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Readings in historico-geographical materialism Castree, Noel 1992

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READINGS IN HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISMbyNOEL CASTREEB.A. (Hons.), The University of Oxford, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Geography)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober 1992© Noel Castree, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of  la' e r The University of Britis ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate  0^C DE-6 (2/88)AbstractAs the twentieth century comes to a close Marxism, as an intellectual and politicalforce, is widely considered to be in a state of terminal decline. In the English-speaking world Marxism is often seen as essentially an economistic discourse,unable to deal with questions of power and subjectivity that have recently becomethe focus of so much academic concern. In this thesis I contest that view byexploring the cultural theory contained in David Harvey's 'historico-geographicalmaterialism'. Harvey, perhaps the leading exponent of geographically inflectedmaterialist analysis, has produced a considerable amount of work exploring howcapital entails a particular mode of sociation that is consequential for our verysubjectivities. Yet his work, I contend, is little understood. In an account that is bothexegetical and critical I seek to illuminate the central aspects of Harvey'sinterventions into the cultural realm and suggest the limits of his contrual of what Icall 'the subject of capital' in making sense of the complexities of late twentiethcentury societies. As such this thesis is more than simply a meditation on the workof one individual. It is also a critical investigation of a particular kind of Marxism -'classical' Marxism - and an evaluation of where, today, that venerable problematicleaves those trying to make sense of our subjection in contemporary society.iiCONTENTS Abstract^ iiList of Figures iiiList of Plates^ ivAcknowledgements vIntroduction^ 1Part I Readings in Historico-Geographical Materialism: Defining a Political-Intellectual ProjectPrologue^ 131. A foreword to historico-geographical materialism^ 212. From modern legislators to postmodern interpreters: the aestheticization^44of ethics?3. The aesthetic subject?^734. Historico-geographical materialism at the fin-de-siecle^116Part II Readings in Historico-Geographical Materialism: the Subject ofCapitalPrologue^ 1605. Theory-history-science: the value theory of labour^ 1736. The subject of capital^216iii7. Critique, norm and utopia^ 253Part III Other Maps8. Marxist geography and geographies of Marxism: towards a reconsider-^287ation of cultural-geographic materialismBibliography^ 307ivList of FiguresFigure^ PageFigure 1^Harvey's general model of cultural and political change^77Figure 2^Harvey's specific model of cultural and political change^77Figure 3^Contemporary Anglo-American human geography^135Figure 4^Soja's tripartite history of human geography 291Figure 5^Human geography and Western Marxism^ 294vList of PlatesPlate^ PagePlate 1 The rear of the main tribune of the Zeppelin Field, Nuremburg^101Plate 2 The cathedral of light, Nuremburg^ 101viAcknowledgementsI would like to extend my deepest thanks to Derek Gregory. I could not have hopedfor a better supervisor throughout the course of my MA programme. Not only hasbeen immensely generous with his time and his ideas, but has frequentlysupplemented my intellectual diet with less cerebral ingredients to be found inpitchers and on plates. I am particularly grateful for his relaxed style of supervision:he offered important guidance when I sought it , but has had enough confidence inme to let me pursue questions in directions of my own choosing. I also want tothank Cole Harris for giving his time to be the second reader for this thesis.To the various faculty whose courses I have attended over the last two years I alsoextend my thanks for what has been a stimulating programme. But, of course, theacademic pursuits would not have been nearly so enjoyable were it not for thecompany of Dave, Dan, Jock, Steve and the other graduates in the Department, notto mention those 'vortexers' at 3339 West 8th avenue. While we might not alwayssee eye to eye, I want to thank the Alemania soccer club for allowing me theprivelege of my first ever divisional championship and the most enjoyable seasonof my life! It is to Marie-Noel, however, who I owe the most for making this last yearthe best possible one in which to write a thesis.viiINTRODUCTION This thesis is situated at the intersection of a concern with three discourses:Marxism, 'culture' [with a small c], and human geography [in both the disciplinaryand the lived sense]. The first two may seem somewhat antithetical: Marxism haslost favour on the left and even been declared to be in terminal crisis, while aninterest in the domain of 'culture' has burgeoned these last few years and becomea general signifier for the pursuit of questions outside the supposedly iron grip ofcapitalist economic determinations. Within Anglophone human geography thesetwo aspects of the wider intellectual zeitgeist have made themselves increasinglyapparent. The development of a much more ecumenical critical community withinthe discipline over the last decade or so has been a positive achievement, and onethat has taken place in part through an critique of Marxist geography, which was, inmy view, the first really substantial critical paradigm to enter the discipline)But in this perfectly proper concern to elucidate the spaces not inhabitedsolely, or even partly, by capitalism, we may also be in danger of thinking that wehave 'dealt' with Marxism, that we know what it is about and can thus be confidentin pigeonholing it as, for example, as essentially economistic discourse which isthus, inter alia , ill equipped to deal with putatively 'cultural' questions. Such a viewimplicitly portays capitalism as an economic system which does not, then, possessits own 'cultural' forms connected immediately or even apparently connected to theimperatives of production. At worst this leads to the grossest kind of caricature,which treats Marxism [with a capital M and in the singular] as a more or lesssingular and coherent body of thought without attending to the complex intellectuall During the early 1970s of course.1divisions which have for a long time distinguished different Marxisms, not all ofwhich are economistic discourses. Unfortunately, this tendency is encouragedwhen practitioners such as David Harvey let their concern about the shift away fromhistorical materialism manifest itself in overly strident form. The Condition ofPostmodernity [subtitled, let us recall, An Inquiry Into The Origins of CulturalChange] has, quite rightly, elicited a hostile response from several feministsbecause of the apparent exorbitancy of the claims to know articulated within thetext. Harvey's somewhat intemperate style of argumentation leads him to make theboldest of connections between political-economic and cultural change, whichinstead of advancing rather defeats his own cause by making it seem as if theeconomy literally drives all else before it with a relentless, transcendent logic.Many of these arguments have come together in the so-called 'new culturalgeography'. On the left of the spectrum encompassed by this admittedly elusivedesignation, what is notable is how little interest there has been in materialistanalysis. Peter Jackson, for example, in his survey Maps of Meaning, accordshistorical materialism a somewhat confusing place in the agenda of a new culturalgeography through a curiously anemic and insubstantial invocation of RaymondWilliams and Antonio Gramsci. 2 We might attribute this in part to the fact that muchof the Marxist geography that has preceded the recent interest in 'culture' has beenlargely concerned with the structure of the space economy , a situationcommensurate with the view that Marx was essentially a political-economictheorist. But such a view is quite drastically one-sided: Harvey, for one, sees thecritical theory erected by Marx as potentially productive of elements of a culturaltheory of capitalism and, in the volume Consciousness and the Urban Experience 2 1989, London: Unwin Hyman2for example, has offered a sophisticated and carefully argued attempt to makeinterventions into the 'cultural' realm. Moreover, the view that Marxism is a purelyeconomic discourse fails to attend to the continental tradition of what PerryAnderson called 'Western Marxism', a reworking of Marx in the direction of culturaland political theory. 3As originally conceived this thesis was to have been a grand survey of whatwe might, then, call a 'cultural-geographic materialism'. My own interests are in theconstitution of subjectivity and the temporal and spatial contours of being, concernsnot usually thought to be those of materialist inquiry. Looking around the disciplineof Anglophone human geography it seemed to me that it was the work of DavidHarvey that offered the most ambitious, substantial, rigorous and critically engagedtheoretical account of the 'centring' of subjects within the historical geography ofcapitalism. Coincidentally, his Marxism is a peculiarly classical version, one that,as far as Harvey is concerned at least, holds close to the original writings of Marx.Harvey thus seemed to offer a double opportunity: to investigate, through ageographical imagination, how capital colonizes our very subjectivities and toscrutinize the validity of Harvey's reading of that process; and to thus also assessthe precepts of that version of Marxism which is usually seen, by its detractors, as'outdated' and dogmatic, hence the epithet 'orthodox' Marxism. This done, I hadthen intended to move away from Harvey's 'orthodox' Marxism and to do so byshowing how it cannot be made to stand for Marxism tout court . In particular Iwanted to pay attention to a body of materialist theory which addresses morecentrally than Marx ever did cultural-political questions, the discourse of WesternMarxism. The contours of Western Marxism are peculiarly continental European3Perry Anderson, 1989, Considerations on Western Marxism, 2nd edition, London: Verso3ones and it was my contention that an attention to its historical geography mightexplain why the versions of materialist inquiry inhabiting a narrowly Anglophonehuman geography have seemed so weak when it comes to addressing politico-cultural issues.It soon became clear, however, that this project was much too ambitious fora master's thesis. What remains is a study of central aspects of the 'cultural theory'contained in David Harvey's 'historico-geographical materialism'. As such thisthesis is, to appropriate Harvey's own felicitous words from the Introduction to TheLimits to Capital, "but a pale apology for a magnificent conception." But the more Ithought about Harvey's work the more I came to believe that an in-depth andcareful study of his Marxism would be a valuable exercise. I say this for a number ofreasons.As I looked around the discipline for aids in making sense of Harvey's work, Iwas at once suprised and dismayed at how little critical attention there was to thematerialist reading of the subject with which I was concerned. At first I thought thiswas a fluke, and so I proceeded apace with my own reading of Consciousness andthe Urban Experience, The Condition of Postmodernity and other essays. But themore I read the more it became clear that the dialectical nature of Harvey'sMarxism demanded that one attend to his work as a whole. Looking around forcritical exegeses of his more 'economic' writings, like the magisterial Limits to Capital, I was once again struck by the almost total absence of rigorous andsustained critique of Harvey's work within the discipline. Aside from a few cursorybook reviews at the back of journals, most of the essays dealing with his workseemed unwilling to engage in-depth with the particularities of Harvey's Marxism:instead, what is still, ten years later, the most detailed critique of Harvey's Marxism,4Duncan and Ley's 'Structural Marxism in Human Geography', seemed to me tomiss the specificity of historico-geographical materialism and to trade inaccusations [such as economic determinism, reductionism, functionalism,teleology, theoreticism] that I find somewhat inaccurate and unhelpful.I do not think this absence of truly careful critical engagement is peculiar toHarvey's work, although the intellectual achievement that his four theoreticaltreatises and numerous essays represent makes the absence quite astonishing. Itmay well be that Anglophone human geography is marked by an intellectualculture where there is no sense of duty to truly engage with substantive researchwithin the discipline: if the journals are anything to go by, one looks in vain forspaces devoted to essay-length book reviews that permit detailed critical exegesesof the work of others. 4 This thesis is, then, as much an elaboration of the definingfeatures of Harvey's Marxism as such, its central intellectual and political claimsand the bases for them, as it is a study of its 'cultural' inflections.In particular, it is an account of historico-geographical materialism as acritical theory of society. As Christopher Norris notes, the 1980s and '90s havebeen marked by a certain ennui with theory, both on the left and on the right, andon both sides of the Atlantic. While some leftists have withdrawn into 'theory' as thehistorical landscape has seemed to offer less hope for social change [in an era ofThatcher, Reagan and Bush], so others have seen it as insufficiently sensitive androbust to make sense of the complexities of the current social formation. On theright, that disillusion with the powers of Marxist theory has frequently been a causefor celebration, and an opportunity to reassert the argument that the free market4See, in this regard, the comments of Derek Gregory, 1991, Editorial: 'Gossip Column', Society andSpace, 9, pp 1-45and capitalism are best suited for distributing goods and wealth; the more recentcollapse of Russian and East European communism is taken to be the greatesttestament to the folly of trying to enact 'progressive' change. Yet Harvey remainscommited to historico-geographical materialism as a critical theory of capitalismand so insists that its raison d'etre is to promote the transcendence of thatparticular system. Theory is not, then, for Harvey some detached, meta-physicalpursuit but a practical , political exercise that arises out of a scientific andhistorically and empirically grounded study of the workings of the capitalist modeof production: it is not a moralistic or evaluative theory, but a critical theory in theHegelian sense of the former word [of which more anon]. Indeed, it is my contentionthat the concepts of critique , theory, science and history from a quartet that frameHarvey's project and are essential for understanding what it is aboutThis is not a hagiographic study. It arises, rather, out a desire to make plainwith care and rigour the tenets of historical materialism at a time when, with thecollapse of communism, capitalism is occupying new geographical spaces andembracing new populations. It is thus implicitly an account of a version of Marxismgenerally seen as passé: classical Marxism. I offer it as an encouragement to stepinside Harvey's problematic in its specificity. However, I leave it up to the reader todecide on the power and cogency of his Marxism: my intention is merely to at leastbegin to provide adequate materials for making a reasoned, rather than caricaturedand impulsive, assessment. There is, clearly, a hermeneutic involved here: mine isnot a 'neutral' account; it is, rather, a representation of Harvey's representation ofMarx. This is, however, unavoidable.The study is organized in three parts. Parts I and II weave a discussion of thenature of Harvey's intellectual-political project with an elucidation of its 'cultural'6problematics, specifically regarding the subject. Part I can be seen as an attempt todefine the 'external' boundaries of Harvey's Marxism, by focussing on recent'cultural' changes of a capitalist and non-capitalist nature. It is simultaneously aninvestigation of what I am very crudely going to call one 'half' of Harvey'sconception of the subject, focussed on Harvey's notion of 'time-space compression'and his designation of what I call the aesthetic subject . The vehicle I use isHarvey's most recent and most notorious intervention into those classical'superstructures' of Marxian theory, The Condition of Postmodernity. I focus on thisbook because of the widespread critical attention it has received and because itdeals with an issue that is much discussed right now and which, I will show, seemsto have a direct bearing on the claims of Harvey's Marxism: the supposed transitionto a 'postmodern' era.In the Prologue to the first Part I introduce the themes that structure thefollowing chapters. I suggest that Harvey's critical theory relies on a conception ofcritique that can, apparently, be traced back to the foundational philosophies of theEnlightement. While many of the intellectual claims that come under the label ofpostmodernism pose a challenge to such a foundational stance, Harvey'sresponse is to subvert them by seeing postmodernism as part of an historicalcondition - postmodernity - which his Marxism can explain. In particular, Harveyprovocatively suggests that postmodernity is synonymous with an aesthetic turn,and that it is the aestheticization of our very subjectivities that explains the ills ofthe postmodern era.In chapter 1 I explore the meaning of the concept of critique by tracing itsgenealogy back through Marx to Hegel, Kant and the Enlightenment. In chapter 2 Iuse this 'foreword to historico-geographical materialism' to show how the concept7seemingly influences the way Harvey prosecutes his case against postmodernism.Harvey's polemical critique of postmodern philosophy creates the impression thathe sees his materialism as adequate to grasp the gyrations of Society tout court ;that is, Harvey seems resolutely foundationa/ist and hence blithely insensitive toother visions of the social. Chapter 3, which I title 'The Aesthetic Subject?', reachesthe basis of Harvey's critique of postmodernism, his designation of postmodernityas an historical condition which involves a transformation in our subjectivities.Through an examination of Harvey's conception of fascism in pre-second WorldWar Germany and, specifically, the figure of Martin Heidegger I try to show the logicof Harvey's critique of postmodernity through his reading of the aesthetic subject,and conclude that it is flawed in serious ways. That said, and despite the frequentlytendentious nature of some of the theoretical and historical claims made within TheCondition of Postmodernity, I also suggest that the apparent exorbitancy ofHarvey's claims to know overshadow some genuine historical insights that mightbe productive of future research on a materialist reading of the subject. I endchapter 3 with a summary of the trajectory of my overall argument. I argue thatwhen the target is The Condition of Postmodernity the charge that Harvey's is afoundational discourse seems warranted and conclude by offering a 'first cut' atHarvey's overall intellectual and political project on the basis of that particularbook.In chapter 4 I move away from postmodernism/ity to consider other importantcontemporary challenges to Harvey's claims to know. I convene my discussionaround what has been called the crisis of Marxism", which I locate at theintersection of three concurrent developments: a move to 'post-Marxism', arenewed interest on the left in civil society and political democracy, and, third, therevolutions' in the USSR and Eastern Europe. While I take each of these8challenges seriously, I try to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the limits ofHarvey's Marxism than is evident in The Condition of Postmodernity in particular byfocussing on the sense of theory within Harvey's work and this constitutes my'second cut' at his overall project. I insist on the specificity of The Condition ofPostmodernity within the larger corpus of Harvey's writings and argue that itspolemical tones obscure Harvey's more measured interventions in his work prior tothat book. I conclude that when historico-geographical materialism is treatedspecifically as a critical theory of capitalism then, in principle, it is still directlyrelevant to a critical study of contemporary history, but that this must, of course, bedemonstrated in the course of actually making sense of that history. On this basis Iconclude Part I.Having suggested the 'external' bounds' of Harvey's Marxism, in Part II I go'inside' it to elaborate of aspects of his 'cultural-geographic materialism' asarticulated prior to The Condition of Postmodernity. Herein, I suggest, lie Harvey'smost careful and cogent theoretical statements on the question of the subject withinthe historical geography of capitalism. His interventions here form, on my terms, theother 'half' of his materialist reading of the subject. As a necessary prelude to whatfollows a Prologue summarizes Harvey's 'mature' view of Marxism as a criticaltheory 5 , and this comprises my third and final 'cut' in defining its nature andpurpose according to Harvey's self-understanding. This final cut introduces theconcepts of science and history which, when added to critique and theory, form aquartet of terms that frame Harvey's project; what follows is a suggestiveelaboration of that summary. Chapter 5 presents the epistemological and5By which I mean the view embodied in his most recent works rather than in Social Justice and theCity, but with the exception of The Condition of Postmodernitv. The last exclusion is not because Ithink that book can be divorced from the trajectory of Harvey's recent work,but because its intellectualprecepts are less clearly articulated and its central theses polemically argued, so that what I take to beHarvey's 'normal' way of proceeding is lost in the rhetoric of this particular text.9procedural tenets that underpin that critical theory. Following Benhabib's seminalreconstruction of the foundations of Marx's historical materialism 6 which, I suggest,speaks to Harvey's concerns, I divide the next two chapters according to heridentification of the two moments of that theory: a diagnostic and an anticipatorymoment. Chapter 6 arrives at the source of my concern, the centring of subjects asspecifically class subjects within the historical geography of capitalism. Chapter 7is unusual in that it pursues this question of subjectivity into the anticipatory realm. Iask the most simple but must fundamental of questions: what is the purpose ofhistorico-geographical materialism, what, in particular, is the vision of subjecthoodit strives for? In so doing I engage a discussion of the normative precepts ofHarvey's Marxism, a topic that, as far as I know, has not been dealt with elsewhere.The thesis concludes with a single essay that forms Part III, where I seek tocontextualize Harvey's particular brand of Marxism by counterposing it to a widerMarxian tradition, Western Marxism. If Part II can be seen as illuminating thestrengths and limits of Harvey's most cogent interventions on the question ofsubjectivity, then chapter 8 can be seen as a provisional exploration of howclassical Marxism can be extended in directions that Harvey cannot take preciselybecause he is faithful to that classical problematic. My intention is to suggest thatgeographers have a much wider discursive tradition to attend to if they wish to thinkseriously about materialist cultural analysis.A note on my use of the term 'subject' is warranted here. The question of theconstitution of subjectivity is high on the intellectual agenda right now, andfrequently associated with attempts to offer 'deep' accounts of identity ['the6Seyla Benhabib, 1986, Critique, Norm and Utopia, New York: Columbia University Press10subject'], as offered by certain brands of psycho-analytical theory for example. I usethe term in a much less specific and much more general sense to embody diverseaspects of perception of self and others and of personal and interpersonal modesof thought and action. This may seem inadmissably loose. In my defence it will bepart of my argument that Harvey's own interventions into questions of 'the subject'are modest and open-ended and hence eschew definitive accounts of beingThis thesis, while largely exegetical, is critical too. If I am able to show thatHarvey's Marxism has more to it than is commonly supposed, and in doing soencourage a closer critical attention to what it is he has to say, then I will haveachieved something of value. In particular, I insist throughout that, on its own termsHarvey's is an historical science and is thus open to public discussion, to reasonedconjecture and refutation of each of its open ended theoretical formulations. This, itseems to me, is the condition of possibility for any critical theory: dogmatism canlead only to the dead-end of ignorance and is thus incapable of speaking to thosewhose interests it purports to serve.11PART I READINGS IN HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISM: DEFINING AN INTELLECTUAL-POLITICAL PROJECT12PROLOGUE CRITIQUE AND CRISIS In a recent consideration of the possible political responses to thechallenges posed by what he sees as the shift to a regime of flexible accumulationand 'the postmodern turn' in contemporary culture and politics, David Harvey hasargued as follows:"Every established order tends to produce," Bourdieu [1977:164] writes,"the naturalization of its own arbitrariness." The "most important and bestconcealed" mechanism for doing so is "the dialectic of the objective chancesand the agent's aspirations, out of which arise the sense of limits, commonlycalled the sense of reality" which is "the basis of the most ineradicableadherence to the established order."This is a key insight. It helps explain how even the most critical theorist can soeasily end up reproducing "adherence to the established order." Itexplains...the impossibility of any radical and transforming...practice inadvance of any radical transformation in social relations. The insight compelsscepticism towards those who have recently embraced post-modernism...asa radical and liberating break with the past. There is strong evidence that post-modernity is nothing more than the cultural clothing of flexible accumulation. 1Far from presaging the possibility of a revolutionary and emancipatorypolitics that Harvey so clearly wants, the postmodern condition is seen as onewhere the dissolution of the capitalist economic system seems further away thanever:1 David Harvey, 1989, 'Flexible Accumulation Through Urbanisation: Reflections on Postmodernismin the American City,' in David Harvey The Urban Experience, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, p 27313While capitalism is always in a state of pre-socialism, it is scarcely on anyone'sagenda these days to think about something as daring as the transition tosocialism. Bourdieu [1977:168], perhaps, provides a clue as to why: "thecritique which brings the undiscussed into discussion, the unformulated intoformulation, has as the condition of its possibility objective crisis, which inbreaking the immediate fit between subjective structures and the objectivestructures, destroys self-evidence practically." Only under conditions of crisisdo we have the power to think radically new thoughts because it thenbecomes impossible to reproduce "the naturalization of our ownarbitrariness."2In particular, Harvey's concern is that the postmodern turn is synonymouswith an aesthetic turn in intellectual, political and cultural life, an aestheticizationthat blocks a cognitively rational critique of its own origins in the dynamics of capitalaccumulation. As such it serves not only to mystify and naturalize the ongoingoperation of capitalism: it also brings with it all manner of dangers. Drawingparallels with Nazi Germany, Harvey's fear is that under conditions of 'time-spacecompression' postmodernity licenses the re-emergence of an aestheticizedkespolitics which can be powerfully articulated through hypostatized notions ofplace . Postmodernity, then, far from being radically new, is in vital respects acontinuation of modernity, a continuity that Harvey locates in the enduring logic ofthe capitalist mode of production.I begin with these provocative remarks not only because they say muchabout the subject of the following chapters, but because they also address an issuethat has come to occupy a central place in contemporary intellectual debate: thesupposed transition from a modern to a postmodern world. Even if capitalism is notin a state of fundamental crisis, there is a general recognition within the academic2 Ibid. 27514community that the last two decades have been years marked by a series ofruptures, as the tapestry of the postwar era has been unravelled and reconfigured.The period since the late 60s/early 70s has witnessed a transformation, perhapseven as Harvey says a sea-change, in economic, socio-political, cultural andintellectual practices, now commonly referred to by an [often confusing] mixture ofterms such as post-modernism, post-industrialism and post-Fordism. Indeed, suchis the proliferation of discourse around the various 'posts' that, as Gregory wrylyobserves, "...their constant repetition threatens to dull the sensibilities."3Zygmunt Bauman has recently sketched the contours of one of these crises,that of the role of the intellectual in Western societies. 4 His account is of interestbecause it raises a series of questions about the role of the modern intellectual in a'post-modern world' which appear to feed directly into the intellectual and politicalproject contained within Harvey's most recent, and most notorious book TheCondition of Postmodernity. 5Bauman argues that until recently intellectuals have seen their role asproviding an "...authoritative solution to questions of cognitive truth, moraljudgement and aesthetic taste", as being what he calls legislators . 6 However, inrecent years this role has been brought into question by three developments. First,as the 'self-evidence' of Western superiority that marked and disfigured the era ofmodernity has dissipated, there has been a realization that the universalizingpretensions of modern intellectuals in fact amount to a peculiarly Occidental3 Derek Gregory, 1989, The Crisis of Modernity? Human Geography and Critical Social Theory,' inPeet and Thrift [eds.] New Models in Geography Vol. II, London: Unwin Hyman, p 3484 Zigmunt Bauman, 1988, 'Is There A 'Postmodern Sociology'?', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 5,no. 2, pp 217-2395 Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 19896 Bauman op. cit. 21915perspective which cannot speak for other, non-Western visions of the world.Secondly, the state, which in the post-war era enlisted intellectuals in the service ofits legitimation, no longer requires such services today. Under the alteredconditions of late capitalism, "the weapon of legitimation has been replaced withtwo mutually complementary weapons: this of seduction and that of repression . '7Neither weapon is new, of course, and Bauman makes it clear that both have along history. But it is their intensification that is novel as we approach the fin-de-siecle , particularly so the weapon of seduction: "Market dependency is guaranteedand self-perpetuating once men and women, now consumers, cannot proceed withthe buisness of life without turning themselves to the logic of the market." 8Bauman's central claim here, I take it, is that as the market has increasinglycolonized civil society - that sphere which, in Hegel's paradigmatic account, shouldbe neither reducible to the state nor to the dull compulsion of the economy - it hasfound, as it were, the means of its own legitimation. Under conditions of seduction,then, there is neither need nor room "for those hard-core intellectuals ... supplyingproof that what is being done is universally correct and absolutely true..." 9 Third,and corresponding to these developments, modern intellectuals have lost theirhold on and right to define culture: "Whatever their other ambitions, modernintellectuals always saw culture - or, rather, Culture - as their private property; theymade it, they lived in it, they even gave it its name." 10 Although only the privilegedfew could reach the summits of cultural good taste and propriety, it was theintellectuals who defined the standards of what culture was all about, standards tobe striven for, if not usually attained, by the masses. As such culture was an arenafor securing societal integration, and thus the modern intellectual indispensable for7Ibid. 2218 lbid.9 lbid.lolbid. 22416the powers that be. Today, however, culture has not so much been expropriatedfrom the intellectuals as moved beyond them: "Instead it is gallery owners,publishers, TV managers and other 'capitalists' or 'bureaucrats' who are in control... [as] the culture consumption game has grown to unheard of proportions ..."1 1In short, the modern intellectuals' claims to universality, authority andexclusivity - to legislative reason - have foundered in the face of socialtransformations that demand a reorientation of the intellectual role. In a world nowseen as an irreducible plurality of cultures, voices and language games theproselytizing intellectual is redundant. For Bauman, then, the concept of'postmodernity' stands for the " 'coming out' of the intellectuals" 12 , and oneresponse to this questioning of the legislative role is for intellectuals to becomeinterpreters , brokers between different visions of the world.Bauman's account of intellectual crisis is not, of course, uncontroversial. ButI have recounted it at such length because it points to something that hasundoubtedly preoccupied the minds of many academics in recent years and whichfigures prominently in what follows:The concepts of modernity and postmodernity stand for two sharply differentcontexts in which the intellectual role is performed; and two distinct strategieswhich develop in response to them...In particular11 Ibid.12 Ibid. 21817...they raise a series of questions about the contemporary meaning andscope of the process of critique. 13POSTMODERN CRITIQUE?How does all this relate to Harvey? In one sense Bauman's account seemsdistant from Harvey's concerns and from his Marxism. For it is clear in his depictionof the intellectual crisis denoted under the sign of 'postmodernity' that his modernintellectuals are those commited to the established order, those wedded to thelegitimation of state and capital. Hence the specificity of the plight of what Crookcalls the 'modernist radical' is not addressed in Bauman's account of the modernintellectual. 14 However, as Bauman has pointed out elsewhere, what both radicaland conservative modern intellectuals share is a commitment to universality, tobringing the gyrations of society within a single and grand discursive framework. 15What is interesting is the different way in which Bauman deals with each partyunder conditions of 'postmodernity.' Let me elaborate.In a provocative maneouvre, Bauman argues that those recent socialtransformations which pose a challenge to those status quo modern intellectuals infact represent an opportunity for the modernist radical: an opportunity for no lessthan the renewal for the modern project. Rather than licensing the interpretive13 Zigmunt Bauman, 1987, Legislators and Interpreters, Cambridge: Polity Press, p 3"Stephen Crook, 1991, Modernist Radicalism and its Aftermath: Foundationalism and Anti-Foundationalism in Radical Social Theory, London: Routledge. Crook defines modernist radicalism bythree criteria: that it embody a 'theory of ideology' "which will articulate its generic superiority to mereopinion or common sense"; that its diagnostic claims regarding modernity be conducted under thesign of 'science; and that it "claims to achieve a uniquely powerful 'unity of theory and practice"licensing an anticipatory-utopian programme of social change. The similarities and differences withHarvey's Marxism are, as we shall see, instructive.15Zygmunt Bauman, 1991, Modernity and Ambivalence, Cambridge: Polity Press. See chapter two inparticular where Bauman locates the 'dream of legislative reason' in seventeenth century WestEuropean society, embdodied in the work of the Philosophers such as Kant.18stance, for Bauman 'postmodern society' offers a new object of investigation and acontinuing opportunity to expose " ... the ties linking visible biographies to invisiblesocietal processes, on understanding what makes society tick ...if possible in amore 'emancipating' way." 16 The increasing colonization of the life world by themarket and the expansion of a cultural sphere underpinned by capital demand thecontinuation of a critical discourse adequate to grasp the totalizations of capital, acritical pedagogy that addresses men and women as citizens .Seen like this, Bauman's thesis sheds considerable light on Harvey'sreading of the condition of postmodernity. Harvey also appears to seek a renewalof modernist radicalism, and specifically of historico-geographical materialism, andinsists that postmodernity is an historical condition that a more or less classicalMarxism can comprehend. But by seeing postmodernity in this generalizedhistorical way he fails to address a series of recent intellectual developments -which we can, for the moment, bring under the label postmodernism - that speak tothe crisis of the modernist radical, or, more properly in Harvey's case, the modernMarxist intellectual. And it will be part of my argument that in being insufficientlydiscriminating about various work that comes under the label postmodernism, andin eliding it with postmodernity , Harvey detracts from the valuable historicalinsights his book contains and draws warranted but, unfortunately, unduly largeattention to the negative consequences of his intellectual claims to know .In the following three chapters I want to confront and situate Harvey'sintellectual and political project in the realm of the aesthetic, and think about what itmight mean for the practice of a critical human geography. This may seem a rather16 Bauman, 1988, op. cit. p 23419unusual focus, but I hope to show how a consideration of the aesthetic illuminateskey aspects of Harvey's intellectual and political project as contained in TheCondition of Postmodernity. Moreover, not only is Harvey one of a very fewgeographers to take the aesthetic beyond its traditional home in spheres of art andliterature, but, as Eagleton insists, a consideration of the aesthetic tells us muchabout what the concepts of modernity and postmodernity might mean. I proceed intwo stages. I want first to follow Gregory's reconstruction of the intellectual lineageof Harvey's Marxism, what he calls "a sort of a foreword to historico-geographicalmaterialism" 17 , in order to understand why Harvey sees postmodernism andpostmodernity in such pathological terms. Harvey is commited to a critical humangeography - in both the disciplinary and the lived sense - and so, like Gregory, Iwant first to consider what it means to practice a critical style of thought. FollowingBenhabib's seminal reconstruction of the foundations of critical theory, I willsuggest that Harvey's critical project rests on a conjuncture of 'critique' and 'crisis'. Iwant then to show, in chapters 3 and 4 how this conjunction inflects Harvey'sreading of postmodernism and postmodernity respectively, in particular hisassessment that the postmodern turn is simultaneously an aesthetic turn. Equatingthe postmodern with aestheticism is hardly new, but giving the latter an insistentlygeographical dimension certainly is and it is here that, I think, one of the mostinteresting and illuminating aspects of Harvey's argument lies. However, I alsowant to insist that, while extremely suggestive, Harvey's theoretical insights bemade responsible to the ground of history, to concrete historical investigation, andthat because The Condition of Postmodernity is argued at several removes fromthat terrain it suffers a series of strategic weaknesses that leave the purpose andintent of Harvey's Marxism open to misinterpretation and even dismissal.17Gregory op. cit. p 720Chapter 1 A FOREWORD TO HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISM It will be my contention in this and later chapters that the centraldistinguishing feature of Harvey's Marxism is that it is particularly and peculiarly'classical' in its cast. Marx, as Harvey insists, was a child of the Enlightenment) andso, following Gregory, I want to offer a series of vignettes of the Enlightenmentproject and the concept of critique in order to show how each illuminates Harvey'sown intellectual and political project and his reading of postmodernity.THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE POTENTIALS OF MODERNITYAs Habermas points out, following Reinhart Koselleck's analysis of the earlybourgeois Enlightenment, 'critique' has an extremely complex genealogy,originating in Greek but since then accreting a host of different meanings. In lateseventeenth-century Europe critique was bound up in judgements regarding theproper interpretation of religious texts, particularly the Bible. But it was also locatedoutside the sphere of religious authority in the nascent civil society that emergedtowards the end of the period of the absolutist state. Beginning with the philologicalcriticism of the Humanists, critique, in Habemias's words,... finally learned to understand itself as critique in the theoretical and practicalcritique of the philosophers. At that time critique became practically synonymous withreason... It was the medium for ascertaining the right insofar as it corresponded to thejust in accord with the laws of nature - just as it was the energy, which restlessly drivesargument forward, and finally turns it against itself. The participants in this great1 See The Condition, p 29 for example.21enterprise were called "Les Philosophes", and Kant proudly called himself aphilosopher2On the eve of the French Revolution critique, the activity of reason, increasinglyfreed from the strictures of church and state, uses this freedom to reflect back onthose spheres from which it was emancipated: "now on its own authority [critique]transcends the limits which it once drew for itself." 3 As Kant put it in his 1871Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason,Our Age is the age of criticism to which all must submit. Religion through its sanctityand legislation through its majesty may seek to exempt themselves from it. But theythen awaken just suspicion and cannot claim honest respect which reason only grantsto that which has been able to sustain the test of free and public examination 4This politicization of critique and its articulation and embodiment in a publicsphere beyond the writ of the powers that be was not simply a maneouvre of "LesPhilosophes", a sort of normative ideal of the intellectuals. For Kant insisted that theactivity of reason somehow manifested itself, tantalizingly, on the ground of history ,on what seemed to be the dawn of a new age: "In salons, clubs and coffee housesa new moral authority - the "public" - found its earliest institutions." 5 But Kant wasnot Marx and his conception of reason was hardly accountable to the specificitiesof social formation.In Habermas's seminal account of the "public sphere" the discovery of theforce of 'reason' is located squarely within the development of early bourgeois2Jiirgen Habermas, 1974, Theory and Practice, London: Heinemann, p 212-2133Seyla Benhabib, 1986, op. cit. p 204 lmmanuel Kant, 1965, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N K Smith, New York: St. Martin's Press, p 95 Ernst Cassirer, 1955, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Boston: Beacon Press, p 1322society. 6 In this period Habermas suggests that the public sphere possessed autopian potential that was, however, never realized in practice. In Nancy Fraser'swords,... at one level the idea of a public sphere designated an institutional mechanism for"rationalizing" political domination by rendering states accountable to [some of] thecitizenry. At another level, it designated a specific kind of discursive interaction. Herethe public sphere connoted the ideal of unrestricted rational discussion of publicmatters. The discussion was to be open and accessible to all; merely private interestswere to be inadmissable; inequalities of status were to be bracketed; and discussantswere to deliberate as peers. The result of such discussion would be "public opinion"in the strong sense of a consensus about the common good?The reality, of course, was that this ideal was increasingly subverted as theeighteenth century progressed: not only was the public of the public sphereessentially a bourgeois [not of mention patriarchal] constituency, but as non-bourgeois groups gained access to the public sphere so the bourgeois definition ofthe 'common' good was increasingly challenged, and in place of the ideal of a trulypublic discussion Habermas shows how civil society became fragmented intocompeting groups of class actors.I make so much of all this because it is clearly Marx's critique of politicaleconomy that lies behind Habermas's account of the public sphere, a critique that, Ithink, finds a very direct articulation in Harvey's historico-geographical materialism.And I mean this both in terms of Harvey's diagnosis of postmodernity and hisresponse to it. Harvey sees Marx's and his own work as a continuation of the6Jiirgen Habermas, 1989, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Cambridge, Mass: MITPress7Nancy Fraser, 1991, 'Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of ActuallyExisting Democracy', Social Text, Winter, pp 56-8123Enlightenment and so calls for a renewal of the Enlightenment project, and of aspecifically modern form of Marxism. And I think this involves him in an implicitcommitment not only to the ideal of a public sphere - whose inflections I willquestion in chapter 7 - but also to the renewal of a space within the present socialformation from which critique of that social order can be launched. I will want toquestion the inflections of that space. However, as Gregory rightly argues,"between critique in the Enlightenment sense and critique in Marx's sense standtwo figures: Kant [1724-1804] and Hegel [1770-1831]." It is thus appropriate to turnto each of them in seeking to understand quite what Harvey's own version of theEnlightenment entails.THE KANTIAN IMAGINARYKant is, of course, considered to be among the very greatest of modernEuropean philosophers, the ultimate system builder and systematizer. His threecritiques - the Critique of Pure Reason [1781], Critique of Practical Reason [1788]and Critique of Judgement [1790] - represent not simply an attempt to give adefinitive account of reason and its place in the development of humanity solelywithin the realm of philosophy, but also and equally in the realm of life. Kant'sphilosophy is, quite simply, an all encompassing system. 8 Precisely for this reasonhis work presents the utmost difficulties of interpretation: its sheer scale andcomplexity mean that there are, one can say without exaggeration, no acceptedinterpretations of Kant's thought. 9 For this reason I want to avoid the dishonesty ofclaiming to provide a 'neutral' narrative of Kant's philosophy. Instead, I want to8Which is not, however, the same a saying that Kant's works comprised a watertight and coherentwhole.9Compare, for example, the very different introductions to Kant's thought offered by Roger ScrutonjKant, 1982, Oxford: Oxford University Press] and Korner's classic little book Kant, 1955,Harmondsworth:Pelican Books.24follow Eagleton's account of the Kantian imaginary, not because I think it is the lastword, but because it contains some extremely insightful and suggestive thesesabout Kantian critique which speak directly to Harvey's concerns about theaestheticization of politics. Let me stress that I cannot do justice to Eagleton'sargument here which is characterized by a remarkable degree of subtlety,sensitivity and intelligence which is rather lost in what follows. What follows is,nevertheless, difficult and I apologise now for what is doubtless the inscrutability ofsome of Kant's thinking. But I think Eagleton's analysis suggests how Kantianphilosphy can be made to connect with the more 'mundane' logics of everyday life.Kant's differentiation of the cognitive, the moral and the aesthetic spheres wasa seminal one, and represents, at least for Habermas, one of the achievements andpotentials of modernity. For Kant the Enlightenment was a process of maturity. AsGregory puts it, "the Enlightment image of the 'republic of letters' carried within itthe notion of public discussion ... in which reason moved 'outwards' from oneperson to another ..." Kant, on the contrary, insisted that reason resided insidethinking subjects and his project of maturity was one of releasing individuals fromtheir chronic reliance on others so that they could harness their own powers ofreason. Kant's public sphere, then, was an ethico-political community united by therationality common to all subjects.However, achieving maturity was far from simple, let alone inevitable. For Kantthe freedom that resides in the activity of reason could not be found in thephenomenal world of material activity and Nature. Displaced, it takes up its home inthe realm of practical reason:25To act morally for Kant is to set aside all desire, interest and inclination, identifyingone's rational will instead with a rule which one can propose to oneself as a universallaw. What makes an action moral is something it manifests over and above anyparticular quality and effect, namely its willed conformity to universal law.To be free and rational - in short, to be a subject - means to be entirely self-determining, obeying only such laws as I propose to myself, and treating myself andmy action as an end rather than a means. Free subjectivity is thus a noumenal affair ...Freedom cannot be directly captured in a concept or image and must be knownpractically rather than theoretically. I know I am free because I catch myself acting thatway out of the corner of my eye. The moral subject inhabits the intelligible rather thanmaterial sphere, though it must constantly strive in mysterious fashion to materializeits values in the actual world. 10But if, as Kant insisted, one cannot derive values from facts, if one cannot mapthe moral-noumenal into the cognitive-phenomenal, then Kant's noumenal realm isin danger of becoming implausible. As Eagleton says, "If," "it safeguards moraldignity from the marketplace, it does so only by removing it to a place so remote asto be effectively out of sight." 11 The result is that Kant resorted to the aesthetic as "amediatory zone which will bring this order of pure intelligibility home to feltexperience."12 For in the Critique of Judgement the empirical world seems to offer aglimpse of purposiveness that conforms to the ends of practical reason. Let meelaborate.For Kant the pleasure of the aesthetic is the sensation of delight that theserendipitous occurrence of certain phenomena should display a 'purposive unity'which, while it cannot be cognitively grasped, seems as if it conformsspontaneously to some law. It thus, in Eagleton's words,laTerry Eagleton, 1990, The Ideology of the Aesthetic, Oxford: Basil Blackwell , p 78-79"Ibid. 8212 Ibid. 8326addresses itself to what we might call our capacity for cognition in general, revealingto us in a kind of Heideggerian 'pre-understanding' that the world is the kind of placewe can in principle comprehend ... Some of the pleasure of the aesthetic, then, arisesfrom a quick sense of the world's delightful conformity to our capacities: instead ofpressing ahead to subsume to some concept the sensuous manifold we confront, wejust reap enjoyment from the general formal possibility of doing so. The imaginationcreates a purposive synthesis, but without feeling the need for a theoretical detour. Ifthe aesthetic yields us no knowledge, then, it proffers us something arguablydeeper: the consciousness, beyond all theoretical demonstration, that we are athome in the world because the world is somehow mysteriously designed to suit ourcapacities. 13And yet for Kant the ramifications of the aesthetic do not stop here. For if theexperience of beauty is an experience of the world's purposive unity with us, theexperience of the sublime is a thoroughly trangressive one, that forcibly remindsus of "the limits of our dwarfish imaginations" and admonishes us "that the world asinfinite totality is not ours to know." 14 However, for Kant this ruptural experienceleads not to despair. Rather, "when the imagination is forced up traumaticallyagainst its own limits, it finds itself straining beyond them in a movement ofnegative transcendence; and the giddy feeling of unboundedness which thenresults yields us a negative presentation of the infinity of moral Reason." 15 This'suprasensory realm', nothing less than the law of Reason, is not, Kant argues,hopelessly beyond us, but immanent within us: a project that drives practicalreason into the lofty realm of 'culture'. This idealized cultural domain is one of non-coercive consensus, a site where our individual difference is in fact a difference in13 Ibid. 8514 Ibid. 8915 lbid. 9127unity, where we are all citizens on the basis of our 'most intimate subjectivity', ourcapacity for reason.All this may seem to be light years away from Harvey, but the distance is moreapparent than real. With qualifications, Harvey acknowledges Kant'sunderstanding of the aesthetic as a necessary bridge between "the worlds ofobjective science ['pure reason'] and subjective moral judgement ['practicalreason']" 16 But he also sees it as an extremely problematic one:The aesthetic responses to conditions of time-space compression are important andhave been so ever since the eighteenth century separation of scientific knowledgefrom moral judgement opened up a distinctive role for them. The confidence of an eracan be assessed by the width of the gap between scientific and moral reasoning. Inperiods of confusion and uncertainty the turn to aesthetics ... becomes morepronounced. Since phases of time-space compression are disruptive, we can expectthe turn to aesthetics and to the forces of culture as both explanation and loci ofactive struggle to be particularly acute. 17The contrast with Kant is, I hope, obvious. While Kant saw the aesthetic asushering Reason into the world, Harvey's fear is that it represents, rather, thetriumph of irrationality: the triumph of aesthetics over ethics. For Harvey reason liesnot in the aesthetic but in an organic conjunction of science and morality, inparticular that version of science that, unlike positivism, sees no contradictionwithin a theory that is both cognitively diagnostic and anticipatory, scientific andmoral: Marxism. In other words, Harvey places the aesthetic squarely outside hisown project and his Marxism, and I will say more about the implications of hisreading of Kant for his diagnosis of postmodernism and postmodernity anon. For16The Condition of Postmodernitv, p 20717 Ibid. 32728now, though, let me hint at how, through Kant, Harvey seeks to show the historicalcontinuities between modernity and its supposed transcendence, even antithesis,postmodernity, by looking at Eagleton's own materialist reading of what is behindthe Kantian imaginary.Let me make it clear straight away that Eagleton does not see Kant as a dupenor as an active supporter of the bourgeoisie, a class that was, in any case, stillrelatively nascent in his time. Eagleton's concern, rather, is to highlight the ways inwhich Kant's thought already disclosed "some of the emergent problems andcontradictions of the emergent middle class order" 18 , albeit in oblique andattenuated form.We might say that for Eagleton Kant's philosophy both mystifies and is yetmimetic of an emergent bourgeois society. It thus, however unconsciously, servesto legitimize that order, but on the register of the non-cognitive. In certain pre-bourgeois societies, Eagleton argues, ethics were historically grounded in thesubject's social location. In bourgeois society, however, such a system inevitablyruns into crisis: in a society riven by class division an historicised ethics can hardlypromote social cohesion. Instead,Ethical norms float free ... If one can return no social answer to the question of howone ought to behave, then virtuous behaviour ... must become an end in itself.So/len [the ought, NC] is removed from the sphere of historical action an analysis; onemust behave in a particular way simply because one must . 1918Eagleton op. cit. 7619 1bid. 8129Against the alarming truth of the bourgeois order, Kant's noumenal realm offersus a consoling sense of our unity as humans, our belonging to some "intimateGemeinschaft," but at a suitable remove from material life. But if, as Eagletoninsists, ideology cannot function without articulation in the phenomenal realm, thenKant's aesthetic cleverly connects noumenal and phenomenal realms in such away that the kingdom of Reason that unites us is not quite phenomenal at all, andcertainly not to be understood as residing in the spheres of market or state: "theaesthetic is in no way cognitive, but it has about it something of the form andstructure of the rational; it thus unites us with all the authority of a law, but at a moreaffective, intuitive level. What brings us together as subjects is not knowledge butan ineffable reciprocity of feeling. "20The experience of beauty assures us that, whatever the other privations andalienations of our phenomenal lives, our subjecthood has a larger meaning, that,after all, we do matter, we do belong together. While the "chastening, humiliatingpower" of the sublime instills a reverence and submissiveness, but for an object -Reason - which is finally, exubrantly, immanent within ourselves. For Eagleton thisdialectic of subject and object is, not suprisingly, ideology writ large , securing at astroke both subjecthood and a universal subjectivity in such a way that both aredisplaced from the depradations of the market. The adjective is accurate, for Kant'saesthetic in factreproduces something of the very social logic [he] is out to resist. Kant's selflessaesthetic judge, absolved from all sensual motivation, is among other things aspiritualized version of the abstract, serialized subject of the market place, whocancels the concrete differences between himself and others as thoroughly as doesthe levelling, homogenizing commodity. In matters of taste, as of commodity20 Ibid. 7530transactions, all individuals are indifferently exhangeable; and culture is thus part ofthe problem to which it offers itself as a solution. 21While supposedly harnessing the autonomous powers of individuals, Kant'sReason seems, in the end, to efface their very differences. On the one hand, thefreedom of the subject seems to mimick the 'freedom' of the market where themoney form liberates individuals in its spending, yet reduces all their differences tothe cold calculus of commodity exchange. On the other, the limits on that freedom -the dazzling illuminations of the sublime - seem to map our phenomenal subjectionto a capitalist system that is larger than ourselves into the twilight zone of aestheticsensiblity where we stand in awe before a Reason we cannot fully grasp. TheKantian project of culture thus becomes for Eagleton an essentially mythic one, aproject in which Reason is not reflected to the ground of history - to our ownconcrete thoughts and actions within an historically specific context - but to anoumenal realm that conceals and reflects the very material subjections it seeks toovercome.The formal and organic connections that Eagleton draws between Kant'sthought and his social context will doubtless be too stark for many. But theyreverberate strongly with Harvey's reading of postmodernism and postmodernity.However, that reading and his solution to the social ills he perceives cannot beunderstood without thinking about the legacy of Hegel.HEGEL, HISTORY AND THE RATIONAL STATE 21 Ibid. 97-9831If Kant and Hegel are frequently mentioned in the same breath it is becauseKant's moral philosophy was the focus of much of Hegel's critical energiesthroughout his lifetime. Bewildering though the complexities of Hegel's thought are,we might say, for our present purposes, that Hegel's philosophy was an objectionto the bifurcations [Entweiung] and naturalizations that characterized Kant'sthought and which - importantly - found an organic echo in the modern world .Hegel's own project was the transcendence through immanence [Aufhebung ] ofthis state of affairs and the realization of reason in a unified ethical community[Sittlichkeit] that embodied what were only potentials within modern civil society.As Benhabib argues, Hegel rejected Kant's dualism between action andintention. Instead, practical reason takes place within a materially embedded,intersubjective social world and Hegel's aim was to disclose "the structure of thatmiddle ... between the noumenal world of freedom and the phenomenal world ofcausality ... which he comes to call Geist ."22 That is, beings are "structures ofunifying unity in movement" and so "their past is a decisive aspect of their present. "23 Unlike Kant's critique, then, reason had a motility that was profoundly historical; where Kant's ideal ethical community floated in the noumenal realm, Hegel'sdialectical reason shattered such distinctions and posited a Sittlichkeit that wasimmanent within modernity . As Gregory puts it, "Hegel's most basic point was thatBeing was unintelligible without its opposite: that the movement which he calledBecoming was inscribed into the very 'nature' of Being." 24 To this extent Hegel's isa very radical critique of Kant, subjecting Kantian reason itself to critique by22Benhabib op. cit. 8423Seyla Benhabib, 1987, 'Translator's introduction to Herbert Marcuse, Hegel's Ontology and theTheory of Historicity, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press24Gregory op. cit. 2032sundering the very distinctions which, Hegel argues, in fact make Kant philosophypossible. To this extent also it is a critique of modernity.As Habermas argues, one of Hegel's achievements was to have a provided "aconceptual framework that is ... terminologically adequate to modern society." 25 Inparticular, the distinction to which he refers is that between civil society and thestate. In Hegel's early work the former was very much associated with the moderneconomy and his identification of economic life as a crucial moment in theconstitution of society was, indeed, a seminal one. In terms suggestive of Marx'slater work, Hegel showed an acute awareness of how the modern economyintroduced a series of alienations into social life that divided subjects off from theobjective world. His immanent critique consisted in showing how political economycould usher reason into the world and reconcile civil society to the state in anorganic community of free individuals. 26 Thus, unlike Kant's nether world ofnoumena and phenomena, Hegel's moral community was, in Gregory's words, "tobe derived from what was rational in the existing situation and they were to beembodied in concrete institutions." 27This abbreviated reading of Hegel's sheds some light on Harvey's own,ambivalent, reading of Hegel. On the one hand the radicalism of Hegel'sphilosophy is extended and transcended by Marx, as I will make clear shortly, andthese Hegelian threads find there way into Harvey's own Marxism, not least in hisadherence to a dialectical philosophy of internal relations [see chapters 4 and 5].On the other hand, Harvey reaches an interpretation of Hegel's understanding of25.JUrgen Habermas, 1987, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press, p 5126Charles Taylor, 1979, Hegel and Modern Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p 10927Gregory op. cit. p 2333the relation between civil society and state that is common on the left. That is to saythat Harvey sees Hegel's critique of political economy as subverted by acelebration of the state that, strangely, disrupts the dialectic of Being andBecoming and, instead, hypostatizes the former. Thus Benhabib, for example,likewise argues that despite its claims to dialectical immanence Hegel's conceptionof Sittlichkeit is a conservative, anti-modern utopia that reverts to a version of theGreek polls and is thus in fact historically disconnected from the potentials ofmodernity. 28 But what makes Harvey's objection so original is the geographicalinflection that he seeks to give it. For Harvey, as Gregory puts it,In so far as Hegel's philosophy conceives of itself as the midwife of history, assisting inthe fullest realization of reason in the world then its terminus necesarily entails notonly the 'end' of that history but the subordination of temporality to the territoriality ofthe state . 29Thus Harvey clearly wants to resist attempts "to privelege the spatialization oftime [Being] over the annihilation of space by time [Becoming]", a trend he sees asconsistent with postmodernism/ity. Because what is behind them is "the restorationof the Hegelian notion of the state and the resurrection of geopolitics." 30 WhereHegel's rational state was "ominously reminiscent of the Prussia of his own time" 31 ,so some of the concerns of postmodernism can be seen to connect with a widerturn to geopolitics within postmodernity. The originality of this objection becomesall the more obvious when one considers Soja's agenda for social theory consistsof reasserting space as part of a distinctively postmodern geography. Soja's is28Benhabib op. cit. p 10229Gregory op. cit. p 2530Harvey op. cit. 27331 David Harvey, 1981, The Spatial Fix: Hegel, von Thunen, Marx', Antipode , vol. 13, no. 3, pp 1-1234not, in fact, a project that far removed from Harvey's own, 32 but I think Harvey'sconcern is an insightful corrective, although I will want to insist that his pathologicalviews of both postmodernity and postmodernism are asymmetrical and overstated.With this reading of Hegel in mind I think the following captures much ofHarvey's concern about the postmodern:Marx...restored historical time...to primacy of place in social theory, in part as a reactionto Hegel's spatialized conception of the 'ethical state' as the endpoint of teleologicalhistory. The introduction of the state - a spatialization - poses intriguing questions forsocial theory for, as Lefebvre points out, "the state crushes time by reducingdifferences to repetitions of circularities..." If "this modern state imposes itself as thestable centre - definitively - of societies and spaces", the geopolitical argument has toresort...to aesthetic rather than to social values in search for its legitimacy.33Let me explain the logic of this passage and how it brings together Harvey'sexplicit reading of Hegel with his largely implicit reading of Kant. The Kantianaesthetic is now spatialized - Hegel's Being - and opposed to the Enlightenmentproject - Becoming - with its concern for cognitively grounded reason and forethics. And it is around this series of oppositions Harvey effects his critique ofpostmodernism: aesthetics and ethics, Being and Becoming, space/place and timebecome polarities that allow Harvey to separate off the Enlightenment project fromthe postmodern. Together, these oppositions are folded into a dichotomy that formsa central, and I think problematic, leitmotif, of his text as a whole between socialtheory and aesthetic theory:32See Derek Gregory , 1990, 'Chinatown Part III? Soja and the Missing Spaces of Social Theory',Strategies, no. 3, pp 40-10533 The Condition, p 27335One of the more startling schisms in our intellectual heritage concern[s] conceptionsof time and space. Social theorists ... typically privelege time over space in theirformulations. Aesthetic theory, on the other hand, is deeply concerned with "thespatialization of time"... By playing these two currents of thought off against oneanother, we can, perhaps, better understand the ways in which politico-economicchange informs cultural practicesOr, put schematically,Social Theory^ Aesthetic TheoryTime^ SpaceBecoming BeingEthics^ AestheticsNarrative Image34And it is with Harvey's own reworking of social theory, of Marx's historicalmaterialism, in a decidedly geographical direction, that we arrive at a morecomplete understanding of his diagnosis of the condition of postmodernity.MARX. HARVEY AND HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISMMarx's intellectual and political legacy is so vast and ramified that attempts todiscover the 'real' Marx are looked upon with considerable suspicion. I amsuspicious of them too, and I think that attempts to be definitive about Marx arechimerical, not least because interpretation is always coloured by our present341 gratefully borrow this diagram from Gregory, The Aesthetic Turn ...'36preoccupations. But nor do I think we can indulge in an interpretive free-for-all;there are limits. The limits I set myself here are those set by Harvey's own readingof Marx, what I take to be his reasoned reconstruction of historical materialism in ageographical direction. This is, in fact, the tack I take throughout the thesis. It is byno means a fool-proof one of course, for why is my understanding of Harvey'sunderstanding of Marx free from my own preoccupations? Interpretation alwaysinvolves a hermeneutic between reader and read, and so I can only hope that myaccount of Marx is one that Harvey himself would concur with. To assist me I drawon the materials of others, and I begin here by drawing on Benhabib's rigorousanalysis of the foundations of Marx's social theory.According to Benhabib, Marx's project relied on a conjunction between"critique" and "crisis", re-establishing the classical Greek sense of critique as "thesubjective evaluation or decision concerning a conflictual or controversial process- a crisis, ...(as a] connection betwen social disturbance ... and subjectivejudgement upon this process."35 And to understand Marxian critique in this sense,she argues, we need to trace its genealogy in Hegel's critique of Kant. In particular,she divides the work of Hegel and Marx into two stages which, respectively,highlight the organic link between what she terms their "immanent" and"defetishising" critiques of modern society, and seeks to show how it was Marx'smaterialism that distinguished his mature science out as a deeply concrete andhistorical one.Marx, of course, subtitled nearly everything he wrote a "critique". FollowingHegel, Benhabib argues, the young Marx sought to differentiate the specificity of35Benhabib op. cit. p 2037his own critique from mere "criticism", that which stands outside the object itcriticizes and asserts ideal norms against the realities of the world. According toMarx, his own critique refuses to stand outside the object it criticizes, and it wasthus not what Benhabib, hinting at Hegel's critique of Kant, calls a mode ofcriteriological inquiry. As she puts, the criteria Marx's early critique presupposesare not different from the ones by which its object - later to become the capitalistmode of production - judges itself. Rather, "it presupposes that what is investigatedis already a social reality that has its own self-interpretation." 36 The echoes ofHegelian immanent critique, the dialectic of subject and object, the location ofreason in history, are obvious here. But where Marx rejects Kant's ahistorical"transcendent utopia", neither does he mimic Hegel's Aufhebung . As he puts itHegel's chief mistake consists in the fact that he conceives of the contradiction inappearence as being unity in essence i.e. in the Idea , whereas it certainly issomething more profound in its essence, namely an essential contradiction . 37Despite the obvious parallels to Hegel's diagnosis of Entzweiung , Marx's earlyaccount of the antagonisms of bourgeois civil society clearly signals his lateranalysis in Capital of the inherently complex and contradictory nature of thecapitalist mode of production, fissures generated, not in terms set by idealism, butby the concrete practices of real individuals entering into very particular sets ofsocial relations.Nevertheless, Benhabib insists, something of Hegel's principle of essentialunity can be found in the young Marx's normative precepts. The dream of the futurewhich the present contains is for Marx two things: what Benhabib calls "the36 Ibid. 3337Karl Marx, Critique of Heqel's Philosophy of the Right, quoted in Benhabib ibid. 3838universalization of the political" and "the socialization of the universal." Let meexpand. Marx criticizes the instrumentalism of a political sphere which serves theinterests of the bourgeoisie alone. For him, democracy should be "both form andcontent", that is that societal democracy - the universalization of the political - isnecessary and thus, as a corollary, a transformation of the existing social system.The implication of this is, in fact, an elimination of the distinction between thepolitical sphere - the site of formal rights - and the social sphere: "in a truedemocracy the state disappears" - the socialization of the universal - where the'citizens' of the bourgeois era become more truly citizens in the classical Greeksense,unalienated, free and equal human beings. Hence, in Benhabib's words,"social life itself would become the genuine expression of universal and commoninterests ..."38It is in those later works, most notably Capital, that Benhabib sees a secondsense of Marxian critique, defetishising critique, by which she means an analysisthat reveals the given to be not a natural fact but to actively conceal its social andhistorical constitution, and thus its capacity for alteration. Its origins lie in Hegel'sre-evaluation of modernity, particularly in the Phenomenology of Spirit where,contra the anti-modernism of his earlier notion of Sittlichkeit , Hegel "shows thatmodern individualism denies the context out of which it emerges, namely, theinteraction of self and other."39 That context is, in other words, a history viewed as"the activity of a collective ... subject" whose consciousness, Benhabib argues,Hegel models upon the category of labour , the singular activity of work . Its end-point is the reappropriation by that subject of what it once let go of itself.38 Ibid. 39-4039 Ibid. 4439Benhabib insists that this standpoint involves a seminal conjunction thatreaches its fullest development in Marx: between critique and crisis . Whatindividuals experience as lived crises, as the privations and alienations that litterdaily existence, critique locates their origin in a systemic imperative that reachesbeyond the perspective and comprehension of most individuals. Thus thephilosopher-observer - Hegel - takes the viewpoint of what Benhabib calls"transsubjectivity" to make sense of the "intersubjective" nature of daily life, andthus offers the potential to eliminate crisis by transforming the very conditionsgenerating them. That the Hegel of the Philosophy of the Right does not follow thepath opened up by his own thinking - choosing instead to moderate rather thanovercome crises - is a choice that the Marx of Capital opposes. For Benhabib,Marx's is a "crisis theory", aimed not at crisis moderation but crisis diagnosis andimmanent transcendence:The fundamental achievement of Marx's critical theory of capitalism is the view that thetwo perspectives of intersubjectivity and transsubjectivity are constitutive of capitalistsociety, and that the task of the theorist is to indicate how concrete individuals cancome to "reappropriate" what is justifiably theirs. The task of [critique] is to show howtransubjectivity can become intersubjectivity ... Unlike Hegel, Marx does not reify thelogic of transubjectivity, but shows it to be a consequence of a form of life dominatedby the law of the valorization of capital 40In Das Kapital, of course, Marx provided the paradigmatic theoreticalframework for locating lived crisis within the systemic tendencies of the capitalistmode of production. Critique belonged now not to the philosophers, whosepromethean understandings could never change, only reify, the world, but to thehistorian of capitalism. Labour is not some feature of humanity beholden to Geist,40 Ibid. 103-10440as suggested in parts of Hegel, but a complex and historically specific phenomenawhose constitution and activity form the basis for understanding precisely howcapitalism functions and how it does so 'behind the backs' of those very individualswho make it tick in the first place.Marx's immanent critique of political economy - which shows that the norms ofbourgeois society [freedom, equality, liberty] are potentials which have not beenrealized - is organically tied to his defetishizing of it as ideology by reflecting it to itsground in class divided society. The onset of periodic crisis is central here,because it isIn such moments of crisis [that] both the irrationality of the system and itstransitoriness reveal themselves. The irrationality of the system manifests itself as adiscrepancy between the potential wealth of society and the actual misery ofindividuals, while its transitoriness becomes apparent to individuals who struggle forits transformation.'"To this extent, the future manifests itself in moments of crisis, and the ultimate aimof Marx's diagnosis of capitalist society - his immanent and defetishizing critiques -is to pursue the unity of critique and crisis to the point where the former can informthe experience of working people in an anticipatory moment :The critique of capitalism, which brings to light the internal contradictoriness of thesystem, has the purpose of explaining how and why this internal contradiction givesrise to oppositional demands and struggles which cannot be satisfied by the systemas it is at present. The function of critique is not therapy and healing of the wounds ofthe ethical as in Hegel's case, but crisis diagnosis, enabling and encouraging futuresocial transformation.4241 lbid. 10942Ibid.41What that future society will be Marx is reticent to say in his later works, but it isclearly one where individuals have control of a system - economic, social andpolitical - of their own making, one that is not subject to or even mediated throughthe state or economy.We might say that the conjunction of critique and crisis is the flashpoint ofHarvey's diagnosis of postmodernity, but in a rather different sense to Benhabib'sunderstanding of that conjunction in Marx. To reiterate Harvey, "While capitalism isalways in a state of pre-socialism, it is scarcely on anyone's agenda these days tothink about something as daring as the transition to socialism": while Harvey isinsistent that since the early 1970s capitalism has undergone a chronic crisis ofaccumulation 43 , his thesis is that, with a remarkable tenacity that has markedcapitalism since Marx's day 44 , the system is currently reorganizing its basalstructures and along with it those classical 'superstructures' that help mystify andlegitimate capitalism's continued existence. The current 'crisis' of capitalism, then,is not an occasion for an unabashed anticipatory-utopian critique, but it is anoccasion for insisting on the continued power and relevance of Marx's diagnosis ofcapitalism. Put differently, we can say that the experiential ruptures that individualshave experienced over the last two decades - represented for Harvey bypostmodernism - can only be understood by reference to a wider systemic rupture- the advent of postmodernity - in which those experiential transformations areimplicated.43See, for example, his apocalyptic essay The Geopolitics of Capitalism', in Gregory and Urry [eds],1986, Social Relations and Spatial Structures,  London: Macmillan44Leading Marx, of course, to revise in his later life some of his early, heady predictions of immanentsocial revolution in Europe .42Where does the aesthetic fit into all this and into Marx's critical social theory?Marx himself devoted relatively little time to aesthetic questions, although ascommentators like Eagleton have so eloquently made clear there is much in Marx'snormative vision that is profoundly aesthetic. Although other inheritors of Marx'slegacy, such as Adorno, Benjamin and Marcuse, have made brilliantly suggestiveforays into the aesthetic realm, the most notable feature of Harvey's own project ishow anti-aesthetic it is. There are no considerations of a revolutionary aesthetic inHarvey's consideration of postmodernity. Instead his critique is firmly situated in thecognitive/moral spheres, and the aesthetic is decisively distanced from that critiqueyet subject to its strictures by being placed as the object of critique: ifpostmodernity is an aesthetic turn then historico-geographical materialism seeks atonce to diagnose and oppose it. Implicit in this, implicit in Harvey's call for arenewal of the Enlightenment project, is, I think, a commitment to reopening aspace within the present social order for articulating the claims of reason, a spacewith at least some relative autonomy from the invasions of the market, and theuniversity - the locus of the intellectuals - is surely one site he has in mind. What isnot, however, clear is whether Harvey's vision of a renewed 'public sphere' withinactually existing capitalism is truly a public space at all, or just a site for thearticulation of Marxist claims to reason. And so it is to Harvey's understanding ofthe intellectuals - postmodernism - under actually existing capitalism - the conditionof postmodemity - that I now want to turn. 4545Let me say immediately that the phenomena that Harvey brings under the label 'postmodernism' arebroader than I allow him here. However, and as I hope will become clear, Harvey's concern for theaestheticization of geopolitics relies partly on a reading of Kant and Hegel that he seeks, very directly,to bring to bear on the intellectual projects of those 'postmodernists' Jean Francois Lyotard, MichelFoucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and Richard Rorty. It is this sense of 'postmodernism' asan intellectual project that I work with in my discussion.43Chapter 2 FROM LEGISLATORS TO INTERPRETERS: THE AESTHETICIZATION OF ETHICS? READING POSTMODERNISMThe title of Harvey's book is clearly a rebuttal of Lyotard's The PostmodernCondition published in 1979. 1 As Callinicos notes, this book enjoys a certaindefinitive status in discussions of postmodernity because of its breadth [it weavestogether Postmodern art, poststructuralist philosophy and the theory of the post-industrial society], and also because Lyotard is one of a very few philosophers whoopenly designates his work as 'postmodern'. 2 Indeed, Lyotard's biographyrepresents all that Harvey seeks to oppose: commited to [a form of] Marxism duringthe 1950s, Lyotard had come by the late '70s to reject it and stand 'incredulous' atits meta-theoretical claims. That the debate over postmodernism has overlapped,even fused, with that over post-Marxism is not suprising, but the bulk of Harvey'scritical attention to academics in The Condition of Postmodernity is confined tothose [for example, Lyotard and Foucault] who have made a decisive break withMarxism.There is a copious literature on The Postmodern Condition and I do not wantto repeat the many insightful comments that have already been made about it.Instead, I want briefly to outline those aspects of Lyotard's argument that aregermane to Harvey's critique. For Lyotard the 'postmodern' concerns developing a1 Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 19842 Alex Callinicos, 1989, Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique, Cambridge: Polity Press, p344new epistemology responding to new conditions of knowledge, and the main focusof his book concerns the differences between the grand narratives of traditionalphilosophy and social theory, the practice and legitimation of contemporaryscience, and what he calls 'postmodern science' which he defends as a preferableform of knowledge. The term 'modern'...designates any science that legitimates itself with reference to a meta-discourse...making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as thedialectics of the Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning [or] the emancipation of therational...subject.3Postmodernism denotes incredulity towards meta-narratives and theirlegitimating function. Against the "terror" of meta-theory and its totalizing, coercivetendencies, Lyotard, drawing on Wittgenstein's notion of language games, arguesthat all discourses can never be ultimately True but only engage in a linguisticcompetition. The game develops as different actors equipped with differentdiscourses create temporary and precarious rules and through their creative andinnovative utterances and skillful moves in the game attempt to outplay each other.Different language games are thus governed by different criteria and rules andnone is to be priveleged: " All we can do is gaze in wonderment at the diversity ofdiscursive species..." .4 Lyotard celebrates this plurality of language games andrejects those modes of philosophical discourse which seek to legislate betweendifferent validity claims. Rather than engaging in totalizing theory Lyotard calls formore localized, heterogenous petit recits . On this basis Lyotard sees us asentering a new epoch which, as Honneth puts it3 Lyotard op. cit. p xxiii4 Ibid. 2645offers the chance of anarchically overcoming, in fact shattering the rationalisticshackles in which the modern sciences have held the creative aestheticpotentials of the social language game prisoner.5In this new epoch the very nature of critique changes: no longer anchoredphilosophically, it becomes more pragmatic, contextual and local, a form of'criticism without philosophy.' 6 And the social and political role of intellectualschanges correspondingly.The Postmodern Condition is, I would argue, in fact a very specific, evenidiosyncratic contribution to the debate on postmodernism and can only beproperly understood in relation to Lyotard's other works. What is, however, unusualand, I will argue, problematic, is that Harvey takes the themes of The PostmodernCondition, as he reads them, to be emblematic of postmodernism tout court . I sayunusual because I want to insist that Lyotard cannot be made to stand forpostmodernism, and because, even more strangely, Lyotard comes in for littlescrutiny within the body of Harvey's text. Like his reading of Kant, Harvey's readingof Lyotard is largely implicit, and it is also, I would argue, drastically one-sided.For those unfamiliar with the corpus of Lyotard's work and its complexity,The Postmodern Condition seems, at worst, to be a rather trivial book which wouldbe inconsequential but for the influence it has undoubtedly had in the debates onpostmodernism. In particular, and most obviously, it seems to license the grossesttype of intellectual and political relativism; and, the corollary of this is, apparently,the subsumption of history and politics to aesthetics . Harvey sees Lyotard in this5 Axel Honneth, 1985, 'An Aversion Against the Universal: Commentary on Lyotard's ThePostmodern Condition', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 5, no. 2, p1536 N Fraser and L Nicholson, 1988, 'Social Criticism Without Philosophy: An Encounter BetweenFeminism and Postmodernism', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 5, no. 2, p37346way too, but transposes those criticisms onto the work of other philosophers,variously termed 'post-structuralist' or 'pragmatist', as well. And both themes arestructured around the binary oppositions, to which I pointed earlier, that Harveyerects to effect his critique and which, as we shall see, form problematic leit motifsof his text.Harvey is clearly disturbed by the intellectual and political relativism that thework of many postmodern writers seems to imply. Thus, Lyotard's epistemologicalcritique of meta-narrative, Derrida's denial of an objective reality outside language,Foucault's archeologies and genealogies, and Rorty's lambasting of philosophy asthe mirror of nature are all of a piece:Postmodern philosophers tell us not only to accept but even to revel in thefragmentation and the cacophony of voices through which the dilemmas of themodern world are understood. Obsessed with deconstructing and delegitimatingthey can only end in condemning their own validity claims to the point wherenothing remains of any basis for reasoned action?If academic and political discourse is only so many language games and if, asLyotard suggests, these language games are incommensurable, then, for Harvey,at worst we are led into "total political silence" and at best an ineffective and, as weshall see, even dangerous and reactionary localism. 8But what makes this drift to relativism doubly disturbing in the work ofLyotard et. al. is its corollary, the 'aestheticization of politics', a claim which, while acommonplace of certain left perspectives on postmodernism, is by no means a7 Harvey op. cit. p1168 Ibid. 11747commonplace within the wider debates on postmodernism. Certainly, Lyotard'snotion of a language game has a very specific aesthetic cast to it, what Honnethcalls an "aesthetic model." 9 In the language game, it seems, "the pleasurableexperience of speech, with its richness of invention at its centre, Lyotard puts at thefoundation of his analysis." 1 ° As Lyotard puts it, "A move can be made for the sheerpleasure of its invention ... Great joy is had in the endless invention of turns ofphrase, of words and meanings ..." 11 In other words language games can exist notto establish rational interchange between different linguistic communities but toplay with language in a potentially endless act of aesthetic pleasure. Put like this,Lyotards gaming raises the spectre that anything goes, that whimsical pleasurerather than morality and reason will govern discourse, fulfilling Wittgenstein'sdictum that 'ethics and aesthetics are one'. 12 In short, for Harvey Lyotard isemblematic of those present day "... cracks in the intellectual edifice that opens theway to the empowerment of aesthetics over ethics", 13 the precursor and epitome ofwhich was Heidegger's Being and Time that put the aesthetic at the very core of itsconcerns.Similarly, the work of Foucault and Rorty seems, in different ways, to invitethe aesthetic to make its home in everyday discourse. Eagleton, for example,argues that the notion of power in some of Foucault's works embodies an aestheticedge which9 Honneth op. cit. p 155lolbid. 5611 Lyotard op. cit. p 1012 Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1963, Tractatus Looico-Philosophicus, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,p146-^14713Harvey op. cit. p 35748...is in fact one of the more disturbing facets of [his] work. It is coupled with theinsinuation one can sometimes detect in his writing, when he is considering the brutalviolence of the ancien regimes , that such violence is in some way morally preferableto the pacified, tabulated, transparent subject of the humanist epoch. 14In the work of Rorty we also seem to find an explicit call for the celebration of theaesthetic. Challenging the essentialist notion of humanity that underpins traditionalethical theory, Rorty calls for 'the aesthetic life.' As Shusterman understands it, thisinvolves a quest for self-enlargement, "the desire to embrace more and morepossibilities, to be constantly learning, to give oneself over entirely to curiosity" inan "aesthetic search for novel experiences." 15If the work of Harvey's postmodern philosophers is seen like this then hisobjection to the aesthetic, it seems to me, is two fold. In the first place, the aesthetic,because it is defined negatively as the non-cognitive, is, by definition to beopposed; it is, in other words, a faculty that intrinsically cannot make sense of, andthereby even implicitly obscures, the ground of history. In the second place,Harvey's fear is not just that the turn to aesthetics is increasing, but that the turnaway from Enlightment meta-narrative is synonymous with the abandonment of auniversal reason and its replacement with an equally universal embrace ofaesthetics. Put differently, we might ask why Harvey chooses to see the critique ofmeta-narrative as synonymous with its absolute abandonment and replacement byits antithesis, aesthetic? Gregory suggests that the answer might lie in Harvey'sreading of Kant. Quoting Stanley Rosen, he argues thatif one were to attempt to identify a single development "which would symbolizethe distinctiveness of the French philosophical scene in the 1980s, compared14 Terry Eagleton op. cit. p 38815 Richard Shusterman, 1988, 'Postmodern Aestheticism: A New Moral Philosophy?', Theory, Cultureand Society, vol. 5, no. 2, p 33749with the entire preceding period since the second world war, then the obviouschoice would be the upsurge of interest in Kant." There can be no doubt aboutthe importance of Kant to Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard and a number of otherthinkers whose views Harvey is concerned to contest...Not only is Kant theindispensable reference point for understanding postmodernism," he claims, but"postmodernism is essentially Kantian." 16It is, so Harvey seems to imply, the very universality of Kant's three facultiesof reason - particularly the aesthetic which, on some readings of Kant, exerts abinding force - that means that, inevitably, when the balance between them isdisrupted one or other will come to dominate . The echoes with Eagleton'sreconstruction of Kant are instructive here. Just as, on Eagleton's account, Kant'saesthetic was the central faculty that brought reason into the world without ever, infact, entangling itself in the realm of real history, so for Harvey the postmodernistphilosophers seem likewise to prioritize the aesthetic sensibility to the point whereit swallows up and thereby cancels out the other classical regions of modernity. If,like Kant's sublime, there is something about the aesthetic that is essentiallyundefinable, ungraspable by cognitive concepts, then how, Harvey seems to ask,can the great joy had in the endless inventions of turns of phrase lead anywhereother than to nihilism? For if we are unable to define what we do how can wecommunicate with others and so ever discover what it is that might bind ustogether? While we indulge in the joy of language games capitalism proceedsapace, and we have absolutely nothing to say about it.Harvey's double reading of postmodern philosophy - as relativist andaestheticist - thus constitutes a vitriolic condemnation of it. And I think Harvey'sconcerns are quite understandable. A number of other authors, as I hinted above,16 Gregory, op. cit. Stanley Rosen, 1987, Hermeneutics as Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press50have objected to the work of Lyotard et. al. in like fashion and counterposed it instark terms to the Enlightenment project. In Lyotard's work the contrast is, after all,made quite explicit, for The Postmodern Condition is among other things an attackon Marx's and, in the present day, Habermas's formulation of that project. WhereMarx and Habermas see modernity as an incomplete project that can still still besalvaged for the greater good, Lyotard wants to abandon it all together. 17However, as Harvey has acknowledged elsewhere, what we see in otherswe see through some fairly well honed theoretical lenses. And, it seems to me, it isHarvey's own Marxist perspective that colours his view of the work of Lyotard et. al.so deeply that he is unable to see it other than in pathological terms. I want toelaborate on this point and where its importance might lie for the continuedcredibility of Harvey's own project, by taking issue with the way he conjoins theaesthetic and the political, and I do so by looking, once again, at the work ofLyotard.As Christopher Norris has pointed out, following Paul de Man, Kant'sintellectual legacy can be roughly divided into two main lines of descent:... the one leading [via Schiller and Coleridge] to a mystified form of aestheticontology that priveleges metaphor or symbol as images of an ultimate reconciliationbetween subject and object, mind and nature, time and eternity, while the other givesrise to a critical hermeneutics that resists the premature conflation of realms andmaintains .. a vigilant awareness of the dangers attendant upon any such failure torespect the powers and limits of the various faculties. 1817Although Habermas does not of course see that project in classically Marxist terms, far from it.18Christopher Norris, 1990, What's Wrona With Postmodernism?, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, p 1951I want to suggest that, despite the undoubted incipient nihilism in Lyotard's recentwork, his overall project is still a deeply moral and political one , but in a way quitedifferent from modern moral and political projects like Harvey's. And to understandthat project requires, I think, that we place Lyotard broadly within the secondbranch of Kant's legacy.Where Harvey detects in Lyotard et. al. the potential omnipotence of theaesthetic, I think that Lyotard's reading of Kant leads him to insist on the absolutedifferences - le differend - between what he calls "phrase regimes". In L eDiffêrend19 we find explicit what was only implicit in The Postmodern Condition: inCarroll's words,... the aesthetic - especially when it has the paraesthetic form of the sublime - is a kindof critical safeguard against the dogmatism of the theoretical in general. The sublimeserves to push philosophy and politics into a reflexive critical mode, to deferindefinitely the imposition of an end on the historical-political process. Byemphasizing the gap between Idea and concept, the notion of the sublime in thehistorical-political highlights the tension between the desire to surpass "what ispresentable" for something beyond presentation, as well as the critical awarenessthat no concept of the social is adequate to the Idea of freedom and none, therefore,can be considered to embody it.20This is a complex passage so let me try to pick out its logic.Carroll designates Lyotard's work [and that of Foucault and Derrida] asparaesthetic in order to highlight the way in which his work uses the aesthetic to gobeyond itself and raise a series of questions for the practice of theory without,19Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 199020David Carroll, 1987, Paraesthetics: Foucault-Lvotard-Derrida, New York: Methuen, p 182-183. Italicsadded.52however, reproducing or colonizing the theoretical/cognitive phrase. It is a virtue ofThe Postmodern Condition, overlooked by Harvey, that it opposes the principle oflegitimation that resides in modern meta-narrative, a principle found not only incertain versions of Marxism, but also in that modern scientific establishment thatclassical Marxism locates in the 'superstructure' of bourgeois society. I say a virtuebecause if, according to Carroll, one had to identify a core concern animatingLyotard's philosophy it would be a commitment to heteronomy : to promoting theright, as it were, to deviate from the norm, to question and oppose the totalizationsof meta-narrative and the way they set limits to what is legitimate and what isillegitimate. This is somewhat different from Harvey's accusation that Lyotard is arelativist. What is interesting is how Lyotard uses the aesthetic to illuminate thisheteronomous space.In Le Differend Lyotard insists on the importance of Kant's division of thefaculties to his own project qua divisions, and rejects the teleology that drives thosedivisions towards some grand synthesis or final end. Lyotard's notion of a "phrase"is very elusive and difficult to grasp. It is not to be equated with Kant's distinctions,but shares with them a sense of the ineffable differences between various practicesthat Lyotard sought to capture in the notion of a language game in The PostmodernCondition. Lyotard draws on Kant's later essays - on freedom, democracy andprogress [a sort of nascent Critique of Political Judgement] - to investigate themodalities of the political outside its determination by the cognitive: and he does soby an analogy with the aesthetic. He relates the political and the aestheticanalogically because, he argues, Kant's later writings appeal to speculativereason - Ideas - not to determinate theoretical judgement, and thus the aesthetic of53the Third Critique serves as a kind of "a model for judgement which must operate inthe absence of models."21For Lyotard one cannot appeal to present or past events in order to findwarrant for enlightenened visions such as progress or emancipation. To imagineotherwise is, as Norris puts it, "to confuse the two 'phrase-regimes' of cognitive andspeculative reason." 22 Thus to see 'great historical events', such as the FrenchRevolution, as a sign of history's immanent culmination is not only folly butdangerous, implementing political 'enthusiasm' in the realm of real world affairswith potentially totalizing consequences. Instead, Lyotard argues, we should seepolitical judgement as a distinct 'phrase-regime', one best understood by analogywith the aesthetic, in particular the sublime. For Lyotard great historical events arebest seen as sublime spectacles, exceeding our capacity to define and grasp themdefinitively. Thus,The sublime ... stands as a priveleged trope for everything that teases philosophy outof thought, that resists the application of determinant concepts, or compels us torecognize that those Ideas of Reason [like Kant's 'republican contract] may never beborn out by the course of actual historical events 2 3Or, in the words of Carroll, "Lyotard ... follows Kant's position that there can only bean Idea of justice, community, mutual understanding, and the like which can serveas a regulative ideal, but which cannot generate substantive criteria or universaljudgements in specific cases:24 The great ideals of the moderns belong then, in21 Ibid. 17722Norris op. cit. p 823 Ibid. 1124Carroll op. cit. p 16954the realm of speculative reason, and the application of political and social theory isa dangerous "transcendental illusion".There is much more to Lyotard than I have had the space to deal with here.But I hope I have made it clear that it is not Lyotard's first intention to promoterelativism - even if that is, I think, a difficulty of his project - let alone to aestheticizepolitics - even if his analogue of aesthetic and speculative judgement threatens tocollapse into a dumbfounded quiesence before the sublime. And I would, likeCarroll, use Lyotard as an emblem in this regard for the work of Foucault andDerrida, among others. As Dick Howard has said, it is usually the most rigorous ofthinkers who are therefore most contradictory and ambivalent , and ambivalentLyotard, Foucault and Derrida certainly are. Harvey's mistake it seems to me is todwell on the negative aspects of postmodern thought and then equate it withpostmodernism tout court.Contra Harvey's interpretation of postmodernism, Lyotard - like Harvey -wants to maintain the differentiation of the faculties. The proper object of Harvey'sconcern, then, should be how Lyotard handles that differentiation not with how hesupposedly collapses distinctions and prioritizes the aesthetic. For it seems to methat the real weakness of Lyotard's position from Harvey's perspective is that itsevers all ties between political/social theory and political/social events. Theupshot, as Norris notes, is that "Marxism can only retain its viability as a discourseof political justice in so far as it appeals to Ideas of Reason [e.g. the Idea of a'republican social contract'], and renounces any form of cognitive appeal todeterminate class interests, revolutionary movements etc." 25 This is, clearly, a25Norris op. cit. p2755genuine problem. Lyotard's incipient relativism lies exactly here then, in that hisrefusal to totalize history and leave it be, also leaves it open to any kind ofargumentation whatsoever. Hence we can understand Eagleton's concern that, onthe terrain of history, Lyotard's insistence on heterogeneity means that "there canbe no difference between truth, authority and seductiveness." 26 There is thus anambivalence in Lyotard because his genuine concern for diffOrance turns into asort of formal principle for heterogeneity which, because of its very formality andremove from the realm of history is quite unable, in fact unwilling, to make anydecisions about which constituencies should be permitted to flourish within thatrealm.How are we to respond to this? One way is to follow Harvey and re-occupyhistory with the Marxist meta-narrative. But this threatens to marginalize other,equally valid and powerful cognitive theories, and in doing so to discredit theimperialism of such a Marxism and draw attention away from some of the genuineand important historical insights it contains. I will say more about the latter in thenext chapter. For now I want to pursue this discussion of Harvey's perspective onpostmodernism by showing how some of the work that has appeared under its signposes a challenge to the apparent exclusivity of Harvey's claims to know. However,in chapter 4 I also want to offer a more nuanced account of the nature of thoseclaims to know than is captured in the blanket condemnation that Harvey and hisMarxism are foundational and that it is thus blind to other visions of the world. I saythis because I do not think Deutsche, Massey and Rose are correct in arguing thatHarvey's Marxism is incapable of admitting other critical visions and nothing else .Instead, I want to argue in chapter 4 and in chapter 7 that - notably at the diagnostic26Eagleton op. cit. p 39656level - the 'classical' cast of Harvey's Marxism does indeed marginalize othercritical positions in its vision of history and that this is the dominant trend of histhought. I say dominant because I would also insist that Harvey is also attentive toaxes of social inequality other than class - notably, if implicitly, at the anticipatorylevel - but that because, ultimately, his Marxism cannot successfully integratethese concerns at, so to speak, the overall 'structural' level, his project is marked,more accurately, by an irresolvable ambivalence.That said I think we can understand the vigour of the responses of Deutscheet. al. to The Condition of Postmodernity. Because, more than any of Harvey'sprevious works [with, perhaps the exception of Social Justice and the City] it ischaracterized by a tone and sheer ambition of argument that mark it out as a textwhose claims to know are, quite simply, exorbitant . I suggest that Harvey's recentstridency should be understood in light of what Foster calls a "postmodernism ofreaction" and its conjunction with the current 'crisis of Marxism'. I pursue the formerin the following pages but leave a consideration of the latter until chapter 4. I do sobecause, I think, Harvey folds the first into the second and so postmodernism toutcourt is the source of all or most of the current insidious challenges to historicalmaterialism. While subject to insights articulated under a 'postmodern' label, thecurrent crisis of Marxism has more diverse origins than Harvey's account ofpostmodernism/ity suggests. For Harvey, however, the conjunction ofpostmodernism and the 'crisis of Marxism' seems to be largely one of cause andeffect, a view that leads him into a response to postmodernism whose bellicosityruns roughshod over some of the genuine insights that come under [and outside]the postmodern label. And the origin of some of those insights is, I would submit,Lyotard's work.57As Fraser and Nicholson argue The Postmodern Condition has provided asign under which a host of critical claims to reason can find a voice. While they findLyotard's attack on meta-narrative as salutary, they object to his rejection of alllarge historical narratives. For Fraser and Nicholson, then, Lyotard... throws out the baby of large historical narrative with the bathwater of philosophicalmeta-narrative and the baby of social theoretical analysis of large-scale inequalitieswith the bathwater of reductive Marxian class theory. 27Like Carroll, then, they see in Lyotard a timely critique of the exclusivity of moderntheory, but are less sanguine about where Lyotard leaves us and insist, instead, onbringing his lessons home to the cognitive realm. There is now a large body ofwork by feminists that engages critically and constructively with postmodernismand poststructuralism. 28 Jane Flax, for example, in her recent Thinking Fragmentshas sought to constructively engage the work of Lyotard and others with feminismand psychoanalysis. What is more, Marxist and Marxisant thought has itselfbenefitted from an engagement with the work of Harvey's postmodern thinkers. 29I insisted earlier that Lyotard cannot be made to stand for postmodernismtout court in the way that Harvey implicitly makes him do so. I have offered adifferent reading of Lyotard than that offered by Harvey, yet also used some ofLyotard's themes as emblems of postmodernism in general. But I hope I have alsomade it clear that the transposition from Lyotard to, for example, Fraser andNicholson, does not leave Lyotard in tact. Postmodernism may indeed be said, atthe most general level, to be about the articulation of difference . But it is clear bynow, as the debate over postmodernism has developed, that that concern can be27Fraser and Nicholson op. cit. p 1628see, for example, the recent work of Weedon, Kathy Ferguson, and Sabina Lovibond29See, forexample, Michael Ryan, Marxism and Deconstruction, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UniversityPress58taken in several directions and we are beholden to investigate what that'postmodern' sensibility means in the work of different authors and constituencies .Because they use the same word they do not necessarily mean the same thing.This semantic problem is partly at the root of Harvey's elisions andinsensitivities over postmodernism. Given the sheer multiplicity of ways andcontexts in which the term 'postmodernism' has been used there is considerableconfusion over what it means. At worst, this definitional problem obscures debatealtogether, leading one source to observe of postmodernism, "This word has nomeaning; use it as often as possible," an assessment many would doubtlessendorse.30 Somewhat more accurately, if equally cutting, Graham suggests that"post-modernism is a hydra-headed monster and a chameleon, impossible tocharacterise without entering into life-threatening contradictions." 31 Or, as Hassanso eloquently puts it, the term 'postmodernism' has "shifted from awkwardneologism to derelict cliché without ever attaining to the dignity of a concept." 32The only way to respond to this situation, it seems to me, is to eshew anysearch for a general definition of postmodernism. It is not a concept that permits ofa single and singular definition, but a sign that has been used in a variety of wayswhose differences need to be respected. Hence, in their recent attempt to surveythe theory and politics of postmodernism, Boyne and Rattansi wisely insist ontracing the variegated texts and contexts in which the term 'postmodernism'figures.33 Moreover, as Andreas Huyssen has so convincingly argued, we must30The Modern Day Dictionary of Received Ideas, cited in Featherstone, 1988, 'In Pursuit of thePostmodern', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 5, no. 2, p19531 Julie Graham, 1988, 'Postmodernism and Marxism', Antipode , vol. 20, no. 1, p 6232lbrahim Hassan, 1985, The Culture of Postmodernism', Theory, Culture and Society , 2:3, p 11933Roy Boyne and All Rattansi, 1990, Postmodernism and Society, London: Macmillan, chapter 159also attend to the geography of postmodernism , the varying national contexts forthe production and reception of postmodern discourse.34 Yet Harvey, although hepays some attention to these differences [he talks for example about postmodernart, cinema, lterature and architecture], is concerned to establish the formal andorganic similarities between them. So much so that, I think, he virtually obliteratesthe differences altogether.At the very least, Harvey needs to recognise and take seriously Foster's wellknown distinction between a postmodernism of 'resistance' and one of 'reaction'. Itis clearly the latter that is Harvey's target, but it does not exhaust the postmodernnor can all of Harvey's targets, such as Lyotard, be legitimately seen in this way. Apostmodernism of resistance does not necessarily mean some purely local andineffectual critical project35 , and the intellectual support elements of feminism havereceived from postmodernism is a testament to that fact.Harvey, I am sure, would now acknowledge this 36. But in The Condition ofPostmodernity the term 'postmodernism' is deployed in such a general andgeneralized way as an essentially conservative phenomenon that it quite simplyand inexcusably overlooks those critical intellectual projects that haveappropriated the postmodern label. I say inexcusable not, most obviously, becauseof the insensitivity of omitting from consideration this resistant, criticalpostmodernism, but because several versions of it, more profoundly, challenge thevery nature of Harvey's own project . Moreover, in Deutsche's powerful account,those omissions are not in Gregory's words, simply the misfortunes of an unwary34Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, chapter 1035A point argued convincingly by Meaghan Morris, 1992, The Man in the Mirror: David Harvey's'Condition' of Postmodernity', Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 9, pp 253-27936See Harvey, unpublished a, below60traveller in a strange land, ['culture' NC]: they are, rather, the direct and, so tospeak, structural consequence of a particular 'way of knowing', or, even moreprecisely, of a particular way of claiming to know."37 They are, in other words,apparently an outworking of Bauman's dream of legislative reason.Deutshe's assessment of The Condition of Postmodernity will, no doubt,become a standard reference-point for discussions of the book and so I do not wantto repeat her argument here. It is enough to say that she shows very effectively thatHarvey's lapses and silences on feminism and postmodern feminist aesthetics 38seems to bespeak a more deep-seated impulse to totalize the social. As she puts it,Totalizing visions of society such as Harvey's are precisely, to borrow Bruno's phrase,"dreams of unity". Claiming to discover, rather than construct a reality that forms theabsolute foundation of social unity, the subject of Harvey's discourse generates theillusion that he stands outside, not in the world. His identity then owes nothing eitherto his real situation or to the objects he studies. In the act of denying the discursivecharacter of those objects, such depictions also disavow the condition of subjectivityas a partial and situated position, positing instead an autonomomous subject whoobserves social conflicts from a priveleged and unconflicted place. 39The resonances with Benhabib's reconstruction of the foundations of critical theoryare instructive here. For it is Benhabib's contention that the position oftranssubjectivity which she attributes to Marx and which derives directly from Hegeland indirectly from Kant, finds its social realization in the denial of human plurality.The monological subject position of the theorist finds its apotheosis in a vision ofthe social that denies the complexities of lived experience, the way the individuals37Gregory, unpublished, op. cit.p 138 In particular Deutsche points to Harvey's misreading of the work of Cindy Sherman.39 Deutsche op. cit. p761are discerned in complex ways. 40 It is as if the world-historical scale of crisisdemands an equally totalizing response in the form of critique which, however,oversteps itself and covertly substitutes the crisis of one , albeit crucially importantsocial system - capitalism - for a crisis of the social tout court.I pursue Benhabib's argument in more detail regarding the anticiaptoryfoundations of Harvey's Marxism in chapter 7. For now, however, I let it standbecause I do think that her reading of Marx can be made to intersect withDeutsche's of Harvey concerning the diagnostic moment of Harvey's Marxism.That is to say, and to reiterate, that the urge to totalize the social and suture historyaround political economy is the dominant - though not only - aspect of Harvey'shistorico-geographical materialism. Quite where this criticism of Harvey's claims toreason leaves his Marxism I will discuss in the chapter 4. For now, though, let meinsist that, as a minimum condition , those critical projects that have appropriatedthe postmodern label alter the project of classical Marxism in something like theway signalled by Graham:Our project is not to subsume the issues that engage the minds of others to the issueof class, but to relate class to these issues. In a world where class does not determineeverything else but is related to everything else through a process of mutualconstitution, it is our job as Marxists to construct the connections between class andeverything else in the form of a discourse.'"40The word is deliberately evocative of Paul Smith's Discerning the Subject [Minneapolis: Universityof Minnesota Press, 1988] where he argues that subjects must be seen as inhabitating a space that isthe intersection of a host of discourses and social forces and that, therefore, when thinking aboutsocial transformation it is invidious to suture strategies of opposition around a single subject position,such as class.41Julie Graham, 1988, 'Postmodernism and Marxism', Antipode, vol. 20, no. 1, p 62. I say minimumcondition because I am not convinced that the problems can be resolved as simply as Grahamsuggests.62I say minimum condition because I am not convinced that the problems canbe resolved as simply as Graham seems to suggest. But I would agree with her thatthe most constructive challenges to Marxism that designate themselvespostmodern, are those which do not, as Bauman fears, reduce Marxism'sintellectual and political agenda to a reticent, interpretive one, where socialanalysis is replaced by some hermeneutical interchange [although certain versionsof Marxism would certainly benefit from the latter]. The real, and the most difficulttask, it seems to me, is to bring 'strong' versions of Marxism into a constructiveengagement with other critical paradigms. That this has rarely occurred without oneor other side of the encounter perceiving a loss of intellectual identity is a testamentto the difficulty of that task. As Gregory puts it,... if there is no privelelged vantage point, no singular place of reflection, nounambiguous closure, no unitary logic, then how can we make the lives of otherpeople intelligible to us - how can we bring them within the horizon of our own[limited] sensibilities and competences - without in some way being invasive,colonizing, even violent? 42AESTHETICISM AND A "POSTMODERNISM OF REACTION"Harvey's insensitivities about postmodernism have, understandably,generated an often heated response. In addition to Deutsche's concerted attack onHarvey's claims to know, both Massey and Rose have presented readings of TheCondition of Postmodernity almost as intemperate as Harvey's perspective on thatcondition. While understandable, however, I think that such a response isunfortunate if it is taken to be a definitive reading of Harvey's account of42Derek Gregory, 1991, 'Interventions in the Historical Geography of Modernity: Social Theory,Spatiality and the Politics of Representation', Geografiska Annaler, , 73B: 1, p 2063postmodernism and postmodernity. For it is surely wrong to see The Condition ofPostmodernity as the articulation of a particular Marxist will to knowledge andnothing else. I do not for a minute think that, when pressed, Deutshe et. al. wouldargue that their critiques exhaust the issues. But I do think that the exorbitancy ofthe claims to know articulated within the book draws attention away from thegenuine historical insights it might hold and encourages and equally exorbitantcritique.In this regard Harvey's pathological portrayal of postmodernism does, itseems to me, latch on to a phenomena with a real historical existence: Foster's"postmodernism of reaction". I am uncomfortable with such neat and tidydesignations and, as I intimated earlier, think we must attend to the specificities ofdiscourse expounded under the postmodern label if we are to engage in aresponsible discussion. That said, Foster's distinction is useful, if only because italerts us to those anti-progressive, conservative 'postmodern' intellectual projectsthat seek to deflect attention away, or to directly obfuscate real social inequalitiesand injustices. In this sense it seems to me that a proper target of Harvey's concernwould less obviously be Lyotard and more properly be someone like Baudrillard. Itis, then to the specificities of Baudrillard's work that I turn as a prelude toinvestigating how Harvey's account of the condition of postmodernity mightilluminate the course of our recent history.We might, with only a little exaggeration, see Baudrillard as the highpriest of the kind of postmodernism that Harvey fears. This is not to say thatBaudrillard's work has no value whatsoever, or that it does not articulate somejustifiable concerns. But his work has elicited, with some justification, the most64hostile responses to postmodernism on the left. 43 Thus, if we compare Baudrillardwith other 'postmodernists' we would be hard pushed to object to Norris'sassessment that "none of them has maintained such an extreme oppositionalstance toward every last truth claim, every form or vestige of enlightened criticalthought" as Baudrillard has.44Poster, in introducing Baudrillard's work, sees its importance asshattering the claims to reason of the Enlightenment and its legacy and alerting usto the fact that these times do not permit of old fashoined ldeologiekritik .45 But ifthis is all Baudrillard bequeathes us it is not particularly original nor insightful.Lyotard, as I have suggested makes a similar argument but seeks to avoid itsnihilistic consequences, while Foucault, for example, also eschews meta-theory butwith a brilliance, historical acuity and seriousness of purpose that, as far as I cantell, is absent from Baudrillard's work. But what, then, is Baudrillard about?In The Mirror of Production Baudrillard launched a now well knownassault on Marxian meta-theory and its conceptual apparatus. Reacting, inparticular, to Althusser's iron-cast demarcation between science and ideology,Baudrillard argued that any discourse preserving the Platonic distinction betweendoxa and episteme , truth and illusion, was an anachronism inappropriate to thesenew times. It is not, however, clear what these new 'postmodern times' consist ofsince, although Baudrillard's recent works are meditations on that question, theytreat recent history with an interpretive freedom that would make a professionalhistorian blanche. We can say that the era of postmodernity is for Baudrillard an era43WhiCh is not of course to say that it does not have its admirers on the left too. See Ann Game'srecent work, for example."Christopher Norris, 1990, 'Baudrillard and the Politics of Postmodernism', in Boyne and Rattansi op.cit. p 12045Mark Poster [ed], 1988,  Baudrillard: Selected Writings, Cambridge: Polity Press65of hyper-reality, one where the image is so all- pervasive that it is no longerpossible to make distinctions between truth and illusion, science and ideology.Instead, " ... reality itself, entirely impregnated by an aesthetic which [is] inseperablefrom its own structure, has been confused with its own image." 46 The loss of critiquethus goes hand in hand with a quiesence before the hyper-real and the aestheticsensibility comes to reign supreme in the world of human affairs.Now there is no doubt that Baudrillard's diagnosis of postmodernity doesindeed identify something of profound importance about the gyrations of latecapitalist societies. The last twenty five years or so have seen some remarkabletransformations in the nature of mass entertainment, the media and what Adornofamously called 'the culture industry'. And these transformations are consequentialfor the way we see both the world and ourselves. But what these transformationsdemand is a response that tries to understand them. Baudrillard's response, incontrast, is explicitly nihilistic and his debt to Nietzschenot far behind. As Habermashas argued, the Nietzschean claim to relativism presents a dilemma, a'performative contradiction', that finds its resolution in the turn to aesthetics. Forhow, on his own nihilistic terms, can Baudrillard 'prove' that the world we now livein is one that is beyond the claims of theory without relying on a theory of his own?One way to avoid this contradiction, Habermas argues, is to collapse the distinctionbetween philosophy and literature, since "consistency requirements ... lose theirauthority or are at least subordinated to other demands - of an aesthetic nature, forexample - if logic loses its conventional primacy over rhetoric." 47 Baudrillard'swriting can thus be seen as an extreme case of what Callinicos, citing Jacques46 Baudrillard, 1986, Simulations p 150-15247J1irgen Habermas, 1987, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press, p18866Bouveresse, calls "a type of work which attempts, with a very relative degree ofsuccess, to compensate for the absence of properly philosophical argument bymeans of literary effects ... "48But we might, even more provocatively, follow Callinicos a step furtherand suggest that Baudrillard's account of postmodernity is mimetic of a postmoderncondition that seeks to mask its complicity with and origins in the capitalist mode ofproduction. In this sense the images and signs of Baudrillard's postmodernitywould not be the mark of a world beyond the claims of Marxist theory, butsymptoms of that very commodity fetishism which Marx diagnosed over a centuryago as endemic to capitalism's survival. The commodity, Marx said, is a very queerthing, "abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties", andsomething of the power of what Featherstone calls "the aestheticization of everydaylife" becomes apparent here. 49 For in Baudrillard's aestheticized world not only arewe unable to cognitively grasp what it is we do, but we sensuously revel in theaesthetic object - the commodity - echoing Eagleton's concern about the Kantianimaginary.Here, at last, I think Harvey's reading of postmodernism finds somedegree of purchase. Although I have very crudely mapped Baudrillard into anequally crude image of late capitalism, I think Baudrillard's aestheticism is agenuine problem and one we ought, like Harvey, to resist. And let us be clear that itis aestheticism that we are talking about, by which I mean, following Megill, thebelief that aesthetic sensibilities should form the dominant dimension of human48Callinicos op. cit. 14749Mike Featherstone, 1991, Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, London: Sage, p 6567existence. 50 This is emphatically not the same as aesthetics, the academic andartistic investigation and manipulation of aesthetic material. The two, to be sure,frequently merge, in both a left and a right direction. But it is the former, seennegatively as complicit with the operations of capital, that is the proper target ofHarvey's critique. In failing to make the distinction Harvey not only glosses overcritical feminist aesthetics, as Deutsche notes, but ignores the importance ofaesthetics to the very Marxist tradition of which he is part, a move which seems tome to impoverish Marxism's reach and relevance. Aesthetic theory is not primarilyabout the spatialization of time nor is it necessarily unconcerned about developingthe potentials within march of history. For Harvey to suggest otherwise would beegregious, except that this move arises out of his equation of social theory with thecognitive and moral faculties, and their equation with Becoming, for intellectualreasons that I hope I have by now made clear.Nevertheless, I would agree with a number of authors, within and outside theMarxist tradition, that the fin-de-siecle can be said to be characterized by a certainaestheticism, and one which is by no means new. There is, after all, a traditiongoing back to through Adorno and Benjamin, and through Simmel and Kracaeur toBaudelaire, that points up the centrality of the aesthetic sensibility within the sphereof commodity consumption. And it is here, if we recall Bauman's account, that wecan understand why he, like Harvey, wants a continuation of the project ofmodernist radicalism. For the weapon of seduction [a concept that, in fact, heborrows from Baudrillard in order to parody] cannot be just one more reason for theabandonment of critique: on the contrary, the expansion of the market,within which50Alan Megill, 1985, Prophets of Extremity, Berkeley: University of California Press, p 268the rise of seduction is imbricated, demands our most serious and strenuous effortsto insist on the continued relevance of materialist inquiry. 51I agree. I think we have a duty to insist on the need for Marxism, for critique,and for the role of theory in elucidating the culture of late capitalism. Not because ofsome dogmatic faith in Marxist categories [Marx's legacy is, in any case, both toorich and too ramified to be reduced to 'classical' Marxism], not because we wish tolegislate on the nature of the social [the engagement of postmodernism andfeminism powerfully undercuts that oppressive and naive practice], but becausethere are social forces operative today whose consequences remain as oppressiveand destructive as ever. What's more, in the absence of a commitment to acognitive account of social life, even the best intentioned of projects [Lyotard] canleave us marooned, while the most banal [Baudrillard] can sink us into the mire ofan aestheticized politics.To this extent I concur with Harvey's desire to re-establish Marxism withinthe universities which, no matter what assaults have been launched against themby the New Right and corporate interests - in fact precisely because of thoseassaults - remain crucially important spaces within the present social order for thearticulation of a critical project like Marxism. Should we be teaching students,people who will go on to secure among the most important positions within futuresociety, that our world is so hyper-real that we can say nothing of depth orprofundity about it? Or do we insist on the importance of bringing theory and historyinto engagement within critical programmes that show us there is still so much tobe done if the world is to be made a safe and pleasant place for all? Put like this51 Although, let me be clear, Bauman is not by any means an unreconstructed Marxist.69the options are, I realize, greatly overstated. The academy is not being swampedby some insidious postmodern challenge. But the issues are nonetheless real for'strong' versions of Marxism, as they have had to contend not only with someextreme challenges under the 'postmodern' label, but also with, as I suggestedearlier, a frequently overlapping but specific 'crisis of Marxism.' That Harvey foldsthe former into the latter is disingenuous, as I make clear in chapter 4. Nonetheless,Harvey is right to point up the incipient aestheticism of 'reactionary postmodernism'and its abandonment of critique, even as he overstates the case.But if this perceived aestheticism is to be anything other than anaccusation made by Marxist and other left-wing intellectuals then, as Callinicosinsists, it must be subject "to the discipline of an empirical exploration of socio-economic processes." 52 I now want to turn, then, to Harvey's historical account - tothe condition of postmodernity- to understand how his reading of postmodernismarises from his understanding of this wider condition. This will involve me in anapparently strange shift of argument away from aestheticism in a culture ofconsumption towards an aestheticism centred on the state and articulated throughnationalist and localist politics . But it is not a shift of my own making: it resides,rather, in a slippage in Harvey's overall argument. In order to set the scene forwhat follows I need to make two points.First Harvey's linkage of postmodernism and postmodernity around thequestion of aestheticism is asymmetrical. What I mean by this is that his account ofthe former does not neatly map into the latter. In particular, and as I hope mydiscussion of postmodernism has made clear, Harvey can marshall little evidence52Callinicos op. cit. p 15170that postmodernism is synonymous with the turn to an aestheticized geopolitics .Indeed, the geographical inflection Harvey's gives to the aesthetic is conspicuouslyabsent from his reading of postmodernism. And in many ways this isunderstandable, for in the links Harvey makes between Kant and his postmodernphilosophers there is little evidence that the aesthetic is spatialized in the work ofthe latter. The "aesthetic theory" of Lyotard et. al., if one would call it that, is hardlyconcerned with the spatialization of time. This spatialization of the aesthetic, rather,an assumption that Harvey makes. The consumption culture of late capitalism maywell be marked by a regressive aestheticism but Harvey does not pursue thegeographical implications of this insight very far, although I think they could bedialectically developed onto the terrain of what Harvey, following Lefebvre, calls"spatial practices". This is, however, a relatively undeveloped aspect of his culturaltheory and one which might, I suggest, be fruitfully pursued.Secondly, the terrain on which Harvey does pursue the question of anaestheticized geopolitics, and which finds suggestive justification on the ground ofhistory, involves not the culture of consumption of late capitalism, but the questionof the state, nationalism and localism. And its intellectual roots are found inHarvey's reading of Hegel. Where Harvey wants, rather arbitrarily, to bring themesregarding the aesthetic from both Kant and Hegel together in a grand diagnosis,his account of postmodernism and postmodernity respectively in fact holds themapart.It is my contention, then, that The Condition of Postmodernity  contains two ,albeit dialectically related, main strands which comprise Harvey's cultural theory,which both entail paticular accounts of the nature of subjectivity. The oneconcerned with the aestheticism of a culture of consumption , which is implicit in71Harvey's account of postmodernism, but which is never really elaborated by him asan historical condition in its geographical aspects. The other, in contrast, isconcerned with the aestheticism of a nationalistic and localistic politicA a theme notfound in the postmodern philosophers Harvey cites [although I think it certainly canbe found in other 'postmodern' projects] but which found its apogee on thehistorical-geographical landscape in the Third Reich and which, Harvey contends,is showing signs of reappearing today in the era of postmodernity. It is this focus onfascism that, I think, makes Harvey's account worthy of close scrutiny, for itsimplications are clearly too important to be lightly passed over.72Chapter 3 THE AESTHETIC SUBJECT? INTELLECTUALS. POLITICS AND FASCISM IN THE TRANSITION TOPOSTMODERNITYLike Jameson before him, Harvey has sought to subvert the supposedradical novelty of postmodernism by seeing it as part of an historical condition -postmodernity - that can be explained in terms of one of the very meta-narratives -Marxism - it seeks to challenge. Moreover, that condition is in vital respectscontinuous with modernity and it is here that Harvey seeks to establish the linksbetween the two, in particular through the figure of Martin Heidegger. By drawingparallels between Heidegger and Lyotard et. al., Harvey seeks not only toundermine the supposed novelty of postmodern discourse. He also, more radically,wants to point up the political dangers inherent in the postmodern turn by usingHeidegger's proximity to National Socialism and the aestheticization of geopoliticsthat both preached. Put differently, Heidegger is for Harvey an emblem of thedangers of the aesthetic subject, whose collective embodiment was the Germanfascist state. I have already noted how few of Harvey's postmodern philosopherscan be said to preach such geopolitical thought, although Foucault and Derrida areundoubtedly indebted in important ways to Heidegger. But that is not to say thatother aspects of our present times cannot be thought of in terms of an aestheticizedgeopolitics.Harvey's concern with Heidegger follows partly from his reading of Hegel.As he argues, Heidegger73...proclaimed the permanence of Being over the transitoriness of Becoming...hisinvestigations led him away from the universals of modernism and of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and back to the intense and creative nationalism of pre-SocraticGreek thought. All metaphysics and philosophy, he declared, are given their meaningonly in relation to the destiny of the people. 1And to articulate this national project, Harvey continues, heproposed a myth of rootedness in place and environmentally bound traditions,expressed by the great will of the state, as the only secure foundation for political andsocial action...(in) his allegiance to the principles [if not practices] of Nazism...theaestheticization of politics through which production of such all consuming myths [ofwhich Nazism was but one] was the tragic side of the modernist project 2When related to German fascism, Harvey's opposition to Heidegger raisesintruiging questions about the role of an aestheticized subjectivity within the realmof practical politics . For Harvey's worry over the aesthetic is not simply that it helpsobfuscate capitalist social relations, in the way it does in the work of Lyotard et. al.On top of this he is making a series of other important claims I think. In the firstplace, if with fascism the aesthetic is spatialized then this opens up an importantavenue for thinking about the political forms of landscape representation 3Secondly, Harvey's analysis implies a strong claim about the importance of thisaestheticized representation by inserting it directly into the programme of a specificpolitical movement which in 1933 was elected to state power. This suggests thatthe 'representation of space' 4 is not merely incidental to Nazism but much more1 Harvey op. cit. p 2082 Ibid. 353See Appendix I4Harvey's discussion of this question of representation is not phrased in terms of landscaperepresentation, with its specific and restrictive connotations [see Cosgrove's work, for example], but isbroadened into a discussion of the "representation of space". The term is Lefebvre's denoting the74central to its articulation as a political force. Thirdly, however, in pursuing the pointHarvey goes further than this. Unlike other Marxists concerned with cultural-geographic questions, Harvey wants to go beyond seeing the representation ofspace as merely one aspect of some ideological superstructure. More profoundly,he tentatively suggests that crises of cultural and political representation have aninsistently spatial dimension to them since the coordinates of space and time arethe very matrices through which the materiality of life under capitalism isexpressed and negotiated.All this said, it might properly be asked how Harvey gets from the ThirdReich to postmodernity, not least because it has been a central theme of historiansof Nazism that the former was an exceptional phenomena. Harvey, however,echews this exceptionality thesis. His concern, rather, is to show how theaestheticization of geopolitics is a strategy compatible with a range of conservativepostions and which reaches its apogee in Germany of the 1930s and 40s. In nextfew pages I reconstruct Harvey's historical account of the aestheticization ofgeopolitics and the aestheticization of the subjectivity it presupposes. I then want tosubject it to critical scrutiny. I do so firstly by examining the linkages Harvey seeksto make between political-economic crisis and experiential crisis - particularly ofthe intellectuals - by dwelling on the figure of Martin Heidegger. Then I pursue thegeographical inflections of that conjunction of systemic and lived crisis further byexamining Harvey's wider thesis concerning German fascism and the location ofaestheticized geopolitical strategies in the state. I conclude that there is much inHarvey's thesis that is extremely suggestive and deserves to be pursued in ananalysis of our present times, but that his argument is conducted at such a generalhuman perception of space under historically specific conditions in the very broadest sense. SeeTable 3.1 page 220 of The Condition.75level that it is open to dismissal on empirical grounds. I end the chapter byrecapitulating my overall argument and suggesting how a proper attention to theconcrete historical geography of postmodernism and postmodernity wouldilluminate some of Harvey's insights.THE CONDITION OF POSTMODERNITYBasal Foundations: Economic Crisis and Time-Space CompressionAs Gregory rightly says, when Harveywrites about the 'condition of postmodernity' he is trying to convey a double image.He means to evoke both a particular experience of space and time...and, behind that,the basal condition...that has made such an experience...possible: namely a series ofturbulent changes in the space economy of late capitalism 5As Deutsche implies, Harvey's account is effectively a base-superstructuremodels [Figures 1 and 2]. Contradictions inherent in the processes of capitalaccumulation mean that the economy is prone to periodic and often severe crisesof overaccumulation and these crises produce transformations in the organisationof the accumulation process. Harvey uses the language of the Regulation Schoolto conceptualise these changes. While always insisting on the fundamentalimportance of the rules of capitalist accumulation, Harvey discusses the particularensemble of economic, social and political relations at given historical moments interms of regimes of accumulation and modes of social regulation. In these terms he5Gregory , unpublished, op. cit. p 76 Deutsche op. cit. Certainly, Harvey is explicit that he wants to introduce some degree of economicdetermination into the explanation of cultural and political life, as he makes clear when he scornsthose who hold "Cultural life...to be outside rather than within the embrace of...capitalist logic" [p 344The Condition].76charts the recent transition from a Fordist regime of accumulation to one of so-called flexible accumulation. Figure 1 Figure 2Crisis of Cultural andPolitical RepresentationCulture Politics7 TExperience ofSpace and TimeTime-SpaceCompressionI iEconomic Base Economic CrisisHarvey's general model of cultural and^Harvey's specific modelpolitical change During periods of economic crisis, of transition between regimes ofaccumulation, Harvey argues that there is a resultant phase of 'time-spacecompression', a revolution in the objective qualities of time and space such that"we are forced to alter, sometimes in quite radical ways, how we represent theworld to ourselves" 7 . This is perhaps the most original aspect of Harvey's modeland he seeks to give this phenomenon a theoretical importance and clarity that, heargues, has been missing from previous accounts 8 . This time-space compressionis correspondingly registered in our experience of those magnitudes. On thepremise that time and space are fundamental dimensions through which we7 Harvey op. cit. p 2408 David Harvey, 1991, op. cit. p 42677experience and negotiate the world around us, Harvey argues that phases of time-space compression force us to adjust, quite radically, our existing notions of timeand space creating a crisis of representation. And it is precisely this crisis thatushers in new cultural and political practices to make sense of it.This reading is correct as far as it goes. But there is more to Harvey'sargument than Deutsche indicates. In the first place, Harvey links thetransformation in the objective qualities of time and space to political and culturalpractices by utilising Bourdieu's concept of the habitus G. The habitus has both avertical and a horizontal dimension. In a 'vertical' dimension it is "the system ofinternalised dispositions that mediate between social structures and practicalactivity, being shaped by the former and regulating the latter" 10 . Horizontally, asGregory puts it "Bourdieu intends the habitus to harmonize and homologize socialpractices from one sphere of social life to another" 11 . Thus "the concept of thehabitus...is a way of elucidating the coherence of social life." Harvey uses thisconcept "to capture (this] coherence...in a particular frame: the experience of spaceand time" 12 . It is, during phases of 'time-space compression', Harvey argues, thatthe habitus becomes dislocated.In the second place - and this, as we shall see, is crucial forunderstanding Harvey's portrayal of the aestheticization of geopolitics - Harveyseeks to lend this disorientation a profoundly geographical dimension. For Harvey,the economic sea change that has occurred since the early '70s is not just an9 The following reading is indebted to Gregory, unpublished, 'Modernity, Postmodernity and thePolitics of Space'. See Pierre Bourdieu, 1977, Outline of a Theory of Practice [Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press] and Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste [London: 1984]10 Bourdieu cited in Gregory, ibid. 2411 Ibid. 2512 Ibid.78assault on the rigidities of Fordism, but a synonymous "crisis of temporal andspatial form" the resolution of which is marked by a new "spatial fix" which liesbehind that intensified experience of space and time that distinguishes thecondition of postmodernity 13 . Thus, Gregory argues that for Harvey thecontemporary crisis of representation is "in large measure a crisis of thegeographical imagination." [italics added] 14 and this is what makes his account sooriginal.And it is here that Harvey makes the material connections toHeidegger's work by presenting the audacious thesis that, to put it crudely,Heidegger's intellectual condition - like the postmodern intellectual and politicalcondition - is the symptom of a dislocated habitus . In this way he tries to show thatnot only were Heidegger's ideas aestheticized in a context of space-timetransformation, but that that aesthetic was articulated in a fixing, a spatialization oftime. These twin themes are captured in a remarkable passage from Heidegger'sMetaphysics:From a metaphysical viewpoint, Russia and America are the same: the same drearytechnological frenzy, the same unrestricted organization of the average man. At atime when the furthermost corner of the globe has been conquered by technologyand opened to economic exploitation; when any incident whatsoever...can becommunicated to the rest of the world at any desired speed; when the assassinationof a King in France and a Symphony in Tokyo can be experienced simultaneously;when time has ceased to be anything other than velocity, instantaneousness andsimultaneity, and time as history has vanished from the lives of all peoples...then, yes,through all this turmoil a question still haunts us like a spectre: What for? Whither?What then? 1513 Harvey, The Condition, op. cit. p19614 Ibid.15Cited in Harvey, ibid. 20879There is more than a little similarity here to Marx's diagnosis of the ennervatingexperience of capitalist society, where all that it is solid melts into air.However, this only half of the story Harvey wants to tell. In order to placethe aestheticization of geopolitics fully within Harvey's Marxian framework we mustconsider the other : the role of the state.The State. Capital and Strategies of LegitimationAccording to Harvey the aestheticization of politics cannot simply beunderstood as a set of ideas generated in the final instance out of the material base;they also need to be inserted within the institutional framework of the state throughwhich they are articulated. Not suprisingly, for Harvey the state cannot beconsidered separately from the dynamics of capitalist accumulation. As with hisacount of those dynamics, his discussion of the state operates at two levels. At thelevel of abstract theory, Harvey inserts the state into his discussion of capitalistmodernization. He argues thatThe state...forms a[n]...organizing principle through which a ruling class can seek toimpose its will not only upon its opponents but upon the anarchical flux, change anduncertainty to which capitalist modernity is always prone. The state is a territorial entitystruggling to impose its will upon a fluid and spatially open process of capitalcirculation....lt also depends on taxation and credit markets, so that states can bedisciplined by the circulation process at the same time as they can seek to promoteparticular strategies of capital accumulation.To do so effectively the state must construct...a definition of public interests over andabove the class and sectarian interests and struggles that are contained within its80borders. It must, in short, legitimize itself. It is therefore bound to engage to somedegree in the aestheticization of poltics 16The state, then, has relative autonomy in its mediating role between theinterests of capital and labour within a given national territory, as it grapples with thedialectic between space and place under a mode of production where theannihilation of space by time proceeds apace. But in this role it must also legitimizeitself through political strategies that ensure not only its own survival but also thesocial conditions that ensure the continued reproduction of capital, strategies whichGramsci, Poulantzas and Habermas have all in their different ways made so muchof. 