Hegemony, initially a term referring to the dominance of one state within a confederation, is now generally understood to mean domination by consent. This broader meaning was coined and popularized in the 1930s by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who investigated why the ruling class was so successful in promoting its own interests in society. Fundamentally,… Read More Hegemony

Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Chaos theory and complexity theory challenge some of our most deeply held beliefs about the nature of reality. The former claims that natural systems (for example, the weather) are controlled by mysterious forces, called ‘strange attractors‘, such that they are simultaneously random and determined -a conclusion which undermines the laws of logic on which so… Read More Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory and Literary Criticism

Ernst Bloch and Utopian Marxist Philosophy

German Marxist philosopher, whose interest in Utopian thought has perhaps had as much, if not more, influence on theology (Moltmann 1967) than on philosophy or cultural theory. It is perhaps only a slight exaggeration to suggest that Ernst Bloch‘s (1885-1977) substantial and diverse output may best be understood as a gloss upon Marx’s observation that… Read More Ernst Bloch and Utopian Marxist Philosophy

Walter Benjamin and Cultural Theory

The German literary theorist Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was associated with what is known as the Frankfurt School of German critical theory (although he was never a member of its institutional body, the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research). His work is diverse in both its content (ranging from studies of Romantic and contemporary literature, through photography… Read More Walter Benjamin and Cultural Theory

Key Theories of Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), best known for a text called The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction where the world of mass produced artworks, in particular those of photography and film, are explored. Benjamin is also regarded as an iconic intellectual of the twentieth century, who blurred the boundaries of many traditionally isolated subject… Read More Key Theories of Walter Benjamin

Fredric Jameson as a Neo-Marxist Critic

Fredric Jameson outlined a dialectic theory of literary criticism in his Marxism and Form (1971), drawing on Hegelian categories such as the notion of totality and the connections of abstract and concrete. Such criticism recognises the need to see its objects of analysis within a broad historical context, acknowledges its own history and perspective, and… Read More Fredric Jameson as a Neo-Marxist Critic