A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present by Fredric Jameson

By Fredric Jameson

A significant new interpretation of the strategies of modernism and modernity.

The strategies of modernity and modernism are among the main arguable and vigorously debated in modern philosophy and cultural conception. during this new intervention, Fredric Jameson—perhaps the main influential and persuasive theorist of postmodernity—excavates and explores those notions in a clean and illuminating demeanour.

The remarkable revival of discussions of modernity, in addition to of recent theories of creative modernism, calls for cognizance in its personal correct. it kind of feels transparent that the (provisional) disappearance of possible choices to capitalism performs its half within the common try and revive 'modernity' as a social perfect. but the paradoxes of the idea that illustrate its valid historical past and recommend a few principles for keeping off its misuse in addition.

In this significant new interpretation of the complex, Jameson concludes that either options are tainted, yet still yield clues as to the character of the phenomena they imagined to theorize. His really apt and vigilant probing of either terms—which can most likely now not be banished at this overdue date—helps us make clear our current political and inventive occasions.

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Extra resources for A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present

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By Balibar in the passage j ust quoted. Meanwhile the seem­ idng rigidity of the base/superstructure distinction (in any case lonly mentioned once by Marx, in a not very central place)63 loosened up by a play of oppositions between the 'deter­ �nant' (always production itself) and the 'dominant', which take the form of religion, civic politics, kinship, and the e, thus giving each mode of production its own cultural , " . d ideological specificity, if not indeed its own unique . ' fulness and internal dynamic.

In fact, the Althusserians take pains to stress precisely this dialectical nature of their objects of analysis: 'we do not really find the same "con­ crete" elements when we move from one variant to the next. , an effect of the combination which constitutes the mode of production. '61 In fact, what makes up the difficulty of the Althusserians' rhetoric is the fact that they are fighting a war on two fronts, on the one hand against 'structuralism' (into which their Marxian analyses threaten to be swallowed without a trace), and on the other against the Hegelian dialectic (which they essentially associate with Stalin and with Soviet Marxism).

But this does not mean that we cannot tell the narrative of modernity at all. In fact, Heidegger's own narrative of the process - how­ ever ideological it may turn out to be in its own right - has some methodological lessons for us. In particular, we need to note the coexistence in it of two temporalities: there is the internal temporality of representation, of the subject-object split (or difference-and-identity) as that rises into being like a self-caused event; and then there is an external temporality (that of the theme of certainty) in which a theological or medieval conception of the certainty of salvation overlaps the emergence of the new system for one last moment and :boexists with it long enough to allow the function of cer­ tainty to pass from the outgoing structure into the new one, :in some wholly different form.

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