I discuss current shifts in cultural understandings under postcolonial conditions with particular regard to the French-African-Antillean area. Through a short reconstruction of culture constitutive approaches, their continuation and criticism in the Antillean area and furthermore the Afropolitan interpretations by Mbembe,Enwezor and African artists, I come to the conclusion that we need an epistemological shift in the cultural studies discourse itself. Along the lines of the affirmative- critical aesthetic of the mentioned African theorists, curators and artists, I advocate that the cultural studies discourse distances itself from descriptions in terms of cultural contrast, of the same and the other, of white and black and so on. I argue that the discourse should abandon the idea of unified or oppositional cultures and instead emphasize the „composite-cultural", i.e. the entanglements of respective personal or societal forms of articulation and existence as well as profile the types of symbolic interpenetration, the temporally and aesthetically conditioned „dividuation". With examples from the African art context, I attempt to outline certain dividual procedures and to stress the fact that nowadays even western articulations are bound to endure forced cultural participation [Zwangsteilhabe]: Instead of discursive contrasts we are in need of analyses of the respective participation and (self-)dividuation processes.
-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University.
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Hann, Chris. 2007. Anthropology’s Multiple Temporalities and Its Future in Central and Eastern Europe. In: C. Hann et al. (eds.), Anthropology’s Multiple Temporalities and Its Future in Central and Eastern Europe: a Debate. (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers 90). 1–11. Halle/Saale: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. ( http
The Anthropocene concept originates from earth system sciences and conceptualizes humanity as a planetary geophysical force. It links current action-oriented time horizons to Earth historical deep time and implies non-separability of natures-cultures. The Anthropocene concept has resonated in debates in natural and social sciences, the humanities and the broader public, serving as an inter- and transdisciplinary bridging concept. Based on an analysis of numerous texts from multiple scientific disciplines and media, this contribution distinguishes five narratives of the Anthropocene: the disaster narrative, the court narrative, the Great Transformation narrative, the (bio-)technological and the interdependence narrative. The five narratives articulate very different perspectives and experiences and transport divergent political, economic, ethical and anthropological values and interests; this is also shown in alternative conceptualizations such as Eurocene, Technocene, Capitalocene or Plantationocene. The analysis reveals that the narratives share significant structural characteristics concerning story, plot, protagonists, spatial and temporal structure and action-oriented emplotment which together can be referred to a meta-narrative of the Anthropocene. Since the partly overlapping, partly contradictory narratives compete for legitimation and dominance in science and the broader public, the findings raise the question whether this struggle will stabilize or undermine the Anthropocene meta-narrative in the long run.