Fredric Jameson: A Critical Reader
This volume brings together original work from internationally recognized scholars that critically engages with the full range of Jameson's work, including: Sartre, Lukács, 'Third World' literature, architecture, postmodernity, globalization, film, dialectics and Brecht. In a series of lively, and at times iconoclastic readings, the contributors challenge accepted views of Jameson's work and locate his project in the historical, political and institutional context that shaped it. The volume concludes with an original contribution by Jameson himself, providing an opportunity for readers to critically engage with his work themselves.
integrity could lead only to a politics in which “authenticity” was equated with the degree of one’s alienation, the degree of one’s willingness to undertake existential acts of defiance’ (1973, p. 168). The New Left, therefore, tended to vacillate between moments of existential despair and vastly inflated ideas of its own potential. The New Left rejected the Old Left analysis of the state as the principal vehicle of social transition and industry as the primary site of struggle on the grounds
unconscious itself, with its characteristic welling up of the repressed and of the symbolically invested into Aschenbach’s conscious mind. The shock involved in the notion that the fate of the biographer of Frederick the Great [i.e. Aschenbach] is emblematic of the disintegration of Prussia itself, with its mixture of the repressiveauthoritarian and the decadent – an interpretation which won the endorsement of Thomas Mann himself – is an essential structural component of Marxist analysis, and is
bureaucratic impersonality’ (Jameson, 1992a, p. 3). Hence, films such as All the President’s Men are not just narratives of particular, isolated conspiracies (in this case, Watergate, of course), but they also form part of a broader reflection on global politics as a totality: ‘For it is ultimately always of the social totality itself that it is a question in representation, and never more so than in the present age of a multinational global corporate network’ (1992a, p. 4). At the same time,
his argument, Jameson’s appeal to economic categories is consistently – perhaps deliberately – imprecise. A favorite rhetorical tactic in this regard has been to refer to terms of apparently distinct cognitive range with an additive “or,” the better, as it were, to widen the lens of analysis. For example, Jameson refers to “postmodern or late” capitalism (1991a, p. 9; 1996a , p. 38), “third or postmodern” stage capitalism (1996a , pp. 25, 53), capital of the “nuclear or cybernetic”
possible the presence of delegates from 122 different nations. The organizers were quick to convert to their advantage the visibility gains of media society: when a journalist, Patrice Barrat, proposed a teleconference with four Davos delegates, they mounted a colourful panel of representatives from different ethnicities who conversed with their counterparts in Davos: four white men in dark suits. On television, they stood for standardized globalization whereas Porto Alegre presented the