Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The 'uniformization' of modernization

Much of the postcolonial world then became a laboratory for Western-style social engineering, a fresh testing site for the Enlightenment ideals of secular progress. The philosophes had aimed at rationalization, or 'uniformization', of a range of institutions inherited from an intensely religious era. Likewise, postcolonial leaders planned to turn illiterate peasants into educated citizens, to industrialize the economy, move the rural population to cities, alchemize local communities into a singular national identity, replace the social hierarchies of the past with an egalitarian order, and promote the cults of science and technology among a pious and often superstitious population.
-Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the Present (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017), p. 133.