Possible Modernities Author(s): James Faubion Source: Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Nov., 1988), pp.

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The modern as we currentlyknow it is also a matterof politico-ethicalprinciples:secularism. it is apparently earnestat least. KarlLowith locates the rootsof the modernin medievalism. Featurallyambiguous. Sometimes it is in fact manner.Lowith. Blumenberg. stricto sensu. as for Habermasand perhaps for Schluchter. at least. But they cannot. with Kant. however. Nietzsche andthe rest may enrich as much as they undermineone another. the modernis ontologically ambiguousas well. 365 . It would. Weber. it has its practicalinaugurationwith the reformersof the late 18thcenturyand its ethical and philosophical one. all be right-not. it is originallyincarnatein GiordanoBruno. which are less. It would also have to and the differentiation and populationalcondensainclude such demographicprocesses as urbanization to tion. fragmentalist. in addition.and for many others of his generation. in near startingpoint in the ItalianRenaissance.Opinions on which of its dimensionsare more definitive.c. A list of only the most frequentlycited of them would have to include a wide range of organizationalprocesses: industrialization. surrealist. HaroldBloom locates them in the Hellenistic period.funcis It a matter politanism. As often.It is a matterof such epistemic patternsas those of rationalism.again among others.that era has its born. have to make reference such sociotechnical complexes as alphabeticliteracy. if what they are all talking about is a "concrete universal" in moreor less preciseontological analogywith any other.In the social sciences. and historicism. particular. treated.' Burckhardt.andpanopticism. it has its outset in some painteror metaphysicianor poet active at or aroundthis century's turn. and where.For Weber. and with whom the modernera might begin accordinglydiffer as well. For a variety of literaryscholarsfrom Barzunto Kern.scientism. significantlydiffer.bureaucratization. esthough. Berkeley Further diacriticsof the modern?Perhapsthose we have are enough.as a concreteuniversal.Possible Modernities James Faubion Department of Anthropology University of California. tionalist. and futurist. among others.in the usual historiographical if it is as a treated strict. For Burckhardt. of aestheticschools: primitivist. It is a matterof dispositions:totoward individualism. Nietzsche appearsto locate them in the Ionia and Attica of the fifth and fourth centuries B. Opinions on when.democratization. mass communication. meritocracism. if Modernityis. For Hans Blumenberg.realist. multidimensional.quite precisely.and egalitarianism. of occupationalroles. For Foucault. complex. nothing else. with the Calvinists. and toward empatheticcosmoward participationalism.

to the demographic. and with singularintimacy. in what ancientlywould have been called "the cosmos. can properlybe attributed modernity that have settled upon their design for to those it must at least be ascribed less or anothersettled upondoing without one reason for have living thanto those that in the elaborated The one.3largely focused upon one only thing or anotherof modernity'sputative"crystallizations. ultimatelyanyway. few a with It has else. ruption. were we not also uncertainabout the characterof the present. to any social or cultural"system" whatever.Whetheror not. unlikely at least thatwe would conceive of it quite so diversely. It has insteadlargely followed recent (and not so recent)2social scientific precedentin presumingthat. of the modem canits the hermeneutics if can never exhaust it object. even less of the existential uncertaintybeneath. after all). exceptions.as with anydisintegration. modernityis indeed a generalizedstructure. instancesof which might take hold generalor generalizablestructure can never achieve more thanpartialspeciIf about hermeneutics just anywhere. Even when it has addressedconflict.witness to the ever morerapidwaningof the "primitive" and the "traditional.366 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY pecially in the last 30 years. of condition is a loss. and of our place within it.it in any case has somethingto do with tion and disagreement them. among things. yet seribeyond already do with to as much has whether considered "dysfunction. political.disagreement.and the self. ficity. and somethingthat.economic. those not.4no Manchesterianmethodologyis likely entirely to capture. life world. of the modem is. however. fully not seem even to fix one."and has largelytakenas its analyticalarchetypeone or anotherof modernity'sputativelybetterwroughtand demonstrablystable sociocultural formations-a ratherabstractUnited States amongthem. one. though measure in some is originallyWeber's:that modernity. moreover."cannotavoid the moder as easily as it was once able to do. a neverthelesstransitional Whetheror not modernityhas firstor as much as anythingto do with disrupand disintegration. or system. preciselybecause it is witness to the waning of its formeruniverseof study. or design for living distinct from "primitivity" or "tradition" but diacritics amenableto the same analyticseven so. if perhapslong. it has been treatedstill differently:as a perfectly or system.Even Geertz's divisive "age of ideology" (1973:254) would appearto be a less thanfully modernand. it has taken very little account of the discursivenessof modernity (a social fact. Anthropology. and noematic precipitantsof that condition of loss. instead."5 Anthropology. So far. it has tendedto renprominent der it more or less necessarilyephemeral.technological. as Foucault'sefforts have surelyestablished." dismodernity ously and discursive and practical. It is even unlikely that we wouldtalk of modernityat all. however. commensuratewith the inThe indeterminacy of the objects (or whateverthey might be) to which talkof modernity determinacy almost invariablyalludes: the present. the loss of faith in an "ethically ordered" anythingelse. organizational. within which. past two decades by both Foucaultand point. is (whetheror not it acknowledgesit) witness also.before it is Blumenberg. It has not perhapsproliferated as other it has But available. or in the existentially .

Nowhere. and valuationaldualism:betweenthe zweckrationaland the wertrationalperhaps. of both conflicts and innumerable crystallizations.if ever. as we modems cannot but be well aware. it appearsrarely.between decisionism and loyalism. for example.POSSIBLEMODERNITIES 367 uncertainaftermathof which. technocracy's "challenge. It may. Whetheror not such states strikingthanthe apparently as those which we inhabitneed their share of decisionists as much as their share of loyalists. Even when revolutionary. It is the impetus. largelyderived. may be the most widespreadmotor of sociocultural change: an emergent technocracy (compare. as yet. It is not firstthe problem of suffering(thoughit is sometimes construedas one). with doubts. Call it the Problemof Foundations. Among those precipitants. days at least. moreover.howeverjust in its way. With them.for thatmatter. it seems to be no less transitory thanabiding.the cosmos from the ground up. too). Whether in Japan.or still more ways of seeing and being tends to foster.thatany relativelysustainedclash betweendual. characteristically and naggingly modem even so. however. pretation do we find ourselves in an utterlydisenchanted. Typically.utterlyroutinized"iron cage. is at the very least not one of fashioning. the cosmos cannot preserve the integrityit once may have enjoyed.the subversionperhapsnot of statusascriptionbutof the finitudeandclosure of status hierarchieswould from a variety of scholarly sources appearto be esOn the other hand. Geertz 1973:236. whetherin other "older" states or in a of thatdualism is in any case no more varietyof "newer" ones. provoke a retreat frommodernityquite as often as it propelsa marchin the otherdirection. It is by no means exclusively modern." its assault upon the sanctity or preeminenceof whateveraristocracyor plutocracyor oligarchy or other caste or castelike regime happens to be in the way. the problem." We insteadfind ourselves.6 of these symptom what. entangledin a rathermore complex political. though not universally. or triple.or America. or so I would submit. It perhapsrests less even in that discoverythan in the discovery that the bases of one's own "beliefs" may be no better(andno worse) thananyone else's. many (it supposed)we have not. 248-249). I think. obviously enough.and even when most successful. simply to disappear. or refashioning.or the Netherlands. as much as it is a problem of suddenly finding onself with "beliefs. Once it gains a foothold. is less revolutionarythan revisionary. it in any case also resides. thatchallenge would appearnot to lead to quite the resultsthatWeberhimself most fearedand fromwhich his own horrifiedinterof modernity. But the problemof foundationsis. It is consequentlynot the primordial Problem of Meaning that Weber saw as thefons et origo of religious idea- tion and thatGeertzhas more recentlyexpandedfor us. they thus seem more or less withoutrespiteto have them.The problem thatpoliticalcumepistemic cum valuationaldualismsfoster.It perhapsrests less in the mere discovery thatone's own "beliefs" differ from someone else's than in the discovery that one's own "beliefs" have been acquiredquite differentlyfrom someone else's." and accordingly. nor even firstthe problem of absurdity(though it is sometimes construedas that one. epistemic. It has not. betterput. it would appearto be only one sign or pecially important. receivedremotely . On the otherhand. the instauration obdurate permanenceof it.many of which we have already which be of could seen.

