This discussion elaborates on Susan Buck-Morss's critique of the political thought of the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, in her essay, “Democracy: An Unfinished Project.” Buck-Morss's critique provides occasion for reflecting on a challenge that faces radical criticism: how to reconcile the universalist goals that are the legacies of Euromodernity to radical thinking with the demands of cultural voices emanating from newly empowered societies that make their own claims on modernity, especially when contradictions between the two seem irreconcilable. Some claims to “alternative modernity” renounce the most fundamental assumptions of modernity as we have known it—from universalism, democracy, human rights, secularism, equal rights for all regardless of race, class, gender, religious affinity, and so on, all the way to its temporalities and spatialities—as Eurocentric impositions on the political practices and cultural values of other societies. These are values that have animated radical thinking globally for at least a century. The discussion explores the implications for radical thinking of the necessity of coming to terms with these new cultural challenges.
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Arif Dirlik; Twin Offspring of Empire, Neoliberalism and Authoritarian Neotraditionalism: Thoughts on Susan Buck-Morss's “Democracy: An Unfinished Project”. boundary 2 1 August 2015; 42 (3): 1–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2919459
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