The capture of the postmodern by Jameson has set the terms of subsequent debate. It is no surprise that the most significant interventions since his entry into the field have likewise been Marxist in origin. The three leading contributions can be read as attempts to supplement or correct, each in its own way, Jameson's original account. Alex Callinicos’s Against Postmodernism (1989) advances a closer analysis of the political background to the postmodern. David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernity (1990) offers a much fuller theory of its economic presuppositions. Terry Eagleton's Illusions of Postmodernism (1996) tackles the impact of its ideological diffusion. All these works pose problems of demarcation. How is the postmodern to be best periodized?
Fredric Jameson’s pathbreaking essay An American Utopia radically questions standard leftist notions of what constitutes an emancipated society. "If," Jameson asks, "business, the professions, religion, even the labor unions (let alone the post office or the Mafia) are inadequate vehicles for dual power, what can then be left in late capitalism as an already organized institution capable of assuming the parallel and ultimately revolutionary role on which alone radical social change depends?"
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Welcome to Jameson's Psychoanalytic Placement Bureau!
In Fredric Jameson's An American Utopia (50% off until July 19th) Jameson imagines a new utopia that "welcomes the most outrageous self-indulgences and personal freedoms of its citizens in all things, very much including puritanism and the hatred of self-indulgence and personal freedoms", made possible through "the emergence of a new kind of institution, destined to supplant traditional government and its agencies and to articulate the superstructural or cultural level of our new society in a post- or trans-Fourieresque spirit". An institution known as the Psychoanalytic Placement Bureau.
"It will, in conjunction with unimaginably complex computer systems, handle and organize all forms of employment as well as all manner of personal and collective therapies.
Mediating between the individual and the collective (you may insert innumerable familiar structures and groups in between them), the new institution will combine the functions of a union and a hospital, an employment office and a court, a market research agency, a polling bureau, and a social welfare center. Presumably what is left of the police as an institution will eventually be absorbed into this central agency, which will eventually replace government and political structures equally, the state thereby withering away into some enormous group therapy."
In light of this, we present our own Psychoanalytic Placement Bureau. Adjusting to this new form of collective life can be difficult, as many have trouble adjusting to the unprecedented freedom this new world affords us. If you’re willing to undergo a rapid-fire session of emancipatory psychoanalysis of 4 questions, we can find you a role you’re best adjusted for: