Conclusion: A Distinctively Latin American Modernity

  • Nicola Miller
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


It is not easy to make sustainable claims about the distinctiveness of Latin America’s modernity, as I have become all too aware through co-teaching a course designed to compare modernity and modernism in Europe and Latin America. As Habermas has argued, modernity has always generated its own critique, not only from within the arts (modernism) but also from within the philosophical discourse that coined the term,1 and it is a moot point whether postmodernism is different in kind or only in degree from these earlier expressions of disaffection. Likewise, all modernisms display tensions: between celebration of the fragment and longing for the whole; between exhilaration and apprehension, and between radical form and reactionary content, all of which are manifestations of the uncertainties inherent in modern consciousness. What Latin Americanists tend to lump together as “European” experience was in itself far from monolithic: nearly all European tendencies produced their own countertendencies, not least because many of those subjects who were excluded from the hegemonic model of instrumental reason (the female, the poor, the foreign) sought to resist the objectification it entailed.2


Frankfurt School Creative Evolution Alternative Modernity Latin American Politics Critical Closeness 
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© Nicola Miller 2008

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  • Nicola Miller

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