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by Rosa María Rodríguez Magda:


"“Trans” is not a miracle prefix, or the longing for an angelic multiculturalism; it is not the synthesis of modernity and premodernity, but of modernity and postmodernity. It constitutes, in the first place, the description of a globalized, rhizomatic, technologic society, developed from the first world, confronted with its others, while at the same time it penetrates and assumes them; and secondly, it constitutes the effort to transcend this hyperreal, relativistic enclosure. As I have previously written: “Transmodernity is not an NGO for the third world, and it is good that they know as soon as possible, just as we should lucidly understand that it is neither a new technological and happy utopia. It is the place where we are, the place where the excluded are not present. With that we all will have to deal with” (Rodríguez Magda, Transmodernidad 16).

Nevertheless, we must explain this “not being present” of those who support antimodern stands, for, if Western modernity excluded certain cultures, peoples, ethnic and religious groups, modernization itself draws the map where they emerge, also generating a sort of paradoxical synthesis between premodernity and postmodernity. Thus, for example, the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism develops its assets of spectacularity and operational strategy to a large extent thanks to the media and cybernetic society. Without belittling the tragedy of the victims, the 9/11 attacks would not have had such a strong impact without the live broadcasting of the destruction of the Twin Towers, and the Al-Qaeda reports would not have inoculated the indomitable danger outside the propagation of encrypted messages that the network’s agility provides. The challenge to Western society is not exercised from pre and anti-modern positions, such as Radical Evil; the alien and inassimilable Other, while holding the domain of the real by its despise of death, circulates transmodernly through the veins of our transmodern society; it is physically and specularly structured in the same reticular form, and that is what causes us a diffuse anguish, an unavoidable terror.

The transmodern culture that I describe departs from the perception of the present common to various authors and which they have referred to in different ways, also offering varied answers, such as Jameson’s “late capitalism”, Bauman’s “liquid modernity”, Beck’s “second modernity”, Lipovetsky’s “hypermodernity” or Žižek’s “desert of the real”. While some focus on the elements of rupture with the modern and postmodern phases, others postulate a continuity that, in my view, tarnishes the perception of the paradigm shift that should serve to outline the conceptual weapons with which to face our contemporaneity. Modernity was intended to be postulated as an articulated whole, despite its heterogeneity, as a positioning for consistent rationality and ethical-social progress. Knowledge adopted the objective and scientific model, validated by experience and the progressive control of nature, and supported by the development of technique. At the same time, an achievable horizon of emancipation of individuals, freedom and social justice was needed. In this sense, Modernity affirms the necessity and legitimacy of global or systemic discourses. The postmodern crisis will denounce the impossibility of such postulates. As is well known, Lyotard, in The Postmodern Condition, proclaimed the end of the Grand Narratives of unitary paradigms, showing the present as the space for microtechnologies, heterogeneity, fragmentation and hybridity. Under the birth of the French Théorie and of Cultural Studies, great propagandists from American postmodern trends, ideas spread in the academic world and the media, following simplified readings, such as: discourse is power (Foucault), textuality (Derrida), subject of desire (Deleuze), and everything, is simulacrum (Baudrillard). It only needed to be joined by Fukuyama proclaiming the end of history. Literary criticism spreads, as a school dogma, from the 80s until nowadays, what the post-structuralist philosophy had elaborated, with greater strength, years before.3

But when thought becomes scholastic and commonplace, it betrays the critical impulse that leads to the emergence of novel conceptualizations. It seems it is time to evaluate not the rupture that postmodernity represented, but its own bankruptcy, this is, the crisis of crisis. Can we today, as we enter the 21st century, continue to repeat without self-criticism all the rhetoric of the post that was a rupture more than twenty years ago? The foundational thesis of post theorizations was the impossibility of the Grand Narratives, of a new theoretical totality. Postmodernity meant the emergence of multiplicity, fragmented and centrifugal, and joyfully irreconcilable. And yet, in recent times, this myriad of dispersed particles appear to have regrouped into a chaotic, totalizing whole, emerging a New Grand Story, of previously unprecedented proportions: Globalization. A New Grand Story, which does not accept the theoretical or social emancipation of modern metanarratives, but to the unexpected effects of communication technologies, the new dimension of the markets and geopolitics. Economic, political, technological, social, cultural, ecological globalization... where everything is interconnected, configuring a new fluctuating diffuse magma, but impregnably all-embracing. It is clear that I am referring not to a certain neoliberal discourse, which others have called monolythic thinking, but to a real situation, which in fact includes and surrounds both the incipient theorizations in its favour as well as the anti-globalization mobilizations: the totalizing locus in which the real conditions of our present and its explanatory connate emerge.

