Postmodernism and Race

Postmodernism and Race

Postmodernism and Race

Postmodernism and Race

Synopsis

A unique blend of postmodernisms as they apply to race.

Excerpt

Algis Mickunas

By now, the debates, analyses, and descriptions of dialogue, and its major variations, cover one of the major theoretical trends of this century. At times these trends are confused--intertwined with various systems of dialectics. These trends and their theoretical issues have been analyzed by Martin Buber (1970), Mikhail Bakhtin (1981), Bernhard Waldenfels (1971), and Richard Grathoff (1983). These scholars have summarized the problematic of dialogical thinking and have provided excellent bibliographies. They also point out that dialogical thinking grounds all other ventures. Indeed, other writers posit dialogue as a fundamental theoretical-methodological problematic (Egon, 1990).

Given this plethora of concerns with dialogue, it is imperative to decipher its "priority" over other modes of thinking, without reducing it to some specific interpretation, such as "lingualism," hermeneutics, semiotics, postmodern notions of discursive practices, sociological theses that posit the primacy of society over the individual, or even to claims that individuals possess some inherent drive to form communication with other individuals. These explanations have created various theoretical and ideological "others" who are supposedly oblivious of the true condition of their lives.

Yet what could not, and indeed in principle cannot, be excluded even by ideologies and theories is the presence of the other as a condition for reflection upon one's own positionality. This means that the limits of understanding and awareness are not offered within a given position. They require reflection from a different, an alternate domain that, even if not completely understood, indeed, even if rejected, compels recognition of the other. This suggests that dialogical thinking is granted even in cases of transcultural, transnational, transideological . . .

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