Social Imaginaries

Volume 2, Issue 2, Autumn 2016

Trajectories of Modernity

Eduardo A. Rueda
Pages 151-164

Understanding Modern Narratives in (of ) Latin America

Latin American narratives constitute ways of interpreting sociohistorical processes both in the past and the present. These narratives have appropriated either the normative aspirations which modernity opened two centuries ago or a critical perspective that opposes those aspirations by taking modernity itself as a source of domination. This article explores how these narratives indeed have interpreted current or past sociohistorical processes through the lens that normative accounts of modernity have provided and, against that background, it questions whether antimodern critiques of the modern normative core are acceptable or not and make a point against understanding ‘antimodern’ narratives as such. The idea that antimodern narratives reveal the ugly face of modernity itself is contested by showing how such narratives are also deeply seated in the modern aspiration to authenticity. This anti-antimodern treatment of antimodern narratives shows the extent to which modernization has failed in satisfying modern normative aspirations—authentic self-realization. Th e implications that this analysis might have for reshaping the framework in which emancipation is thought in Latin America are explained briefly in the last section of the article.