Lei Yi: Interpretation of “Post-modern Theory” and “Post-colonial Theory” in the Context of China’s Modernity

二, 后殖民理论的现代中国阐释
2. The interpretation of “post-colonial theory” in Modern China

这些批评观点认为:“从‘现代性’这一概念的产生过程和发展来看,它是在西方文化 中出现的,以西方的启蒙主义的价值观为中心建构的一整套知识/ 权力话语。对于非西 方的社会和民族来说,‘现代性’是和殖民化的进程相联系的概念。”
This critical view holds the following tenets: “From point of view of the production process and development of the concept of “modernity” (现代性 xiàndài xìng), “modernity” is something that emerged in Western culture. It is a constructed set of knowledge / i.e. a power discourse with the values of Western “enlightenment“ (启蒙主义 qǐméng zhǔyì) at its core. From the view point of non-Western (非西方 fēi xīfāng) societies or nations, the notion of “modernity” is closely linked to the concept and process of colonization.”

“对于中国语境而言,‘现代性’意味着以西方话语为参照的‘启蒙’与‘救亡’的工 程。这一工程始于鸦片战争后中国的‘古典性’的崩溃所造成的‘主体’移心的焦虑。”
“In the Chinese Context, “modernity” means a project of “enlightenment” and „(national) salvation” (救亡 jiùwáng) which refers to a Western discourse. This project began in China after the Opium War when the collapse of the “classical” (古典性 gǔdiǎn xìng) caused an anxiety about the shift of the “main subject”.

“‘现代性’的中国化乃是如何重建中国的‘主体’的探索。它生产了有关西方/中国 的一整套‘知识’, 试图通过这套‘知识’使得中国的世界位置得以确立。”
The “sinization“ (中国化 Zhōngguó huà) of „modernity“ therefor is the exploration of how to rebuild the “main subject” of China. It produced a set of “knowledge” (知识 zhīshi) about the West/China in an attempt to establish a world position (世界位置 shìjiè wèizhi) for China through this “knowledge”.

“这种知识必须以西方话语作为唯一的参照系。西方的文明随着殖民进程而来的全球化 被中国的知识分子视为走向未来的唯一选择。因此,西方乃是无可争议的‘主体’,它 的文化的巨大的物质与精神力量被视为最为进步的,它的创造力和想象力被认为得到了 最为充份的发挥。”
Such knowledge requires the Western discourse as the only frame of reference. Western civilization through the globalization (全球化 quánqiúhuà) brought by the colonial process is seen by Chinese intellectuals as the only choice for a way into the future. Therefore, the West is the undisputed “main subject”. The enormous material and spiritual strength of its culture is considered as most progressive, it’s creativity and imagination is considered as having developed to a state of utmost abundance.

“这里有一个明显的文化等级制,西方被视为世界的中心,而中国已自居于‘他者’位 置,处于边缘。
“In this there is an obvious “cultural hierarchy system” (文化等级制 wénhùa děngjí zhì) in place, and the West is regarded as the center of the world. China puts itself in the position of the “Other”, in a position in the periphery (边缘 biānyuán).

中国的知识分子由于民族及个人身份危机的巨大冲击,已从‘古典性’的中心化的话语 中摆脱出来,经历了巨大的‘知识’转换(从鸦片战争到‘五. 四’的整个过程可以被 视为这一转换的过程,而‘五.四’则可以被看作这一转换的完成), 开始以西方式的 ‘主体’的‘视点’来观看和审视中国。
Due to the huge impact of national and personal identity crises (身份危机 shēnfen wēijī), Chinese intellectuals left the discourse centering around the “classical”. They experienced a huge “knowledge” conversion (转换 zhuǎnhuàn). The whole process from the Opium War to the May-Fourth-Movement can be regarded as a conversion process, with the May-Fourth-Movement as the completion of this conversion. They began to watch and examine China from the “main subject” “viewpoint” (视点 shìdiǎn) of the West.

这也就经历了一个将西方视点‘内在化’的过程……这个将自己处身其中的‘文化’他 者化的过程,正是中国‘现代性’的最为重要的表征。”
They actually also went through a process of “internalization” (内在化 nèizài hùa) of the Western point of view … This at the same time meant a process of “otherization” (他者化 tāzhě hùa) of their own “culture”. This really is the most important characterization of China’s “modernity”. “

新式知识分子“被一套西方的话语所命名和书写”,“以西方式的能指指认一个本土的所 指”。
When new intellectuals “name and write things within in a Western discourse”, “they use westernized “signifiers” (能指 néngzhǐ) to recognize local (Chinese) “signified” (所指 suǒzhǐ)”.