17This abstract discussion is concretized in Harvey's analysis of the transitionfrom Fordism to flexible accumulation. And it is at this level that he seeks to draw outthe similarities between the legitimating strategies of states under a condition ofpostmodernity and those pursued by the European states of the 1930s of which, ofcourse, Nazi Germany was one. Given that states are territorially organised at anational level [although there are also, of course, important intra-national urban andregional state bodies operating at smaller spatial scales], then, Harvey suggests,spatial competition has intensified as governments attempt not only to attract new16David Harvey, op. cit. 10817 In particular see Antonio Gramsci, 1971, Prison Notebooks, London: Lawrence and Wishart, andJurgen Habermas Legitimation Crisis, although it is important to note that Habermas has shifted hisposition somewhat since he wrote this book. Poulantzas is of more immediate interest in the contextof this paper because of his Fascism and Dictatorship: The Third International and the Problem ofFascism where he offers a Marxian account of fascist dictatorship. Of all his works this book has,unfortunately, received the least attention. For two excellent reviews, however, see Jane CaplanTheories of Fascism: Nicos Poulantzas as Historian' [History Workshop Journal , vol. 4, no. 1, 1976]and Anson Rabinbach 'Poulantzas and the Problem of Fascism' [New German Critique , Spring 1978].For Harvey's fullest and most sophisicated theoretical account of the role of finance capital in theprocess of capital accumulation see The Limits to Capital, chapter10.81capital but also to defend jobs. 18 Where such competition cannot lead to theresolution of economic crisis the stage is set for geopolitical confrontation. And thisis precisely what, Harvey argues, happened in 1930s Europe, "that tortured preludeto a global inter-capitalist war that did more to transform the historical geogrphy ofthe world than any other sequence of events in history." "Can", he has dramaticallyasked elsewhere, "that happen again?" 19, calling to mind Tom Nairn's strikingstatement that "uneven development is a politely academic way of saying war." 20 Inanswer he observes thatThe serious diminution of the power of individual nation states over fiscal and monetarypolicies...has not been matched by any parallel shift in the internationalization ofpolitics. Indeed, there are abundant signs that localism and nationalism have becomestronger precisely because of the quest that place always offer in the midst of all theshifting that flexible accumulation implies. The resurgence of geopolitics and of faith incharismatic politics [Thatcher's Falklands War, Reagan's invasion of Grenada] fits only181 am not trying to suggest that Harvey prioritizes the national state or international competition. Infact, taken as a whole, the various discussions of the state scattered throughout his earlier worktestifies to his concern to elucidating the complex mosaic of state action: compare, for exampe, hisaccount of the geopolitics of capital [ see Gregory and Urry (eds) Social Relations and Spatial Structures, chapter 7, London: Macmillan, 1985] with his essay on urban class alliances [in The Urban Experience, chapter 5]. Harvey's argument regarding international competition goes something asfollows: Under the impulse to speed up capital circulation times to Marx's "twinkling of an eye", financecapital has come to play a key part in overcoming the rigidites of Fordism. This new hypermobility ofcapital, Harvey argues, has entailed a shift towards the empowerment of finance capital vis-a-vis thenation state. It has also "entrained rapid shifts in the [geographical] patterning of unevendevelopment" ['Flexible Accumulation Through Urbanization', p 261]: the search for a new spatial fixas one means of overcoming the problems of Fordism is concomitant with a crucial paradox, namelythat "capital builds a physical landscape appropriate to its own condition at a particular moment in time,only to have to destroy it in the course of crisis, at a subsequent point in time" [ Harvey, 1981,TheUrban Process Under Capitalism', in Dear and Scott [eds] Urban Development and Urban Planning in Capitalist Society,  London: Methuen, p 114]. That is, space can only be overcome by creating newspace, by making new investments in geographically fixed capital while devaluing other, olderinvestments made under the previous regime of accumulation. Industrial boom and crisis is, after all,place specific. Hence the startling rise of new industrial complexes since 1973 [not only in 'virgin'areas such as California with its agglomerations of hi-tech industry, but also in previously depressedareas like New England] is, Harvey argues, matched by the equally rapid decline of other, previouslyprosperous industrial regions [such as the West Midlands].19David Harvey, 1985, The Geopolitics of Capitalism", in Gregory and Urry [eds] Social Relations and Spatial Structures.  London: Macmillan, p 16020Tom Nairn, 19??,82too well with a world that is increasingly nourished...by a vast flux of ephemeral images21and in doing so he intends the echoes of Nazi Lebensraum - the ultimateexpression of an aestheticized geopolitics - to be not far behind. 22But this aestheticized nationalism is also complemented internally by anaestheticized domestic policy, realized most fully in the neo-conservative regimes ofThatcher and Reagan. Faced with fiscal crisis, itself the result of economic crisis, theresulting state policies [notably the rolling back of the welfare state] have, Harveysuggests, been legitimated by a radical shift in the political centre:Since the political success of neo-conservatism can hardly be attributed toits...economic achievements several commentators have attributed its rise to ageneral shift from the collective norms and values that were hegemonic...[in] the1950s and 1960s, towards a much more competetive individualism as the centralvalue in an entrepreneurial culture.. 23The nadir of this loss of colllective conscience is the obfuscation of social andeconomic problems. For Harvey the years of Reagan, Thatcher and Bush havebeen years when rational argument has been thrown out of the window andreplaced by an embrace of sheer legerdemain. And this has gone hand in handwith the increasing power of the image and a refusal to get behind such images andtheir mystifications. Reagan is, for Harvey, the key example of this kind of obsessionwith form rather than content:21 David Harvey, The Condition..., p 30622See Harvey 1985, p. cit. p 16023Harvey op. cit. p17183The election of an ex-movie actor, Ronald Reagan, to one of the most powerfulpositions in the world put a new gloss on the possibilities of a mediatized politicsshaped by images alone. His image, ...carefully crafted and orchestrated...as a toughbut warm, avuncular, and well-meaning person who had an abiding faith in thegreatness and goodness of America, bulit an aura of charismatic politics. CareyWilliams described it as...'the friendly face of fascism.' "24In sum, then, the postmodern political and cultural condition, far fromsignalling a radical break with the past, is firmly imbricated in the continuation ofcapitalist society. Understood in this way Harvey's final assessment of 'Fordistmodernism' and 'flexible postmodernism towards the end of his book, is that the twoare not polarities but "the interpenetration of opposed tendencies within capitalismas a whole, "25 a view fully commensurate with Harvey's commitment to a holisticmode of thought.Having reconstructed Harvey's historical argument in some detail I want nowto engage in a constructive critique of it in order to develop some of the provocativeand insightful claims that Harvey makes and to subject them to critical scrutiny.THE AESTHETIC CONDITION Structures and Agents: Heidegger. Aestheticism and Time-Space CompressionIt may seem strange that Harvey chooses Martin Heidegger as his keyexemplar of the experiential crisis wrought by time-space compression. Althoughthere were two great waves of controversy in post-war Germany over Heidegger's24 Ibid. 33025Harvey op. cit. p 33884role in the Nazi Party, the consensus has, until very recently, been that "thatHeidegger's 'fling' with National Socialism had been episodic and insincere" andthat the charges raised against him were "thinly veiled efforts to discredit aphilosophy on the basis of considerations that were clearly 'extraneous to thought'". 28 In any case there are a host of other more 'obvious', if less eminent, targets, anti-modern German intellectuals whose work was more clearly intended to support theNazi endeavour and which clearly embody aestheticized notions of place, such asOswald Spengler27 .However, Harvey's use of Heidegger is not as odd as it appears. In thefirst place, there has recently been an intense revival of interest in Heidegger'sNazi sympathies. Thanks to the in-depth studies by Victor Farias and particularly byHugo Ott, it now seems indisputable that Heidegger's involvement with the NaziParty was far more extensive than previously thought28 . But the question of therelationship between his philosophy and politics is more vexed. As Wolin observes,"That philosophy and political conduct stand in necessary association with oneanother is by no means a self-evident truth in the annals of cultural history" 29 .Of all his statements during the era of the Third Reich it is Heidegger's 1933Rectoral Address, the Rektoratsrede, that has perhaps been the focus of mostconcern. The fact that it was a public speech, not a philosophical treatise, hasallowed Heidegger apologists to suggest that it was an incidental rather than26Richard Wolin, 1990, The Politics of Being, New York; Columbia University Press, Preface p xii27There are a plethora of studies of Spengler focussing on his anti-modern, anti-liberal writings andhis celebration of the indissolubility of the Volk and the German State. For a more nuanced accountthat suggests a synthesis of modern and anti-moden themes in Spengler's work see Jeffrey Herf,1984, Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.28 See also Otto Poggeler, 1987, Martin Heidegger's Path of Thinking, New Jersey: AtlanticHighlands Press29Wolin op. cit. p1085essential aspect of Heidegger's thought, an unfortunate symptom of his flirtation withFascism. This may well be true, but it is difficult to believe that a philosopher ofHeidegger's stature, whose philosophical writings were clearly compatible, inhowever general a sense, with the programme of the Nazi Party, could completelydivorce a pedagogic statement from his intellectual concerns, and this is preciselythe point that Richard Wolin has recently made. He argues of the Rektoratsrede that,On the one hand, it is precisely the innovative mixture of existential categories and Nazioratory that prevents the address from degenerating into one of the standardprofessions of faith - so fashionable at the time - in the virtues of the NationalRevolution. On the other hand it is at the same seamless interlacing of philosophicaland political motifs that creates the impression that the categorical framework of Beingand Time had found its consummate historical embodiment in the total state of AdolfHitler.3In fact, it is generally agreed among recent commentators on Heidegger's thoughtthat his involvement with the Nazi Party cannot be pristinely disconnected from hisphilosophizing. Hence Chytry, Wolin and Zimmerman, for example, all insist on thenecessity of making some kind of connection between the Heidegger of Being and Time [1927] and Heidegger the "Rector-Fuhrer " of Freiburg University. 31 The realquestion then of course becomes what kind of connection?I do not want to enter into an elaboration of Being and Time or ofHeidegger's writings of the 1930s: the recent works of Chytry et. al. do thatconcisely and and lucidly. And lucidity is important because Heidegger'sphilosophy is characterized by language and concepts of the utmost difficulty -3° Ibid. 8631Josef Chytry, 1989, The Aesthetic State: A Quest in Modern German Thought, Berkeley: Universityof California Press, chapter 10; Michael Zimmerman, 1990, Heideoaer's Confrontation WithModernity, Bloomington: Indiana University Press86indeed some would say it is obscurantist32 - that makes the connections betweenhis thought and his social context at best highly attenuated. It is just those kind ofoblique connections that Eagleton tries to make in his reading of Heidegger, andhis account of the politics of Being makes a convincing case of how Heidegger'saestheticism served, in Kantian fashion, as a mystificatory doctrine. 33 Theconnections between Kant and Heidegger are indeed both direct andilluminating, 34 but Harvey is more concerned with an aestheticized geopolitics -specifically the role of the nation-state - than is Eagleton, hence his appeal toHegel.Heidegger's debt to Hegel is small in comparison to his debt to otherthinkers, especially Hi5Iderlin and Nietzsche. But as Chytry argues both thinkersshared the ideal of an "aesthetic state", by which he means a unified social andpolitical community that accords primacy to the aesthetic dimension in humanconsciousness. Harvey does not pick up on this aesthetic dimension within Hegel'sthought, but Heidegger certainly did: as Chytry and Allan Megill point out,Heidegger's vision of the coming to presence of Being as it developed in histhought was a profoundly aestheticist one, that shared with Hegel's views on Greekart a belief in the truth value of aesthetic sensibility. Indeed, in the late Heideggerart and the aesthetic become of supreme importance in his vision of humancommunity.It would be invidious to point up Harvey's misreading of the content ofHeidegger's concept of Being, since he clearly has no other interest in it than as a32 George Steiner concisely outlines the nature and philosophical context of the difficultiesHeidegger's vocabularly presents in his Heidedper, London: Fontana, 1978, part I33Eagleton op. cit. chapter 1134His Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics  being only the most obvious example.87general figure for stasis. But it is nevertheless worth pursuing the connectionsbetween Heidegger's politics and his political philosophy, which is just what Wolinattempts to do in The Politics of Being. Wolin sees in the Heidegger of the 1930s aconvergence between a growing interest in art and the aesthetic, and what was tobecome Heidegger's lifelong preoccupation with the overcoming of Westernmetaphysics and history. His account of Heidegger's conception of the state speaksto Harvey's concerns in this regard,the most important categorical innovation to appear in Heidegger's thought during themid-1930s - and a concept that is indispensable for understanding his political thoughtduring these years - is that of the 'work'...of which the state-work [Staatswerk] (was one).It is the "work" that provides the locus, that facilitates the the "clearing", for the all-important encounter between beings and Being, between what is finite and the truth 35As Heidegger puts it, a central way "in which truth occurs is the act that founds apolitical state " 36 , and with this claim, Wolin argues "we have arrived at thethreshold of Heidegger's political philosophy proper: viz., the role played by thestate in the setting to work of truth -37. In particular,Heidegger's theory of the state as a "work" is modelled upon his theory of the work ofart...in Heidegger's view both works of art and the state are examples of the "setting-to-work of truth". In essence the state becomes a giant work of art like the work of art itparticipates in the revelation of truth...however, the idea of basing political judgementson analogy with aesthetic judgements is an extremely tenuous proposition...we mustquestion the attempt to transpose aesthetico-metaphysical criteria to the realm ofpolitical life proper. 3835Wolin op. cit. p 11236Heidegger cited in Wolin ibid. 11337 lbid. 11338Wolin op. cit. p11788So far so good. It would be possible to multiply examples of these thematicsimilarities between Heidegger's philosophy and the practices of the Nazi Party.But where Wolin wants to connect philsophy to politics, Harvey wants to ground thetwo in political economy, and thus furnish some organic connections.It would clearly be folly to deny that Heidegger's social context had noinfluence on the course of his philosophizing. Certainly, in Wolin's view, thepersonal and metaphysical crisis that Heidegger experienced around 1929 coincidedwith world-crisis: the stock market crash of the same year and the depression thatfollowed in its wake. As the recent testimony of Otto Poggeler indicates, this was aturn of events that would have far-reaching implications for the future development ofhis thought. The immediate consequence of this portentous interweaving ofpersonal and historical destinies was an intensive preoccupation on Heidegger's partwith the critique of modernity that was first adumbrated in Being and Time. From thispoint hence, Heidegger's reflections on the meaning of Being were intimatelywedded to pressing historical questions concerning the destiny of the West and thecrisis of European Dasein. He regarded Germany's historical role as a "nation in themiddle" if a solution to the crisis was to be found. 39In his interesting account of German "reactionary modernism", Jeffrey Herfalso contextualises Heidegger's thought but, additionally places it alongside that ofa number of other "anti-modern" philosophers, such as Spengler and Ernst Junger,as part of a genre, locating their millenial opposition to Western Zivilization inGermany's late and dramatic entry into the modern international economy. And,following Herf, Zimmerman suggests that it is Heidegger's intelectual debt toJunger is a mediating link that concretizes the otherwise oblique connectionsbetween his philsoophy and his support for Nazism, for Junger's political philsophy39 lbid. 7189was much less obviously distanced from his political aspirations than wasHeidegger's.40Situating Heidegger's thought in a wider social context like this is certainlysuggestive of Harvey's wider argument about the negative consequences of time-space compression. That argument is given a sharper edge by the fact that thereare striking parallels between Heidegger's writings and those of other Europeanthinkers during the turbulent years of the early 1930s. In what is an intenselygeographical account, Russell Berman has recently shown how the capitalistmodernization that underpins Harvey's time-space compression feeds into the turnto aestheticism in the writing of two members of the pre-war literate with largeerstwhile differences41 . In his 1907 essay on the Italian villa, Rudolph Borchardtstrongly attacked bourgeois modernization and its encroachment into rural Italy.Reacting to the bourgeois notion of auratic art, which liberal middle-class touristsbrought to bare on their experience of rural Italy, Borchardtpostulates an exigency of form, rooted in the soil and tradition...and articulates acultural criticism of the present by conjuring up an image of the distant past" [Inparticular] "the villa is the victory of form over chaos, power over nature. It is attractivenot, as the tourist might believe, because of some aesthetic intent; rather it becomesaesthetic precisely because of its organic relation with the landscape and the powermanifested in its form...The prioritization of architectural form goes hand in hand withan appreciation for stable social structures...[therefore] Borchardt breaks withtraditional nineteenth century culture in dual fashion: he [replaces] the autonomouswork of art...with an aestheticization of social relations, and he rejects the idea ofliberal progress in the name of a constant stability" [italics added]4240Herf and Zimmerman op. cit.41 Russell Berman, 1989, The Aestheticization of Politics: Walter Benjamin on Fascism and the AvantGarde', in Berman, Modern Culture and Critical Theory, Wisconsin: Wisconsin University Press, pp 27-41 .42 Ibid. 29-3090Writing twenty years later, the D. H. Lawrence of Lady Chatterley's Lover, bemoaning the loss of "Shakespeare's England" to the landscsapes of industrialcapitalism, calls for what Berman describes as "an objective regeneration of a lostsubstance which is defined in terms of a primal glow, an auratic magic, that manages toredeem the atomistic individualism of capitalist alienation in a unity that is bothbiological and divine. Only an authentic, phallic sexuality...ensures humanity'sintegration into the natural cosmos, the organic rhythms of which were echoed in thegenuine traditions of the people" [italics added]43 . Despite their erstwhile differencesthen,both Lawrence and Borchardt mobilize aesthetic material - for Lawrence aura, forBorchardt form - as substitutes for explicitly public discussion, or, better: they try toresolve the political tensions of modernity through a practice of denial andaestheticization...What Lawrence and Borchardt ultimately share then is a project ofrepression based on what Walter Benjamin later called an 'aestheticization of politics.'44I make so much of Berman's account because it seems to bear directlyand powerfully on the argument that Harvey is trying to make. Firstly, it suggeststhat the aestheticization of politics in intellectual discourse is not a peculiarlyGerman phenomenon. Secondly, that two men so radically distanced in almostevery conceivable way should respond to capitalist modernization in suchthematically similar ways is extremely suggestive of Harvey's wider argumentabout time-space compression. Thirdly, the excerpts from Borchardt and Lawrencepoint to the remarkably geographical inflection of their aesthetic material: in both43 Ibid. 31" Ibid. 3591cases hypostatized representations of space are central to their diagnosis ofmodernity and prognosis of how to respond to it.However, interestingly enough, Berman's argument also points to two veryproblematic tensions in Harvey's thesis which I want to develop in the next section.Firstly, it is precisely the differences between Borchardt and Lawrence that meanthey cannot be assimilated to one another. To be sure, both men mobilize what inHarvey's terms is an aestheticized geopolitics. But, in political terms Borchardt isdecidedly right wing, where Lawrence is not. Indeed, Borchardt's arguments are inmany ways emblematic of the Italian landowning class that did so much to bringMussolini and the Italian fascisti to power. In other words, Harvey shoulddiscriminate between what Megill calls different modes of aestheticism . However,in The Condition of Postmodernity his argument is that the aestheticization ofpolitics is an overwhelmingly conservative phenomena, not just historically [which,given the realities of fascism, is an understandable charge] but, more contentiously,as a logical outcome of the state's role in capitalist society [page 14 above; seenext section].Secondly, that Borchardt was writing in 1907 raises the serious question ofperiodization for Harvey's argument. In terms of the crisis model that Harvey wantsto erect, the case of Lawrence, like that of Heidegger, is most suggestive, given theproximity of their writings to the slump of 1929 onwards. However, how is one tomake a satisfactory analytical separation of their work from Borchardt's, or for thatmatter from the work of a host of right wing commentators writing across severaldecades who sought to aestheticize politics? 45 It seems to me that one needs to45For example, there is a rich crop of highly conservative writings by German intellectuals stretching allthe way back to the 1870s which would fall under Harvey's rubric of the aestheticization of politics asGeoffrey Eley makes clear in Blackbourn and Eley, 1984, The Peculiarities of German History,  Oxford:Oxford University Press.92make such discriminations, and provide the theoretical concepts to do so, in orderto pursue Harvey's insight about the potential dangers of an aestheticizedgeopolitics.It is clear, then, that however suggestive the accounts of Harvey andBerman are, they posit only the loosest connections between individual biographyand capitalist modernization. And so the question arises of Harvey's more specificthesis regarding the dislocation of the habitus captured in the frame of a shiftingexperience of space and time. In some ways Harvey's appropriation of Bourdieu'sconcept is remarkably unhelpful. Not only does the habitus appear as an abstracttheoretical category, but one is never quite sure what the habitus is supposed to besince Harvey makes no attempt to explore its meaning. It would, however, be foolishto dismiss its usage, for in his elaboration of the concept Bourdieu has argued thatthe habitus can be a valuable way of thinking about how people, from Heidegger tothe person in the street, make sense of their world.In the first place, the habitus is not, according to Bourdieu, a high levelgeneralization of theoretical applicability only. In fact, Bourdieu's work isdistinguished by an attempt to operationalize the habitus empirically: not only hashe undertaken a large scale study of the French social formation but also a specificstudy of Heidegger.46 Secondly, given that the habitus is the system ofinternalized dispositions that mediate between social structures and practicalactivity, being shaped by the former and regulating the latter" 47 then, as Gregoryobserves, "It is supposed to be reducible neither to the imperative of structures norto the intentionality of agents"48 . This is a bold but important claim. Marxists46Pierre Bourdieu, 1988, L'Ontoloaie politique de Martin Heideqqer, Paris: Editions de Minuit.47 Roger Brubaker, 1985, 'Rethinking Classical Theory: the Sociological Vision of Pierre Bourdieu',Theory and Society, vol.14, p 758."Gregory, The Aesthetic Turn...'93commentators have long suffered the charge that their supposedly base-superstructure approach leaves no space for agency. Is, then , the concept of thehabitus a way out of this problem?Despite his claims to the contrary, it is not at all clear even in Bourdieu'swork whether the habitus is a genuinely recursive formulation, and his critics claimthat the concept is ultimately reductionist. What is clear is that in Harvey's accountthe habitus, far from mediating between structures and agents, dances to the tune ofthe economy. Heidegger's experiential crisis appears as a determinate outcome ofeconomic crisis which helps naturalize the arbitrariness of the capitalist order with aseemingly relentless logic. What Harvey's account desperately needs is an analysisof social formation, not only to concretize his thesis but also to show how peoplemake their own history, of how the undiscussed is brought into discussion. In thisregard we might say that the concept of time-space compression is toounderdetermined, by which I mean that it is at once too general and too lacking inhistorical content to be a tool of critical inquiry. As I shall argue in chapter 5,Harvey's earlier, less polemical work is much more careful to ensure that itstheoretical abstractions have a strong degree of historical purchase.Harvey's determinism is thus a problem, to be sure. But this should notprejudice us against the second part of Harvey's formulation of the habitus - thecentrality of the magnitudes of space and time - for this may amount to throwing theproverbial baby out with the bathwater. This focus on the experience of space andtime is, I think, an important and original insight to the debates on modernity andpostmodernity49, although by no means new to Harvey's Marxism. I thus want to49 1t also echoes the focus of a non-geographer - Fredric Jameson - on the importance of 'cognitivemapping.' See chapter ? of his recent Postmodernism or the Cultural logic of Late Capitalism,  Durham:Duke University Press94focus once again on what Harvey says about Heidegger and how time-spacecompression translates into particular representations of space, in order to hint atthe possibilites and perils of Harvey's account.For Harvey, as I argued earlier, the objective qualities of space and time aredefined by the dynamics of capitalist accumulation. Although Gregory may becorrect to note of the Harvey of Social Justice that his sense of the "geographicalimagination respected the overdetermination of the sign-process and the multipleways in which spaces could be coded and decoded" 50 , in The Condition thenuances are less evident. Heidegger's celebration of the indissolubility of the Volkand the German State is, evidently, a direct consequence of his crisis of thegeographical imagination. I do not want to deny the salience and importance of thisgeographical inflection; quite the opposite in fact. The hypostatization of space isvery clear in Heidegger's writing and this has a series of important politicalramifications, particularly when used to give warrant to a movement like Nazism.What is disturbing, however, is Harvey's lack of sensitivity to the overdetemiinationof the thought process. The economic dimension is clearly important, but in a senseHarvey wants to have his cake and eat it. For if the economy defines time and spaceand if time and space are central to how we make sense of the world, then what is tobe said of those innumerable experiences, thoughts and actions that are not codedin directly economic terms nor in terms of temporal and spatial coordinates? Arethey to be marginalized? And if so with what justification? And, in any case, are'time' and 'space' only experienced through an economic coding? 5150 Ibid. 215 1 I am thinking here, for example, of Klaus Thelweit's remarkable, and remarkably geographical,pyschoanalytic account of how the mentalite of male officers of the Freikorps depended on gendered[feminized] conceptions of nature and landscape: Male Fantasies, volumes I and II, 1987, Minnesota:University of Minnesota Press.95Lest these questions appear glib, let me exemplify. It is clear thatHeidegger's conception of Being can be interpreted as having distinct spatial andtemporal codings. Yet how one is one to link that conception to Heidegger'schanging experience of space and time is a very vexed question. It is as if Harveyhas worked forward from the economy, identified Being as broadly compatible withthe thesis of time-space compression and then used Heidegger's proven affiliationwith the Nazis to argue that his political philosophy was the logical precursor of hispolitics. I would be more reticent about establishing these organic connections. LikeBourdieu it seems to me that Heidegger's thought is best seen as "polyvalent",spinning off in several directions. 52 Hence Wolin, for example, does not seeHeidegger's philosophy arising directly out his economic and political context, butas being in a kind of dialectical interplay with it. For Heidegger, argues Wolin, sawthe Nazi Party during the 1930s as one possible way of articulating his ownphilosophical project on the ground of history. Seen like this, and bearing in mindHeidegger's later realization that the Nazis could not fulfil his vision, Being and Time and other works cannot be seen as direct products of social context but aroseout of the conjuncture of social context, the particularities of Heidegger's personalmake-up and his engagement as an intellectual with a whole tradition of Westernphilosophical discourse53 .Ultimately, of course, this is not an argument that one can somehow 'prove',just as is extremely difficult to 'test' Harvey's argument. One obviously does notstraightforwardly measure time and space, all other relevant factors and then tote upthe final score and the thought of trying to do so is the stuff of intellectual comedy.52Pierre Bourdieu, 1988, op. cit.53There are, of course, a host of philosophical exegeses which interpret Heidegger's conception ofBeing in purely philosophical terms. As an example see Eugene Kaelin, 1988, Heideqqer's Beingand Time, Tallahassee: The Florida State University Press. Kaelin has some interesting discussion oftime and space which, appear virtually incommensurable with the argument Harvey wants to construct.96But this should also not encourage us to shy away from big questions and it is toone of these that I now turn to examine fascism as a political movment embedded inthe state apparatus.The Aesthetic State? Geopolitics and National SocialismIt was Walter Benjamin in his essay "The Work of Art in an Age ofMechanical Reproduction" who coined the phrase "the aestheticization of politics".Unlike Harvey, who prefers Marx's account of Napoleon III, Benjamin's analysisarises out of an understanding of fascism tout court specifically Italian Fascism54 .For Benjamin, fascism is characterized by three features: (1) the context of capitalistmodernization; (2) the association with capitalist property structures; and (3) thestrategy of aestheticization. As Berman points out the first two are compatible withorthodox Marxists accounts of fascism; the third, however, is not. Benjamin's insightarose very much from his engagement with the critical potentials of art whichanimated much of his work: his perspective was that auratic art is incompatible withjustice55 . As Berman puts itHis critique of fascism transfers his aesthetic judgement into the political realm; theclosed order of the organic work of art, which he regards as deception that imposesan ennervated passivity on the bourgeois recipient, is disassociated from aspecifically aesthetic realm [e.g. the museum] and transplanted into a political practicethat demands however the same passivity. The traditional sphere of autonomous arthas grown obsolete in a "proletarian context, but the associated modes of behaviour -54That said, Benjamin's source - an unidentified manifesto by Marinetti - and his textual analysis areproblematic in a series of ways, as Berman makes clear [Berman, op. cit.]. For more on Benjamin'sattitudes towards fascism see Ansgar Hillach, 1987, The Aesthetics of Politics: Walter Benjamin's"Theories of German Fascism"', New German Critique Spring, pp 76-91 . However, Benjamin was, ofcourse, no stranger to Second Empire Paris nor to its aesthetes.55Benjamin's views on art and politics cannot of course be reduced to this formula and altered quiteconsiderably over the course of his lifetime. See Terry Eagleton, 1990, The Marxist Rabbi', in TheIdeology of the Aesthetic, op. cit.97silence, inaction, passivity - are reorganized around the fascist state...which cantherefore be regarded as the fascist work of art...56This is a key insight. It suggests the immense power of the aesthetic whendisseminated throughout the wider social body, as it undoubtedly was in NaziGermany57. But I also want to argue that certain representations of space were, inGermany, a central and particularly powerful means of its articulation. I shall lookbriefly at two examples of the representation of space in Nazi Germany. The first -architecture - is of immediate interest to geographers given the recent focus onlandscape representation 58 . The second - film - is less familiar. I use it not only tosuggest a wider agenda for thinking about space [as Harvey does], but alsobecause the film medium became increasingly important as a means of masscommunication - and thus political communication - during the 1930s, as Benjaminwell knew. Both suggest that the visual , as in Harvey's terms the spatialization oftime, is an important medium for the aesthetic.Architecture was a major concern of the Nazi Party: against the "Bolshevism"of the Bauhaus, a new nationalist view of architecture would proclaim "the word instone", such that "architecture was a truly political weapon" 59 . As Duncan pointsout, the built environment by its very fixity and palpability is an important medium ofsymbolic communication60 . Certainly, the Nazis undertook an extensive andimpressive programme of public building, constructing a number of monumentalstructures, such as The Chancellory in Berlin, that attested to the greatness of the56Berman op. cit. p 3857See, for example, Zimmerman op. cit. and Anson Rabinach The Aesthetics of Production in theThird Reich' in G L Mosse fed} , International Fascism, London: Sage Publications, 197958It is also a key language for the articulation of postmodernism.59Robert Taylor, 1974, The Word in Stone, Berkeley: University of California Berkeley Press, p 8460Duncan, 1990, The Landscape as Text, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p 298Party and The German People. I do not want to suggest that National Socialistarchitecture was homogenous: as both Taylor and Barbara Lane show this was farfrom being the case 61 . But two broad themes did unite this architecturalprogramme. One was that architecture be specifically 'Germanic'. The second wasthat the various 'Germanic' features pursued [e.g. community architecture, vo/kischarchitecture] were in one way or another idealized mythologies that drew onabsolutized and uncontestable historical references such as the Volk and theFatherland.Perhaps the singularly most impressive example of the power of Naziarchitecture was the Zeppelin Field at Nuremburg [Plates 1 and 2], one of a numberof huge new stadia built for the holding of mass political rallies. Designed bySpeer, the field was a huge meeting place nearly half a mile square. Around threeof its sides were stands for the public, rising up above a central square whereuniformed soldiers were stood in impeccable brigade blocks that mimicked theprecise contours of the field itself. And then, along the fourth side the centrepiece ofthe Field's design: a monumental stone tribune with collonades rising up sheerfrom the level of the field between which were draped huge flags emblazoned withthe German swastika. At its centre the senior party members congregated on amassive platform set forward from the wall into the crowd and toward which all eyeswere drawn as Hitler addressed them in their tens of thousands. The sense of awethat this spectacle engendered was deliberately and skillfully enhanced by holdingrallies in the evenings when the central platform was briliantly illuminated in analmost divine radiance, behind which the collonades reached up spectacularly into61 Barbara Miller Lane, 1968, Architecture and Politics in Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1945,Berkely: University of California Press. See also Robert Hughes, 1981, The Shock of the New, NewYork: Alfred A Knopff, p 9999the sky as arc lights shone upwards between them. In the broadest sense theintent, both Taylor and Lane argue, was to create a sense of Germanic unityfocussed around the person of the Fuhrer who stood God-like before The Peopleas both their mentor and representative 62. Nuremburg is also the focus of myattention to film. For, as Berman notes, Leni Riefenstahl's cinematic account of the1934 Nazi Party convention is "One of the few aesthetic monuments of Germanfascism that have attracted serious critical scrutiny" 63 Rather than offering anideological-critical stance towards Triumph of the Will, Berman, more interestingly Ithink, investigates the rhetorical grounding of Riefenstahl's film as emblematic ofthe politics of fascist representation:in the cloudy heavens emerges an airplane...bearing the body of the divine leader,the guarantor of national resurrection, whose arrival on earth signifies the miraculousincarnation of the will triumphant. Henceforth history is overcome, and the jubilant folkrejoices in a redeemed present provided by the presence in flesh and blood of thevisible saviour. The point is not that Hitler lands in Nuremberg but that he is seen. "Wirwollen unsren Fuhrer sehen [We want to see our leaded", cries the crowd,and... Triumph of the Will defines itself as the proper medium of a fascist privileging ofsight and visual representation. 64This is clearly a provocative thesis and Berman is not seeking to develop awatertight argument. His reasoning is, rather, suggestive: the privileging of thevisual is suggested by the belief that Hitler's oratorical success was due to theunique power of his eyes and, secondly, by the "self-effacing signature of thecinema" - the glimpse of a shadow of the photographic apparatus during the film"announces the age of film and the priority of visual representation as the rhetoricaldevice of fascism" 65 .62This account is, of course, somewhat idealized and exaggerated and one of course wonders ifintent was matched by effect.63 Russell Berman, Written Right Across Their Faces: Leni Riefenstahl, Ernst Junger, and FascistModernism', in Berman op. cit.64 lbid. 99-10165 lbid. 101100Plate 1: The rear of the main tribune of the Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg[Source: R Hughes, 1989, The Shock of the New, NY: Holmes & Meier]Plate 2: The cathedral of light, Nuremburg[Source: R Hughes, 1989, The Shock of the New,  NY: Holmes and Meier]101Left like this both examples are of limited value, of course, beingdescriptively suggestive but conspicuously lacking in conceptual and explanatorycontent. But there is, I am suggesting, an important and fascinating history to bewritten of the linkages between aestheticism, the representation of space/place, thetropes of such representation, and visuality, and the interconnections of all thesewith political economy.It is clearly no fault of Harvey's that he does not give us all that. But if thevisual really was a key medium of communication, as both examples tentativelysuggest, then two questions arise that bear directly on Harvey's argument aboutthe aesthetic state and about the aesthetic subject. Firstly, how were the ideologicalaims of the Nazis realized in terms of securing public support? After all, if fascistmodernism in Germany is, like postmodernism, a historical condition, then itbetokens us to ask how people make this history. An answer to this questionrequires, then, some analysis of social formation. It is clearly not enough tosuggest, as Harvey does, that time-space compression predisposes peopletowards the acceptance of aesthetic strategies. 