By Fredric Jameson
In such celebrated works as Postmodernism: The Cultural good judgment of past due Capitalism, Fredric Jameson has confirmed himself as one in all America’s such a lot observant cultural commentators. In Signatures of the obvious, Jameson turns his recognition to cinema - the artform that has changed the radical because the defining cultural type of our time. Historicizing a kind that has flourished in a post-modern and anti-historical tradition, he explores the allegorical and ideological dimensions of such motion pictures because the Shining, puppy Day Afternoon and the works of Alfred Hitchcock, between many others. Fifteen years on from its unique booklet, this is still a piercing and unique research of movie from a author and philosopher whose impact is still felt lengthy after that of the trendy post-modernists he has consistently critiqued.
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It reﬂects the realities of the transition of monopoly capitalism into a more purely consumer stage on what is for the ﬁrst time a global scale; and it tries to take advantage of the emergence of this new stage of monopoly capitalism to suggest that classical Marxist economics is no longer applicable. According to this argument, a social homogenization is taking place in which the older class diﬀerences are disappearing, and which can be described either as the embourgeoisement of the worker, or better still, the transformation of both bourgeois and worker into that new grey organization person known as the consumer.
This fundamental requirement we will call, now borrowing a term from Freud rather than from Marx, the requirement of ﬁgurability, the need for social reality and everyday life to have developed to the point at which its underlying class structure becomes representable in tangible form. The point can be made in a diﬀerent way by underscoring the unexpectedly vital role that culture would be called on to play in such a process, culture not only as an instrument of self-consciousness but even before that as a symptom and a sign of possible self-consciousness in the ﬁrst place.
In mass culture, repetition eﬀectively volatilizes the original object—the “text,” the “work of art”—so that the student of mass culture has no primary object of study. The most striking demonstration of this process can be witnessed in our reception of contemporary pop music of whatever type—the various kinds of rock, blues, country western, or disco. I will argue that we never hear any of the singles produced in these genres “for the ﬁrst time”; instead, we live a constant exposure to them in all kinds of diﬀerent situations, from the steady beat of the car radio through the sounds at lunch, or in the work place, or in shopping centers, all the way to those apparently full-dress performances of the “work” in a nightclub or stadium concert or on the records you buy and take home to hear.