Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Fredric Jameson – Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

part 1 - 2summary

Fredric Jameson's premise in his widely acclaimed "Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" is that the Marxist meta-narrative can sustain a reliable account of all cultural texts produced by a given society. He therefore combines the theories of Marxist thinkers such as Lukács and Althusser with some post-structuralist thinking in order to create a complex method of interpreting cultural texts such a literature and architecture. As previous 20th century modern thinkers such as the Frankfurt School he is also critical of the dogmatic and deterministic "crude" Marxist point of view which is refined in ""Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism".  Following Althusser and his affiliation with Lacan he adopts dome psychoanalytic notions along with the hermeneutic principle of overdetermination in order to provide a rich and complex stance for diagnosing ideological symptoms in cultural products.

Jameson's pursuit of the question of postmodernism in "Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" can be seen as a direct development on his views in "The Political Unconscious" and "Postmodernism and Consumer society".

Jameson directly deals with the question of periodization, which in the Marxist context is directly related to the question of determinism. He relies on Ernest Mandel's work which offered an historical periodization on the basis of technological developments. He offers three stages of development in capitalism and it is interesting to ask whether the current "age of information", not yet dominant at the time of "Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism", is a new fourth phase or the continuation of the third stage, the "post-industrial" or "multi-national", assigned by Mandel and adopted by Jameson. With everybody announcing the "postmodernism is dead" nowadays, it is also interesting to ask what is the current "cultural dominant" which in Jameson's time was postmodernism (perhaps neo-modernism, but who knows?).

part 1 - 2 - summary

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