Jumpstarting the Future with Fredric Jameson: Reflections on Capitalism, Science Fiction and Utopia
Journal of Organizational Change Management, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 2, 2008
This paper turns around the key concern that it has become almost impossible to imagine a form of the future that is neither a prolongation of what already exists nor its apocalyptic demise. In trying to find ways of reconceiving the future in a more productive fashion, the paper relies heavily on Fredric Jameson's work. Jameson worries that the traditional realist novel, which has featured so prominently in discussions of 'literature' in the field of organization studies, has committed itself far too readily to what he terms 'ontological realism': the deliberate confusion of that which is meaningful with that which exists. He therefore explores the potential of Science Fiction (SF), and in particular radical SF from the 1960s and 1970s, for figuring a break with a hollowed-out present. This is achieved, for example, by transforming our own present into the past of something yet to come. It is as if Walter Benjamin's angel of history would stand in an imaginary future with its face turned back towards our present. Such revelatory time-slips find their clearest expression in the novels of Philip K Dick, and it is to them that this paper will turn when working through some concrete examples.
Keywords: capitalism, ideology, Jameson, novel, PK Dick, science fiction, utopia
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