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Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 915
Western rationalism/Mbembe/Herb: "It has never been easy to talk sensibly about sub-Saharan Africa" (Mbembe 2016(1), 39). Mbembe blames the dogmatic image of the West for this, in which Africa appears primarily as a sign of lack, absence and non-existence, as a place of cannibalism, pandemics and plague, in short as the absolutely different of the West.
Brocker I 916
In this respect, it is precisely this that gives the West access to its own unconscious and justifies the shape of its own subjectivity. Many are involved in the creation of this image. In the wake of the great thinkers of modernity from >Hegel to Weber, namely all those who celebrate subjectivity, individuality and rationality as exclusive achievements of the West. (>Subjectivity/Mbembe). In contrast, all other cultures appear traditional, primitive and underdeveloped, unable to follow the rules of the universal grammar of the West. Mbembe names the unholy alliance of modernity, rationality and occidentality in the Eurocentric self-image and wants to overcome it. He calls for a fundamental philosophical critique of Western epistemes.
Thus he sees the violence of Western discourse still at work in the social sciences and humanities today. Economic and political sciences, for example, however meagre their Africa expertise may be, continued in their own way the practices of colonial subjugation with their demands for good governance, free market and neoliberal world order. In such criticism, Mbembe maintains an equal distance to Marxist theories of dependence and to discourses of Foucault, neo-Gramscian and poststructuralist façon. >Subjectivity/Mbembe.


1. Achille Mbembe, De la postcolonie. Essai sur l’imagination politique dans l’Afrique contemporaine, Paris 2000. Dt.: Achille Mbembe, Postkolonie. Zur politischen Vorstellungskraft im Afrika der Gegenwart, Wien/Berlin 2016

Karlfriedrich Herb, „Achille Mbembe, Postkolonie (2000)“. in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Mbembe, Achille
Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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