The Cultural Logic of Contemporary Capitalism

An issue of: Social Text

The Cultural Logic of Contemporary Capitalism
Journal Issue Pages: 164 Volume 34, Number 2 Number: 127 Published: June 2016 An issue of Social Text
Special Issue Editor(s): Nico Baumbach, Damon R. Young, Genevieve Yue

In 1984 Fredric Jameson wrote that “everything in our social life—from economic value and state power to practices and to the very structure of the psyche itself—can be said to have become ‘cultural’ in some original and yet untheorized sense.” The essays in this special issue track the status of this claim some thirty years later, inquiring into the relationship of art, aesthetics, and cultural production to political economy today. At a moment when interpretation (including “ideology critique” and “symptomatic reading”) has been variously supplanted by descriptivism, empiricism, and the return of metaphysics, contributors here pursue the possibilities for an engaged cultural criticism that is attentive to form while rejecting a depoliticized formalism. Spanning a wide range of cultural sites—from recent Hollywood cinema to post-broadcast television, manufactured landscape photography, contemporary West African art, and “new materialism” in philosophy—they ask what the “formal tendencies” of contemporary cultural production (including theory itself) can tell us about the cultural logic of contemporary capitalism. The collection includes a new interview with Jameson conducted by the editors.

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