Fuyuki Kurasawa unearths what he terms "the ethnological imagination," a substantial countercurrent of thought that interprets and contests Western modernity's existing social order through comparison and contrast to a non-Western other. Kurasawa traces and critiques the writings of some of the key architects of this way of thinking: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Michel Foucault. In the work of these thinkers, Kurasawa finds little justification for two of the most prevalent claims about social theory: the wholesale "postmodern" dismissal of the social-theoretical enterprise because of its supposedly intractable ethnocentrism and imperialism, or, on the other hand, the traditionalist and historicist revival of a canon stripped of its intercultural foundations. Kurasawa's book defends a cultural perspective that eschews both the false universalism of "end of history" scenarios and the radical particularism embodied in the vision of "the clash of civilizations." It contends that the ethnological imagination can invigorate critical social theory by informing its response to an increasingly multicultural world--a response that calls for a reconsideration of the identity and boundaries of the West.
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(229mm x 146mm x 14mm)
University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
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