Friday, November 23, 2007

Dialogue and Transformation

Richard Rorty writes:

“My hunch is that our sense of where to connect up Indian and Western texts will change dramatically when and if people who have read quite a few of both begin to write books which are not clearly identifiable as belonging to any particular genre, and are not clearly identifiable either Western or Eastern.” (Cultural otherness, p. 68).

My question is, is Rorty right in thinking that a dialogue with or exposure to the other would lead to transformation of both sides participating in the dialogue? I think it’s one of the possibilities and a remote one. More likely outcome in my opinion would rather be that the dominant partner in the dialogue would take from her lesser partner what is of use to her and modify her position here and there thus enriching herself. The lesser partner in the dialogue would end up (even if unconsciously) incorporating itself in the context of the dominant partner thus diluting its own otherness (which might be good or bad depending on how one sees things in their entirety). This has been the historical trend anyway.

[cross posted at Foucauldians]

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