Volume 27, 2011

Modernization in Times of Globalization II

Terrell CarverOrcid-ID
Pages 104-118

The Discursive Politics of Modernization
Catachresis and Materialization

Modernization represents a political project of power and domination, marginalization and exclusion. The concepts that make up modernization-theory are deeply complicit with this and are implicated in legitimation strategies for the regimes and peoples who benefit. As with other power/knowledge projects, tropes of literality that reference materiality generate the discourses of certainty through which political persuasion takes place. These discourses are bounded by a constitutive “outside” of metaphor, and thus devalue other subjects of knowledge and knowing subjects. Said’s Orientalism presents a remarkable catachresis through which an alternative understanding of knowledge-production becomes visible. This work challenges Euro-Americano-centric social science and intellectual life, because it undermines the binaries through which ideas themselves are understood as certain or not. Butler’s theory of materialization in turn conceptualizes materiality and certainty in a complementary way.