parture The problemof foundationsdoes not. Beyond that. not a synthesis.every conceptionis. Every conception of modernityis a socioculturalfact. Ratherthe contrary: it is one thatmodernitymanages. all the ethno- .not simply "in history" but productivelyandreproductively "historicizing" are perhaps the most neglected. is still instructive.however. As its title indicates. also the workinghypothesisof Blumenberg's The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1983).has as yet barely touched. in several distinctvariants. indeed anthropology. the problemof foundationsis quite so characteristically modernbecauseit imposesthose very phenomenologicalboundaries againstwhich the "modernsensibility" has. In otherterms. and hence of being plausiblyclose to what "we" moders take "our" modernityto be. it has the virtue of being neither entirely speculative nor entirely new.but one that it distinctivelyleaves unsolved. moreover.Blumenberg'sconception of when. It is insteadan alternative. "modernity" (as Blumenbergunderstands it) is precisely not a bridging. sometimesembraces. The proposalat least has the virtueof a certainintuitiveappeal. sometimesexploits. otherwise put. and it begins not from an ideationalcoalescence but ratherfrom a precursoryhiatus: between the Hellenistic doctrineof the Deus absconditusand its "anti-gnostic" Medievaldenial. if also open to dispute. accordingly. the treatise is it is. it perhapshas the virtue of offering about as concise a fulcrumfor comparingnot only one and anothernative view of modernitybut also one and anothermodernnative's views as can at presentbe hoped. and where. It has not been recognized. have a distinctivelymodernsolution. strictlyand solely conpolemical. open to dispute. cerned with the history of certain Western ideas: "curiosity. among others.foundedupon or flowing from "self-assertion": An existentialprogram. Because of and beyond that. It is strictlyhistoriographical. It is. like the practiceof self-assertion. and even how modernitybegins is. is simply one of getting along. still the fairly precise point of defor anythingwe might reasonablyidentify as a modem bent or turning. those that are. for what. not a resolutionof any sort at all. more or less in the "here andnow" (cf." originality.accordingto which [one] posits his existence in an historical situationand indicatesto himself how he is going to deal with the realitysurrounding him and what use he will make of the possibilities thatare open to him. [1983:138] The program. and progress. however. it is: if not exclusively moder. it is concernedwith a period remarkablefor its many political and epistemic and valuationaldualisms.not least because it incidentallyunderscoresa numberof other conceptions and vantages and practicesthat the anthropologyof modernity. after a fashion anyway. againin severalvariants.arisenand in veiled or explicit referenceto which thatsame sensibilityhas. I think.368 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY the anthropologicalattention it merits. likely compromisedby its imbeddedness.His conceptionof self-assertion.come into its own. either. Of thathiatus. Among them. withoutbenefitof the guidanceof ethicalor intellectualabsolutes. an imbeddedinstallationin the inventionof the very thing to which it refers. also Foucault 1984:40ff).7 Indeed. to some degree. All the same. free will.

whetheror not that distinction is even justifiable. For the anthropology of modat the ernity least. to consideringthat project. comfortingdichotomy between self and other. tends not to dissolve but surelyto be blurredas a consequence. "We. However peculiar. we can demand of anyonewhat we can demandof ourselves.the sense thatperhapsthings do not have to be just as they are. a certain resort to post-structuralist. and whetherwe like it or not. more perspectival. How to proceed?Certainlynot by reinstatingsome latter-dayversionof a mission civilisatrice. Short of being in bad faith. though for the interpretation more than others. after several months in the field. So. is anthropology. however. One may hope they always will. in many otherrespects. it would seem. to pluralvoices? The end is admirable. also substantively. than at manifestlyand. too.But I confess that. even between subjectandobject. Not least. even of "the social" and "the cultural"themselves. in the shadowsof the same condition. it must certainlybe a hermeneuticsof self.the representational gies. however circumof debates and othercriticalperformances scribed. the legitimation and. The lacuna is a ponderousone. of course. the same existential problematic. I find it largely utopian. in any case appearto be obligatory."post-textual" hermeneutics of some aspects of modernity would.at least. for very good reasons.less at the maintenance the "improvement"and "overcoming" of the socially and culturallygiven-at times.POSSIBLEMODERNITIES 369 graphicresearchfrom Malinowskiforwardinto one or anothersense of a mythic or legendarypast remainsstill almost entirely uncomplemented by researchinto the ecology or the semiotics of one or anotherantinecessitarian sense of the contingencyof boththe past andthe present. guided by the conviction that. more provisionalphenomenologicaland social regions that appearto unfold in the absence of ready absolutes. or the materialimplicationsof what is arguablythe most perduringof specifically modem debates:between one or anotherexpression of positivistic constructivismandone or anotherexpressionof factitiousor scientisticdeterminism. They obviously do not compel one to conclude that modernityis inherentlywithouteitherstabilityor systematicity.8Whateverelse the hermeneuticsof modernitymay or may not have to be. It consequentlyleaves us poorly versed in what is arguablythe most "peculiar" of specifically modem achievements.But perhapsthey suggest insteadthat a portionat least of modernity'sactual stabilityand systemand reconstructionaticitylies in a commitmentto socioculturaldeconstruction a commitment.one legitimatedandinstitutional critical performanceamong many academic others. the same loss. Perhapsthey also suggest something of what is involved in inhabitingthe less certain.But our situationscontinue. or be soon to exist. of intermittent disharmony. Even . all of us being equal.the institutionalization aimed. On to dialogue. often distrustfulof dialogue.areno moreeccentrican aspectof modernity thancertaintypes of consonanceand constancy. We may all be existing." of course. neither we noranthropology can be muchof anythingelse. such achievements suggest at least that certaintypes of conflict. radicallyto differ. Whetheror not the commitment was what Levi-Strausshad in mind when he distinguishedprimitivesocieties from their "hotter" (and more modern)contraries. are modern. People are. it leaves us still stratequite poorly versed in either the social precipitants.

the popularmedia. and the projectedplant's site relosurcatedelsewhere. though less in the simple nameof recordingthe Other'svoice thanin the name of putting our own into question. and a qualifieddenouncement. convicted in 1976 and under circumstancesthat have repeatedlybeen examined and discussed of the murderof his male lover. I think.rifts. at the urging and with the partialfinancial supportof the government. from the firstpanel on discrimination Parliament's European againsthomosexuals. a subsequent. insistentcalls for election from a resurgentRight. In the spring.finally tabled.amid widespreadcomplaint." significantlyreorganizedhis Cabinet(and has since significantlyreorganizedit again).initiated a determinedand fairly sober instructional campaignagainstthe contractionand spreadof AIDS. The place. A disputeover educationalfundinganduniversity admissionsresultedin severalhostile encountersbetweenthe responsibleMinister and discontentedstudents. are nothing new to Greece. On the other hand. be spokenof as its centralcontemporary modstructural-functional reckonings anyway. Conflicts. so when the Americanambassador overtly accusedcertainhigh Greekofficials of having bargainedwith terrorists. and indeed changingso rapidlyas to make any resortto a singular"native's point of view" daringat best and to make most resortsto the ethnographic presentnot simply artificialbut positively laughable. by most of the morefacile cally. met with an unheardof public backlash. In Januaryof 1987. now as before straightforwardly . even of the most chasmic sort. and what might. conciliatory statement from the courts. We cannotin any case insist upon symposia.A furious contestationbetween the Orthodox Synod and the governmentover the Church's administrative province stirreda spectacularmass outcry and the virtual secession of a cohort of Mount Athos thathadbeen years in the makmonks. a Soviet-sponsoredplan to constructan aluminumfoundrywithinthe boundaries of the Delphic landscapewas. Moreor less concomitantly.During the same period. they are often unwilling to be quoted. The anthropologyof modernity can. Greece is still Greece. afterlengthy local debate and persistentdisapprovalfrom various of the membersof the EuropeanEconomic Community. for example.370 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY when they are willing to converse. "austerity. The presenceof Americanmilitarybases anddisagreements the more continued to Greece's in NATO rounding membership provokeunrest. which has a devastatingcivil warless thanfourdecadesbehind it. and a series of strikesin oppositionto a long-standingand supposedly anti-inflationary policy of litotita.arrangements ing were finalizedfor the releasingof nationalratio stationsfrom state control. which neverthelessdid not entirelydo away with a generalsentimentof fear and suspicionand which did not preventa groupof registerednursesandlaw enforcementagentsfrom seizing and a Spanish singer who arrivedin the countryto false claims that she quarantining was sufferingfromthe disease. Prime Minister Papandreou. roughly or heuristiscene is. on the otherhand. PresidentSartzetakis'refusalto commutethe sentence of a certain ChristosRoussos. aspireat presentto that. Habermassuggests that enlightenmentdepends upon a "therapeuticself-critique" (1984:21). in diverse domains. We can listen.some few weeks later. and which has remainedvery much in socioculturalmotion ever since. is changing. in short.

