This essay presents a number of questions (almost Socratic) regarding Marxist theory, much of it echoing previous scholars (such as Sartre) with respect to rigid, abstract, and irrelevant conceptualizations of Marxism, but he also goes beyond and questions original Marxist theory such as the dialectic, historical materialism, determinism, etc.
p. 11 Marxism has been abused, accurate is some places but also failed in others, does this implicate all revolutionary theory?
p. 13 There is no method in history unaffected by historical development
p. 20 In contemporary societies, however, the constantly increasing range of technical possibilities and the continuous action of society on methods of labour, of communication, of war and so on definitively refutes the idea of the autonomy of the technical factor and makes absolutely explicit the reciprocal relation, the uninterrupted circular feed-back between the methods of production, social organisation and the total content of culture.
p. 23 Two similar tribes diverge, one needs to understand their total history to understand the divergence
p. 25 History based on productive forces presupposes (exclusive) economic motivation, but men exceed their simple biological needs or we'd still be monkeys
p. 29 Historical materialism is untenable because it makes technology the motor of history, relies upon capitalistic categories, and is based on presumptions about fixed human nature
p. 34 Paradox of History: any stage has its bias with which it views the past
p. 36 Can't presume we are on the verge of any transitory phase
p. 39 Problems with the conception of the ordinality of advanced/superior stages of historical development
p. 40 Was the meaning of the Russian Revolution the same in 1918, 1925, 1936?
p. 41 No need to describe ourselves as Marxists, just as we don't call ourselves Newtonians
p. 44 Determinism in history is impossible because while some elements are causal, others not not!
p. 45 Autonomous agents yield the coherence of capitalism (emergence), it's not an ideal type
p. 53 Conflict of causality and meaning
p. 55 The problem of the Hegelian dialect is not solved by replacing logos with matter.
p. 60 What appears as technical progress is ambiguous and under-determined (e.g., HTTP cookies)
p. 62 A significant contribution of Marxism was its attempt to combine philosophy, politics, and real movement
p. 64 Issues such as the workers movement have not been solved nor even advanced in some ways, but have only become more complex
p. 68 Marxism decay when activity decays into theory and becomes a closed system
p. 75 To demand that the revolutionary project be founded on a complete theory is therefore to assimilate politics to a technique, and to posit its sphere of action -- history -- as the possible object of a finished and exhaustive knowledge. To invert this reasoning and conclude on the basis of the impossibility of this sort of knowledge that all lucid, revolutionary politics is impossible amounts, finally, to a wholesale rejection of all human activity and history as unsatisfactory according to a fictitious standard.
This chapter identifies the (inseparable) role of symbolism and the imaginary to social institutions and concludes by arguing, again, that an understanding of history can not be separated from our present
i THE INSTITUTION FROM THE FUNCTIONAL-ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW
113 Alienation is neither inherent in history nor the existence of the institution as such. Alienation appears first of all as the alienation of a society to its institutions, as the autonomization of institutions in relation to society.
ii THE INSTITUTION AND THE SYMBOLIC
117 Institutions cannot be reduced to the symbolic but they can exist only in the symbolic; they are impossible outside of a second-order symbolism; for each institution constitutes a particular symbolic network.
118 A symbol never imposes itself with a natural necessity, but neither does it ever lack ail reference to reality
119 The choice of points that symbolism grabs hold of to give shape to and to 'sanctify' in the second degree the matter related to the sacred seems to a large extent (but not entirely) arbitrary.
121 The lesson of Roman law, considered in its real historical evolution, is not the functional character of the law but the relative independence of formalism or of symbolism with respect to functionality at the outset, followed by the slow and never complete conquest of symbolism by functionality.
122 He [Lenin] wanted nothing to do with the me 'Council of Ministers', but it was indeed a council of ministers Chat he wanted - and that, in the end, he got. The revolution was creating a new language, and had new things to say; but the leaders wanted to say the same old things with new words
125 Symbolism is bound up with nature, and it is bound up with history
iii THE SYMBOLIC AND THE IMAGINARY
iv ALIENATION AND THE IMAGINARY
132 The institution is a socially sanctioned, symbolic network in which a functional component and an imaginary component are combined in variable proportions and relations.
140 God is neither a signification of something real, nor a signification of something rational, nor is he a symbol of something else again.
145 Outplay of the mythical postulation about origins. Outside of the mythical postulation about origins, it remains that and attempt exhaustively to derive social meanings from the individual psyche appears doomed to failure due to the impossibility of isolating this psyche from a social continuum which cannot exist unless it is always already instituted.
145 Functionality borrows its meaning from outside itself; symbolism necessarily refers to something that is not symbolical and that is not simply real or rational either. This element -- which gives a specific orientation to every institutional system, which overdetermines the choice and the connections of symbolic networks, which is the creation of each historical period, its singular manner of living, of seeing and of conducting its own existence, its world, and its relations with this world, this originary structuring component, this central signifying-signified, the source of that which presents itself in every instance as an indisputable and undisputed meaning, the basis for articulating what does matter and what does not, the origin of the surplus of being of the objects of practical, affective and intellectual investment, whether individual or collective -- is nothing other than the imaginary of the society or of the period considered.
vi THE ROLE OF IMAGINARY SIGNIFICATIONS
146 The social world is, in every instance, constituted and articulated as a function of such a system of significations, and these significations exist, once they have been constituted, in the mode of what we called the actual imaginary (or the imagined).
150 It is social need that creates scarcity as social scarcity, and not the opposite.
v SOCIAL IMAGINARY SIGNIFICATIONS
150 It is neither the availability of snails and frogs nor their in scarcity that makes them for contemporary, nearby and related cultures, in one instance a gourmet's delight and in the other a sure cause vomiting.
151 The Marxists who believe that Marxism accounts for the birth, the the function and raison d'etre of classes are at a level of understanding on a par with Christians who believe that the Bible accounts for the creation and the raison d'etre of the world.
153 Once we have entered into the cycle of wealth and poverty, of power and submission, once society has been established, not on the basis of differences between human categories (which have probably always existed) but on non-symmetrical differences, all that follows is 'explained'
vii THE IMAGINARY IN THE MODERN WORLD
156 Modern pseudorationality is one of the historical forms of the imaginary; it is arbitrary its ultimate ends to the extent that these ends themselves stem from no reason, and it is arbitrary when it posits Itself as an end, intending nothing but a formal and empty 'rationalization'.
p. 164 Our understanding of history is inseparable from our current doing, much like our bodies contain the bodies of our ancestors for 30,000 generations
This chapter addresses the dependence of the concepts of society and history on conceptualizations of time
p. 170 What is society and history?
p. 170 physicalist (nature/functionalist) approach doesn't explain human behaviour beyond primitive need satisfaction
p. 171 logicist/structuralist approach leaves the origin unexamined
p. 177 There's too much focus on individual elements
p. 178 Society is not a thing, subject, nor idea, not even a collection of such things
.p. 182 logic/ontology are inadequate
p. 183 History appears as a succession (via causality), but we need to understand the true nature
p. 188 Time is what is: permits a realization of return, of cycle.
p. 194 Space is the possibility of the difference, of the same from the same
p. 195 Grapples with creation, eidos (the immutable genuine nature of a thing) and seemingly a "who is the first mover" problem. (Plato's being, becoming, eidos.)
p. 199 Man can create nothing (poems, language, music), but less than nothing because these are forms which must already exist
p. 202 Time appears irreversible
p. 206 The social-historical and the temporality
p. 212 Social institution of imaginary time suppresses the temporality of the individual/nomadic time sense
p. 213 Society represses this idea that there are multitudes of time
p. 216 synchrony and diachrony are not absolutes, and a synchronic understanding of history is inadequate, when one considers the example of language
This chapter reiterates that society is created by imagination, and the radical imaginary needs society. Castoriadis relies upon Freud's concepts of psyche to progressively render a vision of development of identity, other, and society.
p. 273 Anything, can be organized, but it is not necessarily congruent with that organization. As it is in physics, it is certainly so in the social historical.
p. 274 Freud, the unconscious is unaware of time and contradiction
p. 278 Representations are analysable, without being overly simple
p. 276 the "relations" between representations are more like "associations"
p. 278 In psycho-analysis, why does meaning only present itself in representation?
p. 279 Meanings are interminable, the "navel" of the dream
p. 280 Interpretation formulates several contradictory meaning segments
p. 281 Freud's discovery of the imagination
p. 282 The drive is manifested to the psyche through representation
p. 283 The radical imagination makes the "first representation" out of nothing.
p. 290 anaclisis: "leaning on;" the mouth/anus is necessary but not sufficient to cause instinct
p. 291 "the unconscious has no index of reality"
p. 292 The question of the physical reality in its original is one of representation
p. 297 Autistic identification or itemization, the early cognitive state in which everything is the same
p. 303 The "outside" is created when the breast is absent
p. 305 During development, the nomadic is broken into the triadic phase of subject, object, and other
p. 309 Oedipal situation, child realizes the father desires the mother
p. 311 The individual is a social creation and institution
p. 312 Civilization doesn't sublimate instinct, otherwise it wouldn't exist
p. 313 Instead, there are transformed representation
p. 320 The social institution of the individual must make the world exist for the psyche as a public and common world
p. 323 Representations: conceptions, associations, can be external
"Legein and teukhein" are the components of instantiating the society, as well as the individual, via imaginary signification and self-transformation. Magma is the coexistence of meaning (within the individual or intersubjectively), in fact a word can only have meaning if it is capable of multiple meanings. "Legein and teukhein" are interventions in the magma, that fix them in time.
p. 327 legein (speech/voice): ensamblizing dimension of social representation (distinguishing-choosing-positing-assembling-counting-speaking)
p. 327 teukhein (technique): ensamblizing dimension of doing (assembling-adjusting-fabricating-constructing)
p. 355 creates contcrete entites that are social things that incarnate a eidos and social representations
p. 343 A magma is that from which one can extract (or in which one can construct) an indefinite number of ensemblist organisations but which can never be reconstituted (ideally) by a (finite or infinite) ensemblist composition of these organisations.
p. 332 fetishism of reality and preoccupation with things obscures representation and imagination
p. 337 Language is not only for communication with others, but ones' self
p. 339 There are private and common worlds
p. 339 The paths of (1) rootedness in social-historical institutions; (2) that thought/individual is an institution; that (3) the progression of institutions, these are irreducible. There is no tabula rasa
In the concluding chapter, Castoriadis considers again language and meaning, re-articulates his key concepts, differentiates them from similar preceding concepts, and ends by arguing that we should understand the transformatic aspect and the "explicit self-instituting" of society
p. 343 A magma is that from which one can extract (or in which one can construct) an indefinite number of ensemblist organisations but which can never be reconstituted (ideally) by a (finite or infinite) ensemblist composition of these organisations.
p. 343 The magma is the pool of significations that from which identitary or ensemblistic meanings are abstracted/imposed
p 353 It is essential that language always provides the possibility of treating meaning it conveys rigrously... And it is "equally" essential that it always provide the possibility of new terms emerging
p. 355 Social imaginary significations exist in and through things, via "inscription" and "incarnation"
p. 356 Marx recognized this ("a machine is no more capital" than gold is money))
p. 357 but he also wants to be a materialist as well.
p. 359 The "ecceity" of a particular society is its world of significations as the institution of this magma of social imaginary significations
p. 360 To ask for a "why" of this theory is as meaningless as asking why there is something and not thing
p. 364 Central signification are not "significations of something; they constitute for a society a co-belonging of objects."
p. 366 "group consciousness" is not right, a "collective representation" is a little closer.
p. 367 Social imaginary signification is not to be confused with ideal types, which are a product of reflection on society, SIS is immanent
p. 372 History is ontological genesis not as the production of different tokens of the essence of society but as the creation, in and through each society, of another type (form-figure-aspect-sense: eidos) of being-society which is in the same stroke the creation of new types of social-historical entities (objects, individuals, ideas, institutions, etc.) on all levels and on levels which are themselves posited-created by a given society.
