Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fredric Jameson / Postmodernism: The Waning of Affect


Fredric Jameson - Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - summary 
part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - Review



Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Post-Contemporary Interventions)

Another deference between high or late modernism and postmodernism which Fredric Jameson locates in "Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" is what he calls "the waning of affect".

When we look at modern painting with human figures we will most often find in them a human expression which reflects and inner experience, such as in Edvard Munch's "The Scream" which epitomizes the modern experience of alienation and anxiety. In contrast, Jameson holds to that in postmodern art feelings wane (therefore "the waning of affect").

The concept of expression, Jameson notes, presupposes a model of inside and outside, a distinction between ones inner and outside world and the individual person as a single monad. But when we look at postmodern portrait such as Warhol's Marilyn we can hardly speak of any expression, and that is because, Jameson holds, postmodernism rejects traditional models of the depth (see depthlessness) such as the Freudian model of conscious and unconscious or the existential model of authentic and unauthentic.  

The idea of the subject as a monad, of individualism, is a 19th and early 20th century capitalistic bourgeois notion. With the rise of global economy this notion began to fade away with the sole trader, consumer and employee made insignificant, reduced to statistical numbers. Private human agency plays little part in the faceless era of corporate economy and Jameson notes how the crisis of alienation and anxiety gave way to the fragmentation of subject or "death of the subject".

Jameson proceeds to describe the waning of affect through the process in which the subject has lost his active ability to create a sense of continuity between past and future and to organize his temporal existence into one coherent experience. This reduces his cultural production abilities to nothing but random and eclectic "piles of fragments"



Fredric Jameson - Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - summary 
part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - Review


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