Crossing the Postmodern Conditions that Divide: Theorizing Difference and the Cultural Politics of Emancipation in Critical Pedagogy

  • Peter Pericles Trifonas
  • Effie Balomenos

Abstract

Postmodernism is the precarious condition of our times. Despite the “post” phase of modernity the prefix of the neologism implies, the social injustices of the previous age have left indelible marks on the solvent ethics of postmodernity and the theorization of difference. The distressing signs of the historical legacy of modernism are to he found in the material domain of discriminatory social practices instituted by the cultural politics of an exclusionary agenda in the name of neoliberal conceptions of an autonomous subject. Difference or deviation from the accepted “norms of being” has been accorded a pejorative connotation in relation to highly arbitrary criteria of judgment based on the ever so problematic categories of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality This conscious disenfranchisement of alternate subjectivities or “otherness” is in effect the empirical ground of marginalization within the social sphere of community It is the material results of the societal production of the meaning of representation that rationalizes the social value placed on acts of inclusion and exclusion. Difference therefore comes to be measured practicably in relation to the acceptable configuration of cultural ordinances of aspect—being like others means being acceptable to a closed conception of community as the taking up of arms against the radicality of difference. Any deviation from standardized images of “normality” is figuratively conceived in terms of narrowly defined criteria and the fixed, qualitative scaling of personal or group characteristics. Marginalization ensues.

Keywords

Assure Posit Arena Prefix Harness 

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© Peter Pericles Trifonas 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Pericles Trifonas
  • Effie Balomenos

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