Chapter

Destabilizing Eurocentrism and Reframing Political Inquiry

Farah Godrej

in Cosmopolitan Political Thought

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782062
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919123 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782062.003.0005
Destabilizing Eurocentrism and Reframing Political Inquiry

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Some critics suggest that the central dilemma animating our study of otherness is the choice between viewing traditions as only meaningful to their own members, or acknowledging that any attempt to speak about ideas across traditions will be Eurocentric in the sense of relying on standards of scholarship learned within the Western tradition. Chapter 5 seeks to engage critically the idea that the dilemma of Eurocentrism conceived in this way should define all attempts to speak about the task of a cosmopolitan political thought. It argues that the choice provided by this view is too narrowly construed, asks the wrong kind of questions, and misconceives both the imperative to deconstruct Eurocentrism, as well as the resources and opportunities available to the theorist. Deconstructing Eurocentrism is not merely the flight away from modes of inquiry infiltrated by Eurocentric assumptions and the recovery of “pristine” ones. Rather, the cosmopolitan project requires reframing and answering a series of questions about what resources are available despite its pervasiveness, and how these resources may challenge Eurocentric modes of knowing. The example of debates about secularism in India illuminate the relationship between a cosmopolitan political theory and the deconstruction of Eurocentrism.

Keywords: deconstruct; destabilize; Eurocentrism; secularism; India

Chapter.  10506 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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