Re: po-mo is part of the world-system, not a virus

Fri, 14 Mar 1997 09:57:50 -0500 (EST)

Hmm... IN what sense was Britain hegemonic during the REvolutionary and
Napoleanic wars?! Hegemony involves rule, not being menaced and
disrupted! I find romanticism being associated with universalism quite
unconvincing--romanticism--from Burke to 1848, was always closely
associated with nationalism--the radical Marx was understandably fed up
with the particularism of his age--thats why he prayed/predicted that for
the working class ie. the future, nations, religion, the family would be
exposed as bourgeois illusions and the workers could/would apprehend the
universal truth. All the major thinkers of Sociology--Marx, Durkheim,
Weber,Dilthey interpreted modernity as a universal phenomenon--they were
progressives opposed to those clinging to a romanticised past. The
particularists were in anthropology, literary studies, and
orientalism--all stronger in England (the hegemonic power) than sociology
(strong in Germany, a competitor). Impression recapitulated the Dutch
direct apprehension of the bourgeois world--not unlike Marx, rejecting the
nationalist, academist, religious wrapping most art was coming encased in
at the time.

STeven Sherman
Binghamton University

On Wed, 12 Mar 1997, Albert J Bergesen wrote:

> How we date the British hegemony is debatable, but some start at
> least part of it with the Treaty of Paris such that the second half of the
> 18th century would start a universalist trend. The generalizability of
> universal rights that is Enlightenment discourse would fit here, as would
> neo-classicism in art, Adam Smith's universal wants and needs as
> trans-social motivations for economic behavior. Similarly Romanticism
> concerns trans-social universal dispositions of all people and of nature
> as an eternal entity. All of this comes to be chopped up, collapsed, and
> particularized around mid-century with the rise of Realism in art, the
> particularistic snapshot images of Impressionism compared with the eternal
> images of nature inthe raw of Romanticism. In social theory the
> universalism of Smithian classical economics is challenged by the
> social particularism of specific classes of Marx and the rise of
> sociology, for which the particular group matters and the universalism of
> A. Smith is directly challenged, from Marx to Weber and Durkheim.
> It is not until the American hegemony that we see a sustained period of
> universalism across the board. Talcott Parsons tried universal social
> theory; Samuleson's text was a summary of the universal
> principles of neo-classical economic theory; and Chomsky's
> transformational grammar proposed a general universal grammar that applied
> to all languages. In the arts modernism was of universal
> principles--particulary Amereican abstraction gave no hint of the race,
> class, gender origin of its paintings. Contrast this with the
> particularism of today: no general theory in sociology; no general
> abstraction in art; everything is particular, for particular groups:
> Afrocentricism for some, queer theory for some, feminist theory for some,
> social movement theory for some, and so on.
> General theory is out. Particular theories for particular groups is in.
> It is the temper of our age.
> al b.
> Albert Bergesen
> Department of Sociology
> University of Arizona
> Tucson, Arizona 85721
> Phone: 520-621-3303
> Fax: 520-621-9875
> email: