oa Alternation - Reading History as Cultural Text

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



This article takes issue with a moderately strong trend in the politics of South African cultural debate in terms of which variants of 'Post' criticism are typified as textual radicalism, and then condemned as ethically and politically irresponsible. The essay questions the generalised strawman version of 'post-everything' concocted by critics who draw their validation from an assumed position of engaging in what they call 'practical politics'. The article sees such arguments as damaging both to the theoretical integrity of materialist criticism and to the particular inflections of 'Post' critique which derive from specific South African conditions and histories. Finally, an example of particularist critique is offered. The reader is invited to judge whether such work is indeed an example of 'import rhetoric', or whether it asks worthy questions whose import is not limited to a spurious textual ephemerality.

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