66 For, given the fact that people aredifferentiated in complex and cross-cutting ways into various social groups, thenthe concept of compression - derived from Harvey's abstract model of [two] classstructure - is a theoretical category that needs empirical grounding. And it needs agrounding that goes beyond a single member of the intellectual elite - Heidegger -for if anything sustained the radical policies of the Nazi's it was the support ofordinary people67 .66 Or that aesthetic theory prioritizes space over time.67This reminds one of Lefebvre's observation in La Production de L'espace that many of the changesthat were registered in the consciousness of the artistic and literary avant garde around 1914 - when,as he put it, "a certain space was shattered" - were certainly not registered in the popular imaginationwhere for many little seemed to change.102Harvey does in fact acknowledge this. He tentatively suggests that it was"the white-collar workers who formed the backbone of German Nazism"68. Hisargument is that this strata lack "the reassuring support of a moral tradition thatthey could call their own" 69 and thus "movements of localism, nationalism...andmyth can be of the greatest significance" 70 to them. However, there are a number ofproblems with this argument which is in any case so vague that one is not quitesure what Harvey means. In the first place, the question of who supported the NaziParty is more complex and nuanced than this and, indeed, varied over the thirteenyears of Nazi rule 71 . For example, Tim Mason has convincingly shown theimportance of traditional working class support 72 . There are, of course, interestinglinks to be made here with Harvey's other, related, explanation for the rise oflocalism and nationalism73: the fight by the working class to retain jobs againstforeign competition in the context of economic crisis. Second, I would suggest thatHarvey's argument about white collar support rests on a thinly veiled attempt tomake [weak] connections with postmodernity. For this group is emblematic forHarvey of a wider "cultural mass" whose shaky identity is established by theaccumulation of cultural capital. It is no mistake that this analysis of fascism hints atthe recent rise of a so-called 'service' or 'new-class' of consumers who supposedlyunderpin the shift to postmodernism 74 . I say weak not only because the68Harvey op. cit. p 3469H Speier, 1986, German White Collar Workers and the Rise of Hitler, New Haven: Laredo.70Harvey op. cit. p 34871 Indeed, given the lack of bibliographic references to literature on fascism one suspects thatHarvey's knowledge of the subject is rather limited.72Tim Mason, 1977, 'National Socialism and the Working Class', New German Critique, Summer, pp49-93. In fact, there is till heated debate over who supported the Nazi's and for what reasons. For aconcise overview see Ian Kershaw, 1989, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives ofInterpretation, 2nd edition, London: Edward Arnold. For a careful critique of Mason's position seeDavid Abraham, 1978, 'Nazism and the Working Class', Radical History Review, vol. 18, Fall, pp 161-165 .73The first being time-space compression.74 For different interpretations of this familiar thesis see Callinicos op. cit. and Lash and Urry, 1985,The End of Organized Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity Press103connections Harvey makes are very loose, but also because they ignore, ironically,an important question of historical geography: the extent to which fascism is apeculiarly German phenomenon. I do not want to rehearse the debates overfascism and the peculiarites of German history 75 , nor do I in fact want to deny that,whatever the difficulties of defining fascism 76 , there are not similarites to be drawnbetween Germany and other instances. However, it does seem important toinvestigate in more detail than Harvey does the particular historical conditions thatmake fascism possible and explain its popularity.The second corollary of accepting the importance of aestheticizedrepresentations of space to the Nazis is the issue Harvey raises in his account ofthe state: is such aestheticization a necessary part of strategies of legitimation andif so how is it linked to economic relations? It seems indisputable that the NaziParty aestheticized politics to a degree not seen before or since 1932 and thatthose politics were very firmly implicated in the legitimation of the German state andcapitalism as it operated in Germany. Harvey is thus correct to identify theimportance of the aesthetic. However, it is a moot point whether or not suchaestheticization is necessary. Much depends of course on what we take that wordto mean. When Harvey argues that the capitalist state [in general] is bound toaestheticize politics to some degree I take him to mean that the use of myth,untruths, caricatures, stereotypes, idealizations and so on are used to a greater orlesser extent depending on the circumstances of the state in question. But what thismisses, crucially, is the exceptional form of the fascist state and its strategies oflegitimation. And the lacuna is crucial because it allows Harvey to draw parallels75See Blackburn and Eley op. cit.76There is a vast literature on this issue alone, intersecting with definitional issues over the meaning of'dictatorship' and 'totalitarianism'.104between modern fascism and the condition of postmodernity, and thus paint thelatter in unusually pathological, even apocalyptic, terms.This question of exceptionality is central to a discussion of the relationshipbetween the fascist state and capitalism. This relationship is a major focus ofconcern in the debate over National Socialism and debates over fascism moregenerally. Predictably debate has become polarized. Why, it has been asked,should the German populace embrace the sentiments of an aestheticized politics tosuch an extreme degree? On the one hand there are economistic explanations, ofwhich the starkest are those of the 1930s Comintern and of East German historiansduring the1960s77 . A key theme of these writings is that the fascist state arises inthe context of economic crisis. Against these Marxist accounts others deny theprimacy or even the relevance of the economy 78 . And then somewhere inbetweenare those who acknowledge the importance of economy but argue that the ThirdReich was increasingly characterized by the primacy of politics 79 .Seen in this context Harvey's account falls broadly into the first category.While the fascist state is not assimilable to capital it nevertheless seems to serve itsinterests, in particular at moments of economic crisis when the established order isthreatened. It would be easy to repeat here many of the criticisms made earlierabout Harvey's account of Heidegger [of determinism, economism etc.] Rather than77But for a recent and outstandingly sophisticated and subtle exposition that works out of buttranscends this tradition using Poulantzas see David Abraham, 1981, The Collapse of the WeimarRepublic: Political Economy and Crisis,  Princeton: Princeton University Press.79 For example, Henry Turner, 1976, 'Fascism and Modernization' in Walter Laquer [ed] Fascism: AReader's Guide, London: Wildwood House79For example, Tim Mason, 1968, The Primacy of Politics - Politics and Economics in NationalSocialist Germany' in R Woolf Fed] The Nature of Fascism, New York: Vintage Books. For an excellentoverview of these debates see J Hiden and J Farquharson, 1983, Explaining Hitler's Germany: Historians and the Third Reich,  London: Batsford105do this I want, more constructively, to read Harvey through the lens of one of themost sophisticated Marxian accounts of National Socialism, that of NicosPoulantzas in his Fascism and Dictatorship. I do this because Poulantzas, contraHarvey, establishes the fascist state as exceptional while still retaining a Marxianproblematic and in this sense Harvey's argument has, I think, much to gain.Poulantzas identifies German [and Italian] fascism as one form of what hecalls the "exceptional capitalist state", that is of regimes corresponding to orarticulating various types of political crisis under capitalism, other cases beingmilitary dictatorship and Bonapartism. In particular, Poulantzas is concerned tocontest three prevailing postwar interpretations of German fascism on the Left: thatit is the direct agent of capital; that, alternatively, it is the mediator between capitaland labour; or, thirdly, that it is a dictatorship of the petty bourgeoisie. Instead,Poulantzas insists that all three interpretations correspond to crucial elements offascism but which, when separated, are torn out of context.Poulantzas begins by arguing that fascism cannot be dissociated from theonset of what he calls monopoly capitalism and thus from fundamental changes inthe relations of production. With most orthodox Marxist accounts of fascism thispoint retains the valuable insight that Nazism would not have occurred withoutGermany's imbrication in an international economy whose gyrations affected thevery fabric of German society in startlingly disruptive ways. In the second place,Poulantzas insists that the state is always relatively autonomous from capital, butthat this general observation is inadequate to depict fascism, whose specificityconsists in the exceptional degree of that autonomy that it possesses vis-avis botheconomic interests and civil society. This perspective thus scuppers, for example,Thalheimer's influential theory that the fascist state is the broker in a rather106predictable game of class equilibrium where, for all intents and purposes, the statesoothes the populace in the interests of capital. Instead, the rapid intrusion ofmonopoly capital relations must be understood as having engendered a politicalcrisis by disrupting the map of class relations and the relative power of variousclass fractions within the political sphere. In other words, the exceptionality of thefascist state cannot be understood without examining the peculiarly tenseconjuncture of class struggle in which it arises. I quote at some length,Throughout the rise of fascism and after the conquest of power, fascism ...characteristically has a relative autonomy from both the power bloc [i.e. the politicallydominant classes and/or class fractions, conceived of as an instable alliance] and thefraction of big monopoly capital, whose hegemony [i.e. relative dominance within thealliance] it has established. This relative autonomy stems from two sets of factors:(a) from the internal contradictions among the classes and fractions of theclasses in the power alliance, i.e. from its internal political crisis: the relative autonomynecessary to reorganize this bloc and establish within it the hegemony of the fractionof big monopoly capital;(b) from the contradictions between the dominant classes and fractions andthe dominated classes, i.e. from the political crisis of the ensemble of the socialformation, and from the complex relation between fascism and the dominatedclasses. This relation is precisely what makes fascism indispensable to mediate a re-establishment of political domination and hegemony. 80Poulantzas's theoretical approach is, of course, heavily indebted toAlthusser, and although I am not particularly concerned here to recommend hisimplicit invocation of structural totality, I think that Poulantzas insistence on (1) theoverdetermination of the political, and (2) his elaboration of that overdeterminationby deploying a range of mid-level theoretical constructs to move him from anabstract and insufficiently discriminating discussion of mode of production and the80Poulantzas op. cit. p 85-86.107relatively autonomous state that highlights the commonalities among capitaliststates, towards an analysis of social formation that necessarily illuminates thespecificity of fascism, is salutary.Indeed, some of Poulantzas's objections can be made to speak to Harvey.Where Harvey's model of the state remains generalized, Poulantzas insists on theneed discern different forms of the capitalist state. In particular, his epochaldepiction of the fascist state as possessing extreme autonomy is, as Rabinbachputs it, "a valuable counterpoint to the pretentious diagnosis of imminent fascismnow current in France and ... Germany." 81 Where Harvey's model of capital is alsoof a general, systemic nature, Poulantzas emphasizes the complex of interestswithin and between different class fractions and how these make competingdemands on the state.82 And where Harvey says little about labour, Poulantzasinvocation of Gramsci's notion of hegemony points up the complex relationship offascism to different fractions of the populace and the fact that its ideologicalprogramme simply cannot be read off either from economic crisis or from singulareconomic interests83 . In short, "it is not the politics of fascism that produces classdomination by [capital] ... but rather the primacy of fascist politics and integrationthat secures the existing social domination of ... classes at the expense of [their]political power."84I have been unable to do justice to Poulantzas's account, but my generalpoint is clear enough: it possessses a theoretical precision and clarity that it seems81 Rabinbach op. cit. p 162.82 It is in fact now clear that many National Socialist policies, even during peace time, were verydamaging to the interests of many large industrialists.83As Ernst Bloch, for example, pointed out, the uniqueness of Nazism lay in its remarkable politicalsynthesis, precariously balancing traditional and modern elements.84Rabinbach op. cit.108to me is invaluable if Harvey's own concerns are to be pursued. Moreover, myimplicit insistence throughout that theory be fashioned in light of empirical inquiry isnot a philistine's plea for an appeal to 'the facts'. Rather, the reason I see thesecomments as part of a constructive critique of The Condition of Postmodernity  isprecisely because - and I know Harvey would agree [see chapter 5] - theory andhistory stand in necessary and constitutive relation . Without this necessaryconnection any critical theory quite simply becomes redundant.THE CONDITION OF POSTMODERNITY: A REPRISE Many of the perils and possibilities of Harvey's account of Heidegger,fascism and aestheticism could be made to speak to an analysis of our presenttimes. I have tried to argue that Harvey's use of the concept of time-spacecompression - with which he wants to make the links between fascist modernismand an increasing aestheticization of geopolitics and subjectivity under conditionsof postmodernity - is too general and too generalized to serve as anything otherthan a heuristic. In fact I would argue that the concept lacks a theoretical rigour andclarity that is normally characteristic of Harvey's work [see chapters 5 and 6] and isdeployed with less care than Harvey takes to be characteristic of Marx's mode oftheorizing.How, then, are we to explain Harvey's use of it? I think it is important to notethat entire corpus of Harvey's work is strong on what, to reiterate Benhabib, we cancall the systemic perspective on capitalism, and this is particularly clear in Harvey'sconception of postmodernity, which is seen as no less than an historical condition .With the exception of his two essays on nineteenth century Paris, I think it is fair tosay Harvey's work has been less concerned to illuminate how the systemic109imperatives of capital play themselves out in Benhabib's realm of "intersubjectivity",the perspective of lived experience . And it is this asymmetry which, I think,structures Harvey's account of fascist modernity and of postrnodernity. Lacking thetheoretical and empirical resources to make truly cogent links between economictransformations and the experiential ruptures that accompany them, the concept oftime-space compression is [somewhat pragmatically?] introduced as a mediatinglink that, nevertheless, allows some connections to be made. Hence appropriatequotes can be introduced in the work of Heidegger and the fascists in parallel withLyotard et. al. and Reagan/Thatcher that are evocative of an experiential crisis oftime and space and which thus serve to suggest the imbrication of the gyrations ofcapital within our very subjectivites.I suggested at the end of my discussion of postmodernism that Harvey'saccount of modernity and postmodernity in fact contained two arguments which heelides. The first is a concern with aestheticism in the sphere of consumption , andwhich, using Baudrillard as an example, I suggested could be made to link to someof the 'reactionary' intellectual projects that label themselves 'postmodern'. Moreinterestingly that concern could be developed in its geographical aspects in a hostof ways, suggested in some of the columns of Harvey's 'grid of spatial practices' 85However, Harvey does not pursue those links in The Condition of Postmodernity and in fact he is hard pushed to find geographical inflections in the aestheticmaterial he considers under the label 'postmodernism' The second, dialecticallyrelated to the first, is a concern with aestheticism in the realm of the state , a concernpursued in its geographical aspects through Harvey's identification of the dangersof an aestheticized geopolitics. Both are valid concerns, but their integrity is lost by85 Harvey, The Condition..., p 220-221.110the elision Harvey frequently makes between them. And it is, I think, the concept oftime-space compression that allows him to make that elision. Let me explain.It is the very generality of the concept time-space compression that permitsHarvey to make provocative comparisons between the aestheticism of Heideggerand fascism and Lyotard et. al. and Reagan/Thatcher, without really specifying theimportant differences between them. Rather like Benjamin's original notion of "theaestheticization of politics", Harvey's time-space compression is a portmanteaucategory that in some ways conceals more than it reveals. Do not get me wrong, Iwant to insist that a focus on the experiential aspects of time and space and theirimbrication in the march of capital are crucial concerns that should be pursued. Butin The Condition of Postmodernity those themes need to be specified in relation todifferent, albeit inextricably related, aspects of life under capitalism. Thus, forexample, Harvey arrives at an evaluation of Heidegger and the rise of NationalSocialism from two different perspectives yet seeks to fold the former into the latter.Heidegger's 'crisis of the geographical imagination' predisposed him towards asupport of the Nazis; yet Harvey's reading of the aesthetic state arises less from aconcern with time-space compression than from an account of the rise of spatialcompetition between nation states in the context of an international crisis of capitalaccumulation.Which brings me to the possibilities contained in Harvey's reading of anaestheticized geopolitics, one of the most original insights of his book. It would beeasy to deny the links between fascism and tendencies within 'postmodernity':democracy is alive and well, many would say, just look at Eastern Europe and itsvindication of the power of popular dissent. But it would also be easy to point out theopposite: to a renewed neo-Nazism in unified Germany, to the increased popularity111of Le Pen in France, to Mussollini's daughter taking up her father's place in theItalian parliament. But this seems to me to miss the point. A concern with anaestheticized geopolitics is not a concern with some inevitable developmentfollowing from the mutations of capital. Nor can geopolitical concerns ever be givena solely economic inflection. It is, rather, to alert ourselves to a liability within latecapitalist society whose strength and modes of realization depends, not on arelentless system logic, but on the the concrete actions of individuals and groupsmaking decisions within a history that, to be sure, they make, but never underconditions solely of their own making and which thereby inevitably escapes theircomplete control.To this extent I should perhaps register an objection to my own criticisms ofHarvey's reading of fascist modernity and of postmodernity. For I have in a sensetaken Harvey too seriously and yet not seriously enough. Too seriously because thetheoretical and empirical lacunae that I point too are ones which Harvey would Ithink acknowledge [see chapter 3] but which in any case he is deliberately notconcerned to elucidate in The Condition of Postmodernity. And not seriouslyenough because I think we must attend to the rationale behind his attempt to makegeneral and bold historical linkages between modernity and postmodernity that areincapable of making truly concrete connections with phenomena such as thethought of Heidegger and the postmodernists, and of fascism and present daygeopolitics. That rationale is, I would submit, an explicit concern to draw ourattention to the systemic tendencies within capitalism, to point up some of the quitepalpable similarities between what we do today and what we have done in the past.And Harvey does this in order to insist, quite rightly I think, that whatever thenovelties of our times we are not in a qualitatively new era and that a theoretical112analysis of the capitalist mode of production necessarily alerts us to our partialsubjection to a a series of social processes larger than ourselves.CRITIQUE OR INTERPRETATION?We are now in a better position to answer a question with which I began inthe Prologue: under conditions of 'postmodernity' must the modern intellectual, mustHarvey's historico-geographical materialism, eschew the legislative stance andsettle instead for the role of interpreter? My answer is a 'first cut' and will alter in lightof the following chapters, but it has run something as follows. The exorbitancy of theclaims to know contained in The Condition of Postmodernity apparently bespeaks atotalizing impulse that has a genealogy going back to Kant and which is in keepingwith the classical notion of critique. Postmodernism cannot be seen as essentiallyregressive and in fact such a perspective conceals powerful intellectual and politicalchallenges to Harvey's own project. Must then Harvey's Marxism be declaredbankrupt and suitably brought down to size?I have withheld from endorsing the former position because I think Harvey'srendition of modernity and postmodernity - slack as it is in essential ways - containssome insights that, when properly specified in concrete historical context, could beproductive of powerful insights for a geographically materialist reading of thesubject. That said I do not think that Harvey's proper insistence that attention to thesystemic mutations of capitalism is of continued importance is sufficient to serve asan apologetics for his insensitivites and silences over postmodernism. The reponseof Deutsche et. al. to The Condition of Postmodernity has, quite rightly, been one ofshock: historico-geographical materialism must, it seems, develop a degree ofmodesty. Capitalism may well be a global system that demands an equally total113critique, but historico-geographical materialism is not capable of elucidating thespace of the social in toto , even if capital does indeed penetrate to a greater orlesser extent our very subjectivities. There is, in other words, still a necessity forsocial analysis, but the theoretical lenses through which such inquiry is conductedmust be responsive to the fact that they may be brought into crisis when confrontedwith other visions of the social. The question then becomes: what would be theconsequences of an encounter between historico-geographical materialism andother critical theories and what would such an encounter look like?This is a question I now turn to address in chapter four. To find an answerrequires, I would suggest, an attention to an aspect of the intellectual zeitgeistwhich provides us with a further reason for Harvey's vitriolic response topostmodernism/ity: a specific "crisis of Marxism". The Condition of Postmodernity  is,let us remember, a polemic [which in the Greek means war] a vigorous response towhat Harvey sees as the abandonment of Marxian theory 86 The last few yearshave indeed been particularly hard times for orthodox Marxism and I think we mustsee this fact as being partly responsible for Harvey's over-strenuous attempts toexplain postmodernity in terms of that which it supposedly transcends, Marxism.But this crisis of historical materialism has been precipitated, I think, by anunprecedented conjunction of several intellectual and social developments. ThatHarvey sutures the origins of that crisis solely around 'postmodernism' isunfortunate because it fails to pay attention to a number of features on the currenthistorical landscape, features that Harvey's reading of postmodernity overlooks,which give us reason to be suspect of unabashed meta-theoretical claims aboutthe social. But such intellectual claims always take place within a specific context -86See the penultimate chapter of The Condition of Postmodernity, The crisis of historical materialism'.114most frequently that of an academic discipline - and so I want to contextualize whatfollows within the discipline of geography, the site where our diverse claims toreason are articulated and contested and where Harvey's Marxism was first voicedsome twenty years ago.115Chapter 4 HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISM AT THE FIN-DE-SECLE The title of this chapter, adapted from Martin Jay's thoughtful little essay 'Fin-de-siècle Socialism', may, as Jay notes of his own piece, seem "perverselyoxymoronic". 1 For the term fin-de-siècle is normally associated with the mood ofanxiety pervading the decadent elements of late-19th century bourgeois culture, atime when historical materialism as an intellectual and political theory was still in itsearly youth. But times have changed. As we approach the end of the twentiethcentury it seems quite appropriate to register a mood of despair within AnglophoneMarxist circles.2 The term fin-de-siècle Marxism might then be used to designate avery real aspect of the intellectual and political zeitgeist : a specific "crisis ofMarxism", in which the central tenets of classical historical materialism have beenstringently challenged, and, worse still, even rejected by some of its formeradherents.There is, we should note, nothing new in such a "crisis". The notion of a"crisis of Marxism" can be located as far back as 1898 in the writing of ThomasMasaryk and traced through the critiques of Eduard Bernstein and Georges Sorelwritten shortly thereafter. Indeed, we might respond to the current crisis by denyingthat it possesses any specificity at all: Marxism, we might argue, has in its variousforms always been in a state of crisis, if by crisis we mean that it has had to face1 Martin Jay, 1988, Fin-de-siacle Socialism and Other Essays,  Berkeley: University of California Press.2And what follows is specifically about the Anglo-American experience; as Perry Anderson hasargued , Continental Marxism experienced extreme challenges to its founding claims during the late'60s/early 70s116extremely strong challenges to its precepts. Since the founding of the SecondInternational, and the later introduction of Marx's ideas into the modern academy,one can trace an almost continuous stream of books and articles attackinghistorical materialism. On this view, then, there is no need to take the current roundof critiques any more seriously than those of yesteryear.One could argue this, but to do so would be both blasé and irresponsible.For the current challenges to 'orthodox' versions of Marxism are of such weightthat I think we might follow Aronowitz in justifiably declaring that they should bedistinguished from their antecedents. 3 When I say weight, I mean two things. On theone hand, the sheer intellectual and political power of alternative paradigms of thesocial which have emerged over the last two decades. On the other, the sheernumber of challenges to historical materialism which mark our present moment, bethey intellectual or historical ones. It is the concatenation of the two which gives thecurrent "crisis" its intensity.In what follows I want to locate Harvey's historico-geographical materialismwithin the horizon of this crisis, a crisis whose origins cannot simply be folded intopostmodernism/ity and somehow dismissed. Instead, I want to place the "crisis ofhistorical materialism" at the intersection of three, frequently overlapping, featuresof the zeitgeist . In doing so I intend to reflect further on the sense in whichhistorico-geographical materialism is a critical theory . I dwelt on the former term inthe last essay and continue that focus here. But I also want to pay a little moreattention to the sense of theory within Harvey's project: most of Harvey's writinghas, after all, been of a theoretical nature and it as a social theorist that Harvey's3Stanley Aronowitz, 1981, The Crisis in Historical Materialism, London: Macmillan117Marxist credentials have been established. What, I ask, do the phenomenaprecipitating the current crisis of Marxism, mean for the continuation of historico-geographical materialism as a critical theory of society?The phenomena I consider are, first, a widespread intellectual move towards"post-Marxism', second, the recent renewed interest in the potentials of politicaldemocracy, and, third, and more contentiously, the collapse of Soviet and EastEuropean communism. Together, these three aspects of the current intellectual andhistorical landscape seem to me to embrace the major sources of 'external'opposition to a classical Marxist position. For my present purposes they also sharean opposition to the model of the subject articulated within historico-geographicalmaterialism, and insist, instead, upon what is fashionably called the 'politics ofidentity'.I consider each aspect in turn. I end the chapter by reflecting on how thesevarious challenges impact upon the claims of Harvey's Marxism and thisconstitutes a 'second cut' to my assessment of historico-geographical materialism.For some of course these challenges would seem inimical to his project. I,however, disagree. Through a more nuanced reading of Harvey's intellectualclaims to know as articulated prior to The Condition of Postmodernity, and througha less apocalyptic assessment of the recent challenges to Marxism, I try instead toarrive at a realistic appraisal of where the future of his project might lie.However, in order to understand where Harvey's project might go I need toprovide an additional gloss on the account of it offered in the last chapter. And so Ibegin by stepping back in time and setting historico-geographical materialismwithin the context in which it arose. It may seem strange that Harvey first turned to118Marxism at a time when many of the current intellectual and historical challenges toit were starting to emerge. To understand this turn we have to attend to the specificdisciplinary context of human geography, its introversion and its domination by aan empiricist/positivist problematic. In turn Harvey's Marxian response was equallywide ranging in its compass, seeking no less than a wholescale paradigm changewithin the discipline, and hence one might want to argue that The Condition ofPostmodernity merely represents the culmination of a foundationalist discourseinstituted by Harvey some two decades ago. However, I argue that Harvey's earlycritique of spatial science had a specific object - capitalism - and that throughoutthe corpus of Harvey's work this object has always been the explicitly recognizedlimit of argument.FROM SPATIAL SCIENCE TO A MARXIST SCIENCE OF HISTORICALGEOGRAPHYThe story of how mid-century Anglo-American human geography wasremodelled as a 'spatial science' has been told many times. Simplifying drastically,we might say that spatial science was characterized by the intersection of threefeatures. First, the claim to disclose a systematic order within the landscape,pursued with the languages of geometry and mathematics and articulated throughlaws and models, most often of the economic landscape. Second, a reliance on theauthority of science to legitimate the validity of these ordering visions, particularlythrough an emulation of the methods of the natural sciences. And third, and mostparticularly in the form of location theory, at the heart of spatial science was thepresupposition of the rational subject . But, of course, this was a very particular kindof rationality, one that in its universal claims to reason naturalized ends and119enlisted human geography in the allocation of means as a putatively 'technical'rather than 'practical' science.Historical materialism was not, of course, the only platform from which thecritique of spatial science was launched during the early 1970s, but it offeredperhaps the most powerful and cogent attacks. That the emergent Marxistgeography of this period owes much of its identity to a critique of spatial sciencefinds no better illustration than Harvey himself. His Explanation in Geography[1969] was both the high-point and the end-point of the dominance of spatialscience within the discipline, and a mere four years after its publication he came torepudiate the philosophical and methodological precepts that underpinned itsvision of science. But it is also important to situate this early Marxian critique withinthe wider social and political culture that human geography found itself: theunpopularity of the Vietnam War, urban unrest in the UK and America, anascendent civil rights movement, and, in the early '70s, intense concern about thequestion of global population and resources.Harvey's Social Justice and the City was, of course, the landmarkstatement of this urge to restructure human geography. It highlighted withunmatched intensity a desire to fashion a critical human geography that couldtranscend the dead-end of spatial science and address pressing questions ofsocial justice. Social Justice and the City was, then, much more than simply apersonal intellectual journey. In an observation that should have as much force andrelevance today as it did twenty years ago, Harvey mapped out what was at stake:There is an ecological problem, an urban problem, an international trade problem,and yet we seem incapable of saying of depth or profundity about any of them.120When we do say anything it appears trite and rather ludicrous...lt is the emergingobjective social conditions and our patent inability to cope with them thatessentially explains he necessity for a revolution in geographic thought. 4I think it is worth recalling Harvey's vision of what that "revolution" should entail andthe disciplinary and wider context into which it was projected, because it will raisequestions later about how far that context has genuinely been superceeded in ourpresent moment. It seems to me that Harvey's 'Revolutionary and Counter-revolutionary Theory in Geography' is still a classic statement in this regard andrepays re-reading.Schematically speaking there are, Harvey argued, three kinds of theory: (i)Status quo theory, which "is grounded in the reality it seeks to portray" and thusperpetuates that reality (ii) counter-revolutionary theory, which appears to begrounded in the reality it portrays but is in fact divorced from it and activelyconceals it [the similarites with Harvey's view of 'postmodern' theory is instructive]and, (iii) revolutionary theory, "firmly grounded in the reality it seeks to represent"but which is aimed at transforming that reality by offering "real choices for futuremoments in the social process by identifying immanent choices in an existingsituation. The implementation of theses choices serves to validate the theory and toprovide the grounds for the formulation of new theory." 5While Harvey was still "a Marxist of sorts" at this time, I think there are somevery direct links between his conception of revolutionary theory and Marx's notionof historical materialism as a theory whose ultimate purpose and vindication is thecause of working class emancipation . This concern crystallizes out more explicitly4 David Harvey, 1973, Social Justice and the City, London: Edward Arnold, p1295David Harvey, 1974, Social Justice and the City, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2nd edition, pp 150-151121in Harvey's later work, notably The Limits to Capital,. but it seems to me that some ofits essential constituents are already evident in Social Justice and the City. Let meexemplify by dwelling on Harvey's reading of the problem of ghetto formation whichcaptures in condensed form many of the characteristic concerns of Harvey's criticalproject.The ghetto, Harvey argued, is a major social problem of US cities. How, heasked, are we to understand it? In answer Harvey invokes Engels' account of thesignificance of Marx's theory of surplus value: Marx, Engels argued, was to Smithand Ricardo what Lavoisier was to Priestly. Where Priestly interpreted hisdiscoveries in terms of the old phlogiston theory, Lavoisier, observing the samephenomena but in a different way, interpreted Priestley's discoveries correctly asbeing not "dephlogisticated air", but oxygen. Similarly, if we look at the problem ofghetto formation we see the deployment of theoretical perspectives which, whileidentifying phenomena which are quite real, nonetheless fail to address the truecauses of ghetto development. Neither the ecological theories of Park and Burgessnor the urban land-use theories of Alonso and Muth are able to address the socialprocesses that determine that some social groups are geographically marginalizedwhile others have the power to command space. While traditional interpretations ofthe ghetto are thus able to devise policies that ameliorate the problems of ghettothey are, so to speak, structurally incapable of conceiving how to eliminate ghettos.They lack, in other words, the conceptual and theoretical vocabularly to makesense of ghetto formation. We thus need a revolution in geographic thought,Harvey argued, because so much existing geographic theory naturalizes thearbitrariness of the order it seeks to 'explain'.122For Harvey, Marx's revolutionary theory was, then, critical in a number ofdistinctive ways. Theory is not some promethean pursuit: it provides a map withwhich to identify sets of wider social processes out of the chaos of our immediateimpressions:Without theory we cannot hope for controlled, consistent, and rational explanation ofevents. Without theory we can scarcely claim to know our own identity. It seems to metherefore that theory construction on a broad and imaginative scale must be our firstpriority...6Theory cannot be formulated in abstraction: it must "be forged realistically withrespect to the events and actions as they unfold around us." 7 Theory is not just "atask specific to a group of people called 'intellectuals'" 8 , but, in Norris's words, "ithas 'consequences' beyond the professional or academic sphere. " 9 Norris has twothings in mind here I think. First, a critical theory is critical because it shatters thetaken for granted and has the potential to disrupt the schemas by which ordinaryindividuals make sense of their lives. As Eagleton pithily puts it,Children make the best theorists, since they have not yet been educated intoaccepting our routine social practices as 'natural' ... Where does capitalism comefrom, mummy?' is therefore the prototypical theoretical question, one which usuallyrecieves what one might term a Wittgensteinian reply: This is just the way we dothings dear.' It is those children that remain discontent with this shabby parentalresponse who tend to grow up to be emancipatory theorists, unable to conquer theiramazement at what everyone else seems to take for granted. 106David Harvey, 1969, Explanation in Geography, London: Edward Arnold, p 3217 lbid. 1458 Ibid. 1499Norris op. cit. p 510Terry Eagleton, quoted in Norris ibid. 5123Second, theory is critical in that the concepts and ideas it embodies are explicitlygeared toward changing the material conditions out of which they arise. Marxiantheory is for the Harvey of Social Justice and the City a practical theory , intendedto assist an oppressed segment of the population in its own transformation as partof a revolutionary political movment. It is thus not a moralistic theory, that preachessocial change in the absence of social conditions which could make such atransformation possible. The power of critique is secured by the cogency oftheoretical insight, and critical theory for Harvey is thus at once organicallydiagnostic and normative, its prospective orientation arising immanently out ofobjective insight. Critical theory is, in other words, resolutely relevant, practical,appliedThe distance between Social Justice and the practices of spatial science is, Ihope, obvious. Harvey's revolutionary theory can be seen as an early immanentand defetishizing critique of quantitative geography. It pointed up the practicalconsequences of the theories of spatial science in reproducing the establishedorder and thus naturalizing under the guise of science those promises of modernsociety [social justice, freedom, equality] which appeared to be fulfilled but which infact floated rhetorically above the conditions engendered by a capitalist system.Social Justice and the City thus sought to socialize the abstract landscapes ofspatial science and show how geographic space cannot be understood outside itsrelation to social process. And it thus also disputed the notion of the subject thatinhered in that geometric vision: the subject of Harvey's nascent Marxism was anactive one, a subject that made history and thus, with the aid of critical theoreticalunderstanding, could use 'reason' - not to be sure the reason of a homoeconomicus , but reason arising out of a rigorous understanding of the operations124of capitalism - to understand the process of that making and harness it towardsmore radical ends. 11Looking back these still seem to me to be immensely important achievementswhich have indelibly altered the shape of human geography, and I will want to thinkabout their contemporary relevance in the last part of the chapter. Social Justice and the City might, strange as it may seem, be considered among the first critiquesof the legislative stance of geographical and urban science, a powerful attack onits claims to universality, authority and exclusivity and the equally ubiquitous socialsystem within which it was imbricated. But we must, of course, also attend to thefact that this critique was, apparently, launched in an equally foundationalist way.The limits to historico-geographical materialismAs Gregory has recently pointed out, Harvey's early filiations with Marxismshare some unmistakable similarities to spatial science in terms of his claims toknow. As he puts it, Harvey's concern was to pursue "a recognizably scientificgeography which could analyse the structure of the space economy. This tripleemphasis helps to account for his interest in Marx's own writings and what I take tobe his proximity to a tradition of more or less 'classical' Marxism ..." 12 Gregory isquite correct: Harvey does see historical-geographical materialism as a science[see chapters 3 and 4] and much of his work has been concerned with thestructural dynamics of capital accumulation. But there is nothing intrinsically11 Although in his substantive work since Social Justice and the City  Harvey has, as I intimated inchapter 1, been more concerned with elucidating the systemic conditions within which agents livetheir lives.12Derek Gregory, 1992, 'Noah's Ark? Social Theory and Human Geography', p 10125negative about a 'scientific' discourse: the real issue is the way in which scientificclaims to know are prosecuted.As Martin Jay argues in his examination of Marxism and Totality, the conceptof a coherent structure within which the economic is invariably the essential level ofdetermination has been at the heart of nearly all versions of Marxism from theoriginal work of Marx to the extremes of Althusserian structuralism. As Jay puts it,"to distinguish totality from either an infinity or an aggregate, it was necessary tospecify its external boundaries or limits and identify the coherence of its internalstructure. The former generally meant isolating something called "history" or"society" from something else called "nature", and then restricting the category oftotality only to the former." 13 Jay's point is, of course, is that when the boundariesare drawn in such an undiscriminating fashion the logic of history or societybecome reduced to the forces engendered by the march of capital and thespecificity of other types of social oppression is overlooked. Totality becomes, then,what Robert Young calls the "theoretical burden" of historical materialism. 14The concept of totality is central to Harvey's work too I think, capturing thesense in which capitalist production sets in train a ramified series of determinationsthat implicate it, in different forms , within apparently diverse arenas of socialpractice that are not immediately or apparently related to the production process.This is clearly the logic structuring The Condition of Postmodernity, an historicalcondition Harvey wants to see in terms of a "structured whole", a "totality of political-economic and cultural-ideological relations."15 And this is, let us make no mistake,13Jay op. cit. p 214 Robert Young, 1991, White Mythologies, London: Routledge, p 2415Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity,  p 339126an ontological claim, a claim about a major aspect of social being , although one,we should note, that arises out of analysis rather than prior to it. Although Harveyhas, perhaps wisely, rarely talked in explicitly ontological terms since Social Justice and the City, there is I think a strong thread of continuity between theclosing pages of that book where, for Marx, "reality is a totality of internally relatedparts" 16 and, for example, Harvey's recent comments on dialectical modes ofthought. 17Seen like this one can perhaps understand how Graham's recent objectionsto Marxian theory might register a wider suspicion of Harvey's claims to know. Afterciting the equation by Harvey of theory with meta-narative 18 she concludes thatthe term meta-narrative refers not only to reductionist representations of history [e.g.'the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle'] but to thespecific form of essentialism known as teleology, in which the universe - or a part of it -is governed by a grand design. That design is the essence of history; history is areflection [or phenomenon] of the design. The reflection may be faint or bold, faithfulor distorted, but it is ultimately governed by and subordinate to its essence. Ourexplanations of historical events are laid out on the template of the meta-narrative andstray from its outlines to only a limited extent. 19Through a blend of discourse theory and a radicalization of Althusser's concept of"overdetermination', Graham seeks to disrupt the internal and external boundariesof totality by presenting a vision of history and society that it is irreducibly plural andwhich cannot be captured in terms of one grand discursive framework. 2016Harvey op. cit. p 28817David Harvey, unpublished b, 'A Geographer's Guide to Dialectical Thinking'18Harvey, 1987, 'Three Myths in Search of a Reality in Urban Studies', Society and Space, 5, p 37519Graham, op. cit. p 56201n this she follows Resnick and Wolffs Knowledge and Class, Chicago: Chicago University Press,1987127Now I want to register a strong objection to Graham's reading of Harvey,because it seems to me that she is imprecise in her attribution to him ofessentialism and teleology. In particular, she confuses totality with totalization . Letme assure you that I am not suggesting either that historico-geographicalmaterialism does not prioritize the economic determinations of social life, or that thecast of Harvey's Marxism does not 'structurally' marginalize non-Marxian criticaltheories. I am not, in other words, about to make a very special kind of pleading.But my own reading of Harvey's claims to know is more nuanced than Graham'sand it will I hope become clear why it makes a difference to the way we conceive ofhis project and evaluate its future.It is convenient that throughout his writings Harvey has offered frequentstatements on his understanding of the nature and purpose of Marxism. Let medwell briefly on the most recent, the introduction to a collection of his previousessays. At first blush Harvey appears to make some bold claims about the reach ofMarxian theory, by which he meansa theoretical framework that has the potential to put all ... partial views together notsimply as a composite vision but as a cognitive map that shows how each view canitself be explained by and integrated into some grander conception of what the city asa whole, what the urban process in general, is all about.21But upon closer inspection we see that the views he seeks to transcend are notother critical perspectives on the constitution of urban society, but those of thevarious practitioners of technical-instrumental reason within the urban context[architects, engineers, planners etc]. A little later, however, explaining why he21 David Harvey, 1989, 'Introduction' to The Urban Experience, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, p 2128turned to Marxian theory in the early '70s Harvey, points to the potential of thattheory toget at matters as diverse as built environment formation and architectural design,street culture and micro-politics, urban economy and politics as well as the role ofurbanization in the rich and complex historical geography of capitalism. 