- Mapping Poststructuralism's Borders: The Case for Poststructuralist Area Studies
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 18, Number 1, April 2003
- pp. 42-88
- View Citation
- Additional Information
The growth of highly formalized varieties of deconstructionist and Foucauldian analysis in Asian cultural studies is commonly based upon ideological accounts of capital st globalization as entailing cultural homogenization. This implicit economic determinism supports the universalization of Western poststructuralist theory. In Asian cultural studies a conjuncture between globalization theory, Marxism and poststructuralism can operate as a parallel to, and implicit legitimation of, Western geopolitical hegemony. The "application" of poststructuralism outside its culture of origin reveals its capacity to obscure cultural difference despite rhetorical claims that this body of theorizing valorizes the importance of difference. In Asian studies the critical thrust of poststructuralism can be preserved by incorporating the notion of bordered spatialities as theoretically significant domains of difference between forms of discourse and culture. That is, in cross-cultural analysis the critical value of poststructuralism can be salvaged by drawing insights from the methods of area studies. A theoretical hybridization of poststructuralism and area studies can resist Euro-American theoretical hegemony.