imaginary but palpable distended and
aggrandizing West/Europe as modernity – for all those awaiting
its second coming in prior places, anachronistic spaces, lagging in
In artistic, intellectual, and aesthetic arenas,
modernism(s) in South Asia have variously, often critically, engaged
with these projections and presuppositions: but they have also been
unable to easily escape
This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party’s political development since 1951. In contrast to existing studies that have emphasised the role played by modernity, it argues that nostalgia has defined Labour’s identity and determined the party’s trajectory over time. It outlines how Labour, at both an elite and a grassroots level, has been and remains heavily influenced by a nostalgic commitment to an era of heroic male industrial working-class struggle. This commitment has hindered policy discussion, determined the form that the modernisation process has taken and shaped internal conflict and cohesion. More broadly, Labour’s emotional attachment to the past has made it difficult for the party to adjust to the socioeconomic changes that have taken place in Britain. In short, nostalgia has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this book offers an assessment of Labour’s failures to adapt to the changing nature and demands of post-war Britain.
‘Flow and boundary’ – a suggestive image for a new
constellation of border crossings. (Habermas, 2001 ) 1
From its conception to the referenda of 2005 where it
met its end, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote in support of the European
Constitution. An account of his efforts must, however, be more than a catalogue of texts. For
his status as the last of the great system builders of European philosophy, comparable with
Hegel in the breadth and explanatory power of his thought
, ‘ Public Discourse and Cosmopolitan Political Identity: Imagining the European Union Citizen ,’ Futures , 38 ( 2006 ), 139 . By stifling imagination and the ability to fantasise [ Phantasie ], which is crucial to creating new structures that go beyond the nation-state, the EU is dooming its own project.
30 S. Benhabib , The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt ( Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield , 2003 ), xliv ; H. Arendt , ‘ Approaching the German Question ,’ in Jerome Kohn (ed), Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954 ( New York : Harcourt, Brace & Co
developmental idea of a supersession of the past is crucial to modern
imaginaries. This is true of academic assumption and everyday
understanding, and also underlies the mutual articulations of modernity,
modernization, and modernism. Such splitting of the past from the
present is simultaneously temporal and spatial. Here the singular
temporal trajectory and the exclusive spatial location of
expressed in history, others would continue shortly after in the
modernist arts, literature, poetry, music and philosophy. A second wave of radical modernism emerged in Marxist politics, political economy, liberation theology and indigenous movements.
Engagement in the cross-currents of history
Modernism arose at the turn of the twentieth century as a movement of artists, philosophers, writers, poets, musicians and activists (Schelling, 2000). In
a short time, they remedied the positivist cultures that had denigrated Latin
America and venerated European
, Essays in Understanding , 391; also Benhabib, The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt , 86–95. For more on the connection between Arendt and Habermas, see P. J. Verovšek , ‘ A Case of Communicative Learning: Rereading Habermas’s Philosophical Project through an Arendtian Lens ,’ Polity , 51 : 3 ( 2019 ), 597 –627 .
22 Frank, Constituent Moments , ch. 1.
23 Verovšek, ‘Unexpected Support for European Integration,’ 389–413.
24 H. Arendt , On Revolution ( New York : Penguin Classics , 1990 ), 204 .
25 S. Benhabib , ‘ Democratic Exclusions and
Modernism and postmodernism
O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
And if we live, we live to tread on kings.
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 5.2.82–7.
So we should not expect Foucault to give us a philosophical theory that
deploys … notions. Still, philosophy is more than theories.
‘Foucault and Epistemology’ by Richard Rorty in David Couzens Hoy
(ed.), Foucault: A Critical Reader1
Foucault: the catcher in the modern rye
When discussing modernity, one
. Sznaider , ‘ Memory Unbound: The Holocaust and the Formation of Cosmopolitan Memory ,’ European Journal of Social Theory , 5 : 1 ( 2002 ); N. G. Finkelstein , The Holocaust Industry: Reflection on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering ( New York : Verso , 2000 ).
41 S. Benhabib , The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt ( Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield , 2003 ), 92 .
42 J. Winter , Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the Twentieth Century ( New Haven : Yale University Press , 2006 ).
43 Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of
Muslims in Europe as colonialist occupiers. It’s easier therefore for Muslim Europeans
who have found it hard to integrate to identify with the Palestinians.17
As Ajami concludes, the encounter with the West, with modernism and with
freedom of expression is very painful. What is perceived as the non-integration
of Muslim migrants – the ‘dish cities’ of many TV satellite dishes tuned to Arabic
or Muslim channels – is a result of this encounter. In painful, even cruel words
Ajami focuses on some of the ruins and disasters of this encounter:
There is an Arab