Postmoderne Krise

Ein interessanter Artikel, erschienen in Insurgent Notes, über das Versagen der postmodernen Theorie angesichts der weltweiten Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise.

Over the past fifty years, postmodern theory – an umbrella term generally used to refer to such diverse theoretical movements and paradigms as post-structuralism, Lacanian psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and others – has generally dominated most fields in the humanities and some in the social sciences, while even making forays into the natural sciences. But the economic meltdown in 2008 and the subsequent chronic crisis in capitalism have dealt a fatal theoretical blow to the varied and nearly ineffable assemblage of perspectives that are often grouped under the rubric of “postmodernism.” History had not ended, nor could postmodern theory grapple with the conditions of its continuance. The financial collapse of 2008 demonstrated that language itself, or the “symbolic register” in postmodern parlance, could not by itself contain the entirety of social reality. In fact, the manipulation of the “symbolic realm” in the stock market, in particular in the real estate sector, had resulted in real material consequences that had spun out of the reaches and control of language itself. Moreover, mere symbolic manipulation could not, by itself, remediate such consequences. Further, for those who regarded class analysis as outmoded, or class itself as a mere construct of language, the class character of the social order, underlying layers of mediation and theoretical obscurantism, became starkly visible. Meanwhile, with the election of Barack Obama and his continuation and extension of Bush’s policies, the hollowness of identity politics (the political fallout shelter of postmodernism’s retreat from historical materialism) was on full display.
A review of postmodern theory and its claims is in order to show exactly how and why postmodernism fails in light of the present moment.

Interessant ist das u.a. deshalb, weil der Artikel auch eine knappe, aber durchdachte Kritik an Michel Foucault beinhaltet, und dabei in der Ahnenreihe Foucaults nicht nur die üblichen Verdächtigen (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Althusser), sondern auch Georg Lukács erwähnt:

Foucault’s conception of the knowledge-power nexus owes much to Nietzsche and Heidegger. But it can also be connected to Soviet Marxist thought as well. In his “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” Georg Lukács introduced the idea of a proletarian “standpoint epistemology,” wherein, based on its unique positioning within the social order and its productive capacities, the working class occupied a privileged epistemological perspective for uncovering the verities of social and scientific reality. Only the working class could have the interests and the social positioning necessary to unpack the reified character of commoditized social relations and to find historical truth, objective reality. In effect, Foucault turned Lukacs’s standpoint epistemology on its head and emptied it of its class character. By implication, Foucault suggested that knowledge could not be located outside of the powerful institutional frameworks capable of producing it.

Foucault stellt Lukács auf den Kopf – die Interpretation hat schon einiges für sich. Und das beschriebene Manöver ließe sich sicher auch in anderen Zusammenhängen und Debatten wiederfinden. Die heutigen Wertkritiker_innen etwa dürften mit ihrer Rede vom allgegenwärtigen Verblendungszusammenhang (Warenfetisch hier, Arbeitsfetisch da, und den Staatsfetisch gibt´s noch kostenlos obendrauf) jedenfalls mehr mit Lukács gemein haben, als ihnen lieb ist. Nur mal so am Rande, falls ihr Lust habt, drüber nachzudenken… Weiterlesen könnt ihr in der Zwischenzeit HIER.