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Cosmopolitan Political ThoughtMethod, Practice, Discipline$
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Farah Godrej

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782062

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782062.001.0001

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“Other” Texts, Our Contexts

“Other” Texts, Our Contexts

Western Problems and Non-Western Solutions

(p.73) 4 “Other” Texts, Our Contexts
Cosmopolitan Political Thought

Farah Godrej

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 turns to the question of “self-relocation,” which refers to the relocation of the site of experience and understanding within the Western academy, using the knowledges, methods and practices of inquiry gained from the dislocation process, and bringing them to bear on traditionally-learned frames and modes of inquiry. This chapter presents two possible models or modes of transcultural learning. The first one suggests that texts can speak polyvocally, and that creative interpretation across time and space is a necessary outcome of transcultural borrowing. In so doing, texts and ideas will often mutate in a piecemeal manner, leading to the transcultural application of ideas in a discrete, fractured and disaggregated manner. The second suggests that the only appropriate method of importing texts or ideas across cultural boundaries is one that faithfully preserves organic, holistic nature of the idea or text. Using Gandhi’s theory of nonviolence or ahimsa as an illuminating lens, I argue that pitfalls of transcultural borrowing and creative learning underscore the crucial importance of prior existential engagement with traditions and their cultural products.

Keywords:   self-relocation, transcultural borrowing, polyvocal, discrete, piecemeal, holism, Gandhi, non-violence, ahimsa

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