Academia and the Luster of Capital by Sande Cohen

By Sande Cohen

Publication by means of Cohen, Sande

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The formation of an academic "expert" legitimizes the use of violence-in-reserve to exclude those who have taught themselves — by experience — or who otherwise insist upon an equality of reciprocity in anything called the production of social/cultural knowledge. " Levi-Strauss formalized the notion of an indeterminate narrative-model for the West when he stressed that the writing of "history" was no more or less than the code of chronology, ceaselessly grafted to memory, to noteworthy dates. " That version of "existence" is romantic and naive, yet if there is a contemporary oblique sense to Roquentin, it is not a "flight from history" but from the conjunction of "history" and university.

What the "majority" political factions have against Nietzschean critique is its version of deconstruction, in particular of terms like "hope" where its cultural variety, as in "hope for greater social understanding," is argued as another reductive equation. In his All Consuming Images (1988), Stuart Ewen demands that "there must be a rec- 10 What Is Criticism For? onciliation of image and meaning," an infinite demand that could only be carried out by a violence at least as otiose as the violence of State Culture (here, the manipulating image); surely the writer knows that the form of demand is itself an aggressive move?

Baudrillard's sense of simulacra, which parallels, to an extent, Rousseau's critique of the identity between social desire and cultural integration, implies success of redundancy in the sphere of semiotics and the triumph of the death instinct in the spheres of pleasure and subjectivity. ). The analogic world of, say, Freud's use of whole-part model (the Oedipal complex), or the stress that Frankfurt 18 What Is Criticism For? 57 And isn't this another way of suggesting that the neurotic world postulated by Freud and the idealization of a statist resolution by Marx have ceased to excite and generate interest, that talking cures and workers' strikes, expressive art and denunciatory aesthetics are felt to be archaisms?

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