Perspectives East and West
Bo Stråth, Nina Witoszeck (eds.), The Postmodern Challenge: Perspectives East and West. Postmodern Studies 27. Rodopi, Amsterdam 1999
This volume is designed to bridge a gap in the current theoretical debate about the nature, scope and relevance of postmodern perspectives in the humanist and social sciences in Eastern and Western Europe. While the debate has been reasonably comprehensive and certainly abrasive in Western European and Anglophone countries, it has signally failed to incorporate the viewpoints of Eastern European scholars and intellectuals. Even the current appropriation of Mikhail Bakhtin as a prophet of the postmodern is, paradoxically, a monologic engagement with his thought rather than a dialogic encounter of cultures.
Doubtless different historical experiences, ideology and social aspirations go some way to account for the weariness of Eastern Europe with postmodern challenge and its glad embrace by Western scholars. The volume comprises some fifteen essays by leading historians, literary theorists and social scientists from Western and Eastern Europe and America. It has a threefold aim: firstly, to illuminate the distinctiveness of current Western and Eastern European theorizing about history and society; secondly, to reveal points of tension and disagreement, and, finally, to open up a space for a meeting of seemingly incompatible worlds.
This volume is a product of the interdisciplinary research project The Cultural Construction of Community in Modernisation Processes, a cooperative project of the European University Institute in Florence and Humboldt University in Berlin. The project is made possible by the generous support of the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation.