In the tradition of Mike Davis and Fredric Jameson, Nick Heffernan engages in a series of meditations on capital, class and technology in contemporary America. He turns to the stories we generate and tell ourselves - via fiction, film journalism, theory - to see how change is registered. By investigating a variety of texts, he observes how structural change affects the way people organise their lives economically, socially and culturally. Case studies include Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, William Gibson's cyberspace trilogy, Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, and Wim Wenders's Until the End of the World. Using the links between narrative cultural forms and the process of historical understanding, he brings together debates that have so far been conducted largely within the separate domains of political economy, social theory and cultural criticism to provide a compelling analysis of contemporary cultural change. By relocating postmodernism in the context of changing modes of capitalism, Heffernan puts the question of class and class agency back at the centre of the critical agenda.
Nick Heffernan teaches American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University College Northampton.
Introduction Part 1. Late Capitalism, Fordism, Post-Fordism 1. Postmodernism and Late Capitalism 2. Class and Consensus, Ideology and Technology Part 2. Putting 'IT' to Work: Post-Fordism, Information Technology and the Eclipse of Production 3. Making 'IT': The Soul of a New Machine 4. Faking 'IT': True Stories 5. Playing with 'IT': Microserfs Part 3. Impotence and Omnipotence: The Cybernetic Discourse of Capitalism 6. Cybernetics, Systems Theory and the End of Ideology 7. Imaginary Resolutions: William Gibson's Cyberspace Trilogy 8. Artificial Intelligence and Class Consciousness: Blade Runner Part 4. Capital, Class, Cosmopolitanism 9. Fordism, Post-Fordism and the Production of World Space 10. National Allegory and the Romance of Uneven Development: The Names 11. Blindness and Insight in the Global System: Until the End of the World Conclusion: Questioning Fordism and Post-Fordism Notes Bibliography