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:
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?"
This is the moment to mention a final candidate, the only subsystem left which can function in so truly revolutionary a fashion. It is a thought that must have first come to me many years ago, inspired by an image by one of our greatest political cartoonists. I think it must have been during the first year of the Eisenhower presidency, if not still during the campaign, when the last vestiges of the New Deal still survived in Truman’s ill-fated campaign for socialized medicine on the English and the Canadian model. Ike, presumably in full military regalia, perches informally on the edge of the desk in the Oval Office and observes conversationally, “Well, if they want socialized medicine, they have only to join the Army as I did.” This is indeed very precisely the strategy I propose, the recipe for a new form of dual power.
Below, we present an excerpt from Jameson's revised and expanded version of the essay included in An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army, a collection edited by Slavoj Žižek that features responses to Jameson by Jodi Dean, Saroj Giri, Agon Hamza, Kojin Karatani, Kim Stanley Robinson, Frank Ruda, and Kathi Weeks. An American Utopia is currently 50% off. To redeem the discount, click on the link here.
Fredric Jameson's latest work, recently released as An American Utopia (which is currently 50% off), sees the renowned literary critic and theorist grappling with what the social basis for a new utopian project could, or should, be. In it he proposes the idea of a new citizens' army which will form an alternative power structure from the state.
But, this isn't the only time that Jameson has tried to think through this predicament. In this extract from Valences of the Dialectic, Jameson proposes the logistical-might of Walmart as the foundation for a new society.
This is the point at which I wish to propose a model for Utopian analysis that might be taken as a kind of synthesis of these two subjective and objective approaches.