Chapter

Rethinking Modernity

Lisa Rofel

in Other Modernities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210783
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919860 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520210783.003.0010
Rethinking Modernity

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Changing representations of urban space provide one of the most telling ways to examine processes of modernity. Each cohort brought a specific politics of space to its encounter with the post-Mao gaze. For the two oldest cohorts, their dynamic memories of their shifting relationship to the state led to discrepant cultural struggles over the meaning of space and its implications for how subalternity is experienced at different times. Together with the youngest cohort, they employed their diverse politics of space as another critical means for creating heterogeneous gender identities among women. This chapter suggests an approach to the spatial disciplining of workers—and thus to arguments about modernity—that takes account of the way history articulates with epistemic structures. It argues that that which has been taken as homogeneous and called “modernity” obscures a range of practices. Memories are reordered but not erased by the introduction of newer epistemes.

Keywords: China; modernity; cohort; spatial disciplining; post-Mao

Chapter.  6473 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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