Related Content

Related Overviews

Fredric Jameson (b. 1934)

Anna Freud (1895—1982) psychoanalyst

wish fulfilment

Claude Lévi-Strauss (b. 1908) French social anthropologist

 

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary theory and cultural studies

GO

Show Summary Details

Overview

political unconscious


Quick Reference

A concept created by Fredric Jameson to articulate the implicit political dimension of creative works. First proposed in The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (1981), the political unconscious draws on and adapts Freud's notion of wish-fulfilment and Lévi-Strauss's notion of the savage mind (‘pensée sauvage’) to construct the hypothesis that artistic works can be seen as symbolic solutions to real but unconsciously felt social and cultural problems. The task of the cultural critic is then to find the means of reconstructing the original problem for which the text as symbolic act is a solution. This approach to textual criticism turns not so much on the question of what does a particular text mean as why it exists in the form that it does.

Further Reading:

I. Buchanan Fredric Jameson: Live Theory (2006).S. Homer Fredric Jameson (1998).C. Irr and I. Buchanan On Jameson (2006).F. Jameson Jameson on Jameson: Conversations on Cultural Marxism (2007).


Reference entries