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Transgressing Modern : Explorations in the Western Experience of Otherness - John Jervis

Transgressing Modern

Explorations in the Western Experience of Otherness


Published: 25th August 1999
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This book provides the most concise, accessible account yet available of modern Western cultural and social explorations of other forms or aspects of life that are devalued or coded as unacceptable, even unthinkable, in the modern ethos. After discussing modernity as a cultural and political project associated with notions of 'progress' and the shaping of body experiences through the 'civilizing' of behaviour, the author describes how the body seeks to go beyond the conventional - and characteristically male-oriented - pieties of modern 'rationality' to uncover these 'other' dimensions, involving the carnivalesque, the 'primitive', madness, nature, sexuality and aspects of the feminine. These are shown to hold a powerful fascination for the modern imagination, and to provide potent resources for transgression, conflict and nostalgia. Indeed, the transgression of the precarious boundaries that define the modern identity, the exploration of the taboos that separate 'us' and 'them', the normal and the pathological, are revealed to be as central to the modern experience of otherness as the endless attempts to shore up and defend these boundaries. Transgressing the Modern will prove an invaluable guide to the roots of the contemporary experience of cultural crisis, and for situating current debates over the postcolonial and a possible shift into a 'postmodern' age of cyborgs, aliens and hybrids. The book is written in a lively and approachable style, yet does not shirk theoretical issues, and is ideal for students and researchers in cultural studies, sociology, and across the humanities and social sciences.

"Transgressing the Modern is what should be impossible: 'a carnival of representation' which subverts controversial boundaries between social theory, the humanities and the arts. It excavates the richest veins in modern western societies' endless struggles to marginalize, exclude and repress whatever makes them uncomfortable. John Jervis has written a wonderful synthesizing book - creative, imaginative and deeply suggestive of a better way forward." Rob Stones, University of Essex

List of Plates.



Part I: The Civilising Imperative.

1. Carnival Pleasures and The Spectre of Misrule.

2. Manners and Morals: The Civilisation of Culture.

Part II: Modernity and its Others.

3. Exotic Encounters: Savagery, Civilisation and the Imperial Other.

4. The Alienated Mind: Reason and The Exile of Madness.

5. Modernity's Sphinx: Woman as Nature and Culture.

6. The Rape and Romance of 'Nature'.

7. Forbidden Desires: Taboo, Transgression and Sexuality.

Part III: Continuities, Challenges, Transformations.

8. Blacks, Whites and Hybrids.

9. Postmodern Possibilities: Alienating The Modern.

Key Terms.

Guide to Further Reading.


ISBN: 9780631211105
ISBN-10: 0631211101
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 25th August 1999
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.44 x 16.99  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Number: 1