1945, 1956, 1968, 1979-1980, 1989-1991, 2001-2003, 2008-2010


From Eurozine:

I have to start my story by outlining what I consider to be the context of your discussion. You say you want to look at “avant-gardes from the decline of modernism to the rise of globalization, 1956-1986″. It is not clear to me whether these dates were chosen because of turning points in the artworld or turning points in the world political arena – perhaps both.

Your background text lays emphasis on the large number of authoritarian regimes that existed in various parts of the world at the beginning of that period and presumably fewer towards the end. You talk about the rise of globalization, presumably towards the end of that period. The shift you want to discuss is very real, but let me offer you a slightly different set of temporal cutting-points to illuminate this story – 1945, 1956, 1968, 1979-1980, 1989-1991, 2001-2003, 2008-2010.

1945: This was of course the end of the Second World War. More important, it was the end of an intense 30-year-long struggle between the United States and Germany in their efforts, begun in the 1870s, to succeed Great Britain as the hegemonic power of the world-system.

The 1960s saw the onset of a creeping geopolitical decline for both the United States and its collusive partner, the Soviet Union. They both initially reacted by new kinds of repression. This would however not really work in the middle-run. The world-revolution of 1968 was one outcome, and turned out to be devastating for both of them.

After 1968, neither the United States nor the Soviet Union would ever be able to regain the unquestioning fidelity of their presumed allies or the unquestioning belief in the bright futures each was guaranteeing to everyone.

“The world system after 1945”, Immanuel Wallerstein, Eurozine

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