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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 89 | volume XVI | March-April, 2013



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 89March-April, 2013

The Intercultural Event of the Year

p. 1
Venko Andonovski

Even a mere glance at today’s theoretical discourse in Europe and the world at large tells us that the circumstances are in fact – post-philological. When I say post-philological, I mean the radical shift that theory undertook, moving away from the strictly philological paradigms (methodologically speaking), such as structuralism and deconstruction, and towards cultural studies. From a semiotics stance, cultural studies did alienate us from the singular philological text by marrying us to the texts of culture. This, in turn, forced us to abandon the purely philological, rhetorical, structural, which proved a rather drastic measure than when attempting on the examples of individual texts to understand a culture’s text, moreover, to understand the interaction between the texts and discourses of two or more cultures. Then it should not come as a surprise that some of the chief authorities, like Mikhail Epstein and Slavoj Žižek, spent a part of their research life examining the borderlines of a semiotic reading of culture. Žižek dedicated a good part of his work on Lacan’s psychoanalytic turn, so as to study closer the psychoanalytical sub-continent of culture. Emmanuel Lévinas took maters a step further than psychoanalysis: namely, he ‘entered’ the pure ethics of the otherwise ‘impure’ hybrid identities. Hannah Arendt, guided by personal experiences, went even further – she examined (thematized) the production of lies and ‘truths’ surrounding identities and their assimilatory, even genocidal correlation. Anglo-American theory too experienced long-lasting consequences due to these intellectual oscillations. For example, in his now classic work, The Political Unconscious, Fredric Jameson (as a follow-up to his initial, deconstructivist and anti-structuralist The Prison-House of Language), showed us that ideology is a horizon which, intellectually speaking, would resemble the highest layers of the earth’s atmosphere, unlike the philological, purely linguistic readings that mirror the stratosphere of cultures. The unconscious entered the realm of the political. Along those lines, a slew of authors and key studies cropped up, which in turn helped solidify this turn away from philology and into cultural studies analysis – Clifford Geertz’s The Interpretation of Cultures.
     Parallel to all of these directions that have underscored theory, and have root in what Lotman once called the semiotics of culture/cultures (even attempting to ascertain space through the term semiosphere, which then led to the theoretical discourse hidden in the confines of comparative literature, and derived from the strictly narratological term point of view, i.e., focalization, now used when ‘reading’ cultures.

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