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Download The Burden of Modernity: The Rhetoric of Cultural Discourse by Carlos J. Alonso PDF

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By Carlos J. Alonso

This booklet bargains a provocative interpretation of cultural discourse in Spanish the US. Alonso argues that Spanish American cultural construction constituted itself via dedication to what he calls the "narrative of futurity," that's, the uncompromising adoption of modernity. This dedication fueled a rhetorical main issue that the embracing of discourses considered as "modern" in historic and financial condition which are themselves the negation of modernity. via clean readings of texts by way of Sarmiento, Mansilla, Quiroga, Vargos Llosa, Garcia Marquez, and others, Alonso tracks this textual dynamic in works from the 19th century to the current.

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63 The best example of the behavior of la ciudad letrada was that of the revolution for independence in 1810, which established a paradigm that would repeat itself with small variations in the continent's successive revolutions. . This curious virtue of being an "adaptable buffer" saw its highest expression in the refashioning of la ciudad letrada to serve the interests of the new leaders who arose from the elite military ranks to replace the former representatives of the crown. Laws, edicts, rule books and above all constitutions—before undertaking the vast codification of social reality—were the central preoccupation of la ciudad letrada in its new service to the strongmen who would succeed one another in the postrevolutionary period.

The economic results for Spanish America were nevertheless virtually indistinguishable from those in other colonial scenarios: the region was quickly relegated to the periphery of an economic and commercial system that had global scope and territorial ambitions to match. In this international order the economic, spatial, and cultural arrangement of center/periphery was endowed with legitimacy by a collection of ideological narratives and categories that sought to naturalize the hierarchy that had been created, in effect, by the economic relationship just described.

It turns in on itself and tortures itself for its inability to singlehandedly make history—or else throws itself into extravagant attempts to take on itself the whole burden of history. It whips itself into frenzies of self-loathing, and preserves itself only through vast reserves of self-irony. 53 In Spanish America the appropriation of the discursive modalities of metropolitan modernity have had to contend with the absence of its material antagonist in its midst, or more precisely, with its phantasmatic presence as the always distant and assumed reality of the metropolis.

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