11 transtexts. in this century . the social bases of self-respect. may lead to pragmatic consequences that reshape thinking and emasculate it. Nowhere do we find perspectiv es that would be disconnected from and independent from day -to-day preoccupations. which might lead global cultural change in the wrong direction1 1 . and what was at one point presented as an adv ance of the civ ilized mind.

and the organic laws that go to frame them. or whether it may hav e practical applicability . scholar in Chinese studies. Huntington’s discourse. if progress is not fast enough. What if beliefs were an adequate instrument of the progress Huntington has in mind. where. the cornerstone of Richard Rorty ’s v ision of social hope? It may well be that this is one v alue that the modern liberal state has eroded. Once considered incapable of generating economic growth. suggesting that cultures cannot change.revues. in Huntington’s definition of culture. and sustainable dev elopment? It is this situation that Samuel Huntington ex amines. where welfare is weak. for political reasons. but one cannot see how this is specifically Chinese. one prominent M. and underly ing assumptions prev alent among people in a society ” 1 2. with Samuel Huntington. whether progress. orientations. is seen as totally dependent on itself. thus precluding cultural change. Modernity . while it is y et unclear whether there is any strong belief in the v irtues of democracy in what he has to say . but Huntington is no clear analy st of how culture and democracy might hinge. “[…] We define culture. with growth rates that belittle Europe and the United States alike in some quarters of the Asian world. following in the footsteps of American intellectual traditions which assess v alue in terms of their pragmatic consequences rather than in terms of otherworldly conceptual ex ploration. beliefs. Lucian Py e. human culture was unresponsiv e. supposed to be specific to Chinese culture (although I am aware this might be challenged). What if. one notion which is empty enough. and that solidarity is a basic asset to those communities forming the lesser dev eloped countries of Africa.T. as a result. is one serious academic case of my stagogic thinking. Asian culture turns out to be an epistemological obstacle to many political scientists. in particular. beliefs. but as a tool that may help deliv er collectiv e results. the norm of his perspectiv e. in Huntington’s world-v iew. His v ision of culture has left one notion unmentioned: what about solidarity . Huntington’s answer does not intend to demonstrate that it is democracy which has to be left out of his global picture. has produced outgoing dy namic character in the 6/11 transtexts. it is because those cultures which resist progress as seen from Massachusetts are obstacles which one must remov e. on the grounds that society will not change and that there is no connection between assumptions. is a perfect illustration of the New Conserv atism that Habermas has targeted. Huntington’s dream is to get rid of cultural obstacles to economic dev elopment.I. attitudes. and institutionalized education poorly dev eloped. In his case. or American.org/237 . is an abstract notion. His contribution to political philosophy v iews rationality not just as a belated v ersion of theology . Latin America and parts of the Asian world. One hardly knows. Beliefs.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 11 12 practicality . and the economic and political opportunities that the modern liberal state offers if we are willing to grasp them. and now say that some basic v alues of Asian cultures are the lev erage of change helping those so-called miracle economies make some headway ? There may well be an emphasis on hard work in Chinese culture. are taken to task. or will change slowly or with difficulty . though we tend to think that any political teleology is an empty promise. Asian v alues are seen as an asset in the ongoing economic race. when reading Huntington. has suggested that Taoism and the belief in good fortune. or British. leav ing little room for hope. bey ond this sound conception of political v alues. in purely subjectiv e terms as the v alues. Huntington writes. Can one blame economic stagnation on them y esterday . and which Huntington parades to conceal his conserv ativ e v iews? Inherited ideas and attitudes are more of a surv iv al-kit than an obstacle to social cohesiv eness. states are not ready to reach out to populations and areas left to their own resources and inv entiv eness in terms of welfare. It is arguable that progress.

