Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Disco Marxism

I'm conscious of not wanting to appear as if my post on the Continental philosophy blogosphere was merely shadowboxing with any of the substantive issues such a mode of reasoning might potentially raise. Therefore I think it incumbent on me to also map out the two of the basic options it makes available. I wonder only if each eventually coalesces with my typology of the noosphere. Simon Critchley has made a case that one should ideally set out to avoid espousing what he describes as "Disco Marxism", as briefly explained in the following clip:

Critchley has elaborated on this position in the edited collection, Radical Democracy. From my initial inspection of the contents, there is some potential compatibility with the expressed preference on this blog for utilising the critical concept of the public sphere (as discussed in one chapter by Laclau). But I'm yet to discover any convergence with the emphasis in social theory on cosmopolitan public spheres as necessary in the negotiation of global cultural identities. It is not clear to me that general references to "difference" are up to the job. In this respect, Pheng Cheah's work on cosmopolitics could mark a more convincing intervention of a Continental perspective, in light of the fact that he has also considered Chinese cosmopolitanism, and finds the Habermasian vision wanting on account of its [alleged] Eurocentric view that solidarity can be evoked by entwining national and global public spheres. A long time ago I posted an audio of Gerard Delanty talking about cosmopolitanism, and I know he has done subsequent work on Europe and Asia: Beyond East and West, so I suspect he is mindful of critiques of Habermas, and notwithstanding their differences, one thing that connects them is a willingness to include empirical work, thereby moderating the tendencies that can be found in the noosphere, and by association, Disco Marxism.
However, the latter point requires some qualification, as the 2 authors which dominate the Continental blogosphere, Deleuze and Zizek, can in some sense be put to work against the presumptions of Disco Marxism. I've just referenced an article by Wark, and I do not endorse his own use of Debord and Deleuze as any great advance over the forms of cultural studies he critiques in the piece. I do, however, suggest the piece is useful in setting out the basic telling conceptual differences between Disco Marxism, lack and abundance, which I imagine would be accepted as a conventional characterisation by the Continental blogosphere.
Be this as it may, it does not dissuade me from wanting to further pursue the mapping of this blogosphere as discussed in my earlier post. Therefore I remain interested in its conditions of emergence and dissemination, and stand by my noting of the characteristic lack of empirical robustness. It can still be said that the Continental philosophy/cultural studies blogosphere functions as depicted in The Matrix, with an Agent Smith running amok through the network, converting everyone into a clone of Zizek and Deleuze.

I had no idea what Wark was talking about in his piece when he complains about the imperative to always be "resisting something", so I sought solace instead in this vivid illustration of Herbert Marcuse's vision (think Eros and Civilization particularly):

No comments: