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By Hagen Schulz-Forberg

Participants to this quantity discover the altering ideas of the social and the commercial in the course of a interval of basic switch throughout Asia. They problem accredited causes of the way Western wisdom unfold via Asia and convey how flexible Asian intellectuals have been in introducing eu innovations and in mixing them with neighborhood traditions.

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2) Avant-garde can be understood as a position within a certain discourse and within a certain cultural, political or social field. 49 Such a position is not easily gained, however, and the process of gaining it is just as contested. Today’s acclaimed critic may well be tomorrow’s enervating grumbler. The critic’s audience comes into play here. Critique takes place in complex public settings and is not only a process of simple confrontation. Concepts and the way they are redefined, recontextualized or reinterpreted through the avant-garde again play the key role.

The approach of global conceptual history thus embraces an understanding of modernity different from classical or even more recent notions of modernity, modernization or multiple modernities and moves towards an understanding of global modernity that embraces fractions and tensions as its inbuilt features. It is important to foster an understanding of global modernity that is neither representing a prescriptive model for society, nor filled with an inherent progressive Introduction 23 comparative perspective, but is rather conceived of as a historical condition characterized by temporal logics, by the construction of pasts and futures as elements of power struggles and claims for legitimacy through concepts and the multiple normativities they are able to capture and permutate in continuous, entangled, open-ended and contentious processes of semiosis and power struggles.

These temporal logics include the need for change or transition and may also be called Leitdifferenzen57 (guiding differences), both of a positive goal-oriented kind as well as those pointing towards a transition into unchartered and simply unimaginable futures,58 which install a concept as an exemplary positive norm and a counter-concept as an exemplary negative norm. Guiding differences have for a long time influenced conceptualizations of modernity. Advanced–backward, civilized–barbarous, holy–profane, moral–immoral, developed–undeveloped (the latter is today often euphemistically referred to as ‘emerging’), etc.

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