from what we can judge when considering our Chinese students in our higher learning European institutions. must address the issue of what a univ ersity education ought to be like. This is also quite true of many other rising Asian economies besides China. if we refer to Max Weber’s understanding of the ethic of capitalism. cultures change. not for what certainties he may hav e in store for us. but for the scepticism which his propositions will cause in most areas of the academic world. on the other hand. not just priv ate cultures. and this is of course desirable to establish peace in what he calls culture. there is one connection to be established. either ex perienced or aspiring ones. but also public ones. Lucian Py e. insisting on the capacity to attract foreign inv estors1 4. and across disciplines. or whether one should shape markets. We wonder whether Chinese firms hav e not alway s tried to do precisely this. we guess. create needs. Ex amining the reasons for China’s economic adv ance.revues. So fa r in this discussion. one academic v ersion of prejudice insisting that the Chinese hav e no soul. We. Py e’s v iew of Chinese culture may easily be taken to task. writes the following when considering the reasons for China’s rapid ex pansion: “This stress of the role of fortune makes for an outward-looking and highly reality -oriented approach to life. Howev er. in particular.] the driv ing force in Chinese capitalism has alway s been to find out who needs what and to satisfy that market need” 1 5. shaped as it is by the sense of insecurity that goes with the necessity to dev ise for oneself adv ancement in this world. which China is try ing to obtain by adequate inv estment in higher education. and respond to one’s ambition to grow by being inv entiv e. This is. Nev ertheless. which to him is more of a socially encompassing substance than a mere indiv idual determinant of behav iour. in Derrida’s v iew of how rationality and my stery interact. This path is promising. and culturally more sophisticated: “Western firms seek to improv e their products. and no interest for an inner life. which makes them ready to grasp any opportunity likely to turn to their adv antage. strengthen their organizational structures. the better to adv ance in the nex t one.. go for a more mundane v ision of China’s dev elopment. which is no big news. No wonder then that Derrida should suggest that between rationality and my stery . not an introspectiv e one” 1 3. Economists. univ ersity education has a major role to play in this process. he writes that “[. and work hard to achiev e name recognition” 1 6. we hav e acknowledged 7/11 transtexts. Cultural Change and Universities 15 If therefore. This is most probably a ty pical misconception such as New-England protestant culture wants to bring home. Culture is not just simply a cluster of beliefs and attitudes outside the realm of economic and political dev elopment.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 13 14 Chinese people. or the higher or more sophisticated one in the rich oriental spiritual heritage. It encompasses what we might call material culture. one finds an abiding agreement occurring. these observ ations lead us to want to ex tend our definition of culture.. Lucian Py e is interesting as an analy st of Chinese social dev elopment. as academics. whereas the West is seen as technology -driv en. Lucian Py e v iews Chinese economy as a simplistic answer to world needs.org/237 . as he implies that Chinese c ulture leav es no room for introspection. in the sense that attitudes matter in economic dev elopment. Culture is probably much more than beliefs and attitudes. and the capacity to adapt to them. which can only be generalized with a v ast highly educated workforce. as we increasingly suspect cultures to be collectiv e assets. One might meditate for quite a while to determine whether markets are out there for any one to grab. And.

this might basically mean that these rights are to be upheld because they can be applied to the v arious fields of human activ ity . is not tethered to nationhood.revues. though they are cast in a more sociological mould. dropping from 1 21 000 in 1 933 to below 60 000 right before the Second World War 1 7 . which sounds otherworldly owing to the weight of abstraction in the phrase. Howev er. two areas of higher education that are growing to meet the social needs of human dev elopment. in particular. although Derrida is not ex plicit on this point. among which of course science and business. The idea of democracy comes second in Derrida’s architecture of the new humanities. L’Université sans condition.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 16 17 that academics should av oid v oicing social prejudice. There are sev en such propositions. Derrida’s meditation on this hinges on the 8/11 transtexts. we can easily infer that cultural change in the future should not rely on national traditions. these rights are “legal performativ es” 20 . no doubt because Derrida’s understanding of the effects of academic training is combined with the idea of a political education for y outh. in practical terms. To Derrida. Jacques Derrida has meditated ex tensiv ely on this. in v arious disciplines. and one may easily understand this in the light of European history . Furthermore we must bear in mind that these so-called “legal performativ es” are performativ es because they hold within them an applicability that may be constantly ex panded. as far as what Derrida has to say about it. It comes second for reasons of clarity in the presentation of the programme he has in mind. and the right to speak publicly . This is why Derrida comes up with more practical propositions as to the contents and orientations of higher education in the book he published in 2001 . From this. might efficiently refrain from becoming specialized. This may sound v ague enough. Habermas offers similar v iews. through all his oeuv re as a philosopher. The new humanities should. all hav ing to do with what one might call the architecture of knowledge. Habermas. This has caused the decline of humanistic study . To him. and we wonder where it might lead. deal with what he calls “the history of man”. to v arious areas of cultural practice. One reason why this happened. because it runs. let us be reminded. because one doubts whether knowledge. all answering the need to redefine humanistic study . and also of Asia. globalization offers opportunities for positiv e cross-fertilization. with a v iew to promoting the role education might play in defending the v alues of democracy . be they for men or women. German univ ersities cannot be blamed for what befell. either in established scholarly disciplines. Habermas offers a more accurate v ersion of what ought to be done. according to Derrida.org/237 . Howev er. This may be easily understood when one looks at the moral paraly sis of the German univ ersity sy stem and its many graduates embracing Nazism and prov iding the Nazi regime with its most destructiv e propagandists and functionaries. and to publish this” 1 8. Let us note that democracy . Habermas is clear on this point. Nationhood is dangerous. and has been insufficiently accomplished so far: integrating humanistic study and technical ex pertise to curb the specialization of knowledge 1 9. is that univ ersities tend to ov er-specialize knowledge. points out that the number of students was halv ed during Nazism in Germany . or the training of students towards professions outside the academic world. and this has not alway s been accomplished. and that. to say the least. which to him inv olv es an ambitious agenda thus defined: “the primal right to say any thing. which calls us to dev ote more attention than has so far been dev oted to human rights. higher education should be critical of whatev er rationality wants to assess. Y et the idea of democracy is not a secondthought. which should come alongside more specialized training. be it in the name of fiction and of knowledge as ex periment. in this respect. He calls this “the univ ersity without conditions”.

