Uneven and Combined Cultures: The Temporal Ideologies of Modes of Production



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This dissertation argues that modern nation-states gradually developed cultural norms about how to interact with other nation-states as capitalism spread across the globe. Specifically, I examine the rise of the Eurocentric idea of history as “development” - the notion that history progressively unfolds as “backward” societies advance into higher and more “advanced” socio-economic stages, while receiving external assistance from other societies to develop through these stages, before culminating into a capitalist society. Through my historical investigations, I conclude that the idea of history as development only first emerges in Western Europe as capitalism gradually spread in the aftermath of the bourgeois revolutions in the Dutch Republic, England, Scotland, and France. I argue that contemporary international relations between societies is driven by this cultural conceptualization of time as “development” within nationalist discourses. This finding suggests that economic exploitation and imperialist domination is determined by a historically contingent cultural conceptualization of time that is implicated in this exploitative world system. Consequently, we can consider temporal alternatives to find more peaceful and socially just ways of negotiating interaction between different societies in the global community.



Althusser, Ideology, Temporality, Trotsky, Uneven and combined development