Culture and Thought by Anisuzzaman Abdel-Malek, Anouar Abdel-Malek

By Anisuzzaman Abdel-Malek, Anouar Abdel-Malek

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Janusz Kuczynski found that the counterposition of tradition and modernity was purely formal. Francois Rajaoson denied that tradition and modernity were antagonistic. Abdallah Cheriet termed the notion of contradiction between these two as a superficial one. Anouar Abdel-Malek was of the opinion that the 'pseudo-concept' of tradition and modernity was the real problem. And, agreeing with Levine, Gusfield, Barna and Cohn, Goonatilake asserted that not only was traditional culture flexible, but also many of its features could, in fact, contribute to 'modernism'; and that 'modernisation' may be endogenous as well as exogenous, and congruent with tradition as well as discontinuous.

Culture and thought were seen as effective vehicles to arrive at the goal. II Acculturation, Hegemony and National-Cultural Identity Much of what was discussed in the first section of the Seminar could broadly be seen as attempts to relate thoughts to society. Evidently, most of the speakers shared the perception that knowledge and ideas had location within the social structure and the historical process. Despite differences in the points of view, therefore, there was a unity in their efforts to relate ideas to the socio-historical settings that produced them, and types of knowledge to those of social structures.

During the debate on the problems of conceptualisation, it was suggested that the term 'modernism' could be used to describe the hegemonic type and 'modernity' to mean the type arrived at through critical mediation. Behind the suggestion lay the wishes that went beyond the debate on conceptualisation and terminology. It rejected the uncritical imitation of a dominant culture and also the blind tracking back to the past. It underscored the need for a deeper appreciation of national traditions, as well as a full comprehension of human achievements all over the world: the need for a cross-fertilisation of concepts and ideas and results of empirical research to provide an objective basis on which each national area could formulate strategies of its own transformation, and, thereby, bring about the transformation of the world.

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