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

Sat, 15 Mar 1997 13:35:14 -0700 (MST)
Albert J Bergesen (albert@U.Arizona.EDU)

Steven--This all gets tricky and depends alot on our definitions and what
we mean by this and that. It is also a matter of relative universalism
and relative particularism. If we take the 17th century with its "crisis"
and the 30yrs war as a period of multicentricity--which seems
reasonable--then by the second half of the 18th it seems reasonable to
talk about a rising Britain. If by the latter half of the 19th we see a
declining Britain and a rising Germany and US, then, in some ballpark way,
late 18th to mid-19th constitutes something of a British hegemony period,
remembering always that some of this is rising and falling hegemony. This
dating does not seem controversial to me.

Second, The Enlightenment is about the universal rights of man--not man in
classes--but man in general. Adam Smith is about the universal propensity
to truck and barter--not having to truck and barter because of class
menbership and requirements from particular mode of production, but in
general, for all time, for all people, for all situations. Romanticism is
about nature in general; about the sublime in general, about feelings that
transcend class, race, gender. it is in this sense that this is a period
of universalism.

Third, from 1850 on with Realism in art and what will be called the
sociological critique of classical political economy, these eternals are
now particularized: not universal nature, but specific places; not
univesal human motives but class bound motives. Marx, Weber, Durkheim all
qualify, limit, particularize, historicize classical political economy.
It is in this sense that I am calling this a particularzing period.

al b.

Albert Bergesen
Department of Sociology
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721
Phone: 520-621-3303
Fax: 520-621-9875