369 The radical imaginary exists as the social-historical and as psyche's soma. As social-historical, it is an open stream of the anonymous collective; as psyche/soma, it is representative/affective/intentional flux. That which in the social-historical is positing, creating, bringing into being we call social imaginary in the primary sense of the term. or instituting society. That which in the psyche/soma is positing, creating, bringing-into-being for the pysche/soma, we call radical imagination.
There is personal as well as public flux. SIS brings the creative to the fore, the force of imagination is a radical force. Structuralism is administered reality, thoroughly instituted, but not so for SIS
370 The institution of society is each time the institution of a magma of significations, possible only through its instrumentation in two basic institutions, which bring into being an identitary-ensemblist organization of what exists for society. The instrumental institution of legein is the institution of the identitary-ensemblist conditions for social representing/saying.
371 This specifying occurs through a host of second-order institutions and imaginary significations; second, not in the sense that they are minor or simply derived, but that they are always held together by the institution of significations central to the society considered.
p. 685 French philosophers: rationality, followed by the Reign of Terror and Napoleon
p. 687 "the more completely they were worked out in detail, the more they could not avoid drifting off into pure fantasy"
p. 690 Fourier
p. 691 Robert Owen, a decent capitalist though some of his later communities failed
p. 694 German philosophy and Hegel
p. 700 surplus value
p. 708 the industrialist capitalist must expand
p. 709 economic crisis: money becomes a hindrance, products and exchange are in conflict when the economy melts down every 10 years
p. 710 this leads to attempts to regulate the market via trusts and monopoly
p. 712 state ownership is not the solution
p. 712 Social/market forces are like nature, can be understood and used "master demons into willing servants"
p. 173 Then Hegel makes the leap: proletariat seizure, state held property, and then state atrophy. Hegel and Marx see proximate, but not ultimate causes
y=1972 ch=Introduction bt=The Archaeology of Knowledge p=Routledge
historical descriptions are necessarily ordered by the present state of knowledge, they increase with every transformation and never cease, in turn, to break with themselves
Trends in writing history
In short, the history of thought, of knowledge, of philosophy, of literature seems to be seeking, and discovering, more and more discontinuities, whereas history itself appears to be abandoning the irruption of events in favour of stable structures.
Now, through a mutation that is not of very recent origin, but which has still not come to an end, history has altered its position in relation to the document: it has taken as its primary task, not the interpretation of the document, nor the attempt to decide whether it is telling the truth or what is its expressive value, but to work on it from within and to develop it
In that area where, in the past, history deciphered the traces left by men, it now deploys a mass of elements that have to be grouped, made relevant, placed in relation to one another to form totalities
History use to 'memorize' the monuments, archaelogy aspired to it?
Against the decentring operated by Marx - by the historical analysis of the relations of reduction, economic determinations, and the class struggle - it gave place towards the end of the nineteenth century, to the search for a total history, in which all the differences of a society might be reduced to a single form, to the organisation of a world-view, to the establishment of a system of values, to a coherent type of civilisation. To the
Some have claimed he has murdered history, which he tries to clarify
- my aim is most decidedly not to use the categories of cultural totalities (whether world-views, ideal types, the particular spirit of an age) in order to impose on history, despite itself, the forms of structural analysis.
- My aim is not to transfer to the field of history, and more particularly to the history of knowledge (connaissances), a structuralist method that has proved valuable in other fields of analysis.
A move from the total history of discovering the principle of society, and form of civilization, to a general history of relations btw series: draw "tables"; disperse
- in so far as my aim is to define a method of historical analysis freed from the anthropological theme
y=1989 a=Philadelphia, PA p=University of Pennsylvania Press r=20031122
This book presents an argument for "radical empiricism" whereby the anthropologists is freed from the rigit strictures of orthodoxy and personal situates and invests himself in his study for a long period
6 Today you are learning about us, but to understand us you must grow old with us.
8 Foucault reminds us that doctors rely upon oder. Kant further the removal of sciences, now we have dry academic prose.
22 That night Djebo's horrible fukko hoy expressed senseually her anger, an anger formed from a complex of circumstances. She wanted her sauce to be disgusting
25 Marcus and Cushman identify nine conventions of "ethnographic realism"
32 "Tasteful anthropology" is analytical, tactful ethnographics are evocative.
130 episteme, "that apparatus which makes possible the separation of not the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterized as scientific."
130 Are we left with a subjectivism so laced with imperfections that it, too, is worthless? Perhaps we should be more realistic about the goals of the human sciences and take the sober advice of David Hume, who wrote that "all our reasonings concerning causes and effects are derived from nothing but custom; and the belief is more properly an act of the sensitive, than the cogitative part of our nature. . . . Anthropology has one strength: ethnography, the original, albeit imperfect, product of our discipline. Despite its taken-for-granted status, ethnography, rather than cultural materialism, structuralism, or any other "ism," has been and will continue to be our core contribution. It is time to appreciate ethnographers who produce works of art that become power vehicles for exposition
152 [Dewey's] notion of truth "never signifies correctness of intellectual statements about things or truth as its meaning is influenced by science. It denotes the wisdom by which men live." The aesthetic awareness of the senses, then, plays a foundational role in experience, which, in turn, is the heart of ethnographic fieldwork.
y=1990 e=Michael Metteer (trans.) a=Stanford,CA p=Stanford University Press r=20031129
179 Nietze objects ot authors on the title page
208 Ebbinghaus tests his memory, memorizing nonsense is similar to memorizing the known (factoid: phone-numbers were set to maximum short-term memory?)
212 The "Great Lalula" is nonsense verse
215 Began to consider cognitive physiology
227 Auto read/write and female dictation as a shift from "the Mother's mouth"
251 "pictures made of letters":ASCII art?
256 Considers the space around the letters
259 McLuhan, typewriter fuses writing with production
274 Untranslability and mutability of the media
370 Universal alphabetization (1800) and data storage (1900)
1800: ERA of Goethean Romanticism and the Transcendental Signified Language is Whole and Oral. Learning is the absorption of whole words from the Source: the Mother's Mouth. In this discourse network, meaning is primary. The goal of reading is understanding. As material, Language is an exchangeable (translatable) sheath for pure meaning which is conducted through but external to a text. Women are natural readers who consume (as lovers) / understand (as mothers) the texts written by men who Write (the Law). The Law is ensured to be morally accountable because it is written by men who learned language from their mothers' pristine mouths. Women's bodies are reduced to this singular orifice, the mouth of One Woman, the originary source of natural language.
1900: ERA of Modernity and the Typewritten Signifier Language is fractured and mechanized. Learning is the assumption of a given correct order of component parts: Memorization. In this discourse network, assembly is primary. As material, language is a structured arrangement of syllabic modules, authored at the typewriter. Pure translation is impossible because any substitutions or rearrangements of these parts throw coherence into jeopardy. In that language is inherently fractured and tenuously held together by memorization, it is prone to occasional failures which register in the body as pathologies. Disorders in the arrangement of syllables reflect medical disorders. New institutions like psychophysics are required to capture and organize the resultant pathologies introduced to the body by newly fractured language.
~ The concept of the discourse network evolved within continental structuralism and poststructuralism. The claim is that it is possible to map the systems of rules and codes of a given epoch, to show not only what was said and done in that epoch, but also the limits of what it was possible to say and do.
Discourse Networks 1800/1900 erases the boundaries between the sciences. The book is broken up into two sections: 1800 and 1900. The first epistemic break around 1800 occurs when what you call the Republic of Scholars dissolves in the wake of standard alphabetization. Your periodization into Renaissance/Classical, Modern and roughly Postmodern corresponds in large to Foucault's division of European culture in The Order of Things. The end of the third of these periods coincides, as Foucault states, with the end of 'man' as the central figure of knowledge. Around 1900 the medium book's monopoly on the word is broken by new media such as the gramophone and film.
