jameson, political unconcious


Still, it may strike the reader as paradoxical or even perverse to characterize the bulk of garden-variety literary criticism today as “ethical,” by which we normally understand a moralizing, or moralistic, didactic gesture of the type presumably extinct with the Scrutiny group if not with the Victorian age. This is to misrecognize the dominant form taken by ethics in our own situation, which is essentially psychological and psychologizing, even where it appeals for its authority to this or that version of psychoanalysis. Here notions of personal identity, myths of the reunification of the psyche, and the mirage of some Jungian “self” or “ego” stand in for the older themes of moral sensibility or ethical awareness and reconfirm the aptness of that other contemporary continental theme which, as we shall see further in the Chapter 3, turns upon the critique of the “center” and the “centered” self. Still, these various post-structural motifs should not be understood as a wholesale endorsement of post-structuralism, the anti-Marxist character of which is increasingly evident in France today. On the contrary, I will argue that only the dialectic provides a way for “decentering” the subject concretely, and for transcending the “ethical” in the direction of the political and the collective.


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