These week I’ve been preparing a lecture on consumer culture. While I find much of the stuff by Adam Arvidsson and Roberta Sassatelli interesting, some of their criticism has got me to thinking about the productive roles that hypostatization and strawmen play in setting up new academic discourses.
In the field of consumer culture this target of criticism seems to be ‘productivism.’ Productivism is treated as a theory that reduces everything to the role of production. Since some Marxists can be used as examples of such a conception of productivism, Marx and other Marxists are dismissed as productivsts. Opposed to this are various authors theories of A,B or C that overturn productivism by arguing that other elements such as culture etc. played a role in the development of consumption.
A similar account might be given of post-Marxism. Its been awhile, but I seem to remember, that Laclau’s critique of Marx Hegemony and Socialist Strategy was premised on a similar hypostatization of certain Marxist orientations with Marx all of which were reduced to the sort of boogeymen that ignored NSMs.
Can y’all think of other examples?