Abstract

When Terry Eagleton, in a review of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, declares that Spivak’s ‘flamboyant theoretical avant-gardism conceals a rather modest political agenda’1 he rehearses the allegation, made repeatedly since the late 1970s, that poststructuralism indulges in a ludicism that prevents it from offering a compelling critique of the social, the political, and the cultural. Poststructuralist theory, Eagleton tells us, is caught up in a ‘selftheatricalizing’2 introspection; its notion of resistance permits little more than a vigilant complicity with dominant institutions, and its theory of cultural power fails to provide a convincing analysis of social systems and the injustices embedded within them. These claims tellingly reiterate other work — by other critics, as well as Eagleton — that excoriates poststructuralist theory for being unsystematic, ahistorical, rarified, abstruse, or banal; for being, in other words, a diversion from properly effective forms of radical critique.

Keywords

Permeability Europe Transportation Posit Egypt 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Terry Eagleton, ‘In the Gaudy Supermarket’ London Review of Books, 21: 10 (1999), 6.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
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  3. 5.
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  7. 12.
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    Jurgen Habermas, The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays, trans. Max Pensky (London: Polity, 2001), p. 64.Google Scholar

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© Philip Leonard 2005

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  • Philip Leonard

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