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Fredric Jameson - Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
"I unfortunately don't believe in the wisdom of ordinary people. They are lost. We need more than ever a profound theory of what is happening today. We lack what my friend Fredric Jameson calls 'cognitive mapping'. The time for theory is today." - Zizek (see Fredric Jameson - Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. I've wanted to read this text, the 1984 article as reproduced as a first chapter of the eponymous 1991 book (see link below), for about a year now. I think the time for reading it is today. On social media we share of breathing bad air in our cities, of fascists taking over ...plans for a permanent daylight saving time. How can one know how to position oneself, really engage with these things, if we don't question the fundamentals? What to do with capitalism? Let's see for ourselves if Jameson can help with exactly this. By determining the dominant of our age in his book, Postmodernism, Jameson hopes to provide his reader with a "cognitive map" of the present, which then can make possible effective and beneficial political change. The problem with our current postmodern age, according to Jameson, is that "the prodigious new expansion of multinational capital ends up penetrating and colonizing those very precapitalist enclaves (Nature and the Unconscious) which offered extraterritorial and Archimedean footholds for critical effectivity". Any effort to contest dominant ideology threatens to be reabsorbed by capital, so that "even overtly political interventions like those of The Clash are all somehow secretly disarmed (...) (p. 49). Link to the text: Cognitive Mapping Fredric Jameson defines cognitive mapping as a process by which the individual subject situates himself within a vaster, unrepresentable totality, a process that corresponds to the workings of ideology. Jameson begins by comparing this ideological process of cognitive mapping to a physical process of locating oneself geographically: In a classic work, The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch taught us that the alienated city is above all a space in which people are unable to map (in their minds) either their own positions or the urban totality in which they find themselves: grids such as those of Jersey City, in which none of the traditional markers (monuments, nodes, natural boundaries, built perspectives) obtain, are the most obvious examples. Disalienation in this traditional city, then, involved the practical reconquest of a sense of place and the construction or reconstruction of an articulated ensemble which can be retained in memory.... There is...a most interesting convergence between the empirical problems studied by Lynch in terms of city space and the great Althusserian (and Lacanian) redefinition of ideology as "the representation of the subject's Imaginary relationship to his or her Real conditions of existence.... The Althusserian formula, in other words, designates a gap, a rift, between existential experience and scientific knowledge. Ideology has then the function of somehow inventing a way of articulating those two distinct dimensions with each other. (Jameson 51-52) (Source: Some other sources: Jameson's book 25 years on: Some notes on Jameson within Marxist thought: More by Jameson himself on cognitive mapping:

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