This “polycentric world politics”, in the definition by Rosenau, at the same time also global, is characterised, according to Beck, by the emergent presence of the following elements: transnational organizations (from the World bank to multinational companies, from NGOs to the Mafia...), transnational problems (monetary crises, climate change, drugs, AIDS, ethnic conflicts...), transnational events (wars, sports competitions, mass culture, solidarity mobilizations...), transnational communities (based on religion, generational lifestyles, ecological responses, racial identities...), transnational structures (labour, cultural, financial...). From all this it seems that we can conclude the following: The postmodern affirmation of the impossibility of Grand Narratives results out-dated; there is a new Grand Narrative, or rather a new Grand Fact, which must launch innovative theoretical devices: Globalization. Therefore it would be convenient to contemplate the configuration of the present with the modifications from a New paradigm. To characterize the new situation, rather than the prefix “post”, the most appropriate prefix is “trans”, since it connotes the current form of transcending the limits of modernity; it speaks to us of a world in constant transformation, based, as we have pointed out, not only on transnational phenomena, but also on the primacy of the transmissibility of information in real time, impregnated in transculturality, in which creation refers to transtextuality and in which artistic innovation is thought as transavantgarde. Therefore, if modern culture corresponded to industrial society, and postmodern society to postmodern culture, a globalized society corresponds to the type of culture I call transmodern."



"“Transmodernity prolongs, continues and transcends Modernity. It is the return of some of its lines and ideas, perhaps even the most ingenuous but also the most universal. Hegelianism, utopian socialism, Marxism, the philosophies of suspicion, critical schools … showed this ingenuousness. After the crisis in these trends, we look further back to the illustrated project as a general, looser framework in which to choose the present. But this is a remote, ironic return that accepts that it is a useful fiction. Transmodernity is the return, the copy, the survival of a weak, ‘light’ Modernity. The contemporary area that is criss-crossed by all trends, memories, possibilities. It is both transcendental and apparential, and is voluntarily syncretic in its ‘multichrony’. Transmodernity is a fiction: our reality, the copy that supplants the model, eclecticism both mean and angelical. Transmodernity is postmodernity without its innocent rupturism, the museum display of reason, not forgetting history which has died to avoid ending up in barbaric cybernetic or mass media domestication. It is proposing values as stops or as fables, but without forgetting, because we are wise, because our past was wise. Transmodernity takes up and recovers the vanguards, copying and selling them, but meanwhile it remembers that art has had, and has, an effect of denunciation and experimentalism, that is, not everything goes. It breaks down the distance between elitism and mass culture and reveals the connections between them. Transmodernity is image, series, baroque fugue and self-reference, catastrophe, loop, fractal and inane reiteration, the entropy of what is obese, the clumsy inflation of data, the aesthetic of what is full and of what has disappeared, entropic, fatal. The key to it is not what comes after, the rupture, but the trans-substantiation and overlapping of paradigms. The worlds that penetrate each other and end up as soap bubbles or as images on a screen. Transmodernity is not a desire or a goal. It is just there, like a complex, random, imposed strategic situation. It is neither good nor bad, beneficial nor unbearable… and it is all of these things together… It is the abandonment of representation, it is the reign of simulation, of simulation that knows it is real” ( Rodríguez Magda 1989, 141-142).



The main tenets of ‘transmodernity’ as given by Ghisi and Dussel

Irena Ateljevic:

"I will now briefly highlight and compare the main tenets of ‘transmodernity’ as given by Ghisi and Dussel.

Transmodernity can generally be characterized by optimism to provide hope for human race. Ghisi (1999, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008) describes transmodernity as a planetary vision in which humans are beginning to realize that we are all (including plants and animals) connected into one system, which makes us all interdependent, vulnerable and responsible for the Earth as an indivisible living community3. In that sense this paradigm is actively tolerant and genuinely democratic by definition, as the awareness of mutual interdependency grows and the hierarchies between different cultures dismantle. Transmodernity is also essentially post-patriarchal in a sense that women’s visions and intuitions are to be recognized as indispensable in order to invent together innovative urgent solutions. This is radically different from the (preceding and necessary) (post)modern feminist movements that fight for women’s rights only. Rather it is about a joint effort of men and women to fight for the better world of tomorrow by rejecting values of control and domination. It is also essentially postsecular in a sense that redefines a new relation between religions and politics in a way that re-enchants the world towards a new openness to spiritual awareness and presence as a basis for private behaviour and public policy, whilst rejecting any religious divisions and dogmas. It is open to the transcendental, while resisting any authoritarian imposition of religious certainty. In doing so it tries to rediscover the sacred as a dimension of life and of our societies.

Transmodernity opposes the endless economic progress and obsession with material wealth and instead promotes the concept of quality of life as the measure of progress. This is expressed in the form of the knowledge economy which moves the emphasis from material capital to intangible assets and the nourishment of human potential. It challenges the rationalized notions of work in its artificial divorce from life. It combines rationalism with intuitive brainwork. It moves away from vertical authority toward “flatter,” more “horizontal,” organizations; away from “recommendations-up-orders-down” management and toward more consensual decision-making (Ghisi, 1999, p.3). It downsizes the concept of clergy, technocrats and experts in order to raise the self-awareness, self-knowledge and individual accountability of all, yet it simultaneously uses the modernist achievements of science, technology and social innovation. It promotes Earth citizenship and draws from the highest potentials of humanity. It redefines the relation between science, ethics and society to reach for real and radical transdisciplinarity. Yet it is not a uniforming view as global reconciliation around a sustainable future and a broad range of cultural diversity is maintained at the same time. Within the global vision of connected humanity it claims that each community or region needs to be free to develop in ways that are uniquely suited to its culture, ecology, climate and other characteristics. It wants us to see that the danger of today is less between cultures and religions, than the conflict between different paradigms (Ghisi, 1999). As such it offers a powerful path to peace and a new platform of dialogue between world cultures. In developing the concept of transmodernity, Ghisi (1999) speaks from the capacity of a Belgian theologian, philosopher and researcher on global cultural transformation who worked in the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission for 10 years, advising presidents Delors and Santer on EU visions, ethics and culture shifts. Dussel (1995), on the other hand, speaks from the Latin American, postcolonial neo-Marxist perspective, and associates transmodernity with his philosophy of liberation. Needless to say, while there are many similarities, Dussel’s perspective on transmodernity is somewhat different from Ghisi’s admittedly Eurocentric perspective. While Ghisi departs from a point of mostly Western socio-cultural and historical analysis, Dussel and his followers take epistemological, philosophical and political aspects of transmodernity as a starting point to unsettle Eurocentric coloniality. Dussel sees the potentiality in transmodernity to move us beyond traditional dichotomies; to articulate a critical cosmopolitanism beyond nationalism and colonialism; to produce knowledge beyond third world and Eurocentric fundamentalisms; to produce radical post-capitalist politics beyond identity politics; to overcome the traditional dichotomy between the political economy and cultural studies; and to move beyond economic reductionism and culturalism (Grosfoguel et al., 2007). Dussel, just like Ghisi, is concerned about the destructive forces of modernity that are destroying the planet and along with it humankind: “The three malaises of modernity (individualism, the primacy of instrumental reason or technological capitalism, and the despotism of the system), produce a ‘loss of meaning’, an ‘eclipse of ends’, and a ‘loss of freedom’ in bureaucratized societies” (Dussel, 1996, p. 142), and the capitalistic emphasis on “profit, private appropriations and personal benefits” (Dussel, 2006, p. 491) needs to be replaced with transmodern planetary interconnectedness and mutuality.

While Ghisi (1999) concerns himself, as we have seen above, mainly with describing the characteristics of the paradigm shift, Dussel’s (2009) central argument revolves around the role of intercultural dialogue in bringing about and defining the shift towards transmodernity. Granted, Ghisi does note certain underlying forces that he considers are driving transmodern changes, among them the inability of reductionist capitalism to respond effectively to increasingly challenging global problems, and the transition from an industrial to a spiritual, wisdom economy. However, for Dussel, genuine dialogue across all cultures is needed in order for transmodernity to transcend Eurocentrism. Let me clarify that Ghisi (1999) also sees intercultural dialogue as central to transmodernity, however, it seems as though to him it is an aspect, rather than the driving force of the transmodern paradigm shift, as it is for Dussel. In order to understand this claim, it is necessary to briefly outline Dussel’s preceding argument: In his revealing historical analysis (see Dussel, 1996), he locates the origins of modernity in the Iberian peninsula, starting with the invasion of the Americas from 1492, which resulted in Europe being able to place itself at the centre, while the rest of the world became a periphery. However, he also shows later (2002, 2004) that it was not until the Industrial Revolution that Europe gained a relative advantage large enough to exert its hegemony over other highly developed cultures of the time—such as China and Hindustan (Dussel, 2002). Given this relatively short timeframe of only 200 years, he continues, European hegemony was unable to fully suppress most of the value structures of ancient cultures, like the Chinese and cultures of the Far East, the Hindustani, the Islamic, the Russian-Byzantine, and Latin American cultures (2002, 2004). According to Dussel, these ancient cultures hold “enough human potential to give birth to a cultural plurality that will emerge after modernity and capitalism” (2002, p. 234), and that they are presently reaffirming their roots in a trans-modern cultural response to our contemporary challenges (2004). Moreover, he argues that this same process of self-affirmation is taking place in regional European cultures (such as the Galician, Catalan, Basque, and Andalusian cultures in Spain; the Mezzogiorno in Italy; the Bavarians in Germany; and the Scottish, Irish), and in the minorities of the United States, especially the Afro-American and Hispanic cultures (2002). In this, Dussel sees great hope for the future, as the irrupting diversity of perspectives carries a rich pluriversity that can create authentic intercultural dialogue (2004, 2009). In other words, far from limiting itself to a weak relativism by default, or to micro-narratives, the pluriversal or what is also known as decolonial approach would be to search for universal knowledge as pluriversal knowledge, but through horizontal dialogues among different traditions of thought. The construction of transmodern pluriverses means taking seriously the knowledge production of non- Western critical traditions and genealogies of thought and such dialogue, could “propose novel and necessary answers for the anguishing challenges that the Planet throws upon us at the beginning of the twenty-first century” (Dussel, 2004, p. 18).

- "Like the tropical jungles with their immense quantity of plants and animals genetically essential for the future of humanity, the majority of humanity’s cultures excluded by modernity [...] and by globalization [...] retains an immense capacity for and reserve of cultural invention essential for humanity’s survival. This creativity will also be needed if humanity is to redefine its relationship with nature based on ecology and interhuman solidarity, instead of reductively defining it on the solipsistic and schizoid criterion of increasing rates of profit". (Dussel, 2002, pp. 234-235)

Importantly, Dussel warns that (subconscious) Eurocentrism currently pervades all cultural arenas, European and non-European (2002), which makes genuine multiculturalism and dialogue—as opposed to sterile participation that follows Western procedural principles—a difficult endeavour (2004). Therefore, the dialogue needs to take place amongst cultures of the ‘South’ as well as between the South and the North (2004, 2009). Furthermore, genuine transversal dialogue needs to occur between culture’s critical innovators, who argue from the border between their culture and modernity, and who, rather than simply defend their culture, recreate it by critically evaluating both their own and modernity’s cultural tradition (Dussel, 2004, 2009). As a starting point, Dussel recommends certain core philosophical questions, which, while they can be expressed in different ways by different cultures, may still serve as bridges for a dialogue around universal human problems (Dussel, 2009). In a similar vein, another scholar, Ziauddin Sardar (2004) sees the positive potentiality of the transmodern world to bridge what appears currently the impassable gap between Islam and the West due to the concept of tradition as an idée fixe of Western society. He shows how transmodern tenets of truly universal concerns (i.e., the survival of our planet) that inherently then lead to the consensual politics and modalities for adjusting to change are at very heart of Islam. Yet he warns us that in developing a transmodern framework to open discussions it is important to think of the Muslim world beyond the strait jackets of either ultra-modernist or ultra traditionalist governments (neither of whom have any understanding of transmodernism) and involve ordinary people instead—activists, scholars, writers, journalists, etc. In doing so, Sardar (2004) argues we will discover that most people have critical but positive attitudes towards the West; and women will be as willing, if not more so, to participate in such discussions and the transformations they may initiate, as men. He is of the opinion that if the West shifts towards transmodernism, the involvement of the public will open up massive new possibilities for positive change and fruitful synthesis which would replace homogenizing globalization with a more harmonious and enriching experience of living together. Returning to Dussel’s work, it is evident that he is in agreement with Ghisi and Magda that transmodernity forms a dialectic triad with modernity and post-modernity. Post-modernity— which is in Dussel’s view still inherently Eurocentric, as it has rather paradoxically reinforced the process of Othering by further demarcation of difference and identity politics - has served to raise critical consciousness and general respect for difference (2002; 2006), so that humanity is ready to subsume “the best of globalized European and North American modernity [...] in order to develop a new civilization for the twenty-first century” (Dussel, 2002, p. 224). Instead of being dominated by it, transmodernity is in constant dialogue with modernity (Dussel, 2006). For instance, the best of the modern technological revolution should be adopted, while discarding anti-ecological aspects (Dussel, 2002). Furthermore, the focus on instrumental reason which characterised modernity should not simply be abandoned, but subordinated to ethical principles and “put at the service of the dignity and freedom of all the members of the community” (Dussel, 2006, p. 504). Actually, Dussel agrees with Magda (2004) that increasing globalisation (Dussel, 2002) and the availability of information technology (2009) are driving the emergence of transmodernity, as both enable us to instantaneously receive news about other cultures and respond with ethical judgement. As examples of social movements that are working towards replacing unjust modern practices with ethical alternatives, Dussel cites, for example, the Zapatist National Liberation Army in Mexico, the Sin Tierra movement in Brazil, the cocaleros coca growers in Bolivia, and the piqueteros—the unemployed—in Argentina, as well as groups that fight for the rights of workers, women, homosexuals, immigrants, and older people (Dussel, 2006)."



Reality becomes constant transformation

from Transmodernity: Globalization by Rosa María Rodríguez Magda:

"Reality becomes constant transformation. Its actual conditions are transcended to become part of an interconnected whole that is infinitely readjusted on a global level. In the end, the Total does not bring us back to a religious or supernatural power, nor to the noumenal kingdom of Metaphysics or Absolute Logic. The transcendental that used to be beyond and yet close to empirical reality has now become the hyperreal empirical reality itself, i.e., virtual transcendency.

… a globalized information society provides us with a true perspective of neither post nor multi, but transcultural by way of dialectical synthesis, as it is impacted by both cosmopolitan and the most minute local currents.

…proper knowledge is defined more in terms of transmissibility rather than the old criterion of adequatio (intellectus ad rem). Ours is a society of knowledge in the sense that it is built and transformed according to the quantity of knowledge that it can transmit. Whatever cannot be transmitted simply does not count. All of us are in a position to claim leadership amongst the most privileged to the degree that we successfully become software providers, recycle, utilize, send out and apply information. Being interactive means to master the codes of transmissibility, to be successful and draw benefits from it. Whereas the added value in the industrial society was generated by the work force, in today’s digital society it rests on the input of transmissibility.

We are now in the era of transformation in which water-tight boxes no longer make sense and everything functions as long as it is interconnected, is based on team work or capable of reinventing itself according to new demands or applications. The industrial society propagated serial production and mass consumption as its criteria of profitability, whereas today’s basic products must be customized to individual needs, be it in furniture design, computer programming or cable television. And this change not only affects the manufacturing industry: the very shape and size of nature itself can now be designed – the dawn of a transgenic age fills us with both hopes and fears. And even the body reaches out to unite the biological and mechanical: chips, implants, assisted reproduction, cloning, technological gadgets developed to extend our senses ranging from cellular phones to wrist-size Personal Assistant computers. The cyborg model embraces the metaphor of a mutating transhuman body, just as transsexuality has dislodged and paved the way for a vast array of possible genders, desires and identity beyond the dichotomy of masculine and feminine.

Jean Baudrillard has described in exquisite terms the entire scenario surrounding trans. In his view, “we are all transsexuals in the sense that the sexed body is bound today to an artificial destiny”(8) . The social turns into its very own mediate “mise en scène”: “We have now entered transpolitics, i.e., the ground zero of politics, which is also that of its reproduction and indefinite simulation” . The doubling of things through advertisement, the media and images gives rise to a transaesthetics, an eclectic vertigo of form. “The system operates through the aesthetic added value of the sign rather than the added value of merchandise” .

