The Spaces of Reciprocity Cover Image

A kölcsönösség terei
The Spaces of Reciprocity

Author(s): Béla Bíró
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature
Published by: Scientia
Keywords: cultural space; universality; cultural relativism; reciprocity;
Summary/Abstract: The paper is based on the problematic features of the expression “in-between spaces”. The argumentation approaches the theme from the aspect of cultural relativism. The starting-point is a certain principle which states that neutral cultural spaces do not exist. There is an important conclusion that can be drawn from this statement: what we generally call universalism is not truly universalism but rather another particular culture. In its strict sense, the term “cultural universalism” is nothing more than the sophisticated form of cultural dominance. This does not mean that cultures are incompatible: they are only autonomous. Furthermore, the human mind is capable of being familiar with more cultures and linguistic forms at the same time. The paradox of “in-between spaces” – the aim of the present paper is to prove it – is hidden behind the fact that these do not appear as a certain transition between two different cultures; it is less a mixture of these two, yet they do appear in the minds of the “citizens” from diverse cultural universes. The mentioned phenomenon, however, presupposes reciprocity. If reciprocity cannot exist because controlling ideologies based on false universality make it impossible, the theory of “in-between spaces” may become the cover ideology of cultural space expansion (also called assimilation). The study tries to show the antonym of this false strategy, taking into consideration Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s poem cycle, West-Eastern Divan. Goethe, in fact, is not eager to translate Muslim culture and the poetry of the notable Hafez, but he rather tries to focus on the renewal of specific values of Muslim culture within the specific context of German culture. This renewal is only possible if aspects of power are eliminated from cultural relations, if the principle of dominance can be replaced by the principle of factual reciprocity.

  • Page Range: 213-222
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Hungarian