By Hagen Schulz-Forberg
Participants to this quantity discover the altering recommendations of the social and the commercial in the course of a interval of basic swap throughout Asia. They problem authorized reasons of ways Western wisdom unfold via Asia and convey how flexible Asian intellectuals have been in introducing ecu options and in mixing them with neighborhood traditions.
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Additional info for A Global Conceptual History of Asia, 1860-1940
The new associations and corporations ultimately acted as an avant-garde in the sense described above. Semantic shifts and frictions often include a reordering process of historical narratives as new temporalizations are evoked. Mostly, variations of a good but lost past, of (3) nostalgia, appear alongside parts of the past, which the new narrative of history cuts off from the new present and the new future. 50 Which pasts inform the future of the concepts of society and economy? In the case of Malaysia and Indonesia, for example, the emergence of national narratives, invoking an eternal past of Malays and Indonesians, went alongside social and economic shifts which can be traced through the introduction of the very concepts of the social and the economic in the first place.
The king himself remarked that in Thailand, all people are equal. It is a classless society. Only the king is superior. Obviously, the pre-emptive embrace of the social and the economic through the ruling elites in Thailand was an effort to tone down or even suppress the pos- 18 A Global Conceptual History of Asia, 1860–1940 sibly explosive semantics of the social as it was conceived of in Europe. After all, European conceptions of society were founded on a friction between governing authorities and the citizens as well as between groups of citizens striving to make their varying voices heard and their demands met.
In a wider sense, all struggles for semantic hegemony contain efforts at suppression. The struggle between the two intellectual camps in China described by Hailong Tian in Chapter 2 illustrates such an effort. Both Sun Yat-sen and Liang Qichao strove to dominate the meaning of the social and the economic, aiming at suppressing the other’s perspective as a legitimate interpretation of the concepts. Suppression is thus not always a conscious act by restrictive governments wishing to filter out certain potentially dangerous meanings; it is what is often aimed at in historical moments of conceptual contestation.
A Global Conceptual History of Asia, 1860-1940 by Hagen Schulz-Forberg