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Fredric Jameson

Related: theory - Marxism - literary theory - postmodernism - structuralism

Coined the terms: paraliterature

Jameson has also written and introduction to Jacques Attali's Noise: The Political Economy of Music (1977).

Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1984/1991) - Fredric Jameson
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Jameson's magisterial command of a panorama of theoretical traditions meant that he was well placed to launch a polemic against the depoliticizing, relativist or reactionary tendencies of the age. That polemic was pointedly formulated in the article Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism published in New Left Review (1984). This was expanded into a sizable book with the same title (1991) which is one of the crucial documents in the debate over postmodernism. Jameson interprets postmodernism in historical and political terms. He leans on Ernest Mandel's Late Capitalism, which attempted to adapt and update Marx's economic analyses to explain the workings of global capitalism in the post-war, information age. The main aim of Jameson's analysis is the crisis of historicity in the advanced- or late-capitalist countries.


Fredric Jameson (b. April 14, 1934) is a Marxist political and literary critic and theorist. He is best known for the analysis of contemporary cultural trends; he described postmodernism as the claudication of culture under the pressure of organized capitalism. Jameson's best-known books include Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, The Political Unconscious, and Marxism and Form. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_Jameson [Sept 2005]

Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1984/1991) - Fredric Jameson

"Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism" was initially published in the journal New Left Review in 1984, during Jameson's tenure as Professor of Literature and History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This controversial article, which would later be expanded to a full-sized book, was part of a series of analyses of postmodernism from the dialectical point of view Jameson had developed in his earlier work on narrative. Jameson here viewed the postmodern "skepticism towards metanarratives" as a "mode of experience" stemming from the conditions of intellectual labor imposed by the late capitalist mode of production.

Postmodernists claimed that the complex differentiation between "spheres" or fields of life (such as the political, the social, the cultural, the commercial, etc.) and between distinct classes and rôles within each field, had been overcome by the crisis of foundationalism and the consequent relativization of truth-claims. Jameson argued, against this, that these phenomena had or could have been understood successfully within a modernist framework; postmodern failure to achieve this understanding implied an abrupt break in the dialectical refinement of thought.

In his view, postmodernity's merging of all discourse into an undifferentiated whole was the result of the colonization of the cultural sphere, which had retained at least partial autonomy during the prior modernist era, by a newly organized corporate capitalism. Following Adorno and Horkheimer's analysis of the culture industry, Jameson discussed this phenomenon in his critical discussion of architecture, film, narrative and visual arts, as well as in his strictly philosophical work.

Jameson's analysis of postmodernism attempted to view it as historically grounded; he therefore explicitly rejected any moralistic opposition to postmodernity as a cultural phenomenon, and continued to insist upon a Hegelian immanent critique. His failure to dismiss postmodernism from the onset, however, was perceived by many as an implicit endorsement of postmodern views. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_Jameson#The_critique_of_postmodernism [Sept 2005]

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