Alternative responses to
Pan Jia'en& DU Jie
Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 12, 2011 - Issue 3
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649373.2011.578809
Adopting the trope of ‘the modern dream,’ this essay1 sets aside the conventional ‘epic’ of modernization and gestures toward an alternative modernization based on the perspective of ‘sannong – the rural problem in three dimensions: village communities, agriculture and the peasantry.’2 Modernization is a ‘dream’ not only because of the gap between its promise and reality, nor because of the physical and intellectual violence of colonialism and urban elitism hidden behind its ‘perfect’ and ‘neutral’ facade. The most illusory thing about modernization is the naïve, romantic attitude of its narrators: they and their audience both believe there is a homogeneous, pure modernization, so ‘reactions’ to the violent ‘impact’ of modernity are thought to simply reproduce the latter without modification. If we return to the level of concrete history and complex reality, not only do the origins and propagation of modernization involve all kinds of political-economic appeals and conditions, but reactions to modernization are full of ‘differences’ and tensions, with ‘simple reactions’ to the ‘impact’ of modernity coexisting with ‘alternative responses.’This essay attempts to complicate ‘Rural Reconstruction.’ Instead of the ‘objectified’ treatment of other studies, we ask: what does Rural Reconstruction contain or conceal? Setting aside the assessment of Rural Reconstruction’s ‘successes and failures,’ 3 what are the movement’s central ‘dilemmas’? Further, under the telos of modernization (Kang 2008: 209), what resources do we have to forge an alternative path?