22Once again, this is, indeed, a confident claim. But let us note that it makes to explicitattempt to explain the sense in which urban space and politics is, for example,gendered and racially constituted, nor to encompass theories who pursue theseissues outside the Marxian fold. It would be quite possible to multiply examples likethis. Despite the claims of Graham, and Deutsche, I am in fact sceptical thatHarvey's project is intended, consciously or otherwise, to subsume or denigrateother critical visions: one looks in vain within Harvey's various statements on hisMarxism for claims of this kind. As Harvey avers in the Introduction to The Limits toCapital, all history is not just the history of class struggle. 23What, then, is the object of Harvey's concern? The answer, it seems to me, isquite clear. As Harvey and Scott put it, we think of the production of holistic theoryas a project of understanding the totalizing behaviours of capitalism" 24 , or asHarvey put it several years ago, " my ambition ... [is] to progress towards a definitiveMarxian interpretation of the urban process under capitalism . "25 Let us dwell onthe wording: a Marxian intepretation of the urban process under capitalism. Thestatement is quite explicit: it is capitalism as a specific social system with distinct22Ibid. 323Harvey, 1982, op. cit. p 2424David Harvey and Allen Scott, 1989, in W Macmillan [ed.] Remodelling Geography, London:Macmillan25David Harvey, 1985, 'Introduction' to Consciousness and the Urban Experience, Oxford: BasilBlackwell, p xi129articulations and modes of oppression that is the focus of Harvey's theorizing. FromThe Limits to Capital to the two Studies in the History and Theory of Urbanization itis quite evident that Harvey is examining the production of space within thecapitalist mode of production. While the observation would in other circumstancesbe remarkably trite, I think it needs restating because Graham and Deutsche [andMassey and Rose too I think] generalize historico-geographical materialism to thetheory of the Social and thus erect a straw argument with which to pick a fight. Now,as I argued in chapter 1, seeing Harvey in this way is understandable when thefocus of critique in The Condition of Postmodernity whose tone of argumentation isless measured than his previous work. But when this book is set within the largercorpus of Harvey's work I think we must dispute the accusation of Graham et al.and arrive at a more precise reading. Harvey does indeed want to tell a big story,but this is not the same as making it the only story in the book.The real problem, it seems to me, the proper source of concern for Graham,Deutsche and others, is Harvey's failure to take seriously the problematicconsequences for his theoretical concepts and statements of an engagement withother, non-Marxian critical theories. Let me explain. Prior to the critical reviews ofThe Condition of Postmodernity Harvey's work is marked by a relative silenceabout the details of non-Marxian critical theories. And yet Harvey advocates an"emancipatory socialist project"26 that can integrate different social practices, buthe does so in a way that seems to leave the classical paradigm of historicalmaterialism in tact . The implication, it seems, is that capitalism can be studied in a'pure' form, using concepts developed by Marx, which can then be brought into a26Harvey, 1989, op. cit. p 16130larger critical agenda with those visions of social life that do not subscribe topolitical economy.This view seems borne out by Harvey's recent reply to Deutsche, Massey andRose, which amounts to Harvey's most explicit engagement with elements of non-Marxist scholarship. Let me pick out two of Harvey's objections to Deutsche'sreading of his project which bear on the argument I am seeking to make. Harvey, indisputing what he sees as Deutsche's generalized concept of difference, followsHaraway's point that "it is not difference which maters, but significant differenceand therein lies a whole host of interesting questions to be answered..." 27 This is avaluable point, rejecting the tendency of some to fall into an "essentialism ofdifference" that fails to discriminate between different intellectual and politicalmovements and to argue that there are good reasons for preferring some overothers. Second, Harvey argues that his concern in The Condition of Postmodernitywas to elucidate "the dialectic of commonality and difference", by which he meansthe way in which many of the differences between individuals and groups in termsof, for example, gender and race, are brought into a common relationship by theinvasive gyrations of capital. This is also an extremely valuable point, a timelyreminder that, in Jim Cronin's words,The essence of capitalism is to be color blind, but capitalism does very well by black-poverty and racially based wage differentials and has profitted enormously fromproduction regimes based upon coerced labor that were justified on grounds of race.Capitalism is not equvalent to patriarchy either, but it has adapted itself so closely to it,structured its labor markets so insistently along sexual lines, modelled its ideologyand organizations on partiarchal definitions of authority and behaviour, that in thepresent the two are [inextricably connected27David Harvey, unpublished a, 'Postmodern Morality Plays', p 728Jim Cronin, 1990, 'After the Cold War', Socialist Review, 2, p 25131In this sense Harvey's political project might less accurately be seen as Marxist andmore properly seen as form of socialism , in particular a kind of popular frontismadvocated by such thinkers as Eric Hobsbawm, where a class-based project isbrought into alliance with other social movemements along a common front toattack capitalism.But, if I am correct, then it is here I think that the problem of Harvey's visionlies. First, the commonality in difference that Harvey seeks to pursue is theorizedfrom the perspective of historical materialism. Secondly, then, the integrity of non-class based forms of oppression is lost because they are not present at the start ofanalysis . Third, Harvey is only really interested in those non-Marxian criticalvisions that seek to join a movement against capitalism. For radical feminists andthe extremer versions of race theory, for deep ecologists and local socialmovements operating against specific institutions and practices, this vision of thesocial is, then, inherently exclusionary . Moreover, it legitmates a continued focuson the 'pure' operation of capitalism, without acknowledging the sense in whichcertain versions of feminism, for example, would radically transform the nature ofHarvey's fundamental theoretical concepts at the start of analysis . 29 It is in thesethree senses that I think Harvey's Marxism is not simply or solely legislative, butambivalent . 30 Not in the normal sense of that word where one's commitments areequally divided, but in the sense that while Harvey acknowledges, for example, theclaims of feminism, his commitment to Marxism prevents him from giving such29For some constructive insights on this issue see Linda Nicholson, 1986, Gender and History: Limitsof Social Theory in the Me of the Family [ New York: Columbia University Press], and, particularly,Nancy Fraser, 1989, Unruly Practices [Mineapolis: University of Minnesota Press].30 lndeed Bauman sees ambivalence more generally as a sort of subliminal condition of modernity, a'normal' and unavoidable consequences of the quest for order, the desire to define objects ofanalysis. Ambivalence is, as he puts it, the after ego of classification. Zigmunt Bauman, 1991,Modernity and Ambivalence, Cambridge: Polity Press.132movements a real integrity of their own , outside his own project. Marxism is, inother words, the lens through which Harvey sees other critical theories and hisproject thus appears , to all intents and purposes, a foundational one. This is, Ithink, precisely the problem of The Condition of Postmodernity.This, it seems to me, should be the real target of the critiques of Graham et. al.Harvey's historico-geographical materialism is a theory about the operation ofcapitalism and it is this exclusive focus that renders Harvey's diagnosis of latetwentieth century society problematic. We might say, then, that the foundationalismof Harvey's Marxism resides not in its claim to master the Social, but in its inabilityto integrate or even ackowledge other visions of society at the level of histheoretical concepts and statements. But this does not, I am going to insist, renderhistorico-geographical materialism redundant or incapacitate it, nor is it a failureunique to classical Marxism. And nor is it, I will argue, a 'devastating' criticism - assome would no doubt like it to be - insofar as it does not permit of any easyresolution.I will say more about the last claim towards the end of the chapter. I want nowto turn away from Harvey's Marxism towards the first of those challenges to it: 'post-Marxism'. Times have changed since Harvey first launched his Marxian critique ofspatial science. For what the lacuna of classical Marxism have encouraged is thedevelopment of other critical paradigms whose integrity is measured in terms oftheir distance from it even as their identity owes much to a critique of that tradition.133'POSTMARXIST' GEOGRAPHIESI do not want to engage in definitional disputes over this term: like'postmodernism', the term 'post-Marxism' has been used in a number of ways indifferent contexts and thus defies fixed definition. Instead I use it as a generalsignifier for those critical visions of the social which are beyond Marxism, not in themundane sense that they simply repudiate it, but in the sense that their intellectualand political claims owe something to a critique of Marxism; Marxism is, then,literally anterior to them. 31 Derek Gregory has recently sought to map thisintellectual terrain within the field of human geography. His account is of interestbecause it embodies a conception of social theory that speaks to the concerns ofthe broad terrain that I call post-Marxist.This broader shift within intellectual and political circles over the last twodecades, away from Marxist modes of thought, can be seen in the way that theconcerns of a critical human geography have become enriched throughdiversification. But it is important, as Gregory insists, to register the seminalimportance of historical materialism in shaping the tenor of this emergent criticalagenda, which is why he places it in a tense rather than simply antitheticalrelationship with classical Marxism and historico-geographical materialism [Figure3]. I cannot do justice to the details of Gregory's intellectual map here, but let mepick out some of its more prominent contours.The 1980s saw, of course, a shift away from Marxism as the pre-eminentcritical paradigm within Anglo-American human geography. The earliest objections31 Once again, as in the case of 'postmodernism', any proper discussion of 'post-Marxism' would haveto attend to the different texts and contexts in which the term is used.134Figure 3Classical Marxism ^  Human GeographyiIWestern Marxism -----------> Hist-geog. materialism••••••■■•■•••■■•■•••■■•■•••■••■■■■■••■■•■•■■••■■••••••■■■■•■■••■••■•■•••■■■■■■•••■■•■■■■■■■■••■■■■•■••••••■■■■■■■■■■•■■•••■■■••••■•••■■■■■Structuration theory _ _  ._ .... .... — --^ Feminist theory- -- - _ - - - -....^... _.Post-modernism - - - - - _ __Post-structuralism/colon-ialismContemporary Anglo-American human geography [taken from Gregoryunpublished op. cit.]were that it was too 'structural', leaving little space for human 'agency', and thatpolitical economy could do little to elucidate the specificity of female spaces ofproduction. The early interest in structuration theory and feminism, then, owedmuch to their proximity to historical materialism: Giddens, whatever hisproclamations to the contrary, is indebted to Marx in important ways, while the firstsigns of a feminist geography were located within the broader horizon of socialistfeminism. But they have moved beyond Marxism in important ways too. As the '80sprogressed structuration theory became tied to a much more ecumenical range ofconcerns than Marxism, including feminism, while feminist geographers began toexplore the various spaces in which the exclusion of woman took place. Moreover,this entailed a 'reverse mapping', an integration of spatial problematics withinstructuration and feminist theory in such a way as to disrupt the aspatial preceptson which they turned. The impact has been singular, for together, Gregory argues,135they have raised serious questions about the vantage points adopted by humangeography and other humanities and social sciences and, indeed, subverted theoptics of representation on which these Olympean discourses have traditionallyrelied. More particulally they have revealed the duplicity of the text and the image, andmany writers ar now much more sceptical about the ways in which the conventionalvocabularies of human geography and social theory act, as Thrift puts it, to completethe incomplete, to structure the partially structured [and] to order the only partlyordered."32Specifically, they can be traced through to two more recent intellectual responsesto classical social theory, on the one hand postmodernism, on the other post-structuralism and post-colonialism, which turn, respectively, around a crisis ofrepresentation and an crisis of authorization.The injection of a spatial sensibility into structuration theory might, in someways, be said to have prefigured the crisis of represenation that is articulated inrecent filiations with postmodernism within the discipline. 33 For if, as Giddenssuggests, places are penetrated by social forces that are stretched, unstably,across global space, then the concept of 'society' becomes problematic and we areimmediately confronted with the question of how to "comprehend .. and somehowbring into presence these intricate, multiple and compound geographies which mix'presence' and 'absence' in such volatile ways."34 At the most general level thenascent interest in postmodernism within the discipline radicalizes this sensibility,questioning theoretical discourses that claim to capture social life within a single,overarching frame. On the other hand, post-structuralism and post-colonialismhave been pursued this sensibility in a somewhat different direction. For previous32Gregory op. cit. p 2033Micheal Dear, 1988, The Postmodern Challenge', TIBG: NS, no. 3, pp 34-5634 lbid. 18136feminisms are now seen as essentialist, substituting 'woman' for the the multiplefractures and fault lines that divide women, most particularly white, Westernfemales from non-Western women of colour. To this extent the earliest feminismsshared with Marxism a deep ethnocentrism , exposing a particular strategy ofauthorization. Post-strucutralism and post-colonialism thus beg the question: "bywhat right and on whose authority does one claim to speak for others...?"35This is all much too brief, I realize, and a much more discriminating intellectualmap is needed to do justice to the intricacies of the current politico-intellectuallandscape of the discipline. But I think it points to the emergence of a larger,stronger, more ecumenical critical community within human geography. This is, tobe sure, an immensely important achievement, particularly during a period whenwe have seen a veritable "counter-revolution" 36 within social life under theauspices of Thatcher and Reagan. It has enlarged our understanding of theconstitution of societies, alerted us to their multiple agencies, and begun to clarifyhow their geographies make a difference to our conception of what they are andhow we should respond to them. In the most general sense, this awakening to thecomplexity of what we study and our own positioning in regard to it urges areconfiguration our more traditional understanding of social theory, not in the senseof abandoning critique to an interpretive free for all, but in insisting, more explicitlythan we have done in the past, the need, in Gregory's words, to work with socialtheory.This is why Gregory chooses to see social theory as "a series of overlapping,contending and colliding discourses that seek, in various ways and for various35 Ibid. 2236Norris op. cit. p 2137purposes, to reflect explicitly on the constitution of social life and to make socialpractices intelligible." 37 Discourses , because this term alerts us to the situatednessof our claims to know in particular historico-geographical contexts. And thesediscourse seek to make social life intelligible because this does not privelege oneputatvely 'scientific' way of working over another. Social theory must be workedwith, then, because the situatedness of various claims to know makes it incumbentupon us to be vigilant about the limits of those claims and sensitive to the differingcontexts in which their practical consequences can be justifiably and defensiblyworked through and articulated. Proceeding in this way does not, of course,provide any ultimate solutions or grand resolutions, but it instills a necessarydegree of modesty and caution into the way we draw boundaries around theobjects of our inquiry.THE SPACES OF RADICAL DEMOCRACYMany of these concerns have been taken in a rather different, that is to saymore politically grounded and applied, direction outside the discipline, in terms of are-evaluation on the left of the potentials of civil society and of liberal politicaldemocracy. Intellectually this interest has been registered most prominently in thework of Laclau and Moufee, Bowles and Gintis, Feher and Heller, Claude Lefort,and Noberto Bobbio. But what makes this interest more than just an academictrend is that it converges at key points with recent political history, most particularlyin the form of the so-called 'new social movements' of the 1980s and '90s. What isdistinctive about these intellectual and social concerns is that they have arrived atwhere they are through an immanent critique of the tradition inaugurated by Marx:371bid. 1138intellectually a critique of Marxist theory, socially through a critique of the fortunesof socialism as the pre-eminent radical programme of the post-war left.If Laclau and Mouffe's Hegemony and Socialist Strategy38 is, among stalwartMarxists like Norman Geras 39 , the most notorious instance of this intellectualinterest in radical democracy it is because of their Althusserian Marxist past. On theone hand Hegemony and Socialist Strategy can be seen as a personalized andthus especially powerful proof of the glaring lacunae of Marxism; on the other, it isfor detractors a sign of Laclau and Mouffe's, and indeed much of the recent 'left's',intellectual bankruptcy.The substantive argument of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy has beenpresented in a number of ways, but I simply want to stress the how it impacts uponnotions of theory, agency, and strategy within a Marxism like Harvey's. Laclau andMouffe present a 'Copernican revolution' in Marxist theory and central to this arethe concepts of discourse, as the medium of all social identities and struggles, anddemocracy , as a historically specific institution of the social in terms of which allemancipatory struggles must henceforth situate themselves. A brief resume ofthese concepts will serve as an introduction to their thought and a precursor todiscussing the practical political agenda which Hegemony and Socialist Strategyarticulates.The concept of discourse has been a perplexing one within recent theoreticaldebates and Laclau and Mouffe's own understanding of the idea synthesizes38 London: Verso, 198639Who attacks the book with some savagery. See Geras, 1990, Discourses of Extremity, London:Verso139different readings. They use the term generically to designate a differential orrelational concept of meaning in which meaning is produced as a result ofpractices that establish relations between signs. But those practices arethemselves meaningful and so discursively articulated. Thus discourse becomesthe general medium of the 'being of objects'. Construing social objects in this wayhas, for Laclau and Mouffe, two valuable implications. First, since all social identityis defined differentially it is potentially transformable and so 'precarious'. Second,since the 'field of discursivity' everywhere exceeds the partial fixation of meaningachieved within the definition of particular social objects, the possibility of re-articulation is ever present. To understand why Laclau and Mouffe see social life inthis way is to understand their proximity to Marxism, for their concept of discourseclearly undermines the assumption of epistemological realism that they attribute tomost versions of Marxian theory:The incomplete character of every totality necessarily leads us to abandon, as a terrainof analysis, the premise of "Society" as a sutured and self-defined totality. There is nosingle underlying principle fixing - and hence constituting - the whole field ofdifferences.40Correspondingly, the working class cannot constitute the single, strong historicalagent Marxism sets it up as, and thus the strategy of left politics must alteraccordingly. For if subjects are discerned within a complex and shifting discursivefield, then identity cannot be fixed and 'true interests' become a chimera.To derive anything of political value from this philosophical discussion Laclauand Mouffe rightly insist that it be historicized: the potential exorbitancy ofdiscursive meaning is limited and concretized by being tied to a particular political4°Laclau and Mouffe op. cit. p 126140discourse emerging in 18th century Europe, that is democracy, a "new mode ofinstitution of the social". Democracy is, Laclau and Mouffe are right to argue, aseminal and positive innovation within the discursive history of the West. It is forthem a space for articulating antagonisms through a principle of equivalence, a sitefor contesting relations of subordination through the irreducible plurality of socialobjects. The political logic of this speculative reconstruction of Western democracyis twofold. On the one hand the principle of equivalence undermines the primacy ofclass struggle. Second, it brings the class movement onto the same level as 'newsocial movements' which are conceptualized in a unitary fashion in terms of theextension of the equivalence principle. The task of the left, then, is to radicalize theanti-establishment lessons of Marxism by deepening and expanding liberaldemocracy in the direction of a radical and plural democracy. This is a 'hegemonic'task insofar as the unity between various different struggles must be constructedand worked for, not 'revealed' through meta-theoretical analysis: identity becomeslabile and a site of contest, not fixed and static.Despite the protestations of the likes of Geras, Laclau and Mouffe's project ismost certainly a commited one. In the rush to defend Marxism, detractors fromHegemony and Socialist Strategy have, perhaps, failed to attend to what it is thatgives the book its political resonance. Whatever the lacunae of their rendition ofWestern democracy and its potentials, Laclau and Mouffe articulate a quite realand substantial set of concerns that have emerged within socialist and a broaderleft politics over the last two decades. As Laclau has pointed out in an earlieressay, most of the variants of socialist politics as they have existed within the majorEuropean democracies of the post-war era shared a faith in the role of the workingclass. Even in its most ecumenical forms such politics has placed class struggle atthe head of its agenda. However, since the early 1970s that claim to primacy has141been brought into question, in particular by two developments. On the one hand, ithas become increasingly difficult to identify the working class as a sociologicalcategory: its place within late twentieth century Western society is not at all self-evident. On the other hand, the political place of the working class is also unclearbecause of the proliferation of social movements whose struggles are not primarilyfocussed on the question of class.41The burgeoning interest in so-called 'new social movements' during the '80sand '90s has, it is frequently argued, revealed the emergence of a style of socialstruggle quite different to that of the 'old left', with its faith in class emancipation,and the 'new left' of the '60s onwards which, while more sensitive to the multiplesources of oppression within society, still held out faith in the transforming power ofa mass movement to overthrow the system. To simplify, we might say that the 'newsocial movements' haverediscovered the plural sites of civil society, now understood as far more than theeconomic market place. Rather than seeking a perfectly unitarian political identity, itspractitioners are willing to play different roles in different contexts... Rather thanseeking an ultimate explanation for all oppression ... they've sought to yoke togethera series of relatively autonomous struggles in a loose and unhierarchical bloc orcoalition.42I think it is important to note how much this rather celebratory description relies on acaricature of socialism, which in either its 'old' or 'new' forms articulated a politicalprogramme more complex and pragmatic than seeking some grand overthrow of'the system'. But it does capture two important developments in the recent history of41 Ernesto Laclau, 1987, 'Class War and After, Marxism Today, April, pp 30-3342Jay op. cit. p 8142left politics. First the widening of its concerns, embodied in the now familiar list ofpolitical movements [feminist, anti-racist, gay and lesbian, green, anti-nuclear, anti-imperialist] which contest the primacy of class. Second, its reassessment of thepotentials inherent within liberal political democracy: that is to say, a finersensibility to what can be achieved within the limits of the present system.43It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of these developments.Habermas, it seems to me, has for a long time been right to insist that modernity ismore than the sum parts of Capital and that the complex differentiations of latetwentieth century society are not only achievements in themselves but also offerpotentials for change in a host of arenas. Marx, most notoriously in The CommunistManifesto, underestimated the social consequences of the "bourgeois revolution"he diagnosed: his evaluation of bourgeois democracy as a site of purely formalrights paid insufficient attention to the important gains this has permitted groupslocated within civil society, a relatively autonomous sphere not reducible to thecolonizations of capital. 44 As Claude Lefort argued many years ago, civil societyhas relative autonomy from both the economy and the state, and embodiesimportant freedoms of speech and action which can be used to addressrepresentatives in the political sphere in the interests of social change. 45 Anotherway of characterizing 'new social movements' is, then, to say that they have led to are-evaluation of the potentials, not just of political democracy, but of civil societytoo. Civil society then becomes a site where diverse groups can, as Jay puts it,articulate "reactions of a communicatively rationalized life-world against the43The most celebrated example here is generally the German Greens.44This view of Marx's attitude toward the society ushered in by the bourgeoisie is quite common onthe left. See, for example, Dick Howard's recent essay 'Rediscovering the Left', Praxis International ,vol. 10, no. 3/4, 1991, pp 193-204.45See Chapter 7 of Dick Howard's The Marxian Legacy [2nd edition, Minneapolis: MinnesotaUniveristy Press, 1988] for an overview of Lefort's work.143incursions of an instrumentally rationalized state and market" 46 , and from whichthey can make incursions into these two spheres in the cause of modifying them.These concerns are as yet tangential to critical human geography I think, inthe sense that, as Hepple rightly argues, it has had little interest in applied politicalpractice within a range of sites within the existing social order. This is ageneralization of course and so open to dispute. But I think it is fair to say that muchof the critical theoretical work within the discipline has been long on diagnosis andrather short on normative recommendations. As Hepple points out, too often criticalhuman geographers have seen applied work as being ineffectual and simplycompromised as status quo practice. 47 This is implicit in Harvey's work I think. LikeMarx, Harvey has little interest in bourgeois democracy, while his interest in 'civilsociety' resides in its ability to provide a site from which to transcend the capitalisteconomic system to which it is tied through critique (see chapter 7]. In The Condition of Postmodernity this is, as I argued, quite clear, albeit implicitly: arenewal of the Enlightenment project entails launching a meta-critique ofcapitalism, not working within its confines.All this said I think we also have to ask some serious questions about theconsequences of focussing on new social movements in such a way that socialismand class politics are seen as rather pass6. 48 Whatever the manifold social and46Jay op. cit. p13. This is, for example, a position partly defended by Claus Offe, 1987, 'Challengingthe Boundaries of Institutional Politics: Social Movements since the 1960s', in Charles Maier [ed.)Changing Boundaries of the Political, New York: Cambridge University Press. See also the recentwritings of Andrew Arato, Jean Cohen and John Keane.47Leslie Hepple, unpublished manuscript, 'Human Geography and Political Practice', paperpresented at48Which is not, of course a position adhered to by all celebrants of these movements. See, forexample, lawrence VVilde's discussion of how many new social movements connect directly into aMarxian critique of capitalism: Lawrence Wilde, 1990, 'Class Analysis and the Politics of New SocialMovements', Capital and Class , no. 42, Winter, pp 55-79.144political benefits they have generated, a large question has hung over them: towhat extent have they transformed the centres of power that are the concern ofMarxists? To take one example, to what extent have the new social movementshelped radicalize democracy in the sense advocated by authors like Laclau andMouffe? Now in one sense of course this question could be seen as invidious,merely reasserting a concern for large social structures against new socialmovements which sought an alternative to such grand visions. But, like Wood, onecannot help noticing that, despite "great advances in representative institutions,civil liberties and so on", neither the new social movements nor their utilization ofthe democratic apparatus have "redistributed social power ... betweenappropriators and producers", at least not in a fundamental way. 49 As Wood insists,we must see the potentials of liberal democracy as circumscribed by its separationfrom economic power, that is that the form of liberal democracy places 'structurallimits' on the possibilities for redistributing power. In Osborne's succinct words,"within capitalist societies, democracy is and has always been restricted to highlyspecific social spheres."50At this point we might reflect on the formalism of Laclau and Mouffe'sconception of radical democracy. In the absence of cogent social and institutionalanalysis, they effectively equate the social with the political. Just as social identitiesare fluid and plural so their political programmes are equal and equivalent . But thisperspective cannot then account for why certain articulatory practices "are morecentral than others and therefore more likely to succeed in hegemonising a political49Ellen Meiskens Wood, 1988, 'Capitalism and Human Emancipation', New Left Review, no. 167, pp1-2150Peter Osborne, 1991, 'Radicalism Without Limit', in Osborne [ed] Socialism and the Limits ofLiberalism, London: Verso, p 214145space."51 Laclau and Mouffe's conjoining of a conception of discourse with asweeping history of political democracy entails a loss of meaning, a refusal to allowfor the way in which certain structures of interest are materially embedded andmore powerful than others. This, it seems to me, is a critical weakness 52. Notbecause it allows them to reject an a priori universal social agent and to insist onthe need to broaden on a more equal basis the politics of the left: they are right todo that. But because in doing so they are unable to address real social questionsabout theory, agency and strategy.From the orthodox Marxist perspective "it is the structural centrality of wagedlabour to the reproduction of capital ... which gives it its centrality to the struggle forsocialism [human emancipation on the basis of the collective determination of thepattern of economic life], not some a priori moral privelege." 53 In other words, astudy of history provides us with materials to make theoretical judgements aboutthe world. Now history is not, of course, some 'neutral' terrian where we can look to'test' our various knowledge claims; we always view it through particular theoreticallenses. But in retaining a belief in the need for empirical validation of theoreticalconcepts we at least keep open the possibility for a process of sustained mutualcriticism between different positions. This possibility is, it seems to me, lost inLaclau and Mouffe's effective abandonment of even a minimal degree ofepistemological realism.But if history is the ground on which theory finds its raison d'etre - as am goingto argue it does for Harvey - then one of the most pressing concerns for Marxism51 Nicos Mouzelis, 1988, "Marxism or Postmarxism?', New Left Review, no. 67, pp 107-2352The similarities with, for example, a thinker like Bobbio work are instructive: see Toni Negri's reviewof Bobbio's Future of Democracy and Which Socialism? in Capital and Class, 1989, no. 37, pp 156-161.530sborne op. cit. p 220146has to be the 'loss' of the working class, the loss of an identifiable historical agentpotentially empowered to make radical changes to the fabric of society. We maywell agree with Marx that capitalism is a class mode of production, but how are weto understand the contradictions of recent social formations where 'objective'working class interests seem, to put it mildly, opaque? Marx had a fine sensitivity tohow historical events apparently brought his theoretical account of mode ofproduction into crisis, 54 but the question has become particularly pressing forcontemporary Marxists. David Selbourne, for example, has convincingly shownhow the private interests of labour tie it indissolubly to the interests of capital, usingpost-war labour politics in Britain to exemplify this collaborative imperative.55 Moregenerally, Adam Przeworski, analyzing Western social democracy, has argued withgreat rigour and clarity that while social democratic parties will never establishsocialism except through gradual reform, the chances of achieving mass supportexcept through the programmes and organizations of social democracy are slim. 56This is a real problem for contemporary Marxian theorists, so much so thatMcCarney argues that it is the origin of the 'real' crisis of Marxism: without arevolutionary agent Marxism for McCarney loses its rationale. 57 And ifcontemporary society offers all manner of attractions for working people thenMarxism, and Harvey's historico-geographical materialism, must pay attention tothe reasons for and consequences of the collapse of Soviet and East EuropeanCommunism.54See, in this regard, Christopher Norris's brilliant reading of Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire of LouisBonaparte: Norris, 1990, op. cit., pp 30-38.55David Selbourne, 1987, Left Behind: Journeys in British Politics,  London: Jonathan Cape56Adam Przeworski, 1985, Capitalism and Social Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press57Joseph McCarney, 1990, Social Theory and the Crisis of Marxism, London: Verso147MARXISM AFTER THE FALL: IN THE TRACKS OF DEEP SPACE Efforts to capture the scale of the 'revolutions' USSR and the six Europeanregimes58 have, in Callinicos's apt words, "long since passed into platitude." 59 Thecollapse of communism had many causes, both 'formal' and 'efficient', which arecurrently the focus of intense concern. But we might agree with Bauman thatperhaps the gravest and least curable among them, and the most likely to beproved congenital was irrelevance : 60 The communist state was, commentatorsand both the right and the left now seem to agree, a dictatorship over needs ,pretending to achieve a unity of society by imposing it 'vertically' upon its citizensand thus atomizing any attempts by groups outside the state to constitutethemselves 'horizontally'. As Dick Howard poignantly puts it, reflecting back on hisfirst engagements with intellectuals from the East in the late '60s,What we thought was "left" was for them support of the established order; what theytook as "radical" was for us support of the principles of our own order. A classicalillustration took place when ... a delegation from Berlin SDS ... [met] with studentrebels in Prague in early 1968. The Western left was busy discovering Marxism; theCzechs were concerned with such "formal" freedoms as the right to demonstratepublicly or to form associations free from the tutelage of the authorities. 61The 'Eastern revolutions' can in this sense be seen as a truly ground shakingarticulation of democracy, not as 'formal' political rights, but as a truly popularpower that has changed history on a remarkable scale. Precisely because thecommunist state is the origin of dictatorship it "attracts, condenses, politicizes and58 13oland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania.59Alex Callinicos, 1991, The Revenge of History: Marxism and the East European Revolutions,Pennsylvania: Penn. State Press, p 160Zygmunt Bauman, 1991, 'Communism: A Post-Mortem', Praxis International , vol.10, no. 3/4, p 18561 Howard, 1991 op. cit. p 194148turns against itself ... popular disaffection" which, as Tony Cliff predicted forty yearsago, results in "an immense crisis ... in which the extra-bureaucratic classes ...mobilize behind their own demands." 62It goes without saying that for some, particularly those on the right, thecollapse of communism signifies the death of Marxism. The equation of the two is avenerable one, most forcefully articulated in Popper's magisterial The OpenSociety and its Enemies And it is not without warrant, for elements of the Westernpost-war Marxian camp saw fit to defend the fortunes of 'actually existingsocialism', most notably Eric Hobsbawm. But in its most recent form the equation isfrequently quite tendentious, failing to make vital distinctions between therevolutionary socialist tradition embodied in Marxian social theory and thepractices of Stalinist state communism. Many on the Marxist left have longrecognized the problems of the latter63 , and in fact greeted with great joy the eventson the continent. I think, then, that we might do well to avoid equating 'actuallyexisting socialism' with Marxism. The more important, and productive task is to tryand make sense of the revolutions in such a way as to understand how far thesocial systems being implanted in their wake can satisfy the aspirations theyarticulated.This task is clearly beyond the reach of this essay, but we might at least beginby noting that what was remarkable about the revolutions was the sheer numberand range of demands they articulated. They were not revolutions of a singlemovement like that of 1917 Russia. It became apparent during the age of62Tony Cliff, 1988, State Capitalism in Russia, London, p 276.63 One thinks , for example, of Chris Harman, who, over twenty five years, has produced exemplarycritical analyses of the Soviet state system.149perestroika that the peoples of communist Russia and Europe were far poorer thanhad previously been thought, and that their supposedly 'socialized' economicsystems were more accurately characterized as cumbersome, even chronicallyinefficient, bureaucratized production complexes that had difficulty catering foreven basic human needs. But the revolutions were about far more than raisingstandards of living. They were also about free speech and action, about ethnicidentity, about religious belief, about local empowerment and regional autonomy,themes which have converged most graphically and destructively in what wasformerly Yugoslavia.If, then, state communism dissolved the qualitative differences within societythey have now reasserted themselves. In the wake of 'the Fall' we cannot, it seemsto me, unselfconsciously see the revolutions as having cleared the historicalground for a 'true' socialist revolution that will get it right this time. But, then again,very few Marxists would argue this position. What we could more fruitfully propose,is that many of the differences that inhere in society are being brought into acommon relation by the implantation an extremely powerful production system:capitalism. This claim cannot be established a priori of course: it demandsempirical validation. But it is not simply the claim of a beleaguered Marxist campanxious to reassert itself. For it is an irony that the most triumphal declarations ofthe 'death of Marxism', those issuing from the right, are made in the name of thetriumph of capitalism as the historically superior determinate social system tocommunism.The new regimes in Eastern Europe and the old USSR are by no means allthe same, of course, but it is reasonably safe to say that the language of the freemarket has gained a particular currency within them over the last two years: the150economic policies of Hungary, Poland and Yeltsin's Russia are only the mostexplicit examples. There are several ways in which one could respond to thesedevelopments. On the one hand they promise, in what will undoubtedly be a longand hard struggle, to bring individuals economic and political freedoms which theynever knew under the communist regimes, freedoms which offer to bring with thempersonal prosperity. In its most radical version this view finds warrant in FrancisFukuyama's controversial essay 'The End of History?': with the end of communismeconomic and political liberalism have triumphed, capitalism has won, and themarket represents the culmination, the end, of global history. 64 The market hasnegative side effects to be sure, but with minimal social planning social inequalitiescan be ameliorated while the mass of the population enjoy prosperity.65But, then again, we might want to use the lessons of our Western experienceto make sense of the potentials of the market for peoples of the new states. AsBauman says of the last two decades in the West,The most seminal of privatizations ... Ms that of human problems and of theresponsibility for their resolution. The politics that reduced its acknowledgedresponsibilities to the matters of public safety and otherwise declared its retreat fromthe tasks of social management, effectively de-socialized the ills of society andtranslated social injustice as individual ineptitude or neglect. Such politics isinsufficiently attractive to awaken the citizen in a consumer; its stakes are notimpressive enough to make it an object of the kind of anger that would be amenableto collectivization. In the ... society of consumers, failure rebounds in guilt and shame, not in political protest. 6664Francis Fukuyama, 1989, The End of History?', The National Interest, Summer, 1-21661-his re-evaluation of the market is increasingly common and widespread: compare, for example, thearguments of Brit David Miller [Market. State‘ and Community, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989]with Italian theorist Roberto Unger's False Necessity [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19871.66Bauman op. cit. p 189151Or, as Howard more emphatically puts it, capitalism is the enemy of democracy,seeking the elimination of division because "it can only control the effects of itsconstant revolutionizing of social relations by reducing them all, ultimately, toidentical quantitative form."67 Both views are somewhat overstated of course, butone cannot but be impressed by how, time and again, in country after Westerncountry over the last twenty years, the restructuring of industry has gone hand inhand with political and ideological retrenchment, and social changes where certainnew class fractions do very well off new manufacturing and service occupationswhile the living standards of those at the bottom of the social scale have visiblydecreased. Capitalism is, it seems, invasive, colonizing, even violent.But, if we accept the thesis that capitalism is still a quite central and decisiveaspect of our existence, then our Western experience offers more than a point ofcomparison with the possible future of the Eastern states: for the collapse ofcommunism has meant the penetration of capitalism into even wider geographicalterritories than ever before, and can be seen to mark the point at which capitalismhas truly become a global system. Far from marking the end of history, theglobalization of capital surely represents the making of history on anunprecedented scale, the generalization of its benefits to more people, but also,vitally, the generalization of its miseries too. Some twenty years after thepublication of Social Justice and the City it is thus arguably more appropriate thanever to ask the kinds of questions about the world that Marxism allows us to ask.And I think that we have to insist that this globalization also entails the makingof geography . As we approach the end of the twentieth century we have67Howard op. cit. p 200152discovered, in Neil Smith felicitous words, "deep space", that is "the relativity ofterrestial space, the space of everyday life in all its scales from the global to thelocal and the architectural in which, to use Dorren Massey's metaphor, differentlayers of life and social landscape are sedimented onto and into each other." 68 Butthis is much more than a metaphor: it is not uncoincidental that the wider interest inspace by social theorists, what Gregory calls 'the discourse of geography', is, asSmith goes on, "historically consonant with the reconfiguration andreproblematization of geographical space in the post-postwar world." 69 As Harvey,Massey, Smith and others have so brilliantly shown, capitalism is about whatLefebvre famously called "the production of space", it is, as Smith puts it, "afundamentally geographical project." And today capitalism is, it would seem,etching new historical geographies across the globe which entail massive creativedestruction:Gentrification and homelesness increasingly etch the simultaneously global contoursof deep space in restructuring urban centres throughout the West. The regionalscales of production are equally restructured through both de-industrialization andreinvestment in new industrial spaces from Silicon Valley to Taipei. The agriculturalregions of the Great Plains in the US are being fragmented amidst a tumultuouseconomic and financial, environmental and climatic crisis on the production of natureBut it may be at the global scale that his reconfiguration of space is most clamorous.And nowhere is this ... as profoundly destructive than in the so-called Third World.While the 1970s, and indeed the 1980s, witnesed the partial integration of severalThird World economies and their strong states [the NICs] into global capitalism, it alsoattested to the unprecedented destruction of daily life elsewhere. The Sahel famineof 1968-74, the chronic famine in Sudan and Ethiopia throughout the 1980s, the68Neil Smith, 1990, 'Afterword' to Uneven Development: The Beginning of Geography', Oxford: BasilBlackwell, p 160-16169 Ibid. 177153local, national nad international wars that rend the post-colonial landscapes ofSouthern and Central Africa ... have been the most apparent signs of theghettoization of sub-Saharan Africa within this restructuring of global space. 