Jameson• He is an American literary critic and Marxist political theorist.• Jameson is best known for his analysis of contemporary cultural trends—he once described postmodernism as the spatialization of culture under the pressure of organized capitalism.
Marxism• Jamesons shift toward Marxism was also driven by his increasing political connection with the New Left and pacifist movements, as well as by the Cuban Revolution, which Jameson took as a sign that "Marxism was alive and well as a collective movement and a culturally productive force".• His research focused on critical theory: thinkers of, and influenced by, the Frankfurt School such as Kenneth Burke, György Lukács, Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Louis Althusser, and Sartre, who viewed cultural criticism as an integral feature of Marxist theory.• This position represented a break with more orthodox Marxism-Leninism, which held a narrow view of historical materialism. In some ways Jameson has been concerned, along with other Marxist cultural critics such as Terry Eagleton, to articulate Marxisms relevance in respect to current philosophical and literary trends.• In 1969, Jameson co-founded the Marxist Literary Group with a number of his graduate students at the University of California, San Diego.
Production & Consumption• History came to play an increasingly central role in Jamesons interpretation of both the reading (consumption) and writing (production) of literary texts.• Jameson marked his full-fledged commitment to Hegelian-Marxist philosophy with the publication of The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act, the opening slogan of which is "always historicize" (1981).The Political Unconscious takes as its object not the literary text itself, but rather the interpretive frameworks by which they are now constructed. It emerges as a manifesto for new activity concerning literary narrative.• The books argument emphasizes history as the ultimate horizon of literary and cultural analysis. It borrowed notions from the structuralist tradition and from Raymond Williamss work in cultural studies, and joined them to a largely Marxist view of labor (whether blue- collar or intellectual) as the focal point of analysis. Jamesons readings exploited both the explicit formal and thematic choices of the writer and the unconscious framework guiding these.• Artistic choices that were ordinarily viewed in purely aesthetic terms were recast in terms of historical literary practices and norms, in an attempt to develop a systematic inventory of the constraints they imposed on the artist as an individual creative subject. To further this metacommentary, he described the ideologeme, or "the smallest intelligible unit of the essentially antagonistic collective discourses of social classes.
His Views• In his view, postmodernitys merging of all discourse into an undifferentiated whole was the result of the colonization of the cultural sphere, which had retained at least partial autonomy during the prior modernist era, by a newly organized corporate capitalism.• Following Adorno and Horkheimers analysis of the culture industry, Jameson discussed this phenomenon in his critical discussion of architecture, film, narrative and visual arts, as well as in his strictly philosophical work.• Two of Jamesons best-known claims from Postmodernism are that postmodernity is characterized by pastiche and a crisis in historicity. Jameson argued that parody (which requires a moral judgment or comparison with societal norms) was replaced by pastiche (collage and other forms of juxtaposition without a normative grounding).• Relatedly, Jameson argued that the postmodern era suffers from a crisis in historicity: "there no longer does seem to be any organic relationship between the American history we learn from schoolbooks and the lived experience of the current, multinational, high-rise, stagflated city of the newspapers and of our own everyday life"