Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
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Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,800 ratings  ·  48 reviews
En el fin de la ideología, del arte o de las clases sociales; la crisis del leninismo, la socialdemocracia o el Estado del bienestar; tomados en conjunto, todos estos fenómenos pueden considerarse constitutivos de lo que cada vez con mayor frecuencia se llama posmodernismo, hipotético producto de una ruptura radical que por lo general se remonta al final de la década de lo...more
Paperback, 461 pages
Published November 15th 1990 by Duke University Press Books
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AC
I agree with the reviewer who said: simply read the first essay ("Culture"; which is a slightly edited version of a famous paper published in 1984), and leave it at that. There are some marvelous insights on the problem of postmodernism and the spectacularization of contemporary capitalism; but also plenty of jargon, meandering, and (not to judge) also lots of engagement with arcane theoretical issues that are way beyond my present ken. The next several chapters look like case studies, and the l...more
Sean
greg got me to read this. finished it in a laundromat in w.phila and stared into the swirling machine for an hour afterward just trying to cope.
Andrew
I'll start by saying that Jameson knows his shit. As this qualifier suggests, there's something that needs qualifying. Throughout the book, self-awareness is a giant elephant in the room. By not taking a stance on various postmodernists (Haacke, Gehry, Claude Simon, et al), Jameson starts to function as an apologist rather than as an observer of it. Furthermore, his approach is intensely historicist, dismissing the myriad alternatives to his theory. So can anything valuable be ascertained from t...more
Melissa
If you're involved in the fields of literary, cultural, or media studies, you should read this book -- or at least the introduction and first few essays;however, be prepared for a slow and painful experience. Jameson's language is dense and his ideas are complex (to put it lightly). Before attempting to read this book you should have a basic understanding of Marxism and semiotics. I'm not saying this to sound like a hot-shot smarty pants. If someone hadn't explained these things to me first, I w...more
Dan
Nov 27, 2008 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dan by: Chris K.
Shelves: cultural-study
Jameson's book is the gold standard against which I rank similar studies (Linda Hutcheon's A Poetics of Postmodernism, Jean-François Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge). Jameson's thought is complex, and this is reflected in his sentences and paragraphs, which are frequently difficult to read. However, if you have the time, it is worth rereading sentences and determining how this clause is related to that parenthetical statement--almost invariably, once you have worked out...more
Joe
Sep 07, 2009 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Paul De Man
Shelves: theory
Officially, half of my summer reading is completed. I'm not sure I know exactly what to say after this. I've got a much better understanding of some of the aspects of postmodernism, how Marxist analysis plays out over many different forms, what tensions exist between the two and weather they're relevant or not.

My favorite moment: Jameson pwns Paul De Man and most of deconstruction-post structuralism in one chapter, rendering it almost silly. But there is still much to be learned from this entir...more
Bryce Wilson
I'm not going to lie Jameson verbally owns my ass.

Though I might not agree with his philosophy trying to argue with it is like trying to argue with The Architect in The Matrix.

You just ain't gonna win.

(Runs back to his vernacular based books as quick as he can.)
Jenna
Recently reread this book for class and it is just as amazing as ever. Though a little hard to follow at times, Jameson accurately and almost flawlessly describes the post-modern human condition.
Nicholas
Nov 14, 2007 Nicholas rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yes
Essential Reading. Jameson's discourse is profound and necessary to navigate the postmodern cultural landscape - Read it!
Leonard Houx
Like a lot of academic books, this is really more of a series of articles united by a subject (postmodernism) than a single treatise--and it is better read that way. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, like me. I enjoyed and learned the most from his introduction, his chapter on architecture and his chapter on theory.

That said, I see why many treat it as such an essential text.
Joseph
Mar 12, 2008 Joseph is currently reading it
I'm gonna a rip Jameson a new asshole. Strikes me as one of them God paradoxa: Can one rip Jameson an asshole when, in fact, his is the biggest asshole one can find?
Julian
Fredric Jameson is not as terribly dense as some other writers and thinkers out there (don't know if that was a compliment or what...) I didn't seem to think that this book was as terribly hard to read as some other reviewers but I would say that potential readers definitely have to be in the right mood for the book. Some of the sections are more drawn out (ie. less fun to read) than they probably needed to be. However, elaboration and digression are common in these kinds of books where the auth...more
Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Edizione (molto) accresciuta di: http://www.anobii.com/books/01b6fda02...
che diventa il primo capitolo della presente opera.
Riporto quanto dice l’autore al riguardo: «ho ristampato la mia analisi programmatica del postmoderno […] senza modifiche di rilievo, giacché l’attenzione che essa ricevette all’epoca (nel 1984) le conferisce l’interesse aggiuntivo di un documento storico; nella conclusione vengono discussi altri aspetti del postmoderno che paiono essersi imposti da allora. Ugualmente non...more
Cdhrreiws Alan
Though slightly dated I found it remarkably relevant. Jameson does a great job of elaborating on and exemplifying his points, and makes a great case for examining 'postmodernism' (a term he admits to using reluctantly) as a reflection (or symptom) of late capitalism. He ties his argument together with examinations of history and culture that range from architecture to MTV and provide interesting and thoughtful bases for the notions of human development his work asserts. Ultimately the book's goa...more
Chelsea Szendi
I give five stars to the New Left Review article Jameson published in 1984 and which he then fleshed out into this book, which (perhaps unfairly) gets only four because it exhausted me. Read the New Left Review article, then visit this book for any cultural medium of particular interest to you, then read the Perry Anderson "The Origins of Postmodernity" and call it a day. Except even that will probably take you a week. Don't worry. It's be a good week.

