By Fredric Jameson
One of many prime Marxist critics within the English-speaking global, Fredric Jameson has had a major effect on our knowing of postmodernism. notwithstanding, before, his key writings at the topic were unavailable in an available and cheap shape. This booklet is designed as a brief and handy creation to Jameson's notion for either the scholar and the overall reader.
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Totality', at least as I use it. As for 'totalizing' processes, that often means little more than the making of connections between various phenomena : thus, to take an influential contemporary example, although Gayatri Spivak offers her conception of a 'continuous sign-chain' as an alternative to dialectical thought,S on my usage that conception would also stand as a specific ( and non-dialectical ) form of 'totalizing' . 40 MARXISM AND P O STMOD ERNISM We must b e grateful t o the work of Ronald L.
The history of the revolutionary convul sions in question can also be appealed to for a very different lesson, namely that violence springs from counterrevolution first 38 MARXISM AND P O STMODERNISM and foremost, indeed, that the most effective form o f counter revolution lies precisely in this transmission of violence to the revolutionary process itself. I doubt if the current state of alliance or micro-politics in the advanced countries supports such anxieties and fantasies; they would not, for me at least, constitute grounds for, withdrawing support and solidarity from a potential revolution in South Africa, say; finally, this general feeling that the revolutionary, utopian or totalizing impulse is somehow tainted from the outset and doomed to bloodshed by the very structure of its thoughts does strike one as idealistic, if not finally a replay of doctrines of original sin in their worst religious sense.
H System and Differentiation But the notion that there is something misguided and contradic tory about a- unified theory of differentiation also rests on a confusion between levels of abstraction: a system that constitu tively produces differences remains a system, nor is the idea of such a system supposed to be in kind 'like' the object it tries to theorize, any more than the concept of dog is supposed to bark or the concept of sugar to taste sweet. It is felt that something precious and existential, something fragile and unique about our own singularity, will be lost irretrievably when we find out that we are j ust like everybody else: in that case, so be it, and let's know the worst; the objection is the primal form of existentialism (and phenomenology) , and it is the emergence of such things and such anxieties that needs to be explained.
The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998 by Fredric Jameson