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Borderland Selves: Rethinking Identity in Contemporary Global/Local Articulations
Unformatted Document Text:  assert themselves as such through separation (and ultimately opposition) thus making external what is actually constitutive and intrinsic to the process. Common to this approach are for example the "colonial model" of the oppressor and the oppressed, and the "transgression model" of oppression and resistance (Grossberg 1996: 88). Politically, they work to keep in place the problematic and paralyzing tension between collective belonging and association based on universal principles (such as equality, sovereignty, social justice, human rights, democracy, etc.), and the need for differentiation and the assertion of particularity (along the lines of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth). Thus political action becomes framed as a matter of choice between either a politics of universalistic essentialism or, by simple reversal, one of particularistic essentialism – an endless movement between two conflicting alternatives which define the appropriate models and sites of political struggle, the limits of what is politically possible and imaginable and thus, in so doing, they define the two poles of what is arguably the most pervasive political paradox of our time. But the binaries and tensions that characterize contemporary understandings of the global/local relation and identity formation do not, as it becomes clear, operate in isolation, nor are they unique to globalization theory. Central to these tensions, and in fact deeply embedded in their very constitution, it is possible to identify other powerful (and equally conflicting) dichotomies such as individual-society, agency-structure, and unity-difference among others, or in broader terms, what has been called the universal-particular dualism. These apparently irreconcilable opposites are, as I will argue, not only products of the discursive domain of the social sciences, but also correspond to and rest at the core of a

Authors: Correa, Andres.
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assert themselves as such through separation (and ultimately opposition) thus making
external what is actually constitutive and intrinsic to the process. Common to this approach
are for example the "colonial model" of the oppressor and the oppressed, and the
"transgression model" of oppression and resistance (Grossberg 1996: 88). Politically, they
work to keep in place the problematic and paralyzing tension between collective belonging
and association based on universal principles (such as equality, sovereignty, social justice,
human rights, democracy, etc.), and the need for differentiation and the assertion of
particularity (along the lines of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and so forth). Thus
political action becomes framed as a matter of choice between either a politics of
universalistic essentialism or, by simple reversal, one of particularistic essentialism – an
endless movement between two conflicting alternatives which define the appropriate models
and sites of political struggle, the limits of what is politically possible and imaginable and
thus, in so doing, they define the two poles of what is arguably the most pervasive political
paradox of our time.
But the binaries and tensions that characterize contemporary understandings of the
global/local relation and identity formation do not, as it becomes clear, operate in isolation,
nor are they unique to globalization theory. Central to these tensions, and in fact deeply
embedded in their very constitution, it is possible to identify other powerful (and equally
conflicting) dichotomies such as individual-society, agency-structure, and unity-difference
among others, or in broader terms, what has been called the universal-particular dualism.
These apparently irreconcilable opposites are, as I will argue, not only products of the
discursive domain of the social sciences, but also correspond to and rest at the core of a


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