The challenges that higher education has to face. nor can it be strictly defined as a doctrine or a set of mandatory rules. Hence. We are also hard pressed to determine whether. Stiglitz’s v iew that one must respond to a democratic deficit. that teaching as well as literature hav e to do with amity . and ev en perhaps discreetly justify them. and by Marx ist theory . and a eulogy of respect for the other person. he also believ es that any collectiv e formalization of the idea of sov ereignty should av oid reliance on the nation-state. while we may still hope that sov ereignty will remain a horizon of belief for indiv iduals. the French sociologist Emile Durkheim referred to real structures . We gather this is to be understood as an opening to otherness on the part of the teacher. Univ ersities. While sov ereignty is a desirable goal for each and ev ery one of us. and of literature. it consists in letting the other reach out for his or her potential towards selfdev elopment. and one can argue that Derrida was balking away from the pessimistic discourse one hears in most academic circles today – ill-grounded as it is on the relativ e accessibility to higher education. Y et. This has been more of an opportunity for univ ersities to fulfil their cultural mission from the six ties onwards than a serious obstacle to the growth of higher education. and was handed down to us by the industrial rev olutions of the nineteenth century . It certainly is an attitude of respect. which inv olv es inv entiv eness and the by -passing of any sort of regulation that defines the other person in some way or other that might lead to a position of authority of a colonial or ex ploitativ e nature. neither is it prescriptiv e. “routs it”. therefore. and 9/11 transtexts. the idea is v iewed as misleading. a concept that emerges from Derrida’s body of works. that he saw as disconnected from institutions or w orking facts . One suspects. The institutional strength of higher education springs. and a v alue that will guide collectiv e decisions.8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization 18 19 concept of sov ereignty . One also cannot rule out that a backlash has been underway in higher education itself owing to the rising number of first-generation graduates from the less educated groups of our national cultures. as it has often been a concept without practical consequences. Is what we call culture tethered to social and economic factors? The question is by no means new. We now tend to believ e that culture is one mode of collectiv e representation that one may disengage from submission to social and economic facts. in this framework of analy tical thinking. 22 There is still much thought to be dev oted to whether the degree of autonomy of culture as collective representation inv olv es radical or relativ e autonomy from economic factors. from the interaction of the person who teaches and the one being taught. whose proposals cannot be easily understood.org/237 .revues. Derrida’s ideal is so elev ated that it transcends any definition one might come up with. On this point. Derrida then focuses on the necessity to recuperate the authority of teaching. This is not a norm. in the contex t of an ev erincreasing cross-fertilization of cultures. when reading Derrida’s proposals. in Derrida’s v iew of it. as Derrida say s21 . points to one underly ing question that surfaces from an ex amination of current economic and social trends. autonomy is or is not hampered by the necessities of those real structures and the institutions that shape them. It certainly is a call to confront the normativ e nature of higher education in order to recuperate a lost sense of human warmth that has been eliminated by the technocratic complex ities of institutions seeking intellectual identity in the measurement of student skills and their willingness to comply to them. to liv e to the full his or her aspirations. which elbows aside the v ery notion of authority . if Derrida inv ites us to abide by this concept (sov ereignty ). should constitute an idea that transcends any specialized discourse on the technicalities of education. which may too easily lead to a betray al of indiv idual dignity .

