March 13, 2011

Jameson on Modernity

Fredric Jameson's four maxims of Modernity (2002) -
  1. We cannot not periodize.
  2. Modernity is not a concept, philosophical or otherwise, but a narrative category.
  3. The narrative of modernity cannot be organized around categories of subjectivity; consciousness and subjectivity are unrepresentable; only situations of modernity can be narrated.
  4. No 'theory' of modernity makes sense today unless it is able to come to terms with the hypothesis of a postmodern break with the modern.
For me, it is significant that Jameson's Preface is subtitled "Regressions of the current age."  He discusses a revival (or return, resuscitation, renewal, or whatever) of the concept of modernity, where postmodernity was a brief interlude, or, as I like to imagine it, a detour down a cul-de-sac which then necessitated an about-turn and a return to the main road.

Jameson, Fredric.  A Singular Modernity.  Essay on the Ontology of the Present.  London: Verso, 2002.

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