Jameson’s Postmodernism

Postmodernism, or, The Logic of Late Capitalism
Fredric Jameson

Area: Rhetorical and Critical Theory
Methodology: Marxist theory; critical theory
Argument: Jameson forwards the idea of historicity, the perception of the present as history.  He argues that history is related to the present which somehow defamiliarizes it and allows us that distance from immediacy which is as length characterized as a historical perspective (284).
Postmodernism is an attempt to think of the present historically; PoMoism is also the consumption of sheer commodification as a process
PoMoism might illustrate the end of one of Lyotard’s “master narratives” (*return to this idea when reading Lyotard)
-“The return of the narrative as the narrative at the end of narratives, this return of history in the midst of the prognosis of the demise of historical telos, suggests a second feature of PoMoism theory which requires attention, namely, the way in which virtually any observation about the present can be mobilized in the very search for the present itself and pressed into service as a symptom and an index of the deeper logic of the PoMo, which imperceptibly turns into its own theory and the theory of itself” (xii).
“PoMo” = the production of PoMo people capable of functioning in a very particular sociological world (xv)
Bearing the universal weight of a representative particular, turning back into the work which isn’t supposed to exist in the PoMo
Freudian retroactivity? (*return to this when reading Freud)
Possible definition of Late Capitalism: falls somewhere between Hegel’s “essential cross-section” and Althusser’s “structure in dominance”
Chapter 9: Nostalgia for the Present
Major question: Did the 50s see themselves as the 50s?
Marcuse’s “false happiness” = cultural representations
What real life is and what is mere appearance (280)
-Its own representation of itself
-the sense people have of themselves and their own moment of history may ultimately have nothing whatsoever to do with its reality
So…is there such a thing as history?  Further, can we imagine the future at all?
Historicity is the apprehension of that present as the past of a specific future.
Formal apparatus of nostalgia films has trained us to consume the past
If PoMoism is to think of the present historically, what does this to do the future (as Jameson already asked…)?  I see some strong connections with Deleuze.  If we’re thinking of the present in terms of a specific history (Jameson), then we’re preserving the past in that present moment (Deleuze).  *More connections will obviously come with more reading.,,


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