FIGAROVOX / GREAT INTERVIEW - In 2017, Shmuel Trigano described in The new dominant ideology the advent of postmodernism, the avatar of modernity. In a big interview, he comes back for FigaroVox on this ideology and how it is embodied in the election of Emmanuel Macron.
Shmuel Trigano is professor emeritus of the Universities (Sociology, Paris Nanterre).
FIGAROVOX.- In 2017, in your book The new dominant ideology (Hermann-Philosophie), you describe the advent of a new ideology that was put in place in the 90s and that you think would reformat the world and human existence: postmodernism. The victory and the first steps of Emmanuel Macron mark the triumph of this ideology in France? Is Macron the first authentically post-modern French president?
Shmuel TRIGANO.- The characteristic of a dominant ideology is that we do not know that it dominates. Her ideas, the mental and social frameworks that carry her, seem to be part of reality, of natural evidence, of truth, so much so that the social actor remains oblivious to the fact that it is only a question of perspective on reality. Every ideological phenomenon is massive. Let's take as an example one of the key ideas of postmodernism: gender theory. This is a new version of the "new man", this myth that has haunted the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. What is a utopia of the human being, which aims at nothing less than the redefinition of human identity and the family, seems to impose itself as a truth, a moral obligation, an absolute imperative whereas it This is a questionable theory. Postmodernism which is in delicacy with the real to eliminate all criticism towards it invented a parade: the "real" was only a "narrative" and all the narratives are worth ...
The victory of Emmanuel Macron is undoubtedly the result of the state of affairs produced by this new ideology. Driven by an aspiration to omnipotence (I decide who and what I am), it is a thought of the unlimited, that we hear well in all its key ideas: the genre, the border, the identity collective and subject. It is indeed this unlimitedness that the candidate Macron recommended by rejecting the left-right division (though inherent in all political consciousness, caught between caution and change). The primary device was, in a major way, typically post-modern because it removed all boundaries between parties and political actors, confusing partisan election and national election by opening the vote to elect the leader of the right to the voters of competing parties, thus confusing the partisan and the national - a sign that there was no longer a "national". In the image of Europe. He was, of course, the candidate of Europeanism.
More precisely, how would you define postmodernism? How does it differ from the concept of postmodernity?
It is possible to consider that we have entered a post-modern age without opting for post-modernism, which is only a specific interpretation of postmodernity. Let us recall that we are dealing here with sociological concepts: in the age of "tradition", there would have been the age of modernity, then, today, postmodernity. These ages are characterized by political, ideological, economic, and characteristic structures.
The prefix of the "post" indicates however that we would have entered an age that we do not yet know how to name since it is still riveted to modernity. For my part, I see in "postmodernism" the song of the swan of modernity, committed here in its dangerous utopian slope to the omnipotence, in an affirmative mode - like the ambition to master death and life - or negative - like the idea that humanity can master nature at will. In terms of the history of ideas, post-modernism is a metastasis of Marxism, though stripped of one of its key-ideas: the meaning of reality.
This term originally referred to an architectural current promoting eclectic style, artistic syncretism. Macronism and its famous "at the same time" is it a syncretism? If the new president is so confusing, is it not because he is not part of any inheritance?
It is precisely this syncretism that seems to mark the new presidency. It combines (in a breathtaking and perfectly controlled manner) the most classic staging of power (national-sovereignist) with the "transparency" (the evanescence?) Of the one who represents the left and the right "at the same time", but neither of them in particular, a single man, self-styled "Jupiterian", manifesting height, an enigmatic distance, a distance, through a vertiginous pace of ceremonies. The troupe of deputies LREM, out of nothing by the goodwill of the presidential figure, as a multiplication of his image, puts into action this "neutrality" decreed synonymous with "reform", progress, youth, morality, etc ... that it is the expression of the massification and the total power which accompanies it. "Difference" here means "neutrality", "undifferentiation", the eclipse of meaning.
Is not postmodernism simply the consequence of globalization? Does it go hand in hand with multiculturalism?