70If capitalism is a globalizing and invasive system, then, whatever our politics , wemust, surely, respond to its historical geography in such a way as to free ourselvesfrom the manifest constraints it imposes.It seems to me that the elucidation of the production of space under capitalismby Harvey and others has been of inestimable importance, not just within thediscipline of geography, but, increasingly, outside it too. Whatever the moreoutlandish theses about the end of history or the move to a 'post-industrial society'might claim, capitalism is still with us and is still far from healthy. Marx diagnosedcapitalism as an economic system periodically prone to chronic crisis of capitaloveraccumulation, disrupting social relations and melting solids into air, and itseems difficult to deny that it is just this crisis tendency that has manifested itself inthe historical geography of the last two decades. Indeed, on balance Marxist orMarxisant scholarship has been a crucial component of the attempts to understandwhat this historical geography has been all about. But how is one to pursue amaterialist analysis of capitalism at the fin-de-siecle in such a way as to besensitive to the historical and intellectual challenges to its knowledge claims?FIN-DE-SECLE HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISMIf it is clear how the three moments of the fin-de-siècle I have detailed impactupon the claims of Harvey's Marxism, it is less obvious how one should respond to70 lbid .164154them. If they make visible a vast array of extra-capitalistic events and processesthat call for a different critique than Marx made of political economy is this groundsfor rejecting historico-geographical materialism or altering its most fundamentalconcepts? There are, it seems to me, three extant responses to this question whichI have already touched upon in the preceding pages. Few on the Anglophone leftwould, I think, want to abandon materialist inquiry or deny that capitalism is still withus; some form of Marxism is clearly relevant. But the challenges I have outlined allin different ways bring the tenets of a classical version of Marxism into crisis: onecannot retain a 'pure' focus on capitalism without taking seriously the way itinteracts with and draws upon non-capitalistic processes and concerns. As Harveyhimself puts itThe treatment of difference and 'otherness' [is] not ... something to be added on tomore fundamental Marxist categories [like class and productive forces], but [1]ssomething that should be omni-present from the very beginning in any attempt tograsp the dialectics of social change. 71What, then, does this mean for the practice of historico-geographicalmaterialism? Short of a wholescale reorientation of Harvey's project towardsintegrating Marxism with non-Marxian theory, one could hardly expect him to bringthis insight to bear at the level of substantive theory. A second response, then, is tobe 'non-essentialist' in the sense conveyed by Graham where class is simply onechosen "entry point" in what is an overdetermined social totality. But this is rathertoo urbane, embodying an optimistic faith that Marxian and non-Marxian theory canco-exist in mutually enriching equivalence. Moreover, it underestimates thedifficulties of escaping the urge to finalize perspectives, not least in the way that itoffers its own narrative of the social. A third response, then, seems to me much71 The Condition of Postmodernity, p 355155more realistic and much more constructive. Spivak has argued that Marxist,feminist and other discourses be kept irreducibly discontinuous through a logic of"strategic essentialism':Since one cannot not be essentialist, why not look at the ways in which one isessentialist, carve out a representative essentialist position, and then do politicsaccording to the old rules while remembering the dangers in this. 72In this sense one might then attend to how, in Sparke's words,class is a limited concept which from one perspective must be deployed, but whichfrom others has necessarily to be brought into crisis. More generally this meansremembering that while the politico-explanatory projects of marxism and feminism arepredicated on specific interpretations of social essence, specific founding accountsof what constitutes the materiality of social life, these accounts themselves are basedupon inescapably inadequate representations of materiality. 73I find this a particularly useful and constructive perspective. It permits a continuedfocus on capitalism as a specific social system, shaping global history and centringsubjects in particular [class] ways. Yet it does not necessarily confine us, inGregory's words, "to our own eccentric worlds." 74 It implies instead a continued andrigorous process of work to self-consciously expose the ways in which wecomplete the incomplete, structure the partially structured and order the only partlyordered. One cannot therefore resolve the dilemma presented by essentialism, butone can most certainly work with the lacunae it exposes.72Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 1990, The Postcolonial Critic,  Routledge: New York, p 45. Interestinglyenough, another discussant of these issues reaches a similar conclusion: Stephen White, 1991,Political Theory and Postmodernism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; cf Gregory op. cit. also.73Matthew Sparke, 1991, Temporary Topics, unpublished MA thesis, Department of Geography,University of British Columbia, p 11074Derek Gregory, 1991, 'Interventions in ...', op. cit. p 20156However, we should not be overly sanguine about the possibilities offered bythis way of working: some paradigms are so opposed that the capacity for a'conversation' between different essentialist positions that it implies cannot bepresupposed. However, if we are commited to a a broad left agenda then clearlywe must presuppose some common terrain on which to work. And it seems to methat the ground upon which we ultimately stand is that of history , of actual eventsas they unfold around us and by us . Now I emphatically do not mean to imply thathistory is a 'neutral' terrain that stands pristinely outside us. History can never, ofcourse, be a neutral 'court of appeal' where we look for 'the facts', but any theorythat claims to be critical must offer a cogent cognitive account of some aspect ofsocial life. The criteria by which we view the latter will differ, as my invocation of'strategic essentialism' makes clear, but for us not to be confined to our owneccentric worlds we must, indeed we do , assume some common ground on whichcommunication about our various claims to reason takes place. And it will be myargument that, at least within its own paradigmatic confines, Harvey's historico-geographical materialism is resolutely responsible to historico-empirical validation.To this extent, at least, the theoretical concepts with which it makes sense ofcapitalism are open to public discussion, criticism, and evaluation.Louis Althusser, that most rigorous and inconsistent of Marxists, insisted thatthe phrase "the crisis of Marxism", must be given "a completely different sense fromcollapse and defeat." Instead, we must say that, "At last the crisis of Marxism hasexploded! At last it is in full view! At last something vital and alive can be liberated157by this crisis and in this crisis."75 In what follows I attempt, as clearly and asrigorously as I can, to reconstruct what I will call Harvey's elaboration of a cultural-geographic materialism, embodied in works written prior to The Condition of Postmodernity. Most certainly, I do so because I believe capitalism to be with usmore than ever, and want to investigate the resources Harvey offers for makingsense of it. But I also have two other considerations in mind to which I referred inthe Introduction: the lack of concern among recent analysts of 'culture' to explorethe particular culture of capitalism; and the conspicuous absense within humangeography of a close investigation of Harvey's work.with these points in mind I turn to an elucidation of the 'cultural' problematicsof historico-geographical materialism, to a reconstruction of Harvey's Marxismwhich is I hope commensurate with his own self-understanding. While exegetical Ihope my account contains some new insights for those familiar with Harvey's more'economic' writings, and that it will also raise questions for those confident that theyhave reached a definitive reading of his Marxism tout court .75Louis Althusser, 1979, The Crisis of Marxism', in P Camiller and J Rothschild trans., Power andOpposition in Post-Revolutionary Societies, London: Ink Links, p 225, 229158PART II READINGS IN HISTORICO-GEOGRAPHICAL MATERIALISM: THE SUBJECT OF CAPITAL 159PROLOGUE In his recent overview of Marxist theory extant in the West, Alex Callinicosdistinguishes between Hegelian, Althusserian or structuralist, and analyticalMarxism. 1 For those familiar with contemporary Marxist thought Callinicos'stripartite division would seem more or less accurate, as too would his view of therelations between them: Althusser vanquished Hegelian Marxism thus paving theway for his own dissolution by the analytical Marxists. Harvey is not a HegelianMarxist by any means, if that term is, as is often the case with critics, used toindicate some teleological and totalizing view of world history. 2 He is, rather, aclassical Marxist who utilizes the best impulses of Hegel's thinking, notably acommitment to immanent and defetishizing critique, dialectical thought, aphilosophy of internal relations and an insistence that theory be responsible tohistory. 3 I am not, however, about to elaborate on the Hegelianism of Harvey'sMarxism. I invoke Callinicos's distinctions because I want to insist on the specificityof Harvey's Marxism and it is useful in doing so to begin by outlining what kind ofMarxism it is not. In this way we might, at the very beginning, avoid making errorsthat creep in when we fail to discriminate between quite different Marxist traditions.What is distinctive about Harvey's Marxism, I would suggest, is how littleindebted it is to other readings of Marx. Most of his work reflects a careful,considered and creative reading of Marx in the original: reading Capital is and hasfor him long been preferred to, for example, Reading Capital. With the exception of1 AIex Callinicos [ed], 1989, Marxist Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 2-6. We might,depending on what our purposes were, assimilate the second to the broader tradition of WesternMarxism.2See Duncan and Ley, op. cit.3Although Hegel's sense of 'history' was, of course, quite different to Marx's who, in the well knownphrase, 'turned him on his head'.160the work of Bertell Oilman and Henri Lefebvre, 4 I think it is safe to say that Harveydraws upon virtually no other Marxist theorist at the substantive level save Marxhimself. This position is, I think, quite unusual among contemporary AnglophoneMarxian theorists: not only do relatively few appropriate Marx in an'unreconstructed' way, but they frequently appropriate him through theinterpretations provided by earlier heirs of Marx's legacy. Even on this very generalspecification of Harvey's Marxism it is possible to differentiate it from Callinicos'stwo other designations. It is, I think, safe to say that Harvey would see bothAlthusserian and rational choice Marxism as radical reworkings of Marx they thusmark a departure with his own project. 5 But let me be a little more specific.Althusser, like Harvey, claimed, of course, to be drawing out the 'real' Marx,but his project was to erect a Marxist philosophy and, like much of WesternMarxism, it was cast at some remove from a cognitive theory of history. 6 This is thefirst sense in which it differs from Harvey's conception of Marxism. In the secondplace, Althusser's reconstruction of Marxism consisted of a peculiar blend ofstructuralist epistemology and conventionalism: his notion of structural causality isquite divorced from Harvey's relational holism, not least in its repudiation of theHegelian tenets of the latter, 7 while his iron-clad distinction between ideology andscience prefigured the dissolution of his own project as, ironically, a form of4Harvey has read a good deal of Lefebvre's work and its influence is often quite obvious. 011man'sAlienation has provided Harvey with a reading of totality and a philosophy of internal relationsinaugurated in Social Justice [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 1980)5Derek Sayer, whose accountof Marx in his The Violence of Abstraction  [1987, Oxford: BasilBlackwell] is remarkably close to Harvey's, opposes his account, interestingly enough, to that ofCohen.6Although Althusser's colleague, Etienne Balibar, of course sought to take some of his meta-theoretical distinctions and make them operable at the level of research oriented theory. See theessays in their co-authored Reading Capital.701Iman's interpretation of a philosophy of internal relations on which Harvey draws is, on 011man'saccount, derived from Hegel.161idealism.8 But if Althusser is now out of favour, the recent effloresence of analyticalMarxism in the US and UK testifies to his ongoing influence as a rigorous Marxistthinker. With Gerald Cohen's Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence, 9Anglophone Marxism announced a commitment to new standards of rigour andclarity of thought, seeking to sift the wheat from the chaff in Marx's thought throughthe methods of Anglophone analytical philosophy and, latterly in the work ofRoemer and Wright, with the tools of mainstream social science. Harvey seeshimself as a rigorous thinker too, I hope to show, but his science proceeds through'classical' concepts such as the labour theory of value which most analyticalMarxists have abandoned in the form that Harvey retains them. Moreover, someanalytical Marxists have moved so far away from the precepts central to Harvey'sthought that they have been accused of being closet empiricists. 10I will elaborate no further on these differences here: this brief discussionsimply sets the scene for elucidating the specificity of Harvey's critical theory and Iwould urge the interested reader to make direct comparisons with the two otherbodies of Marxism Callinicos identifies. My basic point, to be elaborated further inthe next few pages, is that Harvey sees Marxism as a critical theory which is atonce scientific and historico-empirical, and that as a corollary it is a deeply open-ended mode of enquiry. It is not a philosophy of history seeking warrant by appealsto abstract principles of ontology, although like any critical theory it unavoidablyhas what we call 'philosophical' presuppositions; for Harvey the point is that a9 For two seminal critiques in this regard see Norman Geras, 'Althusser's Marxism: An Assessment',and Andre Glucksmann,'A Ventriloquist Structur.alism', both in Western Marxism: A Critical Reader,London: New Left Books, 1977, pp 232-272 and 273-3149 1978, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Cohen in fact makes his debt to Atthusser explicit in theearly pages of the book.10See Micheal Burawoy's review Of John Elster's Making Sense of Marx, in Sociological Review, vol.17, no. 3, 1991, and Joseph McCarney's critical interrogation of his work, [McCarney, op. cit., chapter1]162study of history is the ultimate proving ground for theoretical concepts, Marxism isfor him an historical science. But this does not make historico-geographicalmaterialism a form of empiricism inferring patterns from phenomenal forms;theoretical labour, rather, requires an effort of imagination and ingenuity to identifygeneral causal processes whose historical existence is not immediately apparent.For Harvey this vision of Marxism can be considered 'classical' insofar as it is forhim commensurate with Marx's practices. Other Anglophone commentators haveinsisted on the specificity of this conception of Marxism too, notably Callinicos,McCarney, and Derek Sayer, and there are some direct similarities between allfour thinkers.It is, I think, appropriate to register at this point how past interpretations ofHarvey's and Marx's work have failed to attend to the specificity of this vision ofMarxism [although whether Harvey follows through his claims to the actual practiceof his Marxism is a different matter]. Duncan and Ley's critique of the work ofHarvey [and others] as a form of structural Marxism attribute to him a series ofunabashed meta-theoretical claims that might be levelled at Althusser, but whichare not a part of Harvey's reading of Marx. On the other hand, Graham's chargesabout essentialism and teleology seem to me more accurately levelled at a versionof Marxism to which Callinicos does not refer, that of the Second International.Graham's arguments are pitched at an implicitly philosophical level identifyingHarvey's Marxism as a theory of History, reminiscent of the dogmatic 'diamat'formulations of Stalin, but not of the Marx Harvey seeks to identify with. All this said,the fact that Harvey is a 'classical' Marxist has the unfortunate consequence ofsubjecting it to the view that it is inherently outdated: because it is old it is thus ill-equipped to deal with contemporary history. However, as McCarney insists newer163is not necessarily better, and we would do well to avoid pre-judging a body ofthought in light of prevailing fashions.With the previous paragraphs in mind, and as a prelude to a more detailedexamination of Harvey's 'classical' Marxism, I want now to bring my earlierdiscussion of revolutionary theory up to date by outlining Harvey's present dayunderstanding of historico-geographical materialism as a critical theory of capitalistsociety. I do so by adding two facets to the discussion of critique and theory onlyalluded to earlier: the questions of history and science . Together these themescomprise a quartet that frame Harvey's work, and they provide a background withwhich to approach the next three chapters. This chapter can be thus seen tocomprise my third and final 'cut' at defining historico-geographical materialism,although I make absolutely no claims that it is a definitive account.I argued in chapter 1 that Harvey's critical project relies on a conjunction ofcritique and crisis. I hold to that claim, and would suggest that since The Limits to Capital it has been a central aspect of his work. Several years after the tentative'socialist formulations' presented in Social Justice and the City, Harvey arrived,through a closer reading of Marx, at a cogent theory of capitalism as a systemendemically prone to crisis: with each temporal-spatial fix that crisis, whiletemporarily delayed, was ultimately generalized to wider pastures and populations.At moments of systemic crisis, then, theory has the potential to illuminate its originsfor those subject to its consequences and so assist them in their collective self-transformation:It is open to human ingenuity and political action to convert crises into catalytic thoughtraumatic moments in human progress, rather than letting them dissolve into164barbarism ... to seize the moment of crisis Ms the opportunity for creativerevolutionary change ... 11However, it is important to reiterate that this is clearly not a form of revolutionarychiliasm reminiscent of the Second International. The Limits to Capital and otheressays identify tendencies within the structure of capitalism: whether or not crisiswill be a moment for a positive transformation of social relations is a contingentmatter, depending on the particularities of class matrix, culture, past history and soon; 'progress' is a question of human ingeniuty and political action. In the secondplace capitalism embodies forces whose articulation can overcome or stymie crisis,which is precisely one of Harvey's central points in his diagnosis of the condition ofpostmodernity. And third, crises are periodic and hence there are long periods ofrelative stability of capitalist relations. Critique, then, is as much about pursuing atheoretical analysis of capitalism during periods of quiescence as at moments ofrupture, and the account of the subject I pursue in chapter 5 is about precisely howcapital centres individuals within its social relations.Theory is, then, to reiterate once more, practical, providing a "cognitive map... for finding our way in a complex and changeable environment." 12 It must thus, ofnecessity, arise from experience and action, from an engagement with the world.But, it might reasonably be said, this all sounds much too easy, for how is theencompassing vision of theory to inform the complexities and contradictions of ourlocal, context-laden experiences? In response Harvey suggests that there arealways in fact a series of tensions between theory and practice, betwen theory and11 David Harvey, 1985, op. cit. p 13312Harvey, 1989, "Introduction' to The Urban Experience, p 2165history; in other words, we must have a certain modesty about the powers of theoryand this arises directly out of its scientific status. Let me elaborate.It is quite clear that Harvey sees historico-geographical materialism as ascience, and his theory as a distinctively scientific theory. 'Science' is, as Gregoryrightly notes, a "weasel-word: within the humanities and social sciences it is muchused [and abused] as term of approbation or condemnation, made to stand to asystem of knowledge to which we should aspire ..." 13 On Harvey's understandingof Marx, his claims to scientific theory rest not on faith but on clearly definedreasons open to disproof. I cannot do justice to Harvey's conception of sciencehere, but let me briefly pick out some themes as a prelude to the chapters thatfollow.In the first place historico-geographical materialism is for Harvey scientificbecause it is engaged in the elucidation of objective social processes . There isnothing new here of course and this general claim is common to most Westernversions of 'science'. But it does not, we should note, entail a naive form ofepistemological realism: representation always intervenes, and the use of Marxianrather than, say, positivist categories, clearly makes a difference to our account ofthe world. 14 Yet the problem of representation cannot disable us: at some stage,Harvey insists, we must perforce choose one or other language and use it to makesense of the world, and to this extent we must also insist that at some level ourtheoretical categories idenitify actual material processes within the world. 1513Gregory, 'Noah's Ark? ...', op. cit. p 214 For Harvey's recent meditations on the problems of representation see Harvey 1989 op. cit. andunpublished b.15Harvey, 'Introduction', op. cit. p 7-8166But, in the second place, this identification is not achieved by standingoutside history and society as a detached observer. Rather, Harvey sees hisMarxism as scientific because it places itself inside history. 'Objectivity' is notsecured by some putatively 'neutral' stance, as claimed by positivism; rather, "thecategories themselves are born out of an actual historical experience." 16 Thecategories of historico-geographical materialism are thus, in 011man's words, a partof the story they tell, and thus immanent to it . 17 This is, I think, a very distinctiveepistemological claim: the validity of theoretical statements is established in part bythe fact that, while they are abstractions from the concrete details of everyday life indifferent times and places, those abstractions nevertheless at some point have realhistorical existence.Thirdly, those categories are scientific because they identify underlyingprocesses that are not immediately apparent on the level of surface appearances:science is, then, the labour of elucidating these processes from behind thefetishisms with which we ordinarily conceal them, a defetishising critique. As Marxput it, if everything were as it appears on the surface then there would be no needfor science. " 18 This is also a distinctive, and well known, claim of Marxistepistemology. But it has also I think be misunderstood and so I want to try toestablish the specificity of Harvey's conception of what has come to be called the'essence-phenomena' relationship.Fourthly, if Marxist categories are to explain those underlying processesand their connection to surface appearance then they must, Harvey argues,16Ibid. 3; Harvey, The Limits, p 45017OIIman, op. cit., chapter 118Quoted in Harvey, 'Introduction', op. cit. p 10167combine in a "coherent and consistent' way and embody an "explanatory power"which becomes apparent in the using of those concepts to understand real worldphenomena. 1 g 'Proof' cannot be established by appealing to 'facts', especiallywhen dealing with mystified processes, and so 'testing' in the conventional senseis redundant.These four points go some way to providing an overview of Harvey's notionof Marxism as a science. However, as they stand they offer no guarantees againsttheory becoming a closed process seeking to somehow offer up definitive results.Harvey is in fact insistent that historico-geographical materialism is a deeply open-ended science, because it embodies ways of working that preclude closure.Central here is the dialectical mode of reasoning that he and Marx employ. Thenotion of dialectics has been the source of much confusion within and withoutMarxian circles, but Harvey follows Oilman I think in making a series ofdiscriminations about the term that help specify and clarify his own understanding.For our present purposes two senses of the word are relevant: the dialectic asmethod and the dialectic as a way of conceiving of the operation of capitalism. 20 AsHarvey says of the dialectical method:the oppositions implanted within the abstract conceptual apparatus are used to spinout new lines of argument. We reach out dialectically [rather than inwardly anddeuctively] to probe uncharted seas from a few seemingly secure islands of knownconcepts. Different starting points yield different perspectives. What appears as asecure conceptual apparatus from one vantage point turns out to be partial and one-sided on further investigation.2119Harvey, 'Introduction', op. cit. p 8 and p10.20See 011man's excellent discussion on the Marxian dialectic, op. cit. chapter s 4 and 521 Harvey, 'Introduction', op. cit. p 11168For Harvey, then, scientific theory is inherently open-ended, implying constantchallenges to even the most basic of theoretical concepts: in Marx's famous words"there is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread the fatiguingclimb of its step paths have chance of gaining its luminous summits." 22But, Harvey continues, concepts alter not only in light of the results of adialectical method of theorizing, but in light of history and experience too. He hastwo things in mind here. Firstly, the nature of the subject matter is inherentlycomplex and contradictory, a condition secured in part by the supposition thatcapitalism is an internally related system. In other words a dialectical view ofcapitalism has as its corollary an essential "shifting [of] concepts and findings." 23Secondly, there is always a certain difference between "theory, abstractlyformulated, and history, concretely recorded." 24 Indeed, Harvey is insistent thatmuch Marxian theory, including his own, has been rather slow to refashiontheoretical concepts in light of the historical transformations of the last twodecades.25I think that for Harvey these various strictures against the closure of theoryamount to more than simply safeguards against the premature use of theory as anintellectual and political tool. More emphaticatically, they bespeak a modesty aboutthe powers of theory which is articulated as the specificity of the theoreticalendeavour . This point, on Harvey's reading of Marx, is at odds with manyinterpretations of Marxian theory, such as Duncan and Ley's and Graham's which22Capital, vol. I: quoted in Harvey 1982, p 123Harvey, op. cit., unpublishedb. This is what Harvey calls the 'strong version' of dialectics.24Harvey, The Limits, p xiv25See Harvey and Scott, 1989, 'Notes on a Project to Remodel Contemporary Human Geography', inW Macmillan [ed.] Remodelling Geography, London: Macmillan169attribute to Harvey the belief that theory can almost serve as a deus ex machine forintellectual and political practice. " We cannot, as Harvey insists in the closingpages of The Limits to Capital,... hope to explain everything there is, nor even procure a full understanding ofsingular events. These are not the tasks which theory should address. The aim,rather, is to create frameworks for understanding, an elaborated conceptualapparatus, with which to grasp the most significant relationships at work within theintricate dynamics of social transformation 2 6Theory, then, is a specific endeavour, but we should not over-stretch the point: itmust ultimately inform historical and political practice. But for Harvey it does so in arelationship of "creative tension". While theory sheds light on history and practice, itcannot subsume them: "Premature insistence on the unity of theory and historicalpractice can lead to paralysis and stasis, sometimes to totally erroneousformulations."27 The last senstence of The Limits I think captures Harvey's sense oftheory and, indeed, the sense of his critical project as such:The mutual development of theory and of historical and geographical reconstruction,all projected into the fires of political practice, forms the intellectual crucible out ofwhich new strategies for the sane reconstruction of society can emerge. The urgencyof that task, in a world beset by all manner of insane danger ... surely needs nodemonstration. If capitalism has reached such limits, it is surely for us to find ways totranscend the limits to capital itself.25I hope that I have made it clear that the four coordinates with which I havechosen to map Harvey's Marxism are not be conceived of as separate individuals.26Harvey, The Limits, p 45127Ibid.28Ibid.170For Harvey I think that each is thoroughly implicated in the others: thus a critique ofcapitalism is "only by accident non-vacuous" unless backed by "scientificunderstanding", yet scienitific theory is meaningless unless it arises from anengagement with history; attempts to sunder the ties between them fundamentallyalters each of the terms. Let me now set Harvey's current understanding of hisMarxism in full context by ending this prologue with a summary of the trajectory ofmy three cuts at his project.I argued in chapter 1 that Harvey's critical theory appeared to be afoundational one, legislating a particular reading of current cultural and economictransformations. Moreover, in the absence of clearly and carefully phrasedstatements about the reach of Marxism vis-a-vis other critical theories, and in lightof the absence of detailed historical exemplification of theoretical concepts, TheCondition of Postmodernity appears, at worst and despite Harvey's best intentions,to be rather dogmatic, bespeaking a 'dream of unity.' I sought then to explainHarvey's lapses and silences in the following terms: his inattention to non-Marxiantheory in his reading of postmodernism/ity might, I suggested, be due less to someblithe totalizing impulse, and more to the current 'crisis of Marxism', hence hisconcern to re-assert Marxian theory; his inattention to concrete history might, Iargued, be seen to arise from a concern to identify and alert us to general socialprocesses behind the complexities of everyday life, not from an ignorance of theway that empirical inquiry might bring his theoretical concpets into question. Inchapter 2 I pursued these themes further. I suggested there that while Harvey isindeed concerned to make some very general claims about the constitution ofsociety, that concern arises from an analysis of what he sees as a specific socialsystem - capitalism - with globalizing behaviours, and not from a concern to masterthe Social tout court . Thus, if we place The Condition of Postmodernity within the171larger corpus of Harvey's writings we see that, far from seeking to totalize Society itis an account of the totality of capitalism. However, I then argued that this exclusivefocus on capitalism nevertheless implicitly excludes non-Marxian theory and formsof political practice, and that these other concerns must be considered as centralaspects of a critical human geography, in both the disciplinary and lived sense.This then led to me to arrive at the conclusion that historico-geographicalmaterialism must be considered strictly as a critical theory of capitalist society andhence judged on those specific terms.Chapters 1 and 2 might be seen as delimiting the 'external' boundaires ofHarvey's Marxism. I have sought in this chapter to pursue the 'internal' dimensionsfurther by spelling out how the specificity of Harvey's critical theory entails aparticular conception of science and its accountability to historically [andgeographically] identifiable social processes and practices. But I have also offereda 'neutral', 'descriptive' sketch of Harvey's project as it stands today, taking hisstatements at face value rather than subjecting them to critical scrutiny. I do this inorder to make clear Harvey's programmatic self-understanding of Marx and of hisown Marxism, and hence I use this prologue as a 'best presentation' of Harvey'sproject, a background series of claims against which to measure the next threechapters. In what follows I attempt to trace these claims through to the level ofsubstantive theorizing. I am therefore engaging in an internal examination ofhistorico-geographical materialism by taking it on its own terms. I cannot, however,pursue every aspect of Harvey's project as I have presented it, and frequently haveto assume the validity of some of Harvey's presuppositions in order to elucidate hisparticular theoretical claims.172Chapter 5THEORY-HISTORY-SCIENCE: THE VALUE THEORY OF LABOUR In this chapter I want to pursue the linkages between theory, history andscience in such a way as to elucidate what we might call the 'methodological' or'procedural' tenets of Harvey's Marxism, his way of investigating capitalism. 1 Thevehicle I use is the labour theory of value. This focus on method is by no meansexhaustive and, while of interest in its own right, is intended to serve as anecessary precursor to the next chapter. The focus on value theory is also anecessary prelude, but additionally serves to establish the specificity of Harvey'sMarxism? I begin with a 'straight' presentation of Harvey's understanding of Marx'svalue theory, implicit in which is his conception of Marxian 'method', and then seekto elaborate and reflect critically upon the distinguishing features of the latter.Marx's labour theory of value has long been the site of intense debate withinand outside Marxian circles, debate marked by more than a little vitriol andconfusion. While it is generally agreed that value theory is absolutely central toMarx's understanding of historical materialism, that is to what we now call a'classical' version of Marxism, there is a great difference of opinion about how oneshould interpret that understanding. On the one hand there are those who seevalue theory as metaphysical or self-contradictory and would dispense with italtogether. On the other there are those [few] like Harvey who regard their more1 The term 'method' has the connotation of being a fixed and settled set of principles with which towork. I do not intend that meaning to apply to Harvey: I use the term more loosely to designate a way ofinvestigating a subject matter.2What I mean by this is two things: one, that value theory is organically linked to and a presuppositionof Harvey's account of the subject of capital, and that in retaining that theory Harvey is in a minorityamong present day Marxists.173careful reconstructions as being in tune with "what Marx himself said." 3 Harvey'sunderstanding of value theory certainly poses a challenge to our conventionalways of thinking and to conventional interpretations of Marx. Moreover, it is vitallyimportant to be clear about Harvey's claims on this aspect of Marx's work because,as he says, it is the pivot upon which the whole analysis of capitalism turns." 4It is I think helpful, prior to presenting Harvey on value theory, to establishthe object of that theory, because it is confusion over this that, for Harvey, explainsmuch of the confusion over the nature and intent of Marx's later works. 5 It has beencommon both within and outside Marxian circles to see value theory as a theory ofprice, whereby labour values are intended to explain or determine the prices atwhich commodities exchange within a capitalist economy; it is then literally alabour theory of value. However, as Elson has cogently argued, the object ofMarx's theory of value was not price, but labour. In particular, Marx's project was toseek "an understanding of why labour takes the forms it does and what the politicalconsequences are"6 ; or, as Harvey asks drawing on Elson, "how and why doeslabour under capitalism assume the form it does?" 7 Labour exists in all societies ofcourse, it is in Marx's vivid words, "the living, form giving fire... the transitoriness ofthings, their temporality", but this fluidity, this potential, is always 'fixed' in sociallyand historically specific ways. Value theory is then an attempt to criticallyunderstand the particular fixing of labour under capitalism, to understandspecifically3Harvey, 1982, p 364 lbid.15See Harvey op. cit. p 35-366Diane Elson, 1979, The Value Theory of Labour', in Elson [ed]Value London: CSE Books, p 1237Harvey op. cit. 37174why labour is expressed in value, and why the measurement of labour by its durationis expressed in the magnitude of the value of the product. These formulas, whichbear the unmistakable stamp of belonging to a social formation in which the processof production has mastery over man [sic.], instead of the opposite, appear to thepolitical economists' bourgeois consciousness to be as much self evident and natureimposed necessity as productive labour itself.8I will say more about the political implications of value theory later. For now it isenough to note that Marx's value theory is for Harvey about understanding aparticular way of life, it is thus a central pinion of historico-geographical materialismand not some narrow theory of price. As Elson argues, it is, then, perhaps betterdescribed as a value theory of labour , seeking to understanding why undercapitalist social relations labour is represented by the value of its product and thepolitical consequences of this. The key assumption here is that the experience oflabouring, in a specific mode, is an absolutely central aspect of our dailyexperience of life on the planet, an assumption borne out by Marx's and Harvey'sthesis that capitalism is compelled to generalize its specific social relations to everwidening spheres. For the sake of argument I too accept this assumption in whatfollows.It is also, in the second place, helpful to say something about one aspect ofHarvey's 'method' prior to presenting it through value theory, because of thedifficulties posed by entering into a 'blind' reading of that theory. The openingchapters of Capital, where Marx presents the key categories of his value theory, arenotoriously difficult and this difficulty presents itself in Harvey's work too. Thereason is Marx's relational way of proceeding, a method of analysis which is forElson the second distinctive aspect of value theory aside from its object. This8Marx, 1976, Capital I, trans. B Fowkes, London: Penguin, p 174-5175'philosophy of internal relations', as Oilman calls it, means that no concept can beunderstood in Marx's work aside from its relations with others within the totality ofcapitalist society. As Harvey puts it in regard to value theory, "We cannot interpretvalues ... without understanding use values and exchange values, and we cannotinterpret the latter categories without a full understanding of the first."9 This is, ofcourse, an illustration of the dialectical method to which I referred in the lastchapter, and, as Harvey says, "it imposes a great deal upon the reader. We areforced to grope in the dark, armed with highly abstract and seemingly a prioriconcepts we have very little understanding of, working from perspectives we arenot yet in a position to evaluate." 10 For those unfamiliar with the details of a'classical' version of value theory I thus apologise for the apparent opacity of whatfollows, but the meaning of concepts presented carte blanche should becomeclearer as the exegesis proceeds. 11The major source I draw upon to reconstruct Harvey's understanding ofvalue theory is the first chapter of The Limits to Capital. Because that chapter isclosely tied to the substantive concerns of the rest of that book let me make it clearthat what follows is, on Harvey's terms, a series of 'one-sided abstractions': thedialectical method precludes for Harvey any kind of last word or closure. Secondly,because the content of the chapter is organically linked to the particular theses ofThe Limits to Capital I am not going to follow Harvey's reconstruction chapter andverse. Instead, I present value theory in such a way that it is directly relevant to theconcerns of the next chapter, while nevertheless remaining true, I hope, to thenature and intent of Harvey's presentation.9 Harvey op. cit. 210Ibid.11 Although, precisely because of Harvey's dialectical/relational method some of the concepts Idiscuss must necessarily remain apparently a priori and ad hoc.176A VALUE THEORY OF LABOUR1. The content and form of value theoryThe phase of analysis: from the commodity to value 12Marx begins Capital by focusing on the commodity, the concrete, immediateand elemental form in which wealth appears in the societies in which the capitalistmode of production dominates. But the commodity has a triple character Marxargues, because it is the material embodiment of use value, exchange value andvalue. It is part of Marx's relational method to discuss relational pairings in turn aspart of his attempt to build up a richer picture of how labour is represented undercapitalism. Let us begin, then, by examining use value and exchange value.Use Value/Exchange ValueAs Harvey puts it, "At the basis of Marx's conception of the world lies thenotion of an appropriation of nature by human beings in order to satisfy their wantsand needs."13 Thus commodities have a 'material side', a qualitatively distinct usevalue : hence one cannot drive a washing machine but one can certainly cleanclothes with it. Use value refers, then, to the form of the commodity body itself.However, that an object has a use value is not sufficient to designate it as acommodity. It is in the act of exchanging use values that objects become121 borrow this subheading from Elson op. cit. p 151131Harvey op. cit. p 5177commodities, and it is "these transactions - so fundamental to daily life undercapitalism - [that] constitute the 'world of appearance' or the 'phenomenal form' ofeconomic activity. -14 In the act of exchange, then, the product embodies a secondcharacteristic that specifically differentiates it as a commodity, that is an exchangevalue, or value-form . Exchange value is an expression of a commodity's capacityto exchange against other commodities. Thus in exchange commodities achieve acommon form in which their different use values are, as it were, suspended.Marx makes several important contrasts between exchange value and usevalue. First, whereas use value in intrinsic to the commodity body, "the value-formof the commodity ... is its social-form. -15 I will say more about this shortly. Second,whereas use values are qualitatively incommensurable, exchange valueexpresses the quantitative commensurability of commodities. Third, while productsof all epochs possess use value, exchange value is a property which distinguishesthe commodity precisely as such a form:the value form ... is not only the most abstract, but it is also the most universal form,taken by the product in bourgeois production, and stamps that production as aparticular species of social production, and thereby gives it its special historicalcharacter. 16Exchange ValueNalueIt seems, Marx argues, that the ratios in which commodities exchangedepend upon the whim of buyer and seller; hence exchange value cannot be14 Ibid. 915 Marx, 1867, 'The Form of Value', Appendix to the first German edition of Capital I, ed. F Engels,trans. S Moore and E Aveling, New York: Lawrence and VVishart, 1967, p 4916 Ibid. 80178inseperably connected with commodities. However, this is not so because we seein capitalist society that the exchange value any one commodity can be expressedin terms of definite quantities of all others. From this Marx draws two importantconclusions for his theory of value:Therefore, first: the valid exchange values of a given commodity express somethingequal; secondly, exchange value, generally, is only the mode of expression, thephenomenal form, of something contained in it, yet distinguishable from it. 17This something equal Marx terms value . However, it is crucial to insist that value isnot the same as exchange value, even though it cannot be understood except inrelation to it as we shall see.Marx then considers what value is. Because commodities cannot exchangein terms of their use values Marx reasons that the unit of exchange must be anabstraction from those use values. Once we follow this line of thought the "onlycommon property left", Marx argues, is "that of being products of I abour." 