I particularly like that Jameson spends so m...more
Elise Barker
I read this for my dissertation, and while I recognize it as a seminal and important work that enabled much of the research related to my own, I found it somewhat tedious .
Mike
Brilliant. Jameson is a mind far greater than mine so I'm going to have to re-read this about 5 more times to get everything out of it. Parsing the maze-like sentences is a game in itself.
Carola
La posmodernidad es la pauta cultural resultante del capitalismo avanzado, donde el arte dejó de existir (entendido desde la lógica moderna) y donde la superficialidad reina y el contenido crítico se extraña. ¿Estamos viviendo en un mundo vacío y homogéneo?
Anya
smart but angry name dropper who perhaps doesn't give enough credit to criteria that depart from his own. I'll stick with gramsci
Brian
When I stumbled on those all-too-rare fragments I could make any vague sense of (usually about Marx), I found this very, very interesting. It may be easier if you've read more then I have out of the dozens if not hundreds of novels, philosophy texts, and so on that he references. I've never even heard of half the people he seems to assume the reader is familiar with. I would be interested to read other pieces by Jameson if they focus in territory I'm more familiar with, but I'm pretty sure his w...more
B Strand
May 29, 2007 B Strand is currently reading it
Vocab:
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cratylism Cratylism] - A philosophy taking after the Platonic dialogue of Cratylus, in which Cratylus argues that language is natural rather than conventional.
"It thus turns out that it is not only in love, cratylism, and botany that the supreme act of nomination wields a material impact and, like lightning striking from the superstructure back to the base, fuses its unlikely materials into a gleaming lump or lava surface."
--Introduction p. xiii
María
That was too dense... way too dense. Plus I didn't learn anything new from it. He does manage to draw an accurate picture of the postmodern condition, but it's just not worth the effort of deciphering his meaning, it is really way too dense... My brain is too exhausted, and I'm actually a bit angry, because I don't think it's necessary to write like that in order to prove that you're a good thinker... Who does he think he is, Derrida? ;)
I'll just stick to Linda Hutcheon.
Egor Sofronov
The best philosophical, or rather, theoretical book, I have ever read. Deep-probing and transparent speculations laid out in lucid prose (unlike most of the French or German comrades) surprisingly tend to confirm all my ideological bias ('convictions'). As if this book's ideas had all been purloined and siphoned into the others' thinking and, more importantly, into the media. All the more refreshing and sparking to read the text itself
JW
Honestly if it could fit, I would keep this text in my back pocket. I reference it more than just about any other, and has been essential in developing my understanding of the complex dynamics contributing to Postmodernism as a dominant cultural form of production. Dense, but the incredible depth of knowledge he shares is done so in a way that Is both effective and rewarding.
Paul
Mar 25, 2009 Paul is currently reading it
Too long, too difficult--and too worthwhile to ignore. Even if one isn't interested in post-Marxist dialogues at the end of the 20th century--and I'm not, or only to a certain point which Jameson reaches on about page three--there's enough ideas for everyone and anyone in this book about what happened and is happening in American culture after WWII.
Lysergius
I am still not sure if this is a genuine phenomenon or some sort of late 20th century pastiche.

Jameson's thesis is convincing, as convincing as anything can be once you have discarded all the props and structures which made Modernism a viable world view.

Still worth reading.
Chris Antonsen
Great material. Very difficult reading. Getting into this material takes so much patience and extra-textual knowledge that its riches are locked away for only the best read in critical theory and the most patient even among those.
Sarah
I know, sounds boring and I admit, some of it is quite dense. Necessary however, if one wants to understand the socio-economic influences, consequences, and basic theories behind the difficult-to-define postmodern movement.
Meryl
Clarity of insight is not Jameson's contribution to the world and neither is the stuff found in this book particularly earth-shattering. But the general thrust of his arguments regarding aesthetics and reification is important.
sologdin
a reading and lukewarm critique of postmodernism by marxist under its slight influence. develops thematically by area of interest, rather than chronologically or schematically by author or text.
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Fredric Jameson (born 14 April 1934) is an American literary critic and Marxist political theorist. He is best known for his analysis of contemporary cultural trends—he once described postmodernism as the spatialization 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 Marxi...more
More about Fredric Jameson...
The Political Unconscious Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998 Marxism and Form: 20th-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present

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“Insofar as the theorist wins, therefore, by constructing an increasingly closed and terrifying machine, to that very degree he loses, since the critical capacity of his work is thereby paralysed, and the impulses of negation and revolt, not to speak of those of social transformation, are increasingly perceived as vain and trivial in the face of the model itself.” 2 likes
“It is safest to grasp the concept of the postmodern as an attempt to think the present historically in an age that has forgotten how to think historically in the first place.” 1 likes
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