To be more precise, I would say that postmodernity goes hand in hand with globalization, which makes possible an interpretation like post-modernism. It is in globalization that the utopia of the unlimited could grow: the collapse of the communist camp had put an end to the division of the planet at the same time that new technologies of communication made believe in the "end of borders "and the unification of the whole world in the same system. These were the conditions for postmodernist ideology to develop. At this global level, the central problem that arose was that of the national limit.
Humanity is not made up of ectoplasmic individuals but peoples, languages, cultures, and it is within these frameworks that individuals are raised who have their own names, identities and specific subjects. At the scale of the world, what became a limitation changed caliber, whereas before it it represented a conquest (that the decolonization illustrated), a condition of freedom. Criticism of the boundary and national borders, however, has opened the way to other frontiers: "community". In this sense, multiculturalism is the political mark of post-modernism. It induces that, in the modern state, the criterion of identity is no longer the nation but the "community". Except that the political framework of such a change simply does not exist, at least in appearance, I will come back to it. For the rule of law, the support of a common language, the economic market, the collective solidarity, the common cultural universe, the effective and effective reference remains the national identity. When Macron declares that "there is no French culture", he is clearly the advocate of this "multiculturalism" and when he says that "there is a culture in France", he rejects the referent of the modern state. When he mentions the "crime against humanity" that France would have committed in Algeria, it targets the French nation-state par excellence that was the Third Republic and targets its guilt as a state of citizens (the rights of the citizen it illustra) in the name of human rights. Multiculturalism must not hide the massification and undifferentiation that accompany it behind the folk clothes that it exposes spectacularly.
You insist on the role of the media, academic and legal corporations in the advent of this new ideology ...
There is no ideological phenomenon without a social substratum (political, economic). Unlike the "modern" era, it is perhaps no longer the class that is the actor. Postmodernism pays itself the luxury of a critique of power, in the name of a parochial anarchism (boboism). It is simply in line with the fact that power is no longer where it was, State, Party, Union, but is nested in factories of communication (world). They have become the framework where one can exercise power without assuming responsibility. The new power no longer resides in the palaces, it no longer has an official address. It settles in places that look like maritime platforms, extraterritorial, bases from which it is possible to make "raids" on the mainland before withdrawing there. I distinguish four platforms of post-modernist power, whose elites emanate from "corporations", that is to say unelected bodies, neither responsible nor controlled, co-opted on the basis of supposed expertise: the mass media , justice, university, globalized and digital financialisation of the economy. The exercise of the power of these corporations is non-violent, immaterial. They produce narratives ("narratives" according to their favorite word), give shape to reality, confirm it, decree it and thus "limit it" (yes!). This condition allows them to exercise decisive control over the "old" instances of democracy, broadly speaking by contrasting "human rights" with "citizen's rights", the so-called "international community" with the sovereign state. , "democracy" to democratic rule, openness to closure, etc.
According to you, the European Union is the theater par excellence of postmodernism. Why? You go so far as to predict the advent of a new empire. What form could it take?
There is no post-modernism - nor postmodernity - except in relation to the European Union. This corresponds, without anyone realizing it, to the rise on the scene of a new power, a new regime. Postmodernist ideology is the system of representations and practices that accompanies evolution. It is therefore the discourse of the power and the legitimacy of the European Union. This is the field par excellence of "globalization", much more than the rest of the planet, in that it demonstrates the transubstantiation of two world wars into a peace deemed perpetual. From a sociological point of view, the constitution of this new power is the key to understanding the new ideology.
How to evaluate the turning point represented by this advent? History teaches us that nation-states are built on the ruins of empires so that the eclipse of the nation-state can only open to an imperial regime. Morphologically the EU is a heap of nations, with no common language, no shared identity, with a mobile border, can be very distant (Morocco? All the Mediterranean with the Barcelona Process ...). But this new empire is strange: it is acephalous, unless the "Franco-German couple" acts as double-emperor as was the case in Byzantium? An informal couple anyway. This empire is also without identity as indicated by its refusal to recognize the Judeo-Christian foundations of Europe. He is "neutral"! Although he believes to embody "human rights" and to be a model for humanity, a huge claim when one exercises power, even if the legitimacy of this ambition is declined in terms of "repentance" and compassion. However, we have never seen an empire survive without a central sacrosanct and charismatic power, an undemocratic power capable of federating a crowd of peoples.
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