Publication details [#17699]

Fuchs, Martin. 2009. Reaching out. Or, nobody exists in one context only: society as translation. Translation Studies 2 (1) : 21–40.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


Debates about translation have now advanced to a stage in which translation is acknowledged as a key dimension of social life. At the same time, a translation approach to social praxis demands the rethinking of basic premises of the social sciences. Taking translation as a key dimension of sociality means regarding difference as primary. The focus then is on the exchanges and interconnections between and across different contexts. What stands out are the multiple contextual involvements of social actors. This paper views translation as interactive and non-representational. Based on the distinction between implicit and explicit levels of social translation, it explores the potentialities of translation as a way of reaching out to others and overcoming the restrictions of context by instituting a “third idiom”. Taking the example of Buddhism and other universalistic idioms employed by Dalits in India, the article discusses attempts to translate one's concerns, and oneself, in a way that implicates one's opponents as well as society at large. [Based on abstract in journal]