18Exchange value is thus the expression of the labour bestowed in the commodity,or, more accurately, socially necessary labour . I will say more about the lattershortly.But let us turn to the second of Marx's conclusions: why should value, thusconceived, assume the distinct form of exchange value? The answer lies for Marxin the nature of value. Value, for Marx, is a "purely social reality" 1 9 , it is anabstraction that arises out of the social process of commodity exchange, but it is not17 Ibid. 3618 Ibid. 3819 Ibid. 47179a material reality, physically graspable or palpable. That is, it has no phenomenalexistence independent of the corporeal form of the commodity. As Marx puts it,"Value does not stalk around with a label describing what it is."20 Since valuecannot be derived from use value then it is the exchange value aspect of thecommodity that must be the "mode of expression, the phenomenal form" of thevalue which is "contained in it yet distinguishable from it." However, at this stageMarx's derivation of value is not only similar to Ricardo's, but appears tautologous:"the standard of value is that aspect of human labour which creates value!"21 This iswhere the importance of a third distinction becomes apparent.Concrete Labour/Abstract LabourLabour, like commodities, can be viewed as the embodiment of two aspects.Labour always entails a particular kind of activity producing particular use valuesand it is this that Marx terms concrete or useful labour . Like use values particularconcrete labours are incommensurable.However, in his initial justification for seeing value in terms of labour wehave seen that Marx points to the fact that it only as quantities of labour thatcommodities become commensurable and therefore exchangeable. Oncecommodities exchange according to the same unit of measure then they alsoexchange in definite quantities. But this then also assumes that the differentconcrete labours embodied in commodities are themselves abstracted from. Thusabstract labour is a category Marx introduces to designate commodity producinglabour in terms of its common characteristics, or more precisely those common2°Ibid. 7421 Harvey op. cit. p14180characteristics that make it productive of values. Abstract labour is thus a socialcategory, referring to an aspect of the labour of all those involved in the productionof commodities. Thus the social substance captured by the category value is notjust labour but abstract labour and hence "value is conceived of, in short, as asocial relation."22However, we can only identify abstract labour post festum , after aproducer's product has found a market. Until a commodity is exchanged we haveno reason to believe that it is anything other than the product of private, concretelabour. Upon exchange, however, that specific labour is brought into a relation withthe labour of others:when we bring the products of our labour into relation with one another as values, it isnot because we see in these articles the material receptacles of homogeneoushuman labour. Quite the contrary: whenever, by an exchange, we equate as valuesour different products, by that very act, we also equate, as human labour, the differentkinds of labour expended upon them. We are not aware of this, nevertheless we doit.23In Elson's words, in these conditionsabstract labour comes to have a 'practical truth' because of the unity of human labour,its differentiation simply in terms of quantity of labour, is not simply recognized in amental process, but has a correlate in a real social process, that goes on quiteindependently of how we reason about it 24221bid.1523Marx op. cit. 7424Elson op. cit. p 150181But that truth cannot find immediate expression for, like value, it is a socialabstraction, and it must instead be objectified in the phenomenal form of thecommodity in its exchange value aspect. Hence it is that Marx begins Capital:the simplest social from in which the labour product is represented in contemporarysociety ... is the ' commodity'I suggested above that exchange value is the representation not simply ofhuman labour but of socially necessary labour. I then followed Marx to the pointwhere that labour is more properly seen as abstract labour. But abstract labour, assuch, is not measurable. Marx's solution is to introduce the concept of 'sociallynecessary labour time', that is "the labour required to produce an article under thenormal conditions of production and with the average degree of skill and intensityprevelant at the time."25 Time then becomes the measure by which abstract labouris defined, and it is socially necessary because it is an abstraction from andaveraging out of the particular labour times involved in the manufacture ofparticular goods. It arises, then, only in the course of exchange and is thus also acategory referring to a real social process.The phase of synthesis: from value to moneyMarx has now brought us to a point where we can more fully understandwhat the commodity represents: value, the substance of which is objectifiedabstract labour. This is what Elson calls the 'phase of analysis' where we movefrom a simple social form to an identification of its constituents. In this phase we25Marx cited in Harvey op. cit. p 15182concluded that the equivalence of commodities presupposes the objectification ofthe abstract aspect of labour, but did not show how such objectification can takeplace. This is, as Elson notes, a puzzling conclusion, as Marx indicates when hetalks of "phantom-like objectivity of abstract labour as embodied in commodities." 26The phase of synthesis is intended to elaborate on this process of objectificationand how abstract labour becomes the dominant aspect of labour within capitalism.Marx's 'law of value' refers to the social process whereby money, themedium of exchange, is the immediate form through which the objectification ofabstract labour is achieved. The problem is, then, to explain the process by whichabstract labour becomes 'objectified' as the value of one particular commodity,money. Marx reasons that for abstract labour to be a real social category it must beexpressed objectively as a thing which is materially different from the particularcommodity from which that labour is abstracted and yet which is common to thatand all other commodities that enter into exchange. In a sort of idealizedreconstruction of the genesis of the money form of value, Marx shows how the riseof money as a separate material embodiment of value, and hence of abstractlabour, goes hand in hand with the development of an exchange economy.In a barter economy commodities can assume what Marx calls 'equivalent'and 'relative' forms of value. However, as exchange relations proliferate and manydifferent commodities are brought into a common relation it becomes imperativethat a social equivalent emerge to mediate the world of commodity exchange, andthat equivalent is money. Thus26Marx op. cit. p 128183the relative values of all other commodities can ... be expressed in terms of thismoney commodity. Value' consequently acquires a clearly recognizable, unique andsocially accepted measure. The shift from many different [subjective and oftenaccidental] determinations of exchange value to one standard money measure isproduced by a proliferation of exchange relations to the point where the productionof goods for exchange becomes 'a normal social act. 27Money, then, necessarily crystallizes out as a universal equivalent in which allother commodities have their abstract labour objectified, their value represented.The physical form of this equivalent is, in Marx's words, "the visible incarnation, thesocial chrysalis state, of all human labour."28 Money is thus also a uniquecommodity whose "specific social function, and consequently its social monopoly[is] to play the part of universa/equivalent in the world of commodities." 29However, in the form of money abstract labour is not just objectified: it isalso, as Elson insists, rendered as the dominant aspect of labour in the sense thatthe concrete aspect is constantly subsumed. Concrete labour is not of courseobliterated: how could it be, for it is the very labour that produces commodities asuse-values and it as use-values that most commodities are wanted. However,because the concrete aspect of labour is precisely not objectified in the money formof value it is not immediately apparent as an aspect of commodities.But Marx takes these two points about abstract labour a step further. Forwhile abstract labour attests to the resolutely social nature of production, the actual27Harvey op. cit. p1128Marx, 1976, Capital I , trans. B Fowkes, London: Penguin, p 15929 Ibid. 162. Italics added. That within capitalist societies there is a tendency for one commodity toseparate out and hold a social monopoly on direct exchange with all other a commodities providesempirical warrant to Marx's argument.184act of exchange gives no clue as to the origin of the value it embodies. As Marxputs it in his seminal discussion of the 'fetishism of commodities',the relations connecting the labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, notas direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are,material relations between persons and social relations between things. 30The point then is that, in Harvey's words,the exchange of commodities for money is real enough, yet it conceals our socialrelationships with others behind a mere thing - the money form itself. The act ofexchange tells us nothing about the conditions of labour of the producers ... andkeeps us in a state of ignorance concerning our social relations as these are mediatedby the market system.31Commodity exchange, through the medium of money, while only comprehensiblein terms of certain essential social relations between people nevertheless serves toconceal those relations behind the phenomenal forms they generate. The capitalistmode of production, then, is special in that the logic of particular 'blind' socialprocesses render social relations opaque.The theory of surplus valueThus far neither Marx, nor Harvey, have said much about the particularproduction relations within which commodities are manufactured. To understandthese we must pay a little more attention to the role and nature of money.30Marx quoted in Harvey, op. cit. p 1731 Harvey op. cit. p 17185With the advent of a social system where money acts as universal equivalentwithin the realm of exchange a form of circulation develops of the nature M-C-M,which begins and ends with the same commodity, money. "The only possiblemotivation for putting money into circulation on a repeated basis", Harvey argues,"is to obtain more of it at the end than was possessed at the beginning. Aquantitative relation replaces the exchange of qualities . Money is thrown intocirculation to make more money - a profit. And money that circulates in this way iscalled capital ."32 Thus, Harvey continues, "we arrive at the most fundamentalquestion one can possibly ask of a capitalist society: where does profit comefrom?"33Since money has been defined as the material representation of value, thencapital can be seen as a process of the expansion of value, what Marx calls surplusvalue . Two implications follow from this, Harvey argues. First, a 'capitalist' is anyeconomic agent who puts money into circulation to make more money. Second,there is a necessary relation between the capitalist form of circulation and thedetermination of values as socially necessary labour time. This is an importantproposition as Harvey notes and thus deserves to be explained properly.The capitalist form of circulation as depicted above clearly entails aninequality because capitalists possess more money [i.e. values] at the end of theprocess than they held at the beginning. However, the exchange process in whichvalues are established is based upon a principle of equivalence : commodityexchange takes place on an equal and fair basis. This contradiction then poses aproblem: "How can capitalists realize an inequality, AM, through an exchange32 Ibid. 1333Ibid.186process which presupposes equivalence?" 34 The answer cannot, Harvey argues,be found in the realm of exchange because of the equivalence principle, theabrogation of which would cause social instability. We must look then to the realmof production . 35Following Marx, Harvey argues thatProduction occurs in the context of definite social relations. The social relation thatdominates under the capitalist mode of production is that between wage labour andcapital. Capitalists control the means of production, the production process and thedisposition of the final product. Labourers sell their labour power as a commodity inreturn for wages. We presuppose, in short, that production occurs in the context of adefinite class relation between labour and capital 36Labour power is, then, a commodity. Its use value is the capacity to fashion usevalues of produced goods, that is to labour concretely. Its exchange value, inaccord with the rules of commodity exchange, is set by the socially necessarylabour time required to reproduce that labour power at "a certain standard of livingand with a certain capacity to engage in the work process." 37 Thus, the labourersells the use value of her/his labour power in return for its exchange value, in theform of wages.However, labour power is a very special kind of commodity. Capitalists,because they purchase the right to deploy labour as they wish for a certain length34 Ibid. 20-2136Because Marx assumes, until volume three of Capital, that commodities trade at their values [andhence that there is no distinction to be made between values and prices], the problem of the origin ofprofit becomes synonymous with the question of the expansion of values.36Harvey op. cit. p 22. Italics added.37 Ibid.187of time, can organize the production process so that workers produce more valueduring that period than they receive. Labour power thus has the special capacity toproduce surplus value, and the gap between this surplus and the value received byworkers is a measure of exploitation.There is thus a pivotal distinction in Marx between labour [in the abstract]and labour power. "[Abstract] labour", Marx argues, "is the substance, and theimmanent measure of value, but has itself no value:38 To think otherwise would, asHarvey puts it, suppose that we could measure the value of value itself. What thelabourer sells is not labour, which is the substance of value, but labour power - "thecapacity to realize in commodity form a certain quantity of socially necessary labourtime. " 39 This leads then to a fundamental conclusion, that the self expansion ofvalue develops most fully and freely on the basis of capitalist production. Theproduction of value, and of surplus value are, under capitalism, part and parcel ofeach other.Thus, Harvey concludes,Marx has now pulled together all of the logical threads of a complex argument. Hebegan, as we did, with the simple conception of the commodity as an embodiment ofuse value and exchange value. Out of the proliferation of exchange he derived thenecessity for money as an expression of value and showed a necessary relationbetween the capitalist form of circulation and the determination of exchange ratiosaccording to socially necessary labour time. He has now shown us that thecontradiction this generates between the equivalence presupposed by exchangeand the inequality implied by profit can be resolved only by identifying a commoditythat has the special characteristic of being able to produce greater value than it itself38Marx quoted in Harvey, ibid. 23391bid .188has. Labour power is such a commodity. When put to work to produce surplus value itcan resolve the contradiction. But this implies the existence of wage labour. All thatremains is to explain the origin of wage labour itself. 40Class relations and the capitalist principle of accumulationIf the class relation between labour and capital is at the heart of Marx's valuetheory, then this two class model is explicitly an abstraction from the complexities ofsocial formation as Harvey insists 41 and Marx makes clear in his essays such asThe Eightenth Brumaire. The essential point for Harvey is that this class relation isnevertheless an historical one, and so too is wage labour and, specifically, theselling of labour power.Beneath the veil of individuality and equality in the realm of exchange, Marxpoints up quite different processes where freedom is drastically circumscribed forthose selling their labour power. The reason is because of the compulsion ofcapitalists to compete. Since each capitalist is compelled to seek a profit then theystrive to increase "exploitation in the labour process relative to the social averagerate of exploitation." 42 On Marx's account this can proceed in two ways: by theextraction of absolute surplus value by extending the length of the working day, orby the extraction of relative surplus value by improving the efficiency of the labourprocess. The consequences for the labourer are mainfold. In general they imply aloss of control of the labourer over the nature, conditions and products of theirlabouring activity. In the face of the depredations of capitalists labour is forced toconstitute itself, particularly at moments when production relations are being40lbid 2441 Ibid.42 Ibid. 29189restructured with a consequential loss of wage for example, as a class to opposethese depredations. It is in the realm of production, then, that we must necessarilysee relations between whole social classes and, specifically class struggle .In The Limits to Capital Harvey, like the Marx of Capital, goes on to show,dialectically, how value theory internalizes and embodies this class relation and ahost of other contradictions inherent to capitalism. Value theory is crucial then,because "it helps us understand, in a way no other theory of value can, the intricatedynamics of class relations ... , of technological change, of accumulation and all itsassociated features of periodic crises ... "43 But the importance of Marx's valuetheory for Harvey is not quite captured even here. It's "revolutionary" 44characteristics reside more fully in its "unity of rigorous science and politics." I willbe saying more about science shortly, but let me end this reconstruction ofHarvey's reading of Marx's value theory by attending to the 'organic' links betweenthe knowledge it offers and the political consequences this has.2. The political implications of value theoryThe question of the politics of value theory and, indeed, of historicalmaterialism could be the subject of a separate thesis. I simply want to point out thatfor Harvey a materialist analysis of capitalism contains within itself, within the veryconcepts it deploys, the possibility, to borrow from Colletti, of subverting andsubordinating to itself the conditions from which it stems, that is capitalism itself[see chapter 7]. Let me provisionally illustrate this point by briefly dwelling on thequestion of abstract and concrete labour.43 Ibid. 36"Ibid. 37190As Harvey insists, in his general appraisal of value theory, an appreciation ofThe discipline imposed by commodity exchange, money relations, the social divisionof labour, the class relations of production, the alienation of labour from the contentand product of work and the imperative 'accumulation for accumulation's sake' helpsus understand both the real achievements and the limitations of human labour undercapitalism. This discipline contrasts with the activity of human labour as 'the living form-giving fire', as the 'transitoriness of things, their temporality', and as the freeexpression of human creativity. The paradox to be understood is how the freedomand transitoriness of living labour as a process is objectified in a fixity of both thingsand exchange ratios between things. Value theory deals with the concatenation offorces and constraints that discipline labour as if they are an externally imposednecessity. But it does so in the clear recognition that in the final analysis labourproduces and reproduces the conditions of its own domination. The political project isto liberate labour as the 'living form-giving fire' from the iron discipline of capitalism 45In regard to abstract and concrete labour, then, value theory for Harvey helps usunderstand how labourers come to be seen not as individual sensuous beings butas commodities, sellers of labour power, bearers of abstract labour and producersof value. Paradoxically, the very social relations of which labour power is aconstituent are rendered opaque by the logic of their operation, between productionand exchange, and individuals come to see themselves and others not in terms oftheir concrete particularities but as bearers of abstractions embodied,phenomenally, in the possession of things, notably money. I would also suggest thatHarvey's concern with concrete labour has an important geographical inflectiontoo. For, as I will argue in the next chapter, the subsumption of concrete labour isalso about the subsumption of the specific qualities of place. Concrete labournecessarily takes place in specific geographical contexts whose importance to45Ibid.191human agents is not measurable in terms of capitalist abstractions and I will suggestthat this 'ontology of place' is important for Harvey's sense of where a discussion ofpost-capitalist social relations might begin.However, through Marx's insistence that the concrete, useful aspects oflabour, while subsumed, are always present, the subjective and conscious aspectsof labouring activity - labour power as the maker of the conditions of its subjection -are always present in the analysis, suggesting both the limits and historicalspecificity of the reign of value. The political problem is thus, according to Elson,"to bring together these private, concrete and social aspects of labour without themediation of the value forms, so as to create particular, conscious collective activitydirected against exploitation. Marx's theory of value has, built into it, thispossibility. "46This latter claim, that value theory and, indeed, historico-geographicalmaterialism, has built in to it practical consequences, an anticipatory intent, is atonce an appealing and contentious one. Appealing because to see knowledgeand politics as organically linked suggests that a scientific understanding ofcapitalism is a potentially powerful lever for social change: this is immanent critiquein its strongest sense. Contentious, not only because it is a vexed question whetherand how the 'ought' inheres in the 'is', but because when put in the wrong hands itcan become a licence to legislate on the 'correct' course of action; indeedBenhabib sees Marx as being guilty of normative totalization, a charge I return tolater. Harvey, I will argue in chapter 7, is, however, much less sanguine about thepowers of historico-geographical materialism. Because if, as I am suggesting,46 Elson,op. cit. 174192Harvey sees the theoretical endeavour as a specific and necessarily modest one,then, at best, it is capable of offering a guide for action, what Marx called a 'guidingthread'. This becomes particularly clear in our present times if we refer, once again,to the 'loss' of the working class within the present social formation: in order fortheory to properly address its audience it must ultimately make sense of the verycomplex and diverse interests and wants of these working people.THE HISTORICITY OF CATEGORIESIf, as Norris argues, there is currently a certain ennui with social theory onboth the right and the left , it is partly because theory is seen as 'impractical',divorced, or at least significantly removed, from the concerns of everyday life. Or, inDuncan and Ley's terms, [Marxian] theory succumbs to 'literalism', to an impos[t]ureof abstract categories onto the complexities of real world events. 47 However, Isuggested in the last chapter that a key claim of Harvey's Marxism is that thecategories of science are part of the society they depict: in Marx's words, they 'bearthe stamp of history." 48 What might this mean?The term 'history', particularly in the Anglophone word, has a connotation ofconcreteness and specificity, those detailed empirical occurences that constitutethe nifty gritty of everyday life. Indeed, this is the way I implicitly used the term inchapters 1 and 2. In this way 'history' is frequently opposed to 'abstraction', a termderived from the Latin to mean a withdrawal or separation in thought or in objectivematter of fact in order to focus attention on some part or aspect of an object or47Duncan and Ley op. cit. p 5048Marx op. cit. p169193system. 49 Harvey sees theory as a set of [organically linked] abstractions I think,and I will say more about the importance of this concept for his epistemologyshortly. But what makes his position distinctive is that he does not counterposeabstractions [theory] to empirical 'history'. The categories Harvey uses are thussupposed to be historical yet, as it were, non-empirical. This is what Patrick Murray,in his study of Marx's science, calls 'empiricism in the second intension.'50 Harveydoes not, however, elaborate upon what he means by the historicity of categories; itis implicit within his substantive theoretical inquiries. I thus want to draw uponMurray's account in order to render explicit Harvey's meaning because I think hisreading of Marx is extremely close to Harvey's own.Murray argues that, "though it has attracted little attention fromcommentators, the distinction between general and determinate abstractions isfundamental to Marx's conception of scientific knoweldge." 51 General abstractionsare trans-historical generalizations, categories that pick out commonalities acrosshistorical epochs. But as such and in themselves they are of little value becausethey are unable to grasp the specificity of a subject matter in its precise historico-geographical form. Since, as Harvey insists, historico-geographical materialism isa scientific study of capitalism, then it must necessarily capture that subject matterin terms of what Murray calls determinate abstractions which capture a particularobject in its specificity.49Melvin Rader, 1979, Marx's Interpretation of History, New York: Oxford University Press, pp 150-5150Patrick Murray, 1988, Marx's Theory of Scientific Knowledge, New Jersey: Humanities InternationalPress, p 11351 Ibid. 121194A case in point is the category of labour , which we might render to labour ingeneral. This category which, as Marx says, "seems... completely simple" 52 , was akey category of the political economists of Marx's time and implicated in severaltheories of value other than his own. However, while this category "is old as thehills", nonetheless, "grasped economically in this simplicity, 'labour' is just asmodern a category as the relations which produce this simple abstraction."53 . WhatMarx appears to be saying here is that "labour" is not a simple category with onemeaning, but two categories. The first we can call an abstract category of labour, isa general abstraction to the effect that production in all epochs requires humanlabour. The second, is the concept of abstract labour which I have already referredto. Abstract labour is a determinate category because it refers to a specific processthat is particular to capitalism. If one accepts the logic of Harvey's reconstruction ofMarx's value theory then this must be the case, and it is this insistence on historicalspecificity that at the root of Harvey's point that the notion of "human labour" can tellus little about the creation of value under capitalism. The ultimate goal of theory,then, is to build up a picture of capitalism using concepts that are increasinglydeterminate to the point where, to quote Harvey quoting Marx, "the life of thesubject matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror." 54The power of theory for Harvey, then, is precisely that it is a part of history:the categories of historico-geographical materialism are those of capitalism itself.More specifically, then, two important points follow. First, definite historicalconditions are supposed for the production of particular categories. Second, those52Kar1 Marx, 1973, Grundrisse, trans. M Nicolaus, New York: Vintage Books, p 10553Ibid.54Harvey op. cit. p 38195categories, and hence theory, are only valid within definite historical boundaries.Science is about elucidating the specificity of its object.However, the importance of recognizing and specifying the historicity ofconcepts resides not simply in their necessity for the practice of science. ForHarvey also follows Marx, I think, in suggesting that the reverse side of historicalcategories is non-historical categories which, when they purport to explain reality infact conceal the specificity of capitalism by understanding it through generalabstractions; and to the extent that reality is captured through general abstractionsit becomes naturalized Thus, when Harvey talks of conventional value theories asbeing "ahistorical and universal statement[s]"55 he is, I think, making two points thatarise out of his adherence to Marx's value theory. First, because the phenomenalappearance of capitalist social processes give no clue about the content and formof those processes then an effort of theoretical labour is involved to elucidate thehistoricity of concepts. We cannot, for example, conclude that 'labour' is anabstraction that only attains a 'practical truth' as part of a process of capitalistproduction simply by observing various concrete labour activities. Secondly, then,the classical political economists misidentify an historically specific category andposit it as the general and "unitary bland abstraction 'Iabour'" 56 , therebynaturalizing it.If these comments on the historicity of concepts do indeed capturesomething of Harvey's mode of theorizing, then a key point would seem to followabout the nature of theory that contradicts several prevailing interpretations ofhistorico-geographical materialism. Theory, for Harvey, is neither so 'abstract' that,55 Ibid. 1556Derek Sayer, 1987, The Violence of Abstraction, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, p 130.196while it purports to say something about the real world, it is in fact quite divorcedfrom it, nor are theoretical constructs intended to grasp reality definitively in itsactuality. Rather, Harvey is insistent that we pay attention to the content and form oftheoretical categories: theory has consequences precisely because thosecategories do say something about important general processes under capitalism,yet, to reiterate, those categories stand in a relation of tension with thecomplexities of empirical reality. This point is lost in critiques like Graham's, wheretheoretical knowledge is seen to be a "passive reflector" of reality and hence insome sense quite adequate to it.57However, we can go somewhat further. For I would suggest that Harvey'spoint about the specificity of theoretical knowledge has, as a condition ofpossibility, an insistence on the instatement of epistemology. That is, there is a non-identity between thought and reality. 58 Now there is, of course, nothing new in thisepistemological position [although HG Wilson seems to have erected the issue intoan entire book59. But the issue is important to attend to because it helps specify thesense of theory that I think Harvey wants to promote.I am not about to enter into a high sounding discussion of Marxianepistemology, except to say that Harvey's explicit comments on the naturalism ofMarx's position in the closing pages of Social Justice have, I think, found a verydirect articulation in his later works. In that book, Harvey argues that for Marx theoryis a process of "reflective abstraction. "e0 Indeed, the non-identity of thought and57Julie Graham, 1990, op. cit. p 458This view of Marx is widely held and can be found in its details in virtually the same form in the variousworks on Marx of, for example, Callinicos, Murray and Sayer.59H G Wilson, 1991, Marx's CriticaVDialectical Procedure,  London: Routledge60Harvey op. cit. p 274197reality is implicit in Marx's distinction between general and determinateabstractions, in that the former are precisely non-concrete and trans-historical.Because thought is not the real it cannot thus claim to capture it. As Marx famouslyput it in a critique of Hegel,Hegel fell ... into the illusion of grasping the real as the result of the self-in-itself-comprehending, in itself deepening, and out of itself self-moving thought, while themethod of climbing up from the abstract to the concrete is only the way for thinking toappropriate the concrete, to reproduce it as something concrete in the mind. But inno way [is it] the origination of the process of the concrete itself. 61It was Althusser who most famously popularized the series of criticaldistinctions Marx makes between 'the concrete-real' and the 'concrete in thought',the 'power of abstraction' and so on. 62 Harvey does not explicitly operate withthese particular distinctions 63 , but I think they are, nevertheless, there in his work.For example, his recent comments about how representation always intervenesbetween us and our attempt to understand the world 64 finds substantive validationin, for example, his understanding of 'concrete abstractions', that is "concepts ...available to us in everyday speech as descriptions of how goods are produced,sold and consumed ..."66 , such as money. I will be saying more about the role of theparticular abstraction money in the next chapter. For now let me simply note thatthe term 'concrete abstraction' embodies an epistemological position. Theconcepts are concrete in that they designate actual, phenomenally observableobjects, but they are abstractions precisely because they are concepts , that is61 Karl Marx, Grundrisse, p 10162Louis Althusser, 1990, 'On the Materialist Dialectic', [see particularly the section on The Process ofTheoretical Practice] in For Wm, London: Verso, pp 161-218.63Atthough they did appear in the 'Conclusions and Reflections' of Social Justice.64See Harvey, 'Introduction' to The Urban Experience, p 766Ibid. 9198categories specific to thought, products of a sensuous thinking being. Indeed, thisepistemological position is also implicit in Harvey's use of the dialectical method:concepts cannot be presented definitively because a dialectical outworking of theargument will alter their meaning and add new determinations to them, and hencethose concepts cannot claim to capture the real in a final, definitive fashion. Theyare always 'one-sided abstractions' from the real.The two points I have sought to make, about the historicity of concepts andthe instatement of epistemology, I think help to clarify what for Harvey is at once thepower and the specificity [i.e. modesty] of theory. As they stand we might be contentto accept them and proceed onwards to investigate other aspects of Harvey's'method'. However, I think it is appropriate to register some problems here whichdeserve further investigation and which may lie at the source of, for example,Graham's charge that Harvey's work is guilty of trying to master reality.It is for Marx and Harvey a virtue of their theorizing that they insist on thehistorical specificity of categories: their power resides, as I have said, exactly in thishistorical acuity. At the same time Harvey claims that, because of the necessity forabstraction from the real in order to begin to comprehend it and because of theimperatives of the dialectical method, we must necessarily be modest about thepowers of theory: concepts are always at a remove from the reality they depict.However, at the end of his discussion of value theory Harvey quotes Marx in hisdiscussion of the mode of presentation of Capital, a presentation that, naturally,occurs only after an [at least provisional] understanding of capitalism has benattained: Only after this work is done can the actual movement be adequately199described" so that "the life of the subject matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror." 66There is, then, an intimation here that historico-geographical materialism offers thepossibility of a cogent and faithful representation of the reality of capitalism. Indeed,within the presentation of value theory, concepts such as abstract labour areseemingly argued to have a real historical existence , to be real processes that, toreiterate Elson, have a 'practical truth' under capitalism.Now there is nothing unusual or necessarily pernicious in the quest foraccurate knowledge of reality. Harvey's science is a realist one and he sees Marxas a realist scientist, attempting to capture in concepts the object of study in asmuch detail and with as much accuracy as is possible. A radical insistence on theautonomy of thought and language leads only to the idealism into whichAlthusser's project, for example, lapsed. However, it seems to me that whenHarvey's realism is placed alongside his dialectical method and instatement ofepistemology a degree of uncertainty arises about the status of concepts such asabstract labour and, indeed, of value theory itself. For on the terms of the dialecticalmethod concepts such as abstract labour cannot have a 'practical truth', that is beaccurate representations of really existing processes, because the concept ofabstract labour, as presented within value theory, is a one-sided abstraction, it isshort on determinations that can only be elucidated in the course of an explorationof other facets of the capitalist mode of production.This problem arises particularly in the work of commentators like DerekSayer whose own understanding of Marx appears to be very close to Harvey's. 67Sayer acts as if abstract labour, for example, is a category of almost66Harvey, 1982, op. cit. p 38. The same comment appears in The Urban Experience, p 1067See Sayer op. cit. and Marx's Method, op. cit.200unimpeachable historical acuity, and, following Oilman, is celebratory of the factthat there is a 'historicity' to Marx's categories. Harvey also sees the concepts asbeing part of the history of capitalism and so a question arises: is, as Graham andothers suggest, Harvey after all claiming to capture, definitively, the real? In otherwords there is a seeming contradiction here: Harvey wants historico-geographicalmaterialism to be a self-conscious, open ended mode of inquiry, yet he naturallywants to claim some kind of epistemological realism for the categories he utilizes.But let us leave this question open and go on. Sayer says little aboutdialectics. We can then argue that Harvey escapes the contradiction I havehighlighted because his dialectical method precludes closure and hencecategories are always open. This is, as argued in the last chapter, what Harveywants to argue. The conclusion then follows that we cannot understand the fullmeaning of labour theory of value without an understanding of the entirety ofMarx's work: "there is", as Marx says, "no royal road to science." 68 I think there isvalidity in this position, and one of the reasons I have not critically appraised thedetails of value theory is because it is quite simply too big a task if we take Harvey'sdialectical position seriously.However, if we go with this dialectical position then I think that where Harveydoes err is in his presentation of value theory as if it is somehow a separate theoryof "seemingly secure" concepts, that is a labour theory of value, that thus standsat the start of the presentation. It is precisely this kind of perspective that has lain atthe root of much of the misunderstanding of value theory. The abstract andapparently arbitrarily introduced aspects of the theory arise because it is68Marx quoted in Harvey, 1982, op. cit. p 1201organically linked with the rest of Marx's work and cannot be seen apart from it anduntil that work is understood. But when the theory is seemingly posited as cogentunto itself then accusations like Graham's, and Trevor Barnes's69 , arise, that itembodies 'essential relations' that stand, definitively, to explain 'the rest', when I donot think this is the position Harvey wants to argue. The real task, then, in offering atruly powerful assessment of the labour theory of value is to take Harvey on his ownterms and trace its links with the whole corpus of his work. That must, however, bethe subject of another thesis.I have suggested that for Harvey part of the power and purchase of scientifictheory resides in the historicity of categories. But if we are to gain a fullerunderstanding of what Harvey means by science then I think we have to attend tothe relationships between them, that is Harvey's claim to operate with a philosophyof internal relations. It is to that issue that I now turn.INTERNAL RELATIONS AND DETERMINATION It has long been the case among critics of Marxism that it is guilty ofeconomic determinism, the accusation that the economy, even in the famous lastinstance, is seen as the prime motor of social life, the key player mapping thecontinent of history. With regard to Harvey's work this criticism is well establishedtoo: the accusation of determinism levelled by Duncan and Ley has reappeared inrecent critiques of Harvey's work. Listen, for example, to the words of RosalynDeutsche in her critique of The Condition of Postmodernity:  " Harvey's premise [is]that relations between economic and cultural practices remain primarily ... a stable69Trevor Barnes, 1989, 'Place, Space and Theories of Economic Value: Contextualism andEssentialism in Economic Geography', TIBG N.S., no. 14: pp 299-316202process of one-way determination." 70 In a much shorter review of the book GillianRose suggests that Harvey invokes that old and crude metaphor of base-superstructure to illuminate the connections between economic and social life. 71More ambivalently, Michael Dear suggests that on occasion Harvey "returns cultureto its subordinate status in the superstructure of commodity-producing society," 72while, more generally Barnes has agreed with Graham, and suggested that Harveydoes indeed reduce social life to essences. 73This accusation of determinism can, I think, be decomposed into two claims.First, that what we conventionally call the 'economy' is, materially, the mostimportant aspect of life under capitalism in that it causes changes in other realms oflife. Second, and conversely, those other realms are somehow less material,lacking causal powers and essentially dancing to the tune of the economy. Theassumption underlying both claims is of certain integral and independent variables['economic' relations] causing others to appear or change, and I think thisaccurately captures, for example, Graham's thesis about essentialism. I want toraise some questions about both claims over the next few pages with a view toencouraging a closer, more rigorous reading of Harvey's conception ofdetermination under capitalism.Let me say immediately that I think the criticism of economic determinism isquite understandable when its target is The Condition of Postmodernity. Thecriticism appears legitimate, I think, because Harvey is strong on the 'economic'70Deutsche op. cit. p 1771 1991, 'Review of Postmodern Geographies and The Condition of Postmodernitv',  Journal ofHistorical Geography, 17, 1, pp 118-121721991, 'Review of The Condition of Postmodernitv', AAAG, vol. 81, no. 4, p 53673Barnes and Graham op. cit.203side of his story about postmodernity but weak, as I argued in the case of fascism,on the 'cultural' side. Indeed, I chose to follow Deutsche's characterization ofHarvey's argument as a base-superstructure model precisely because there isinsufficient evidence within the text to signal that any other concept ofdetermination is at work. The asymmetry encourages the view that the 'non-economic' aspects of capitalist relations are of secondary importance and lack realintegrity and materiality. However, I do not think Harvey wants to conceive of lifeunder capitalism in deterministic terms in the sense outlined above. In fact, there isa good deal of textual evidence in works prior to The Condition to support the viewthat Harvey's notion of determination is different to determinism , and in waysconsequential for how we view his Marxism. However, before I say more about thislet me add that I am not arguing that the sense of determination that I present belowis the only one extant in Harvey's work. To make that claim would involve athoroughgoing analysis of all Harvey's writings, a task I do not pursue here.I take my cue from Bedell 011man's Alienation, one of the few commentarieson Marx on which Harvey has explicitly drawn since the publication of Social Justice and the City. I am not going to recount 01!man's argument in any detail,except to say that the 'Philosophical Introduction' to his book is a rigorous, clearand concerted attempt to show that Marx was a relational thinker. Now, I havealready suggested part of what this means in my discussion of Harveys [Marx's]dialectical method. But to speak to the question of determination we have to takethe discussion in a slightly different direction. As Oilman puts it, referring to some ofthe categories that critics sees as 'determinants', theyappear to include in their meanings part of the reality which Marx says they'determine'. Thus, property relations as a system of legal claims came under the204heading of superstructure, but they are also a component of the relations ofproduction which 'determine' this superstructure 74011man's central claim here is that because Marx sees capitalism as a relationallyconstituted, that is organic, whole, then it is folly to see him as positingautonomous, discrete variables which are somehow able to influence the rest,which are thus passive and conditioned. And this is, let us be clear, a claim aboutthe operation of captialism as a real phenomena. Oilman is not simply claiming thatthe meaning of key concepts with which, for example, Marx begins Capital, changeas their internal relations with other aspects of capitalism are gradually illuminatedin the course of analysis, that is as a feature of dialectical method. 011man's claim isthat the dialectical nature of capitalist reality itself means that the 'economic'moments cannot be considered except as inextricably intertwined with theputatively 'non-economic' moments of capitalism.The notion of internal relations may still be somewhat opaque, the conceptof determination implicit in it even more so, so let me concretize the discussion bymaking further reference to the labour theory of value. I suggested at the beginningof the chapter that the labour theory of value has often seen it as a theory of price.The connection that is generally made, as illustrated in the reconstructions of Dobb,Meek and Sweezy75 , for example, is between socially necessary labour timelocated in the sphere of production and prices located in the sphere of circulation,with the one driving the other, with labour time the "key causal factor" as Meek putsit.76 Harvey calls this the "'building-block' approach -77 to Marxism and explicitly7401Iman op. cit. p 775 Maurice Dobb, 1947, Studies in the Development of Capitalism, International Publishers: New York; Donald Meek, 1967, Economics and Ideology and Other Essays,  London: Chapman and Hall; PaulSweezy, 1962, The Theory of Capitalist Development, London: Dennis Robson76Meek, ibid. 9577Harvey op. cit. p 2205distinguishes his own and Marx's way of proceeding from it. What does thisalternative way of proceeding entail?Elson is of some help here because she explicitly seeks to conjoin the issueof internal relations with that of determination in Marx's work in a way that can bevery accurately mapped into Harvey's reconstruction of value theory. Let me beginby reiterating, in Marx's words, one aspect of value theory:What exclusively determines the magnitude of value of any article is therefore theamount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for itsprod uction.MElson argues that there has been a tendency to misread value as exchange valueor price and so see it as a dependent variable. However, we know that Marx andHarvey distinguish value from exchange value, and so in the above quotation Marxis temporarily considering the relation of value to socially necessary labour time.So is, Elson asks, Marx then offering a definition of value where 'determine' meansto 'logically define'? No, because Marx insists that value is not the same as sociallynecessary labour time: "it is an objectification ... of a certain aspect of that labourtime, its aspect of being simply an expenditure of human labour power in general,i.e. abstract labour."However, this is a peculiar kind of objectification because "notan atom of matter enters into the objectivity of commodities as values", it isphantom-like because commodities are "congealed quantities of homogeneoushuman labour "79 yet this not apparent when they are considered simply asphysical objects. I will say more about the importance of the chemical metaphorshortly.78Karl Marx, 1976, p 12979Elson op. cit. p 132206But perhaps, as Elson suggests, we have been looking in the wrongdirection: for what about the relation of value and exchange value? If value is anobjectification of a quantity of socially necessary abstract labour time andexchange value is the quantity of one commodity which is exchanged for a givenquantity of another, surely these are our two separate variables, the onedetermining the other?" 80 However, it is clear in Marx's value theory that valuecannot stand on its own independent of exchange value but is in fact manifestedthrough exchange value. Value would simply be a metaphysical category without apractical truth if it were not organically tied to general commodity exchange. As wehave seen, as exchange develops then money necessarily crystallizes out asuniversal equivalent and becomes the universal embodiment of value, that is aform of value. This is precisely why Harvey argues that money cannot be'externally' introduced to mediate exchange as if it were an unbiased numeraire. 81Thus value, labour time, exchange value and money [and price] are not distinctlydiscrete variables but all relationally tied to each other: the very meaning of eachcannot be understood without reference to the others, there is continuity as well asdifference between all of them.Both Elson and Oilman point to Marx's frequent use of chemical metaphorswithin the language of Capital. Such metaphors are particularly evident in Harvey'spresentation of v