Accepted Paper:

‘Stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it’: modernity, self-simultaneity and the ‘end of all things'  

Author:

Huon Wardle (St. Andrews University)

Paper short abstract:

Modernity as the throwing back of people on their own contingency – their self-simultaneity – has classically created an alter-those who are pre-modern. Change affects the pre-moderns as they move inexorably to becoming modern at which point they enter modernity's present-orientation.

Paper long abstract:

Modernity as the throwing back of people on their own contingency—their self-simultaneity—has classically created an alter—those who are pre-modern. Change affects the pre-moderns as they move inexorably to becoming modern at which point they enter modernity’s present-orientation. Awareness of the massive movement of people in space has radically interrupted the political-geographic basis for this way of thinking about time and change (for Euro-American academics at least). The pre-modern/modern teleology has broken down and with it the model of social transformation underlying it (according to Latour we have all become non-moderns). This paper takes an ethnographic approach to this problem through an analysis of certain cultural features of life in Kingston, Jamaica (a site of modernity) where urbanites use the image of apocalypse, an ‘end of all things’, to collapse space-time and thereby reintegrate self and entropic social relationships. I use this ethnography to explore expectations concerning self and society that lie at the heart of our current concern with social change.

Panel W017
Problems of continuity and change