We have never been modern / Latour (1993)

Citation - Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern (C. Porter, Trans.): Harvard University Press.

  • 中譯: Latour, B.(2012)。我們未曾現代過(余曉嵐、林文源與許全義譯)。台北:群學。

Keyword - STS



1) 現代性的定義,眾說紛紜,但都與時間有關。「現代」,形容新的體制、加速、斷裂、革命。我們反而是用「現代」,來定義出古老、穩定的過去。更進一步說,「現代」一詞總是把我們拉進一場場鬥爭之中:在鬥爭裡,有贏家、有輸家、有古代、有現代。因此「現代」具有雙重的不對稱:時間軸上的斷裂,及勝王敗寇的鬥爭。
Modernity comes in as many versions as there are thinkers or journalists, yet all its definitions point, in one way or another, to the passage of time. The adjective 'modern' designates a new regime, an acceleration, a rupture, a revolution in time. When the word 'modern', 'modernization', or 'modernity' appears, we are defining, by contrast, an archaic and stable past. Furthermore, the word is always being thrown into the middle of a fight, in a quarrel where there are winners and losers, Ancients and Moderns. 'Modern' is thus doubly asymmetrical: it designates a break in the regular passage of time, and it designates a combat in which there are victors and vanquished. 2)

批評諸如「後現代」等詞彙,是因為沒有信心保持「現代」具有的雙重不對稱: 既不是與過去不同的新穎,也不是勝利的贏家。

If so many of our contemporaries are reluctant to use this adjective today, if we qualify it with prepositions, it is because we feel less confident in our ability to maintain that double asymmetry: we can no longer point to time's irreversible arrow, nor can we award a prize to the winners. In the countless quarrels between Ancients and Moderns, the former come out winners as often as the latter now, and nothing allows us to say whether revolutions finish off the old regimes or bring them to fruition. Hence the scepticism that is oddly called 'post'modern even though it does not know whether or not it is capable of taking over from the Moderns. (P.10)


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