Posts tagged poststructuralism

Posted 3 years ago

The dogmas are tediously familiar: All multiplicity, decentering, or dispersion is positive, while all unity or homogeneity is suspect; all marginality is creative, while all majorities and consensuses are oppressive; small-scale political action is to be commended, while large-scale, state-centered projects are to be treated with thorough-going skepticism.

This is not the kind of politics that brought down apartheid, upended the neo-Stalinist states of Eastern Europe, or, as I write, has toppled a couple of autocracies in the Arab world. It is rather the expression of post-1970s political deadlock in advanced Western societies—one that then, in a grandly universalizing gesture not unfamiliar in Parisian theory, mistakes itself for the truth. Except that we cannot speak of truth …

Terry Eagleton, "Couples Therapy," Artforum
Posted 3 years ago

Nancy Fraser, “Foucault on Modern Power: Empirical Insights and Normative Confusions,” Unruly Practices, p. 18-19

Posted 3 years ago
There are several disquieting things about all these attacks on realism. The first is that the arguments against our commonsense idea that there exists an independent reality are vague and obscure. Sometimes no clearly stated arguments are even presented. Second, the alternative views, the views that are supposed to be presented in opposition to realism, are often equally obscure and unclearly stated. Even among analytic philosophers many recent discussions of realism are symptomatic of the general looseness that has set in over the past couple of decades. What exactly are the propositions being asserted? What exactly are those denied? And what exactly are the arguments for both assertion and denial? You will look in vain for answers to these questions in most discussions of these matters. I think, furthermore, that this general carelessness is not accidental. It is somehow satisfying to our will to power to think that ‘we’ make the world, that reality itself is but a social construct, alterable at will and subject to future changes as ‘we’ see fit. Equally, it seems offensive that there should be an independent reality of brute facts- blind, uncomprehending, indifferent, and utterly unaffected by our concerns. And all of this is part of the general intellectual atmosphere that makes antirealist versions of ‘poststructuralism’ such as deconstruction seem intellectually acceptable, even exciting. But once you state the claims and arguments of the antirealists out in the open, naked and undisguised, they tend to look fairly ridiculous. Hence the obscurity and even obscurantism of many (not all) of these discussions.

John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality, p. 158

I wish I could quote all of the three last chapters, but I’ll have to settle for a few choice excerpts.

Posted 3 years ago
The result is an encounter with capitalism stripped of the resources made available by over a century and a half of Marxist scholarship. Meanwhile, the relentless global search for profit and the extraction of surplus value goes on,not least in the very places - universities - where poststructuralist scholars ply their trade. The constant hunt for revenue, the prostitution of research agendas to corporate concerns and visions of national ‘competitiveness’, and new forms of speed-up and deprofessionalisation are unintelligible without a firm grasp of the logics of capital.In a world increasingly subject to the workings of an informational and multinational mode of capitalism,characterised by flux and instability, hybridity and fragmentation, it is also hard not to see the poststructuralist dismantling of the subject, as in the widely influential writings of Laclau, Mouffe and Judith Butler, as unintentionally complicit with that world.