If glasnost (transparency) marked the fall of perestroika, the decline of the Soviet regime and the end of cold war politics, the same metaphor of transparency today stands for a world that aims to be its own image, and longs for instant presence on television monitors, a translucid and transferable hologram.

Transmodernity presents itself to us as a type of dialectic synthesis of the modern thesis and the postmodern antithesis, and in certainly the light, hybrid and virtual form typical of these periods. Ironically, with respect to Hegelian aims it does not constitute an increase in the Absolute but rather its omnipresent depletion; it is not true reality but real virtuality; it abandons the pyramidal and arborescent structure of the System and adopts a interconnected model of self-multiplying overgrowth. Evidently globality is not the Spirit, nor is Absolute Reason the only type of thinking, but it is precisely the synthesis that, to count as such, needs to combine the positive momentum of the modern with the emptiness of the Postmodern, the longing for unity of the former and the fragmentation of the latter. We are left with a totalizing sum of contingencies oblivious to its underlying base and definition, turning into proliferating crystallography.

We thus return to the uncertainty of looking ahead into the future, a vision of tomorrow tired of the tiresome wave of revivals, plagued by cosmic heroes, threats of extinction and epics of glory, posthuman mutants dressed up as transnational executives, a Final Fantasy for which every day we invent the ingredients, eager as we are to go beyond our limits, but also anxious and delirious, because everything happens too fast, huge fragments of remaining misery leave blood stains on a deceivingly glossy universe, where bites fly through space like bullets and we have yet to resolve the human dimension of justice."



History of the concept, by Rosa María Rodríguez Magda:

"We might well call our time “Transmodernity”.

With this concept I have tried to demarcate what, in my view, constitutes a true paradigm shift that can illuminate gnoseological, sociological, ethical and aesthetic aspects of our present. And so I started to put it into my book La sonrisa de Saturno. Hacia una teoría transmoderna [Saturn’s Smile. Towards a Transmodern Theory], developing other aspects in El modelo Frankenstein. De la diferencia a la cultura post [The Frankenstein model. From Difference to the Culture of Post], and concretizing its theorizing in Transmodernidad [Transmodernity].

Certainly, it is logical that a denomination composed by the incorporation of a prefix to a concept like “Modernity”, axis of many debates in the last decades, will emerge spontaneously and independently in different disciplines and with various ideological proposals (although, I insist, I have no record that it has used before I coined it in 1989, as a new theoretical configuration, with a structured foundation, beyond a mere random and punctual use). However, if we want to outline the history of the various meanings of the term, we shall quote my dear friend Enrique Miret Magdalena, who told me that, years ago, he had used the term in a conference, which was never published, as a way of exemplifying a new synthetic period. Nevertheless, he did not resume the term until 2004 in a chapter of one of his books, La vida merece la pena ser vivida [Life is Worth Living] (2004). Also Jüri Talvet, Estonian Hispanic Philologist, has also used it occasionally to denominate the present poetry which seeks to escape the exhausted postmodern canon. I cite these two coincidences, of the many scattered that have occurred and will no doubt continue to emerge. However, there are only three authors or schools, who, after 1989, have tried to apply the concept with theoretical pretensions.

Thus, the Argentine-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel, from his book Postmodernidad, Transmodernidad [Postmodernity, Transmodernity] (1999), frames it in the context of the philosophy of liberation and reflection on Latin-American identity, taking as transmodern theories those that, coming from the Third World, claim a proper place facing Western modernity, incorporating the look of the Postcolonial subaltern other.

With varying meanings, the notion of “transmodernity” has appeared sporadically in the framework of meetings related to the culture of peace, intercultural dialogue or the philosophy of law. Especially, Marc Luyckx has reiterated the concept, using it from 1998 onwards, since the seminar “Gouvernance et Civilisations”, which he coordinated in Brussels, organized by The Prospecting Cell of The European Community, in collaboration with the World Academy of Arts and Sciences. According to the way he applies it, transmodernity would hope for a synthesis between premodern and modern stands, constituting a model in which the coexistence of both is accepted, in order to reconcile the notion of progress with the respect for cultural and religious difference, trying to stop the rejection, mainly from Islamic countries, to the Western view of modernity. Ziauddin Sardar, Etienne Le Roy and Christoph Eberhard have also used it in this same sense of dialogue between cultures.

