Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From The Origins of Postmodernity, by Perry Anderson

Some more posting to come on this book, but for now I just wanted to pull out this interesting trifurcation:
Jameson construes the postmodern as that stage in capitalist development when culture becomes in effect coextensive with the economy. What is the appropriate stance, then, of the critic within this culture? Jameson's answer rests on a three-fold distinction. There is taste, or opinion, that is a set of subjective preferences—in themselves of little interest—for particular works of art. Then there is analysis, or the objective study of 'the historical conditions of possibility of specific forms'. Finally there is evaluation, which involves no aesthetic judgements in the traditional sense, but rather seeks to 'interrogate the quality of social life by way of the text or individual work of art, or hazard an assessment of the political effects of cultural currents or movements with less utilitarianism and a greater sympathy for the dynamics of everyday life than the imprimaturs and indexes of earlier traditions'.
-Anderson 131, quoting Jameson, Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, 298 ff. (Emphases mine)

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