[PDF / Epub] ✈ Descent into Discourse: The Reification of Language and the Writing of Social History (Critical Perspectives on the Past) ☀ Bryan D. Palmer – Freepe.co

Critical Theory Is No Substitute For Historical Materialism Language Is Not Life With This Statement, Bryan Palmer Enters The Debate That Is Now Transforming And Disrupting A Number Of Academic Disciplines, Including Political Science, Women S Studies, And History Focusing On The Ways In Which Literary Or Critical Theory Is Being Promoted Within The Field Of Social History, He Argues Forcefully That The Current Reliance On Poststructuralism With Its Reification Of Discourse And Avoidance Of The Structures Of Oppression And Struggles Of Resistance Obscures The Origins, Meanings, And Consequences Of Historical Events And ProcessesPalmer Is Concerned With The Emergence Of Language As A Central Focus Of Intellectual Work In The Twentieth Century He Locates The Implosion Of Theory That Moved Structuralism In The Direction Of Poststructuralism And Deconstruction In What He Calls The Descent Into Discourse Few Historians Who Champion Poststructuralist Thought, According To Palmer, Appreciate Historical Materialism S Capacity To Address Discourse Meaningfully Nor Do Many Of The Advocates Of Language Within The Field Of Social History Have An Adequate Grounding In The Theoretical Making Of The Project They Champion So Ardently Palmer Roots His Polemical Challenge In An Effort To Introduce Historians Fully To The Theoretical Writing That Many Are Alluding To And Drawing From Rather Cavalierly Acknowledging That Critical Theory Can Contribute To An Understanding Of Some Aspects Of The Past, Palmer Nevertheless Argues For The Centrality Of Materialism To The Project Of History In Specific Discussions Of How Critical Theory Is Constructing Histories Of Politics, Class, And Gender, He Traces The Development Of The Descent Into Discourse Within Social History, Mapping The Limitations Of Recent Revisionist Texts Much Of This Writing, He Contends, Is Undertheorized And Represents A Problematic Retreat From Prior Histories That Attempted To Address Such Material Forces As Economic Structures, Political Power, And Class Struggle Descent Into Discourse Counters Current Intellectual Fashion With An Eloquent Argument For The Necessity To Analyze And Appreciate Lived Experience And The Structures Of Subordination And Power In Any Quest For Historical Meaning Marxist historian brings this late cold war polemic against the linguistic turn in the writing of history, bringing his critique to bear specifically on post structuralist developments.Opening section gives a whirlwind tour of the linguistic turn itself, beginning with the nietzschean prototype, moving through Saussure, the Bakhtin circle, and the Prague circle before getting hot under the collar for Levi Strauss, Barthes, Althusser, Foucault, Lacan, and Derrida, then ending with a critique of de Man s wartime conduct It s all very fast, and readers unacquainted with the writers in question may have a hard time keeping up It s accordingly not a beginner s volume, but it s flattering that the writer gives his interlocutors the intellectual credit of writing this kind of introduction Seriously, don t approach this one until reading at least Derrida for Dummies or Introducing Saussure or whatever The argument proper breaks out into sections on marxism, politics, class, and gender, with a concluding statement thereafter Each section takes on specific writers in the discipline of history, attempting to expose how they have been influenced by the linguistic turn, and how this affects both the writing of history in general and dismantles old left class based politics, even though the writers under examination likely can t be designated as rightwingers One reviewer grouses that the author is an unreformed marxist, which a rudely suggests that marxism is something to be cured, and b is manifestly erroneous in any event, as Palmer declares his sympathy for E.P Thompson and Ray Williams on several occasions marxists of a sort, sure, but no one will accuse them of being dogmatic adherents to the second international or dim witted stalinists Nor, as the same reviewer suggested, is the author a disciple of Trotsky, though same is quoted several times As the author otherwise notes I am not, of course, suggesting an unthinking return to mechanical Marxism 211.Admits in the conclusion that the linguistic turn has some value historians do need to deal with and assimilate some of what discourse theory has been claiming 216 but history writing should not be simply an aesthetic endeavor that seeks to eschew class analysis in favor of ludic interrogation of events.