Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 March 2012
‘… it is always in a dilemma and a certain non-knowledge … as to what it would be best to do, it is at the moment when two contradictory imperatives are in competition, that a responsible freedom can be exercised as such.’Derrida (2002 b)
After Foucault with the too well known intertwining of knowledge and power and after Said with his indictments of the colonizing impulse of knowledge it might be easy to point at the exclusions and the latent coerciveness of ‘universal rights’. At the level of its working, to show the dominance of the international financing organizations based on the northern countries and the diverse overt and covert ways in which these dictate the terms of understanding, control and day to day activities in the nation states of the south. In this transfer/translation of knowledge, power and economy, the roles of the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), of well-meaning individuals and globalized functionaries of the state and techno scientific institutions along with certain ‘local’ level initiatives are gradually becoming clearer. Detailed analyses and critical descriptions of the dynamics of these efforts are crucial, yet do not exhaust the problem. The conceptual issues involved must be unravelled (I do not propose this as an easy and self-congratulatory positivist gesture but in the deconstructive spirit of attempting the (im)possible yet unavoidable task of unwinding the ever-tangled loop of thinking, being and doing, of taking the risk of decisions, however contingent, where it is impossible to decide).