Marxism’s double task
Postmodernist and poststructuralist theories have been widely praised for overcoming Marxism's tendencies of economism, determinism, class-reductionism, totalitarianism. This chapter raises the following objections: It was not postmodernism that taught Marxism how to overcome its economistic, deterministic, and class-reductionist tendencies. Firstly, it was rather Marxist critical theories, in particular theories of ideology and hegemony, that formulated a thorough and substantial critique of these tendencies. Secondly, most of the postmodernist and poststructuralist theories marked a serious step back from the analytical level of these theories of ideology and hegemony. In their majority, they delegitimized a Marxist critique of capitalism, successfully sidelined the influence of critical theories in academia and social movements, and thus functioned as an integral part of neoliberal ideologies. Thirdly, Marxist theories can and must certainly learn from postmodernist approaches, but they need to be both deconstructive and reconstructive, in order to reinterpret the fruitful insights in a renewed critical social theory.