Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism

Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism


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"This chapter attempts to address some fundamental problems with postmodern theory, as it currently informs the field of educational research. Our position is that postmodern theory has overwhelmingly debauched the field of Leftist criticism. However, we have not undertaken an analysis of specific postmodern educationalists (this being achieved by many of the other chapters in this book). Rather, we set forth counterpositions to claims put forth in the literature by postmodern theorists. We give a positive appraisal of postmodern theory in certain instances where we feel it has contributed to the field of Leftist critique. In the main, however, our position remains unwaveringly critical. This is largely a result of our contention that postmodern theorists advocate an expansion of existing bourgeois forms of democratic social life into wider arenas of society, by means of a reformist politics in the tradition of Western liberalism. Such a politics views culture as partially independent of the state. Such a move only makes sense, however, within a larger politics of anticapitalist struggle. Yet postmodemists fail to challenge existing social relations of production and the larger social totality of capitalist social relations. As a result, their work has very little to contribute to the uprooting of the contradictions between capital and labor."



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Lexington Press


Lanham, MD


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


In Dave Hill (Ed.), Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory. Dr. McLaren's chapter begins on page 35.

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Lexington Press

Breaking Signifying Chains: A Marxist Position on Postmodernism