This book from uber media theorist Frederich Kittler is a Foucault-like history of knowledge over the last 200 years. Kittler looks at two years - 1800 and 1900 - and shows how the state of knowledge has changed from a "kingdom of sense" (in 1800) based on understanding and meaning to a "kingdom of pattern" (in 1900) based on images and algorithms. He defines a discourse network as "the network of technologies and institutions that allow a given culture to select, store, and process relevant data." Kittler's scholarship is breathtaking as he passes from Nietzsche's philosophy to Edison's gramophone with ease. Both historians and media theorists will enjoy this unique work
a=New York,NY p=Verso y=1998
5 Pastiche is like parody but without satire
6 The bourgeois individual subject is dead, or never existed
8 nostalgia films: metonyms
16 The Boneventure hotel represents an incapacity ot map our (global) environement
20 Transformations of reality into images; perpetual present
24 Paradox of reactionary political project deplores cultural politics
25 Adorno and Habermas want to rescue the negative/critical power of high modern, but Habermas also wants to associate this with the Enlightenment
38 Paraodox of captialism, it produces itself though it is individualistic
39 Why has "totality" appeared necessary at times, and nosxious at others?
41 Mecks, "mode of production" concept arose because of the differences in advancement of distinct regions
43 When everything is systematic, we lose the notion of a system
46 This identification of the class content of postmodern culture does not at all imply that 'yuppies' have become something like a new ruling class or 'a subject of history' -- merely that their cultural practices and values, their local ideologies, have articulated a useful dominant ideological and cultural pradigm for this stage of capital. It is often the case that cultural forms prevalent in a particular period are not furnished by the principal agents of the social formation in question . . .
48 Argues there will be an international proletariat and "cognitive mappsing" (class consciousness)
51 Contradictions might have resolutions in part, antinomies do not
60 Persistence of the same through absolute difference - the same street with different buildings, the same culture through momentous sheddings of the skin - discredit change, since henceforth the only conceivable radical change would consist in putting an end to change itself.
73 I have consistently argued, over the last few years, that the conjuncture is marked by a dedifferentation of fields, such that economics has come to overlap with culture: that everything, including commodity production and high and speculative finance, has become cultural; and culture has equally become profoundly economic or commodity orientated.
75 In the 60's theater was a form of praxis
83 Hegel: philosophy suppresses art
90 Epochality, a relationship to the present where we defend the historical meaning of the past
120 Compagnon argue postmodern cleanses the modern of its nati- or trans-aesthetic motives, "to return artistic production to the disinterested aesthetic activity that a certain bourgeois tradition (but not the artists themselves) always attributed to it..
114 Compagnon's themes/moments: (1) superstition of new, (2) the religion of the future, (3) theoretical obsession, (4) appeals to culture, and (5) passion of subversion
141 Arrighi's 3 stages (akin to C-M-C) of Finance Capital
142 Capital becomes divorced of a specific location and becomes a "spectre of value," as Derrida might put it
143 Thus any comprehensive new theory of finance captialism will need to reach out into the expanded realm of cultural production to map its effects: indeed mass cultural production and consumption themselves -- at one with globalization and the new information technology -- are as profoundly economic as the other productive areas of late capitalism, and as fully integrated into the latter's generalized commodity system.
148 Two contributions (1) realism and modernism are in a dialectic and (2) modernism and autonomism
152 Deleuze, deterritorialization, with Arrighi's capital takes flight
153 So it is that in any specific region of production, as Arrighi shows us, there comes a moment in which the logic of capitalism -- faced with the saturation of the local and even foreign markets -- determines an abandonment of that kind of specific production, along with its factories and trained workforce, and, leaving them behind in ruins, takes its flight to other more profitable ventures.
155 Ken Russell's joke that every movie will be 15 minute long, and the character of previews
160 Money is modernist abstraction, empty and uninteresting
161 Finance capitalism needs neither production nor consumption in cybespace
166 The Assassination of New York, Robert Fitch
174 Rockefeller Center was a bad investment, mitigated by having the city redevelop the area around it