Post-marxism and the problems of ‘modernist’ explanation

Gregor McLennan
Vol 14, Number 2, p.140
In this paper, I want to tackle some of the underlying issues around postmarxism in contemporary social theory, using just one exemplar of this emerging framework, namely Michele Barrett's 1991 book The Politics of Truth: From Marx to Foucault. The rationale for this limited focus is that the field of 'post-marxism' in sociological, educational, feminist and cultural studies is now extensive, and it is consequently rather easy - but also somewhat unsatisfactory-to take a 'scattergun' approach to the central questions by citing many authors and gesturing at general tendencies. It seems to me better to anchor the discussion of those tendencies in a single text like Barrett's, partly because she is a widely respected commentator, and partly because the area she deals with - the theory of ideology - is of particular importance to radical educationalists.