" whetherin the artsor in politics or in the no less vivid domainof personaldeportment. however." is a just-born coinage of hardlyany currencywhatever.also seem to be wrought by a quite . Among the "culturalelite. Hence. in what might otherwise seem a quite consistent tableauarises precisely there:the topic of "modernity" one. The twist. Among them. there are moreoverthose who are as gracefully cosmopolitan. it would. With its most commonparadox. largely literate. since the late '50s. from the authorof the Byzantine epic Diyenis ("Double-born")Akritasto Nikos Kazantzakis. The agents of industrialization have. been no more often native than forof governmentare primarily eign.and is not "good Greek". in those respects Greece looks altogetherlike its WesternEuropeansisters. The paradox of an imported or invasive modernity is.If thereis such a specifiably"Greek" modernity. The irony is in anycase importantly responsiblefor makingthe taskof defininganddirecting the Greeksituationquite as fraughtwith uncertaintyand quite as exasperatingas in fact it is. "we are not a colony. has largelyartistic ficultieseven with the lexeme: modernikotita. however. they have.The topic is not the only import. It is correlativelyresponsiblefor complicatingthattask with the categorial requisite also of defining and directing Greece's relation to the several territoriesof "the West"-a nonentity. urban.its content at least would seem to flow quite precisely fromthat(often ironic)juxtaposition. Greece is in many respects modem without. having become so." Indeed.with it. "Politically. The most gracefully cosmopolitan. The irony imbeddedwithinit is above all the ironyof what in Bourdieu's(1984:120ff) sense once put mustbe nameda "dominated"freedom. there are even quite a few who are passionatelyinterestedin the very topic of "modernity" itself. overtones. the least absolutistof those with which I am acquaintedis far less preoccupiedwith either "hellenicity" or "occidentality" as such than with the creative and re-creativepotentialof juxtaposing the hellenic "here" with one or anotheroccidental "there. Culturally. On this matteras on so many others." he said. but within it perhaps most acutely by the culturalelite. but a practicallyunavoidable one all the same." The force of thatirony is of course felt beyond Greece. It is a relativelyrecentimport.provenquite adept. the more purelyDemotic neoterikotita." Greekshave been burdened for centuries.we are. perhaps.as accustomedto gettingalong withoutbenefitof the guidanceof ethical and intellectual absolutes as any soi-disant "modem" could ever hope to be.POSSIBLEMODERNITIES 371 endowed er. from those of Franceand Belgium. the stratummost frequentlycalled upon not simply to face it but to make some articulateassizementof it as well. as intent upon one or anotherprogramof selfassertion. participationist.either. so to speak.' Any institutionalimportationor invasion is likely to spawn paradox. a traditional sometimesused. with its fair shareof institutionsof critique." the stratum to which my own fieldworkwas largely confined. There are difis not.thoughnot quite so recently. One of my native interlocutors the matterin severe summaryfor me. less tractable. as it were.9 The constitutionallydemarcatedapparatuses derived.thatof "poly-mentality. if there is a stylistically integral"Greek modem. in my acquaintance.ambiguous between "modernism" and "modernity. views are diverse. An industrialdemocracy.

They do not imply a returnof the cosmos. pretematuralizing from within. proprietary fractionof the middleclass in any case calculable differentlyfrom those of the newer. " Thatconjunctionis by no meanscoincidental. In Greece particularly. its life chances are no less dependentupon the convolutionof international logistics than those of its lower analogues. that platformin any case favors aftodhiakhirisi(the self-managementof foreign enterprise. they are less easily calculable. But it also reflectsthe confidenceprecisely of thatsocial segment that. Hence. "interiorist"wing of the CommunistLeft. a still dominatedfreedom. see Manezis 1986:37) and topiki aftodhiikisi("local self-government":a sort of administrative federalismfirstbroughtto Greekcountrysideby the Leftist resistanceduring the Second WorldWar). that cadre would neverthelessappearto be largely if not entirelycomposedof personswho. Sophisticationin the exploitationof thatjuxtaposiof the "here" and the "there" tion. else. and Hansen 1972:340). Not to be equated with the socioculturalupperclass. Schneider. No doubt it reflects. The several ethoses of that segment could not. do in fact belong to the upperclass.If the Greek middle class has even morecause to worryover the securityof its (dominated)native standingthanthe lower ones. threatened. having least cause to worry over either the security or the dominanceof its native standing. in that respect. reflectingamong other things the very prodigious sanction given to that sort of polylingual and polyculturalfluency that can only be acquiredby those who have or who know how to obtainresourcessufficientto enable them to travel. and frequently at odds. It favors educationalas well as most other sorts of self- . that is in partbecause it has more to lose. If. on the other hand.the least mystifying and least mystifiedexpressions of it are typically also the most explicitly political. traditionalism In Greece as most everywhereelse. is also a self-consciously uppercompetency. are neverthelessobjectively mosuch models of and models for self-preservation tivated. in Greece as most everywhere of that sort is largely dead. in some measure. imagined. is consequently least likely to see either the "here" or the "there" as a preternatural agency to be adoredor to be despised but in any case altogetherbeyond being manipulatedor put to use. on the otherhand. to live. be in more strikingcontrastto those ethoses typicalof segments immediatelyunderneath.or real. and the life chancesof the older.372 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY uniformcadre. in partat least. But many of thembetraya decidedly reaction against victimization. in the (usually partial)instrumentalization and in the creative playing off of the one against the other.Schneider. Somewhat to be strongly"developmentaltoo ambivalent over the worthof industrialization ist" (cf. isolationismis not at all dead. but also in Berlin. and above all to be educatedabroad-particularly in Paris. in London. and on the AmericanEast Coast. in copious possession of both social and culturalcapital. Some aremore worldlythanothers. the platformof the moderate. Mystificationsperhaps.Sophisticationin the handling of thejuxtapositionof the hellenic "here" and the occidental "there" is in fact a quite self-conscious and quite inexpendableuppercompetency. managerialfraction. Middle readingsof the relationsbetweenGreece andthe West arecorrespondingly dense. for example. from withoutor from both.

