File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 21

Date: Sat, 04 Aug 2001 17:35:03 +0100
Subject: Re: marxist grand narrative - the return?

Eric and All,

I agree that the version of postmodernism in 'empire' is more Jameson than
Lyotard, this is because they are driving the condition from the materialist
side of the intellectual equation - postmodernism is as such driven from the
economic. It returns the postmodern to a linear historical notion, because
it cannot be seperated from the present information economies...

In some ways it is an attempt to take us away from the following: so well
said by Hirst and Thompson " Globalisation is a myth suitable for a world
without illusions, but it also robs us of hope..." This is of course the
right wing dream, empire is a readable version that suggests a non-right
wing materialist understanding is possible...

Incidentally the Klein statement on Identity politics is/was too harsh -
politics is an experimental activity (as Deleuze said ) and you can never
know the outcome of your activities. After all it is possible to argue that
one result of feminist activity was Thatcher... another is refuges for



Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:

> One of the things about "Empire" that reminds me a little of "The
> Postmodern Condition" is the way it crosses genres.  What is "Empire?"
> Philosophy, Political Theory, Sociology, History or all of the above?
> Its version of the Postmodern seems more like Jameson than Lyotard,
> definitely epochal.  I find the thesis that "Empire" puts forward
> linking the politics of difference, post-colonialism and fundamentalism
> as related, various forms that attack modernism and the Enlightenment
> merely to usher in the new form of sovereignty known as Empire,
> interesting and intuitively true.
> In "No Logo" Naomi Klein registers a similar perception. She points our
> that during her college years the identity politics of culture wars
> seemed very important. In retrospect, they now appear to be merely an
> advance marketing campaign for the new global structure.  There is an
> eerie resonance between what Klein says about this and what Negri and
> Hardt offer from a more theoretical perspective.  Here is Klein:
> "It was in this minefield that "diversity" marketing appeared,
> presenting itself as a cure-all for the pitfalls of global expansion.
> Rather than creating different advertising campaigns for different
> markets, campaigns could sell diversity itself, to all markets at once.
> The formula maintained the one-size-fits-all cost benefits of old-style
> cowboy cultural imperialism, but ran far fewer risks of offending local
> sensibilities.  Instead of urging the world to taste America, it calls
> out, like the Skittles slogan, to "Taste the Rainbow."
> Today the buzzword in global marketing isn't selling America to the
> world, but bringing a kind of market marsala to everyone in the world.
> In the late nineties, the pitch is less Marlboro Man, more Ricky Martin:
> a bilingual mix of North and South, some Latin, some R&B, all couched in
> global party lyrics.  This ethnic-food-court approach creates a One
> World placelessness, a global mall in which corporation are able to sell
> a single product in numerous countries without triggering the old cries
> of 'Coca-Colonization.'"


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