A third area where a certain theorisation has been developed is architecture. In 2002 the Austrian Cultural Forum of New York programmed the exhibition: “TransModernity. Austrian Architects”. And Marcos Novak, who co-managed with Paul Virilio between 1998 and 2000 the Fondation Transarchitectures in Paris, has strengthened the notion of transarchitecture as the liquid architecture of the new virtual space. The personal and intellectual closeness of Virilio and Baudrillard are remarkable, and thus Novak’s use of the term, still focused on a specific area, is more akin to the worldview I use as a starting point and that I have developed theoretically.

All these coincidences in the use of a term, beyond the diversity of meanings, show the same grasp of the contradictions of modernity and the search for a new model that will explain the changes that operate in our present."


More information

* Article: Visions of Transmodernity: A New Renaissance of our Human History? Irena Ateljevic. INTEGRAL REVIEW, June 2013, Vol. 9, No. 2.


"In this paper I will engage with a broad range of literature that provides us with many signals and evidence of an emerging and significant paradigm shift in human evolution. In doing so, I will offer the concept of transmodernity as an umbrella term that connotes the emerging socio-cultural, economic, political and philosophical shift. My research across boundaries of many different fields such as critical economics, philosophy, subaltern and postcolonial studies, social anthropology and psychology, cultural studies, political science and social activism literature will illustrate how an integrated approach and dialogue is urgently needed, indeed more than ever before.

Different authors use a variety of terms to capture what can essentially be described as the synchronised phenomenon of emerging higher collective consciousness —

  • the transmodernity paradigm (Ghisi);
  • transmodern philosophy of political liberation (Dussel);
  • Hegelian dialectical triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis (Magda);
  • the reflective/livingsystems paradigm (Elgin);
  • the partnership model of caring economics (Eisler);
  • the relational global consciousness of biosphere politics (Rifkin);
  • love ethics (hooks);
  • the circularity paradigm of interdependence (Steinem).

With a reference to a variety of authors I will argue that the reason we do not hear much about this movement is because it is not centralised and coordinated under a single unifying name. 'Transmodernity' ropes together many concepts/tenets of other writings that do not necessarily use the same term, but I chose it in order to communicate the overall idea of the emerging paradigm shift as the next cultural and material development in human history. I have opted to use the concept as a medium to convey humanity's unified synchronicity, which is part of a transformation that can be claimed to be 'the new renaissance' of human history."


Dussel, E. (1995). The invention of the Americas: Eclipse of ‘Other’ and the myth of modernity. New York, NY: Continuum.

Dussel, E. (1996). Modernity, eurocentrism, and trans-modernity: In dialogue with Charles Taylor. In E. Dussel (Ed.), The underside of modernity (pp. 129-159). Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International.

Dussel, E. (2002). World-system and “trans”-modernity. Nepanthia: Views from the South, 3(2), 221-244.

Dussel, E. (2004). Transmodernity and interculturality: An interpretation from the perspective of philosophy of liberation. Retrieved from

Dussel, E. (2006). Globalization, organization and the ethics of liberation. Organization, 13(4), 489-508. Dussel, E. (2009). A new age in the history of philosophy: The world dialogue between philosophical traditions. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 35(5), 499-516.

Ghisi, M. L. (1999). The transmodern hypothesis: Toward a dialogue of cultures. Futures, 31(910), 879-1016.

Ghisi, M. L. (2001). Au delà de la modernité, du patriarcat et du capitalisme: La société réenchantée. Paris, FR: L’Harmattan.

Ghisi, M. L. (2006). Transmodernity and transmodern tourism. Keynote at the 15th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research: Visions of Modern Transmodern Tourism. 19th – 22nd of October, Savonlinna, Finland.

Ghisi, M. L. (2007). Beyond patriarchy and industry towards planetarist & sustainable tourism. Keynote at the 2nd International Critical Tourism Studies Conference. 20th - 23rd of June, Split, Croatia. Abstract available in C. Harris & M. van Hal (Eds.). Conference Proceedings: The Critical Turn in Tourism Studies: Promoting an Academy of Hope. Zagreb, HR: Institute for Tourism.

Ghisi, M. L. (2008). The knowledge society: A breakthrough towards genuine sustainability. Cochin, IN: Arunachala Press.