and particularly in a nostalgiafor the rustic and insularpuritiesof a Greece that existed. anthropologystill being. it is unabashedlynationalist. duringthe interludebetween the Firstand Second WorldWars. odd in some respects. It is conversely and quite understandably political andeconomic ties to the accordinglyagainstGreece's deeply entrenched capitalistempires.the liberalprofessionals. Evidently enough Western.either.and perhaps. It is. It is occasionally displaced into a love of everything laiko ("laic. on the otherhand. The literati. especially the United States.Like the platformof all otherGreekparties. and rathermore like the platformof Papandreou's rulingPanhellenic Socialist Movement.Its abidingpostulate:if Greece is fallen.however. is in any case due perhapsless to its being stringentlyCommunist(in fact it is not) thanto its offering a cogentrepresentational strategyof resistance-and not simply againsteconomic domination. social. and culturalcapital is almost entirely derived by association. Unlike its pro-Soviet. a largely unilateralundertaking." "popular"). it is occasionally displacedas well into a rathermore abstractpreoccupationwith the "true" substanceof ellinikotita("Hellenicity. direct. director inor academicenterprise of or in the West. Its most usual proponents but from various higher class sectors: accordinglycome not from the proletariat the culturallydominantbut economically dominated literati. but moremystified. briefly put. and the petite bourgeoisie have alike sufferedfrom it most. I discovered myself in the role of the enviable em- . considerablyless resistive than merely reactive-in nostalgism. the interioriststrategyis.POSSIBLEMODERNITIES 373 againstdependency. sometime in the not too distantpast:before the junta. and is sufficiency.andit is in principleandby principleneither"vulgarly" Marxistnor "vulgarly" enthusiasticabout "cultural" revolutions. in our supI not infrequently was. No less frequently.it is moreoveralmostexclusively a platform of principle. or supposedly existed. before industrialization.dehave also stimulated and exacerbateda widependency and peripheralization spreadandself-suspectingcomplex of "relativedeprivation"-more preciselyof 12The highly selective andoccasionallydis"culturalfallenness" or degradation.with one or anothermanufactural Both sorts of sentimentfind an easy enough object in the ethnographer-this one at least. certainlyless literaland political thansymbolic and sentimental. Against it as well. the interioristplatformis neutralist. "Essentialist"in Geertz'sprecise sense of thatterm(1973:241). Isolationism. posedly postcolonialera." "Greekness"). also has expression-still typically middling. Beyond at least one militaryjunta. Its metataxicappeal. the capitalistWest has made it fall even further. With little chance of enactment." and the culturallyrespectfulpetite bourgeoisie (Manezis 1986:37). the culturallyrespectable"liberalprofessionals. "exteriorist" counterpart. beyond urbanpollution and urbansprawl." "worship of the foreign": often heard in Demotic) characteristicof those fractionsof the newer middle class whose store of economic. diaxenomaniaorxenolatria ("madmetricallyopposedto the stridentlyantinostalgic ness for the foreign. approving gaze of the touristandthe foreign scholarhas only reinforcedthatcomplex. beyond one of Europe's highest rates of unemployment. however. less negationalthaninversional. I not infrequentlydiscovered myself in the role of the corrosive invader.