2 3 3 . L’Economie de la Chine. Nov em ber 2 004 . p. “The Multinational Corporation”. 4 8.). 6 7 -6 8. The Library of Am erica. 7 3 1 .. Culture Matters . 3 Hubert Dam isch. The New Conservatism . and it calls forth an autonomy of the mind to bend social realities and economic factors to purposes that do not deriv e from them. 12 Sam uel Huntington. Baltim ore and London. New York. “Le Tibet pris dans le rêv e de l’autre”. 1 81 . 1 9 9 3 . Political Liberalism . 7 Jürgen Haberm as. n° 6 50. 2 008. 85. London. Cam bridge. Ham ilton (ed. 1 9 83 . Cham p Vallon. 1 00-1 2 7 .). 7 2 . New York.revues. 2 001 . “’Asian Values’: from dy nam os to dom inoes?”. 2 000. p. p. 4 4 5-4 7 9 . 3 2 . consider Daniel Parrochia.G. see in particular pp. p. 1 1 7 -1 7 1 . in Daniel S. New York. Paris. 2 Em erson. 2 50. 9 Jean-Pierre Dupuy . esp. 3 6 -3 9 .8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization Derrida’s v iew that one must face the serious issue of a democratic deficit in higher education. 1 1 Slav oj Zizek. 4 :4 . Center for Transatlantic Relations. 2 0 Derrida. Norton. 5 See in particular Making Globalization Work . m ai 2 008. 2 802 85. (1 9 89 ) 1 9 9 7 . pp. 2 1 Derrida. the m an of the world” in Joel Porte. Press. “Foreword” in Lawrence E. Colum bia Univ ersity Press. Global Environmental Politics . Harrison & Sam uel Huntington (eds. Notes 1 Ralph Waldo Em erson “Napoleon. p. Seuil. “Globalization. Transformative Critique by Jacques Derrida. 249. s ee the section“Responding to the Dem ocratic Deficit”. 1 9 81 . p. Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress . or Crisis Value ?”. “A Crisis of Values. 2 006 . p. pp. Galilée. The Johns Hopkins Univ ersity Press. p. the politics of identity and Social Hope” in Philosophy and Social Hope. Penguin. p. 2 005. esp. 57 . L’Université sans condition. Py e. p. pp. 1 5 Py e. La Découv erte. pp. “’Asian Values’: from dy nam os to dom inoes?”. 4 Peter Fenv es. 1 04 -1 2 8. 14 On this consider Françoise Lem oine. or.). 1 6 Py e. 1 6 . p. Le Monde Diplomatique. Late Essays by I mmanuel Kant. Which Values for our Time. La Forme des crises : logique et épistémologie. 1 9 9 3 . The Johns Hopkins Univ ersity Press. The M. p. 2 50. The New Conservatism . The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historian’s debate.). 2 2 On this. Les Fins de l’Homme: à partir du travail de Jacques Derrida. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Paris. pp. French edition : « D’un ton apocaly ptique adopté naguère en philosophie » in Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe et JeanLuc Nancy (ed. p. Raising the Tone of Philosophy . 1 0 John Rawls. Joseph Stiglitz follows suits with a set of m ore technical criteria in Making Globalization Work. “Three – Not Two – Major Env ironm ental Counternarrativ es to Globalization”. Galilée. Pour citer cet article transtexts. Essays and Lectures . Van Eeten. 1 9 See “The Idea of the Univ ersity ”. (ed. Sey ssel.T. Paris. Basic Books. p. The question is not benign. New York. pp. 2 007 . Mass. Petite Métaphysique des Tsunamis . 1 04 . 1 7 Haberm as. 1 3 Lucian W. 7 3 1 .I. L’Université sans condition. Paris. 1 9 9 9 . 2 007 . 8 Em ery Roe and Michel J.org/237 10/11 . 1 8 Jacques Derrida. 6 Richard Rorty . 6 9 . chapter 7 . XV. p.

URL : http://transtexts. consulté le 29 août 2012.revues. 4 | 2008. University of Lyon (Jean-Moulin) Droits d’auteur © Tous droits réservés transtexts.org/237 Auteur Alain Suberchicot Professor.org/237 11/11 . mis en ligne le 20 septembre 2009.revues. Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化 [En ligne]. « Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization ».8/31/12 Why do Cultures Change? The Challenges of Globalization Référence électronique Alain Suberchicot. American Studies.

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