Explores some steps toward non-assimilative encounters in the "global village. "
Beyond Orientalism explores the confluence of contemporary Western (especially Continental) philosophy, with its focus on otherness and difference, and the ongoing process of globalization or the emergence of the "global village. " The basic question raised in the book is: What will be the prevailing life-form or discourse of the global village? Will it be the discourse of Western science, industry, and metaphysics which, under the banner of modernization and development, seeks to homogenize the world in its image? In Said's work, this strategy was labeled "Orientalism. " Or will it be possible to move "beyond Orientalism" in the direction neither of global uniformity nor radical fragmentation?
After discussing the broad range of possible "modes of cross-cultural encounter" in a historical perspective, the book develops as a preferred option the notion of a deconstructive dialogue or a "hermeneutics of difference" which respects otherness beyond assimilation. This hermeneutics is illustrated in chapters examining several bridge-builders between cultures, primarily the Indian philosophers Radhakrishnan and J. L. Mehta and the Indologist Halbfass. The remaining chapters are devoted to more concrete social-political problems, including issues of modernization, multiculturalism, and the prospects of a globalized democracy which bids farewell to Orientalism and Eurocentrism.
Fred Dallmayr is Packey Dee Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of many books including Margins of Political Discourse, also published by SUNY Press.
"It shows very clearly that issues having to do with global economic decisions are closely linked with issues having to do with philosophical and religious decisions. The focus of much of the book on India as a case-study is also useful. It's a fine work, written with clarity and intelligence and with some genuinely new things to say about the debate on orientalism. " — Paul J. Griffiths, The Divinity School, University of Chicago
"It juxtaposes well-known thinkers (Derrida, Habermas, etc. ) with lesser known ones (Radhakrishnan, Mehta, etc. ) in new and exciting ways. Most importantly, it treats all the thinkers on a level playing field, a move which itself creates a new 'field' in which the issue of cross-cultural theory can be developed. It possesses a number of unique and, at times, startling, insights which emerge out of the context of a well-worn debate on the issue of cross-cultural engagement. " — Laurie L. Patton, Bard College