usually in the nameof an "escape from backwardness. It is manifestsometimes in an antipopulistsnobbery. the convolutionsof international logistics thuspress an alreadyoperativeschizmogenesisnot simplytowardsentimentalbut also towardstylistic extremes. ity-not simply its anthropological . is likely to be arduouseverywhere." for thatmatterneither"epochalistic" (Geertz 1973:241) nor necessarily "developmentalistic"either. I was in fact once told. certainlynot as an ideology. in partbecauseof the endowmentsof those who pursue it. sometimes in a "taste" for the folk.and relentlesslyweird splendor.neither"essentialistic" nor "modernistic. We can. for the same sociocultural"space.as the modem "alternative"is likely to be of little sociocultural impact. thatis perhapsbecause socioculturalresourcesand socioculturalspaces are indeed scarce. so. thatalternativeis of no mean impactat all. The issue is not. The lesson. and moreabstractly. As elsewhere. We cannotbe. perhaps. in the name of authenticityamong other things. The lesson. perhapsnot to what the world once was but to what. however it might differ from place to place.frantic. perhaps. The lesson is not that. by an up-and-comingrightist and newer middle politician whose undaunted to debunk. sentiments of duress. what might be spokenof perhapsnot as an ethos. the Greek modem is somewheremore leisurely in between. in all its particularly unisolated.that "hegemony was pro-Westerism I was busily attempting just fine". in Greece as perhapselsewhere.pro-Westemismis. a greatmany of them have surrendered to its seductionsall the same. That surrender is manifest in the mannerismand the mimeticismof many of the accoutrementsand denizens of Athens' more chic quartiers. in Greece or anywhereelse."frequentlywielded as well. a weapon frequently wieldedin thatinternalcontest. The issue is whetherand to what extent it mightbe plausiblethatthe "modernalternative"is suited.13but instead.is also thatthe task of being and becoming modern. and hence thatmodernityitself is likely to be not one but many things. whether we can be free of all bias. Not coincidentally. all the more hostile perhapsbecause both are in competitionfor the same sociocultural resources-in any event. however.It is manifestin the nationaldebt.374 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY issary of an enviable land whose bounties could be but dreamed. and that in its suitability-which is somethingelse besides either its effortlessnessor its adaptabilbut its moralweight in fact lies. Not everyone is at leisure to gamble with what he or she has. the symbolic isolationist and his or her "modernistic"altershow an almost compulsive scorn for one another.In Greeceat least. and whetheror not others of his same class cohort would be quite so convincedof hegemony's goodnesses."'Anti-Westernism.is ratherthat the task of being and becoming modern is likely to be quite differentfrom one place to the next. in Greece. at least remindourselvesthata self-serving reverenceof modernityis bound to do no more anthropologicalgood than the orientalizingromanticizationof the primitive has already done. is. too. Nostalgia and its opposite are. on the otherhand. If a meeting of minds is unlikely. which has steadily climbed as more andmore money has been spent on Westerntrappingsand Westernluxuries. A decidedly unsettlingethnographic(and of course ethnocentric)condescension has on several occasions already resulted from making far too little of that arduousness.Neithernostalgicnor antinostalgic.it is now.

1963). Blumenberg'sargumentin The Legitimacyof the Modern Age is specifically directed against Karl Lowith's "medievalizing" and secularizationist readingof modernity(Lowith 1949. Weber's position is to be found in the closing pages of The ProtestantEthic (1958:180-183). 6Seeespecially Fallers' essay in Old Societies and New States (1963:158-219). see Foucault's "What is Enlightenment?"(1984). See. Compare Wolfgang Schluchter'sRise of WesternRationalism(1981). I would like to thank the staffs of the Instituteof International Educationand of the American EducationalFoundationin Greece for proandadvice before.POSSIBLE MODERNITIES 375 Notes I would like to thankMia Fullerfor readingandcommentingupon sevAcknowledgments. 1946b:139-142. Pierre Riviere . Bourdieu(1972) and Rabinow (1975). but somewhat differently. has appeared in HaroldBloom's Agon (1982). more precisely perhaps. Financial supportwas provided by the ITT International Fellowship Foundation. I would especially like to thankPaul Rabinow. Comparealso oped statement appearsas Structure Bendix's more particularistic "Traditionand ModernityReconsidered"(1967)." the collapse of which in any case allowed the "modernepisteme" to emerge (cf. (Foucault. The observationsupon which this article is based were collected from October 1986 throughJune 1987. For Blumenberg'sposition. 4Aparticularly starkportrait anddiscussionof characteristically modernpolitico-epistemic battlingmay be found in I. 1975).after Nietzsche (cf. Kern's "rhe(andpro-Romanticism) appeared torical" portraitof a "cubist" modernity. the first (and still virtuallythe only) analysis of the historicizingcon- sciousness undertaken by an anthropologistis to be found in the closing chapterof The . On the ideationaland attitudinallineamentsof modernity. comparably. andfor numerouschallengingandproductivediscussionsas well. The most recent.andaftermy stay in the field. . 2Parsons is by far the most influential. and singularlysubtle. and patience as well. While vidingme with information there. Blumenberg1983:27-35).of the "Classical.. 'See Burckhardt (1954). in which the politico-epistemics of reformismare given center stage. Parsons'most develessays and Process in ModernSocieties (1960). ed. and would like to thankGrigorisGizelis. most eloquently. "Hellenizing" construalof modernity. precisely40 years later. eralearlierdraftsof this article.Blumenberg(1983:137ff) and Weber (on disenchantment. a manifestoof antimodernism in 1943.Beyond the Foundation. see The Legitimacyof the Modern Age (1983:469ff). in particular. on the loss of the "ethically ordered" cosmos. Foucault 1970:218-220). 7So far as I know. The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1918 (1983).I was affiliatedwith the Academy of Athens' Centerfor Researchon GreekSociety. Foucault's position is quite elegantly suggested in the second part of The Order of Things (1970:217-221). and Modern. Barzun'sClassic. 1956). 1946a:350-357).and Iliana Andonakopoulou of the Centerfor theirconsiderableinformation. Similarly.advice. Eva Kalpourtzi. 155. 3See. 5Foucault spoke less of "the cosmos" than. during. and more explicitly stated in Discipline and Punish (1979:105-131).pace. cf. Romantic. for similar readingsandcomments. for those exceptions. see Habermas'firstvolume of The Theory of Communicative Action (1984:211-226).Lerner(1958) and the several collected in Old Societies and New States (Geertz. See.ed.

either. It seems to me. Bloom.Jacques 1943 Classic." References Cited Barzun. "Hereand in the pages thatfollow I use not Marx's notion of class but ratherBourdieu's.processualistview of the relationbetween culturalconceptions and temporalevents (cf. Similarly. there is very little doubt aboutthe CIA's facilitative role in bringingthe colonels to power.be wrought-at least if they are to be "modern. 1985:144ff) seems to me not to offer a very promisingapproachto an analysis of the conditions underwhich that consciousness has itself. fully half of all industrial investments in Greececame from multinational In one-third of the industrial Greek 1970.conceived as I have been particularly conceiving it throughoutthis article as a personalcondition. . for example. Yanoulopoulos1977:87. At most.involvementin the 1967junta. Harold 1975 A Map of Misreading.Comparative 1967 Tradition tory 9(2):292-347. See Bourdieu'sDistinction (1984:xi-xii). See Yannitsis(1986:256. as the obvious enough differenceof ethos between such a modem as Kant and such a modem as Foucaultitself indicates. and his continualist." BeyondAgon. '2On American. foreign.376 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY than it ought Savage Mind (L6vi-Strauss1966:258ff). In contrast. modernity is not itself a "model of and model for" the managementof any particular practicalproblem whatever-not even the problem of foundations. 83-105). Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress. HaroldBloom's "practicalpoetics. see Tsoukalas (1983:38-39). quasi-officialand unofficial rangedduringmy stay from between9 and 20%. thoughit veers in its assertionthathistoryis a methodwithoutan object (1966:262) so far from ethnographic reality as to underminethe force of its largerargument. 328ff) and HaydnWhite (1973). itself a synthesis of Marx's notion and Weber's notion of the Stand.Tsoukalas 1981:190ff. Bendix.g.Chicago: Universityof Chicago Press. Reinhard Studiesin Society andHisandModernityReconsidered. '3Foucault (1984) indeed suggests that modernitybe substantivelyconstruedas an ethos. 9Forthe periodbetween 1960 and 1966. however. 1982 Agon: Towardsa Theoryof Revisionism. It is indeed much less appreciated to be. at least in print. whatevertheirpurposes.New York:Oxford UniversityPress. seeA Map 8Ihave in mindparticularly of Misreading(1975:3-6.and Modern. would betterbe construed as imposingcertainphenomenologicalconstraintspreclusiveof the formationof certainethoses andfacilitativeof the formationof a varietyof others. '?Thepoint has been made by several native scholarsas well. Among the Greek public. that modernity. 1983:94).estimates official. Among them. sectorwas still foreign.Sahlins' more recent study (1985) has in fact almost nothing to say about the specifically historicizing consciousness.and beyond Blumenemergedandhas succeededin reproducing berg. scholarlyopinion (see. particularly e. or status group. see Foucault(1970:217-221. Romantic. it imposes those limits withinwhich such models must.Veremis 1986:141-142) is generally cautious. As for the rate of unemployment.. corporations.

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