“这种‘他者化’可以说是贯穿于整个‘现代性’和‘知识’生产之中。这种生产的 典型方式是通过中西比较提供一种有关中国人文化特征的‘他性’话语,提供一种有关 中国的认识的方式。”
„This form of “otherization” can be understood to penetrate all production of “Modernity” and “knowledge”. The typical way of this production is to provide a discourse of „otherness“ (他性 tāxìng) of cultural characteristics (文化特征 wénhùa tèzhēng) of the Chinese people though a comparison of China and the West and to provide an understanding about China.“

因此,“陈独秀通过一第列二元对立的编码,以西方的视点将东方的文化和社会作为一 种次等的文化。……陈独秀以一种普遍的世界主义式的西方价值将中国‘他者化’了。” Therefore, “Chen Duxiu set up the first line of an encoding system with binary oppositions. Through this he internalizes the Western point of view and treats the culture and society of the East as second-class culture (次等文化 cìděng wénhùa). …. Chen Duxiu uses an ordinary type of cosmopolitanism (世界主义 shìjiè zhǔyì) of Western values that “otherizes” China.”

引入西方话语的一个策略是引入“一个西方式的有关‘普遍人性’的神话。从这个‘普 遍人性’的观念来看,西方的启蒙主义话语所建构的有关‘人’的伟大叙事是衡量一切 国家与民族的绝对化的标准。从鲁迅对‘真的人’的呼唤到八十年代有关‘人的本质力 量的对象化’及‘主体论’的理论思考无不无条件地认同于这一普遍人性的价值观。” Through the strategy of “introducing a Western discourse, actually the Western-style myth (神话 shénhuà) of a “universal humanity” (普遍人性 pǔbiàn rénxìng) is introduced. From the concept of a “universal humanity” the “master narrative” (伟大叙事 wěidà xùshì) of the Western Enlightenment discourse about “people” is constructed. This narrative then becomes the absolute standard to measure all countries and nations. From Lu Xun’s calling for a “real man” (真的人 zhēn de rén) to the theoretical thinking of the 1980s about “the objectification (对象化 duìxiàng hùa) of the intrinsic power of man” (本质力量 běnzhì lìliang) and the “theory of subject” (主体论 zhǔtǐ lùn), they all unconditionally agree on this value of “universal humanity”.

“中国的五四运动,大体上是将欧洲的启蒙话语在中国做了一个横向的移植。正象我 已经指出过的,西方的启蒙话语中同时包含了殖民话语。而五四那一代学者对西方的殖 民话语,完全掉以了轻心,很多人在接受启蒙话语的同时,接受了殖民话语,因而对自 己的文化传统采取了粗暴不公正简单否定态度。”
“The May Fourth Movement in China by and large performed a horizontal transplantation (移植 yízhí) of the European Enlightenment discourse into China. As I have pointed out already the Western Enlightenment discourse also contains a “colonial discourse” (殖民话语 zhímín huàyǔ). The generation of scholars of the May Fourth Movement (五·四 Wǔ-Sì) have been completely negligent towards the Western colonial discourse. A lot of people while embracing the Enlightenment discourse also accepted the colonial discourse. By that they developed a crude and simple, albeit unjustified, negative attitude (否定态度 fǒudìng tàidu) towards their own cultural tradition. “

“中国文化人对西方的另一种形式的扭曲,就是凭想象把西方加以美化,一厢情愿地去 拥抱、去认同一个虚幻的意象,人为地搞出一个二元对立:
Cultured people in China hold another form of distorted view (扭曲 niǔqū) of the West when they beautify (美化 měihuà) what they imagine the West to be, when they embrace it by the means of wishful thinking, when they agree to an illusory image (虚幻的意象 xūhuàn de yìxiàng). They artificially produce a „binary opposition“ (二元对立 èryuán duìlì):

西方正常,中国不正常;西方完美,中国不如意;西方文明是民主、自由、科学、进步 的象征,中国文化是封建、专制、蒙昧、落后的所在。总之‘我们事事不如人’,而问 题的根源都在传统文化。
The West is normal, China abnormal! The West is perfect, China is not satisfactory; Western civilization is a symbol of democracy, freedom, science and progress; Chinese culture stands for feudalism, autocracy, ignorance and backwardness. In short “We are a people inferior in everything”. The root of all problems lies in traditional culture.

似乎只要将传统文化批倒了,国人的价值观念西化了,中国现代化的课题也就随之完成 了。此类思路自五四始,八十年代达到顶峰。” It seems that as long as the traditional culture is criticized and the values of the people in China are westernized, the tasks of modernization of China are fulfilled. This train of thought began in with the May Fourth Movement and reached its peak in the 1980s.”

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