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Stuart Sim

Critical Theory

    césar dominguezhar citeretsidste år
    The work of the Russian aesthetician Georgi Plekhanov (1856–1918) is a good example of crude reflectionism. For Plekhanov, art was a recorder of social developments. By examining the art of a given period, we could pin down that period’s ideological character also. This meant that we could indeed “read off” the ideology from the art. If the art was decadent, then it must have been the product of socio-political decadence: a direct reflection of it, in fact
    césar dominguezhar citeretsidste år
    Once again, we notice Marx’s critical insistence on the hidden: religion, politics, law, etc. – everything cultural that we “live by” – disguises and renders perfectly natural an economic means of production that is unnatural
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Quantum mechanics asserts that we cannot plot the position of any sub-atomic particle with certainty.
    Chaos theory permits randomness and determinism to exist simultaneously in systems.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Lyotard also argued that what he called “postmodern science” (quantum mechanics, catastrophe theory and chaos theory) provides a model for us in our intellectual inquiries. Such science was “producing not the known, but the unknown” – that is, more problems than solutions, as scientists delved deeper into the bizarre world of “anti-particles”, “strange attractors” and “deterministic chaos”.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Part of Derrida’s objection to structuralism is its dependence on binary oppositions. He considers discourse in the West in general to be founded on a series of such oppositions. One term of the binary always takes dominant priority over the other. Man/woman would be one such example of a “loaded” binary.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Words always contain within themselves traces of other meanings than their assumed primary one. It would probably be better to talk of a field of meaning rather than a precise one-to-one correspondence between word and meaning.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Structuralism went too far as an all-embracing form of analysis, apparently able to explain anything and everything about human affairs and the world around us. Everything became a sign-system – in fact, nothing could escape being part of a sign-system.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    The technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar”, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    In its earliest pre-Western Marxist form, however, Marxist critical theory tended to assume that everything that happened in the superstructure, including the arts, was a mere reflection of what happened in the base.
    Yana Ranshakovahar citeretfor 2 år siden
    The inheritances of Marxism in critical theory are:

    1. Tension of idealism versus materialism (the autonomy versus social construction of a text).

    2. A hidden or camouflaged unconscious.

    3. Interventionism: a sense that critical theory can make a difference.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Theory is power. This is not merely an academic exercise for “intellectual mandarins”, but a perspective on awareness and a talent well worth developing for all of us.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    When black people are talked about, the focus tends to be on black men …

    When women are talked about, the focus tends to be on white women.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    So, contrary to the views of Althusser and Gramsci, the “system” only works because we pretend to ourselves that it does. We fill in the gaps and disguise the contradictions, not some political élite on our behalf.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Ideology succeeds – not because it “interpellates” us to do its bidding like robots – but because we want it to succeed.
    We want to believe that we live under a consistent system of belief, and, in effect, we interpellate ourselves to make it seem so.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    He challenges the assumption that ideology is a “conspiracy” by counter-proposing that we are all as individuals complicit in the operation of ideology. Žižek’s idea is that we are well aware of the gaps and contradictions in our ideology. We just turn a blind eye to them most of the time.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Quantum mechanics asserts that we cannot plot the position of any sub-atomic particle with certainty.
    Chaos theory permits randomness and determinism to exist simultaneously in systems.
    Complexity holds that systems “self-organize” themselves into higher levels of development.
    In each case, we are confronted with counter-intuitive notions which challenge both our ordinary experience and our concept of logic.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Narrative only becomes problematical when it is worked up into a “grand” form that claims authoritarian or even totalitarian precedence over the multitude of “little” narratives (individual or small local group) that any society contains.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition (1979) might be regarded as the bible of postmodernism as a critical theory. Its attack on grand narrative – and championship of marginalized “little narrative” – inspired a whole generation of theorists and has been instrumental in setting the agenda for the postmodern movement in general.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    In deconstruction, we move from system-building to system-dismantling. Derrida’s major concern is to direct our attention to the many gaps in our systems of discourse which, try as we may, we can never quite disguise. Deconstruction is a philosophy which very self-consciously sets out to deflate philosophical pretensions about our ability to order the world.
    Kristinahar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Following on from Gramsci’s “hegemony” theory, Althusser also believed that ideology worked most effectively at the level of ideas – as enshrined in the Ideological State Apparatuses. The duty of the cultural critic is to identify where, and how, these ideas serve the cause of the ruling élite – as well as to identify the contradictions that reveal the gaps and flaws in the ideology in question.
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