Theories and Texts
Images 1. left: Image:
List; 2. right: http://werple.net.au/~gaffcam/phil/lyotard.htm
Postmodern Condition and the Postmodern Sublime
of The Postmodern Condition:
A Report on Knowledge)
Yi-wen Chien & Kate Liu
Lyotard vs. Habermas & Jameson
Places emphasis on narrative
in the fields of science, too.
= post-industrial, computerized society
Postmodernism as "incredulity
toward mata-narratives" (Introduction xxiv). Against Grand Narratives
of legitimation; for small and local narratives.
He sees the working
of society as a network of language games (based on socio-linguistics,
esp. the performance theory). Against consense; for paralogy.
The postmodern sublime
vs. the terror of totalization.
The Postmodern Condition
in the wake of a certain French "post-Marxism"
Jameson's response to the loss of the great
master-narratives: he believes we should "[take] a further step that Lyotard
seems unwilling to do in the present text, namely to posit, not the disappearance
of the great master-narratives, but their passage underground as it were,
their continuing but now unconscious effectivity as a way of "thinking
about" and acting in our current situation. --"political unconscious"
Jameson's defense of Marxism:
"The persistance of issues of
power and control, particularly in the increasing monopolization of information
of information by private business, would seem to make an affirmative answer
unavoidable, and to reconfirm the priviledged status of Marxism as a mode
of analysis of capitalism proper. (xiii)
"The question of social class,
and in particular of the "proletariat" and its existence, is hopelessly
confused when such arguments conflate the problem of a theoretical category
of analysis (social class) with the empirical question about the mood or
influence of workers in this or that society today (they are no longer
revolutionary, bourgeoisified, etc.).
Jameson's criticism of Lyotard:
Missing culture -- "Here Lyotard's
sketch is tantalizing and finally frustrating; for the formal limitation
of his essay to the problem of "knowledge" has tended to exclude an area
-- culture -- that has been of the greatest importance to him in his other
writings, as he has been one of the most keenly committed of contemporary
thinkers anywhere to the wole range and variety of avante-garde and experimental
art today. . . . Lyotard is in reality quite unwilling to posit
a postmodernist stage radically different from the period of high modernism
and involving a fundamental historical and cultural break with this last."
(xv - xvi)
Avant-gardist -- ". . .his commitment
to cultural and formal innovation still valorizes culture and its
powers in much the same spirit in which the Western avant-gardes has done
so since the fin de siecle."
What are at stake
in this argument over consense and dissensus, grand narrative vs. small
narrative? Is coginitive mapping a kind of grand narrative?
In any kind of politics, is it really possible to stay with dissensus?
If not, how do we reach consensus without excluding/suppressing others'
If, as Jameson said,
working class is a theorectical concept, "grand narratives" and "small
narratives" are, too. How do we apply these theorectical concepts
to the social-historical? Can we find any examples for them?
Is there any contradiction
between Lyotard ideas of postmodernism and postmodernity?
The Postmodern Condition-- Important
The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington,
Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984.
I. Computerized Society
"Knowledge in the form of
an informational commodity indispensable to productive power is
already, and will continue to be, a major - perhaps the major - stake in
the worldwide competition for power." (5)
2. Language Games & Performance
(Note: "I am not claiming that the entirety of social
relations is of this nature -- that will remain an open question." 15)
3. Narrative of the Legitimation of Knowledge
-- e.g. narrative of emancipation, narrative of Enlightenment.
...their rules do not carry within themselves their own legitimation, but
are the object of a contract, explicit or not between players (which is
not to say that the players invent the rules).
if there are no rules, there is no game. . .
every utterance should be thought of as a move in a game. (10)
4. Legitimation by Paralogy
©Î paralogy ¬°¦Xªkì«h¡C§ó¶i¤@¨B»¡¡M¹q¸£¤Æ½èºÃ¤F¬ã¨s©M±Ð¾Çªº±R°ª©Ê¡C
Auto-Differend Page (a technical experiment and theoretical allegory;
makes extensive use of client-pull animation to create a universe of automatic
page sequences organized around the philosophy of Lyotard; REQUIRES Netscape
1.1 or later to activate client-pull sequences; Netscape 1.2b3 or later
recommended for best results with color backgrounds) (Alan Liu)-- fun
Francois Lyotard's The Differend: Phrases in Dispute (Robert
S. Leventhal, U. Virginia - Responses to the Holocaust: A Hypermedia Sourcebook
for the Humanities)
Lyotard (bibliography) (UC Irvine Critical Theory Resource/Eddie Yeghiayan,
U. Calif. Irvine)
Bibliography-in-Progress (Spoon Collective Lyotard List)
Lyotard List &
Readers' Guide Project
Collective Lyotard List (Shawn P. Wilbur)
A Literary Theory Project in the Dept. of English, Rice U. (currently
centered on Lyotard's Just Gaming and performance theory)