Postmodern discourse mumbo jumbo

30 October, 2015 at 14:15 | Posted in Varia | 6 Comments

MUMBO-JUMBO1The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Judith Butler



  1. Hi Lars. I’m not an economist, but once in a while I find myself writing a thing relating to economic ideas. The short post I just put out relates pretty directly to some of your regular themes:


  2. I also use the cambell soup as the symbol for my struggle against postmodernism.

    Andy Warhol summed up postmodernism so well in that picture, it tells you everything you need to know about postmodernism. What I interpret the Warhol piece as is this:

    “This is art, because I, an authority on art has put my name on it.”

    That summs up the authoritarian sentiment that is hidden behind the incomprehensible facade of postmodernism. Postmodern feminism is really antifeminist and authoritarian, it is false flag through and through.

    Det dunkelt sagda är det dunkelt tänkta som vi säger i Sverige.

  3. Funny as hell! 🙂

  4. Noam Chomsky on Derrida etc:

    “So take Derrida, one of the grand old men. I thought I ought to at least be able to understand his Grammatology, so tried to read it. I could make out some of it, for example, the critical analysis of classical texts that I knew very well and had written about years before. I found the scholarship appalling, based on pathetic misreading; and the argument, such as it was, failed to come close to the kinds of standards I’ve been familiar with since virtually childhood. Well, maybe I missed something: could be, but suspicions remain […]”

    “Some of the people in these cults (which is what they look like to me) I’ve met: Foucault (we even have a several-hour discussion, which is in print, and spent quite a few hours in very pleasant conversation, on real issues, and using language that was perfectly comprehensible — he speaking French, me English);

    Lacan (who I met several times and considered an amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatan, though his earlier work, pre-cult, was sensible and I’ve discussed it in print);
    Kristeva (who I met only briefly during the period when she was a fervent Maoist); and others. Many of them I haven’t met, because I am very remote from from these circles, by choice, preferring quite different and far broader ones […]

    I’ve dipped into what they write out of curiosity, but not very far, for reasons already mentioned: what I find is extremely pretentious, but on examination, a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts that I know well (sometimes, that I have written), argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial (though dressed up in complicated verbiage) or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish.”

  5. I find it odd that economists are criticising post-modernism. I have seen it a few times now. Post-modernism has been kept out of economics. In fact pretty much all ontological and epistemological discourse has. Most economists would not even know what post-modernism is.

    Economics has big problems. Let’s not worry about ones that do not exist in the discipline.

  6. Getting out of mumbonomics
    Comment on ‘Postmodern discourse mumbo jumbo’
    Above, Jan Milch quotes Chomsky with what can be taken here as definition of Postmodernism: “… a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts …, argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial … or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish.”
    According to this definition economists literally invented Postmodernism: “The currently prevailing pattern of economic theorizing exhibits the following three characteristics: (1) a syncopated style of argument fluctuating back and forth between literary and symbolic modes of expression, (2) naive translation, or the loose paraphrasing of formulae into sentences, and (3) loose verbal reasoning for certain aspects of theoretical argumentation where explicit symbolic formulation is lacking.” (Dennis, 1982, p. 698)
    What Dennis meant with “loose verbal reasoning” is the same as Chomsky’s “plain gibberish”, and this is the realm where, as Keynes said, “nothing is clear and everything is possible” (1973, p. 292). This vast realm between true and false is traditionally occupied and vigilantly defended by the Cambridge School of Loose Verbal Reasoning: “Another danger is that you may ‘precise everything away’ and be left with only a comparative poverty of meaning. … Such a problem was avoided, said Keynes, by Marshall who used loose definitions but allowed the reader to infer his meaning from ‘the richness of context’.” (Coates, 2007, p. 87)
    Keynes’s postmodern methodology — each reader is free to impute his meaning or to guess what Keynes/Marshall meant — became the postkeynesianic gospel: “For Keynes as for Post Keynesians the guiding motto is ‘it is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong!’” (Davidson, 1984, p. 574)
    This allows us now to precisely position economics in general and Postkeynesianism in particular: “More recently, Walter Truett Anderson described postmodernism as belonging to one of four typological world views, which he identifies as either (a) Postmodern-ironist, which sees truth as socially constructed, (b) Scientific-rational, in which truth is found through methodical, disciplined inquiry, (c) Social-traditional, in which truth is found in the heritage of … civilization, or (d) Neo-romantic, in which truth is found through attaining harmony with nature and/or spiritual exploration of the inner self.” (Wikipedia)
    Postmodern economics is anything except (b), i.e., methodical, disciplined inquiry, but in fact, as Dow nicely put it ‘Babylonian incoherent babble’ (2005, p. 385).
    Since Senior’s first attempt of a ‘methodical, disciplined inquiry’ economists have consistently failed to get out of mumbonomics.
    “To Senior belongs the signal honor of having been the first to make the attempt to state, consciously and explicitly, the postulates that are necessary and sufficient in order to build up … that little analytic apparatus commonly known as economic theory, or to put it differently, to provide for it an axiomatic basis.” (Schumpeter, 1994, p. 575)
    There is no such thing as scientifically valid economic theory because Orthodoxy got the axiomatic foundations wrong and Heterodoxy has none at all.*
    Egmont Kakarot-Handtke
    Coates, J. (2007). The Claims of Common Sense. Moore, Wittgenstein, Keynes and the Social Sciences. Cambridge, New York, NY, etc.: Cambridge University
    Davidson, P. (1984). Reviving Keynes’s Revolution. Journal of Post Keynesian
    Economics, 6(4): 561–575. URL
    Dennis, K. (1982). Economic Theory and the Problem of Translation (I). Journal
    of Economic Issues, 16(3): 691–712. URL
    Dow, S. C. (2005). Axioms and Babylonian Thought: A Reply. Journal of Post
    Keynesian Economics, 27(3): 385–391. URL
    Keynes, J. M. (1973). The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money.
    The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes Vol. VII. London, Basingstoke:
    Schumpeter, J. A. (1994). History of Economic Analysis. New York, NY: Oxford
    University Press.
    * But see for Constructive Heterodoxy

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.