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politics - 14 09 2003 - 12:33 - katatonik

Ah, all ye dust in our eyes!

”... Before I do that, however, let me say a word more about world social science since 1989. It has been lamentable. All anyone talks about – and that almost irrespective of political tendency – is globalization, as though that were more than a passing rhetorical device in the continuing struggle within the capitalist world-economy over the degree to which transborder flows should be unimpeded. It is dust in our eyes. So is also the endless litany about ethnic violence, and here not only the social scientists but also the human rights activists are responsible.
Not that ethnic violence is not a terrible and terrifying reality but that it is distinctly not the domain of some less fortunate, less wise, less civilized others. It is the absolutely normal result of the deep and growing inequalities within our world-system, and cannot be addressed by moral exhortation, or by an ingérence by the pure and advanced into the zones controlled by the impure and backward. World social science has offered us no useful tools to analyze what has been happening in the world-system since 1989, and therefore no useful tools to understand contemporary Austrian reality.”

Immanuel Wallerstein: The Racist Albatross. Social Science, Jörg Haider, and Widerstand, published September 13, 2000 (German translation).
The text was originally delivered as a lecture at a social studies conference in Vienna right after the (now first) coalition government of ÖVP and FPÖ came into power. It discusses the formation of this coalition, the reactions against it on the part of the European Union, and protest against it inside Austria. All of this is viewed on a larger background, in relation to three different time-frames: the “World-System” since 1989, since 1945, and since 1492.

More on and of Wallerstein:

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