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Title: A critical theory of Eurocentrism
Author: Hostettler, Nicholas D.
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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Conventional accounts of Eurocentrism tend not to recognise their own Eurocentricity. Critical theory mitigates this lack of historical reflexivity by disclosing the deep structures of Eurocentrism in the modern tradition of political and social theory and in the forms of modern social relations and social formation. 'Eurocentrism' tends to express negative judgements about the world and its representation from the perspective of civil sociality and its sense of commutative justice, and to point to distorted distributions of modem goods. That perspective is treated here as the ideologeme which provides the conceptual framework of the Eurocentric, 'Modem Imaginary'. This ideologeme it establishes the forms of civil sociality as transhistorical, universals. It also operates as an empirico-transcendent doublet, generating the tradition's contradictory and antinomial categorical structure. The Eurocentric nature of this contradictory structure is disclosed in terms of the critical realist conception of anthropic irrealism. A similar work of categorical transformation discloses the Eurocentric forms of the modem world system. Concretely, Eurocentrism emerges through the competitive universalisation of European (and neo-European) states; their tendencies towards the institution of transnational hegemony; and projects for the Europeanisation and/or functional subordination of the non-European. In terms of abstract social relations, Eurocentric universalisation tends to the creation of global social totalities mediated by the really abstract relations of civil society. A general account of the contradictions between the abstract and concrete dimensions of Europic social formation is provided with an interpretation of Marx's Capital in terms of real irrealism. Also, the epistemic and sociological critiques of Eurocentrism are drawn together as internally related dimensions of the Europic Problematic: the combined and uneven dialectical universalisation of the categories and forms of civil sociality. The implications for critical theory, meanwhile, are that it comes to be understood as critical-theoretical anti-Eurocentrism in contrast to the theoretical-Eurocentrism of traditional theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral