"The complexities already evident in L'anti–oedipe are compounded by Deleuze and Guattari's deliberate refusal to propose a central narrative or theme for the book [A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia]. They refer to the sections in Mille plateaux as 'plateaus', a term they derived from the anthropological work of Gregory Bateson. Bateson had used the term to describe the libidinal economy he found in Bali, which differed from that in the West, with its emphasis on climax. Deleuze and Guattari intended that the sections of their book should not reproduce the climactic and dissipative character of Western discourse, as manifested in the traditional book format with its culminations and terminations. They hoped rather that each plateau would operate as part of an assemblage of connecting parts to be approached by the reader in whichever order they chose. As this might suggest Mille plateaux is a complex and difficult book, though, at the same time, extraordinarily compelling."
Gere, Charlie. 2002 'Digital Culture' Reaktion Books. ISBN 1861891431 1861891431 (pbk.)
"Jurgen Habermas's theory of modernity also attempts a rejuvenation of modernity. For Habermas, the 'crisis of modernity' is not indicative of the final collapse of the Enlightenment project, but instead reveals the deficiencies of what has heretofore been a one–sided and inadequate modernity. Thus, modernity is an 'incomplete' project, and the question of modernization becomes central to completing modernity.(18) Habermas argues that our contemporary experience of modernity has been unduly dominated by a single type of rationality, specifically by purposive or instrumental rationality.(19) The discontents of modernity, then, are not rooted in rationalization or modernization as such, but 'in the failure to develop and institutionalize all the different dimensions of reason in a balanced way.'(20) This (re)opening of modernity to different means of rationalizing the life world has led John Tomilson to suggest that Habermas's vision denies an inevitable path of modernization, that '. . . the sort of modernity that the West has developed and passed on to the 'developing world' is not the only possible historical route out of the chains of tradition.' (21) However, Habermas makes this opening while retaining a commitment to the Enlightenment project of universal modernity. His modernization of modernity would re–route towards a model of communicative action, and a more open rationality of ideal speech acts. Thus, modernization becomes an intellectual/rational project working towards an ideal speech situation."
(Ali Mirsepassi, 2000. Cambridge University Press)
"American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history of this nation is not the Atlantic Coast, it is the Great West. Even the slavery struggle, which is made so exclusive an object of attention by writers like Professor von Holst, occupies its important place in American history because of its relation to westward expansion.
In this advance, the frontier is the outer edge of the wave –– the meeting point between savagery and civilization. Much has been written about the frontier from the point of view of border warfare and the chase, but as a field for the serious study of the economist and the historian it has been neglected.
What is the frontier? It is not the European frontier –– a fortified boundary line running through dense populations. The most significant thing about it is that it lies at the hither edge of free land. In the census reports it is treated as the margin of that settlement which has a density of two or more to the square mile. The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the 'settled area' of the census reports. This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it.
In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors.
Now, the frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick; he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails."
(Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893)
David Frampton (Griffith University, Australia)
An influential philosophical perception of western civilisation in the late modern era has emphasised its cumulative continuity and directionality, expressed most forcibly perhaps through science and technology, but equally through other mechanisms for the transmission of knowledge. There has been a current of thought interpreting this characteristic as the imposition of a fundamentally arbitrary logic on the world and human order. Thus Reiss (1982) writes: 'a discursive order is achieved on the premise that the 'syntactic' order of semiotic systems (particularly language) is coincident both with the logical ordering of 'reason' and with the structural organisation of a world given as exterior to both orders' (p. 31). Similarly, information, in Koch's (1987) view, is 'the mark of a logical ordering imposed on the world'. As arbitrary, this perceived imposition of a linear syntax on objective reality has been seen as oppressive or 'logocentric', and a series of writers has both heralded and encouraged its fragmentation into multiple, heterogeneous and autonomous perspectives.
Reiss, T. J. (1982). The discourse of modernism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Koch, C. (1987). The being of idea: The relationship of the physical and the non–physical in the concept of the formal sign. Semiotica, 66(4), 345–357.
"Running throughout our essay as its leitmotif is the opposition between the claustrophobic spaces of German modernity (epitomized in Expressionist cinema and in the noir films directed by Germans in Hollywood) and the agoraphobic fear of wide open spaces, exemplified by post–war American space (suburbia and the urban "superblock") and by the post–war film genres of the western and the road movie. Lacking a frontier myth, Germans fantasized about an expansive sense of space and dreaded a claustrophobic one. By contrast, the American cinema developed a morbid fear of open spaces devoid of human community and fantasized about the possibility of a tightly–knit urban community."
(Ed Dimendberg and Anton Kaes)