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Imaginaries of Modernity Workshop

Date: 24 February 2010 Time: 9.30-5.30pm

Venue: Bowland North SR18

Imaginaries of Modernity - Wednesday, 24th February 2010, Bowland North SR18

Modernization, Globalization and Alterglobalization in Latin America

A Series of events organized by the Latin America Research Cluster,

with the support of the Institute of Advanced Studies

9.30-10.00: Morning Coffee; Welcome Speech by Michael Kraetke (Director IAS)

10.00-12.00 Modernity, Post-modernity, Globalization

Chair: Cornelia Graebner (DELC)

Sergio Carvalho Benício de Mello (Business Studies, Sociology): Cyberspace Divides: Moving beyond Inequality.

This paper takes a theoretical approach to provoke a discussion on how in the age of globalization real-time technologies have changed the structures of the lived world that affect the body of the city and the urban man. These technologies manufacture inequality by means of a segregating, global, cyber, cityspace imagined to be the metropolis of hypermodern times.

Andrew Dawson (Religious Studies): 'New World Religion': Modern Religious Imaginaries in Brazil.

This paper explores the construction of modern religious imaginaries byurban professionals through their appropriation of traditional millenarian themes most closely associated with the rural peasantry of Brazil. Two lines of enquiry are followed: one of continuity, the other of discontinuity. The line of continuity enquires after the extent to which similarities between traditional and new era millenarian discourses might be attributed to a number of structural equivalences between the respective experiences of the rural peasantry and urban-industrial professionals who espouse them. Whilst not denying narrative similarities with traditional millenarian movements in Brazil, the line of discontinuity engages new era millenarianism by regarding it as part of a wider modern imaginary, the central dynamic of which is that of asserting the cosmic significance of an aggrandised self.

Bianca Freire-Medeiros (CPDOC/Fundacao Getulio Vargas, RJ): The travelling favela: Cosmopolitanisms from above and from below.Since its beginnings favelas have been embedded within complex global networks. Nowadays these systems of intersecting mobilities have intensified into unexpected proportions, allowing the emergence of what I call the travelling favela, a space of imagination which is produced, circulated and consumed globally as a trademark and a touristic destination. But if the favela has become a mobile entity and a source of a cosmopolitan status for those who consume it, what about the favelados themselves? In this paper, The Morrinho Project (Favela Pereira da Silva, Rio de Janeiro) is characterized, after Bachelard, as a particular case of what is possible in order to discuss the limits and potentialities of a 'cosmopolitanism from below'.

Discussants: Oscar Forero (CesaGen), Amit Thakkar (DELC)

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 Keynote Address: James Dunkerley (QMUL): "Pachakuti in Bolivia, 2008-9: Excerpts from a Diary"

Chair: David Sugarman (Law)

Sometimes academic explanation is the only option that scholars possess for the purposes of narrative and analysis. But on occasion both historical contingency and "public reason" tempt us beyond normal expressive parameters. In this presentation, I draw on diary entries made during the political crisis in Bolivia in 2008-9 to reflect upon a range of issues - notions of time and change, what is "stability" - and events - carnival, the depiction of the country in the films Che Part 2 and A Quantum of Solace - in an effort to escape (momentarily) from ideological assurance (left and right alike) and social science neatness.

14.00-16.00 Globalization and Alterglobalization: The Neoliberal Imaginary and its Contestations

Chair: Amalendu Misra (Politics & IR)

Bill Cooke (LUMS): The Imaginary Managerialism of the World Bank in Latin America

This paper is about how the World Bank uses managerialism to represent, and by implication to act in, and continue to exercise epistemological power over parts of Latin America, notably Brazil, and how this might be challenged, learning from Escobar's representation of Colombia, and by considering the phenomenon of Cuba. Using Mignolo, the imaginary is an expression and mode of transmission of spatially-situated epistemic power, which historically has taken the form of epistemic coloniality (see also Ibarra-Colado 2006). I argue the Bank's imaginaries frame how and what it is possible to know, think, conceive of, and act; and that is deploys managerialism to sustain its epistemic power, albeit using tropes familiar from elsewhere. Thus, for example, nation-states can be reconstructed as an agglomeration of projects; but at the same time the trope of the "a typical deserving Latin" is deployed. And, paradoxically, democracy gets posed as a "risk".

Mark Bailey (Politics & IR): Myth, Resistance and the Zapatista Movement: From (Post)Modern Politics of Resistance to a 'Narrative of Ossification'?

This paper explores the relationship between the discourse of resistance to neoliberal economic globalisation (NLEG) offered by the Zapatista Movement (EZLN) in Mexico, and theories of political myth. Influenced by the scholarship of Chiarra Bottici and Goerges Sorel, the paper notes that the EZLN combined both a radically (post)modern critique of globalising capital with self-understandings grounded in pre-modern Mayan mythology, creating a potent example of political myth as critique of prevailing relations of power. Building on the work of Ernst Cassirer, he paper then goes on to analyse this myth's more pathological aspects, specifically its appropriation by Western intellectuals, producing a dangerous mythologisation of the EZLN itself that has become a form of ossified conceptual prison.

Cornelia Gräbner (DELC): "Smuggling Genres" in the Construction of a Global Discourse of Resistance: Intertextuality in the works of Eduardo Galeano, S.I. Marcos, and Manu ChaoThis paper investigates the ways in which the writings of the Neozapatista movement in Mexico drew upon previously existing discourses of resistance and inspired new, global discourses of resistance, and the ways in which an international group of writers and musicians drew upon each other's works to articulate, consolidate and develop the underpinnings of this new, global resistance movement. The paper focuses on the "smuggling of genres" (Manuel Rivas), a textual strategy which reflects the project of joining a great diversity of different types of resistances in one project of resistance and of developing an alternative model of globalization, from below.

Discussants: Julie Hearn (Politics & IR), Michael Kraetke (IAS)

16.00-16.30 Coffee Break

16.30-17.30: Round Table Discussion


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Mark Bailey, Javier Caletrío, Andrew Dawson, Cornelia Graebner, Julie Hearn, Amalendu Misra, Amit Thakkar

Organising departments and research centres: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Studies, Latin America Research Cluster


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