Globalisation, History, Realism, Utopia
Chapter One Introduction: Only Connect? Globalisation and the Problem of Realism
When the problem of connecting isolated phenomena has become a problem of categories, by the same dialectical process every problem of categories becomes transformed into a historical problem. Though it should be stressed: it is transformed into a problem of universal history which now appears … simultaneously as a problem of method and a problem of our knowledge of the present. — Lukács, History and Class Consciousness1 It is now time to reconnect. — David Harvey, Spaces of Hope2 Thirty years ago, writing some ‘Ref lections in Conclusion’ to the publica- tion of a selection of the polemical debates between Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch, Brecht and Lukács, Fredric Jameson issued a remarkable program- matic call for the formation of a new realist project. Reviewing the debates within the Marxisms of the 1930s, Jameson noted all manner of political and aesthetic concerns re-emerging in the then-contemporary moment of the 1970s. ‘Nowhere has this “return of the repressed” been more dra- matic’, he writes, ‘than in the aesthetic conf lict between “Realism” and “Modernism”, whose navigation and renegotiation is still unavoidable for 1 Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Rodney Livingstone (1923; London: Merlin, 1971), p. 186. 2 David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), p. 16. 2 Chapter One us today, even though we may feel that each position is in some sense right and yet that neither is any longer wholly acceptable’.3 Whereas modernism’s great innovations for ‘making strange’ and coming to terms...
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