On Love and Shadows

  • Thomas Phillips


In his Culture and the Death of God, Eagleton makes the claim that “postmodernism, entranced by the liminal, aberrant and transgressive, can muster scarcely more enthusiasm [than what he identifies as the conservative elitism of Kulturkritik] for … such humdrum questions as state, class, economy and political organization” (2014, 185). As a relatively populist phenomenon (outside the theory and practice of high theory), postmodernism doubtless operates at the nexus of the individual consumer who is paradoxically absorbed into the vast machinery of capitalism, the great equalizer that welcomes all into its various arenas (from the shopping mall to the posh art gallery to the English department), regardless of subject position. But this generalization overlooks the many cultural manifestations of transgression, some of which are far from marginal, that contribute (more or less poststructurally) insightful and robust examinations of precisely the “humdrum” questions that concern the contemporary Marxist cultural critic. The texts under consideration in this study are clearly concerned with the sociopolitical, with power and subjectification, especially as the latter infiltrates the individual psychology to effect a process of dehumanization. The liminal, the aberrant, and the transgressive need not be exclusive of politics; indeed, at the level of the everyday, they are likely to confront it head on.


True Detective Shopping Mall Twin Peak Female Protagonist Cultural Manifestation 
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  1. 2.
    See Paul Schrader’s Transcendental Style in Film (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See chapter 8 in Thomas Phillips’s The Subject of Minimalism: On Aesthetics, Agency, and Becoming (2013) for an examination of both Buddhist meditative practice and Gurdjieffian notions of self-development.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Thomas Phillips 2015

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  • Thomas Phillips

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