Specters of postmodernism: Derrida's Marx, the new international and the return of situationism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (1):1-21 (1999)
In Specters of Marx, Derrida proposes a return to the spirit of Marxism as a way of dealing with the 'repoliticization' of contemporary realities. I suggest that Derrida's rediscovery of Marx allows one to map out what I call the end(s) of postmodernism, that is to say, the point(s) where the cultural free-play characteristic of the postmodern mood is confronted with renewed questions of politics, ideology and technology. Through a micro-reading of Derrida's text, two possible end(s) of postmodernism are identified. One is a 'retro-(post)modernist' discourse which turns liberal and provides the vision of a 'New International' as an end result. The other is a '(post)-postmodern' approach which finds a way of tackling politics and ideology by rediscovering a mode of situationist engagement. By investigating the 'specters' of postmodernism through Derrida's recent work, this paper contributes to the debate over what type of theoretical formations may emerge after postmodernism. Key Words: culture • deconstruction • Derrida • détournement • ideology • Marx • the New International • postmodernism • situationism.
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