The programmatic erasure of the concept of capitalism by the state (here paradigmatically represented by the state of Texas) is allied with the waning of Fredric Jameson’s dialectical concept of postmodernism. “Postmodernism” as the critique of the cultural logic of late capitalism is no more, and capitalism, it would seem, is now to be thought without the dialectic. Indeed, the discourses of capitalism and postmodernism have mutated into discourses of the security state and technological innovation. “Postmodernism” was not, however, a panacea; rather, in a way analogous to the state of Texas’s prohibition of the term slavery (in addition to capitalism) in its history textbooks, the conceptualization of postmodernism failed to adequately consider gender and racialization under what Cedric Robinson called racial capitalism.
Texas-(s)ized Postmodernism; Or, Capitalism without the Dialectic
Jonathan Beller is professor of humanities and media studies and director of the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute. His books include The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle (2006), Acquiring Eyes: Philippine Visuality, Nationalist Struggle and the World-Media System (2006), and Computational Capital (forthcoming).
Jonathan Beller; Texas-(s)ized Postmodernism; Or, Capitalism without the Dialectic. Social Text 1 June 2016; 34 (2 (127)): 21–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-3467954
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