While being an important tile of Jameson’s whole theoretical project, Allegory and Ideology leaves some key questions not fully answered. Briefly put, these questions concern the meanings and limits of allegory; the unstable relationship between allegory and allegoresis in the Western cultural tradition; and the special place allegory plays or could play in postmodern culture. Solving these problems – in the footsteps of Jameson’s magisterial inquiry – will be crucial especially for Marxist critics.
There has long been a tension in Fredric Jameson’s work regarding the extent to which it is possible or warranted to develop transhistorical categories for literary interpretation across of the whole of the capitalist mode of production. In my contribution to this symposium, I take up the problem of how Jameson’s Allegory and Ideology participates in such questions in its consideration of periodisation and narrativisation through the particular construction of allegory, from the early modern age to our financial present.
Fredric Jameson’s recent book, Allegory and Ideology, argues that allegory has become a ‘social symptom’, an attempt during moments of historical crisis to represent reality even as that reality, rife with contradictory levels, eludes representation. Mobilising the fourfold medieval system of allegory he first introduced in The Political Unconscious, Jameson traces a formal history of attempts to come to terms with the ‘multiplicities’ and incommensurable levels that emerge within modernity and postmodernity. This article identifies the complexities of Jameson’s understanding of allegory and draws on the brief moments when Jameson references the Anthropocene to argue for an allegorical reading of our contemporary environmental crisis that would allow us to see the problem the Anthropocene names as truly contradictory: at one and the same time, the world we inhabit appears to us as a world of our own making and as a world that has become truly alien to us.
What does it mean to bring Marxism and psychoanalysis together at this conjuncture? Such a project has been a throughline, arguably, for Fredric Jameson’s work for the past four decades. In this review-article, I read his chapter on Lacan and Hamlet for how it helps us to understand, not only how Jameson’s ruminations on desire and neurosis highlight the social tendencies in Lacanian theory (for example, the notion that desire is the desire of the other), but also how that relationship throws new light on both the Marxist project and psychoanalysis proper.
In ‘Thinking Beyond the Lockdown’, Panagiotis Sotiris argues that lockdowns are repressive and should be opposed. In this response I take issue with his analysis. He posits the existence of a ‘lockdown strategy’ which has little relation to reality. He identifies lockdowns with neoliberalism, flirts with the Great Barrington project, and calls for anti-lockdown resistance – without so much as a glance at the right-wing libertarian camps that are also staked out on this terrain. On these points, and in respect of his interpretation of Foucault, I offer a rebuttal.
This paper examines the occupational choice of animal shelter work. While the Human-Animal Studies (HAS) literature tends to implicitly assume shelter entry to be based on loving nonhuman animals, this study finds evidence that loving them is a necessary but insufficient antecedent. I understand and explain my respondents’ choice as processual; early experiences and influence of significant others, serendipitous events or changes in the life course, and alienation from previous workplaces combine to precede shelter entry. In terms of the decision to stay, shelter work appears to offer sanctuary to human actors as well as to the animals in their care. My respondents have found an alternative experience of the economy, one which is not isolated from, but embedded in, their values and moral rationalities. Shelter work offers sanctuary from the market economy in nature, as embodied by other animals.
Elinor Mason argues that there are different kinds of blameworthiness: ordinary and detached. In the following, I summarize the key aspects of both kinds, and critically discuss the exact boundaries between them. According to Mason, we should not blame wrongdoers in the ordinary way if they do not know that their conduct is problematic. This is plausible insofar as the function of ordinary blame is to remind wrongdoers of values that they already share, but I will suggest that we need a slightly different account if its function is to communicate values that they do not share yet.