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Scenes from Postmodern Life

2001
Author:

Beatriz Sarlo
Translated by Jon Beasley-Murray

Scenes from Postmodern Life

A celebrated critic offers a refreshing engagement with the politics of global culture.

In this bracing book by one of Latin America’s foremost intellectuals, Beatriz Sarlo offers a remarkably clear, forthright, and forceful statement of what precisely cultural criticism is and might be in our age of manic consumption, commercialization, popularization, and mass marketing. Her readings of cultural practices such as television zapping, playing video games, or trawling the shopping mall; her vignettes of traditional intellectuals and practitioners of high art; her discussions of popular culture and the dissolution of social identities: these, as well as Sarlo’s own writerly stance, go a considerable way toward developing the role of thinking in global times.

Cultural Studies of the Americas Series, volume 7

Sarlo is one of the most important Latin American public intellectuals today. Her work enjoys a tremendous and well-justified critical reputation in Argentina and abroad. The translation of Scenes from Postmodern Life is a significant event and an important contribution to the dissemination of contemporary Latin American thinking.

Alberto Moreiras, Romance Studies and Literature, Duke University

In this bracing book by one of Latin America’s foremost intellectuals, Beatriz Sarlo offers a remarkably clear, forthright, and forceful statement of what precisely cultural criticism is and might be in our age of manic consumption, commercialization, popularization, and mass marketing.

As postmodernity and late capitalism reinvent culture and society, social and cultural critique must also be reinvented-and in Scenes from Postmodern Life Sarlo aims to show how this might be done. Her readings of cultural practices such as television zapping, playing video games, or shopping at the mall; her vignettes of traditional intellectuals and practitioners of high art; her discussions of popular culture and the dissolution of social identities: these, as well as Sarlo’s own writerly stance, go a considerable way toward developing the role of thinking in global times. Taking full advantage of the fact that her native Argentina is both fully part of global culture and yet in some ways on its periphery, Sarlo shows how an off-center or decentered perspective can bring the political consequences of the culture industry into sharp relief.

As an introduction to a preeminent Latin American thinker, as a challenge to intellectuals to rethink and revitalize their critical positions, and as an instructive engagement with the politics of global culture, this book will be essential-and electrifying-reading for anyone concerned about the prospects for critical thinking in the new millennium.

Scenes from Postmodern Life

Beatriz Sarlo, a prominent Latin American cultural critic, is professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires. She has also taught at Columbia, Minnesota, Berkeley, and Cambridge. Sarlo is the cofounder of the journal Punto de Vista and the author of many books, including Borges: A Writer on the Edge.

Jon Beasley-Murray lectures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Manchester.

Scenes from Postmodern Life

Sarlo is one of the most important Latin American public intellectuals today. Her work enjoys a tremendous and well-justified critical reputation in Argentina and abroad. The translation of Scenes from Postmodern Life is a significant event and an important contribution to the dissemination of contemporary Latin American thinking.

Alberto Moreiras, Romance Studies and Literature, Duke University