Walter Mignolo, semiotician and literary theorist, weighs in on the relative strengths of Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric (colonial, not occidental) philosophy in this article on Aljeezera. In literary theory, most new studies are centered around Eurocentrism and its effect on natives via Postcolonial theory. Heavy minds in Postcolonial Theory include Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha, and Edward Said. These theorists have focused on understanding literature from the perspective of the native, all having been born in what can be considered 'colonies'. Walter Mignolo has recently been trying to incorporate this field of thought into the field of philosophy and cultural studies.
Although the article tends to be a strenuous read the main focus is Mignolo’s analysis of a recent debate between Santiago Zabalo and Hamid Dabashi which was published in a prior edition of the same magazine. Mignolo focuses on what he calls “re-westernisation.” This term signifies a new version of the postcolonial approach, where the non-westerner completely separates from the Eurocentric culture to become a separate entity. The article brings forth many interesting concepts, providing a progressive insight into the world of the decolonial side of philosophy or, where do non-westerners fit in and how can they use western philosophy to help form an identity and a philosophy of their own?
Mignolo points to Zabala's use of Slavoj Zizek's philosophies as a possible answer to these identity issues. He also points out that more and more Non-European scholars tend to agree that the hierarchy of colonial structures is beginning to crumble, paving way for a new, fresh approach to the Postcolonial identity crisis. Using Zizek's theories as a foundation, Mignolo claims a place where communism may act as an aid in the decentralisation of non-Eurocentric cultures. He expands upon the arguments that non-Eurocentric thinkers have used in the past to negate new practices of government, opting for a more suitable way to govern the people via communism.
As he puts it,
All of the above take me to the question of communism, which is the focus of Zabala's response, the four powerful antagonisms that - according to Zizek - could prevent capitalism's indefinite reproduction:
- The looming threat of ecological catastrophe.
- The inappropriateness of the notion of private property for so-called 'intellectual property'.
- The socio-ethical implications of new techno-scientific developments (especially in biogenetics).
- New forms of apartheid, new walls and slums.
Here is perhaps the most intriguing of all the points that Mignolo makes. In the recent Marx episode, the group was discussing a possible future that hasn't come yet where communism makes sense and is a viable option. Mignolo and Zabala both introduce a future where this could work. As a way to escape the Western capitalistic world, communism becomes a possibility. The possibility of a new identity for non-Europeans, splitting completely from the Western world to form a new identity then becomes a reality through a communistic approach to the cultural debate. Here we may find a way for two separate worlds to coexist in harmony. Not the only possibility, but an interesting option.
Check out Mignolo's recent book The Darker Side of Western Modernity. For further research on these and other Post-colonial theorists, listeners can check out Episode 51 or Paul Fry’s free lecture on YouTube: