Today's date:
Spring 1998

Istanbul to Hong Kong: Notes on Non-Western Modernities

Nilufer Gole, one of Turkey's most provocative intellectuals, is professor of sociology at Bogazici University. Her comments here are adapted from a recent talk at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on the cultural politics of cosmopolitanism.

Istanbul - Nonwestern countries are usually judged in terms of their distance from "modernity." Modernity appears in these societies more as an aspiration than as an indigenous reality. It is something, like a level of consumption, that is to be attained. The absence of modernity is a gap to be filled. Modernity is not conceived as an intrinsic part of their historical and social reality, but as something external and alien to the customary practice of daily life as well as to consciousness.

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