Fleck Kristeva and conservativism

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Posted by Rainer Ganahl on November 23, 1996 at 13:23:03:

In Reply to: Kristeva - in the airplane posted by Robert Fleck on November 23, 1996 at 12:46:48:

: the second half of the book is, I think, much more ambiguous.
: Kristeva reexamins Aragon, Sartre and Barthes to find possible points of
: "revolt" in a posit-ideological world. In these pages, in fact, you find
: very much remarks which are surprisingly conservative. It is like a big
: preach about the decadence of the world since the sixties, which
: anti-american statements and a lot of flat sentences about the media society
: etc. At the beginning, I was surprised. But you have to relate this to some
: openly reactionary statements of Jean Baudrillard about contemporary art and
: culture, published earlier this year in the french newspapers "Liberation"
: and "Le Monde". For Baudrillard, the case is more evident: he allways was a
: conservative thinker, coming out of a "cultural criticism" which was a big
: tradition in the german and french conservativism, and it was allways a big
: misunderstanding to see Baudrillard as a thinker of modernity or
: post-modernity in the eighties. In private circles, Baudrillard had allways
: very conservative positions, in political terms, and the only difference
: with his new reactionary statements on contemporary art is the he now
: expresses openly what he allways had thought about contemporary art.
: The new book of Julia Kristeva is part of the same evolution in
: France, but more relativistic and less direct then the actual statements by
: Baudrillard. The very conservative views expressed by Kristeva today, are
: part of a shift which is typical for many authors of the so-called
: "structuralist" period in France. Many intellectuals who were structuralists
: in the sixties, then maoists in the seventies and "neo-baroque"-thinkers in
: the eighties, became supporters of conservative parties in France at the
: beginning of the nineties. You have to consider that Philippe Sollers, the
: husband of Julia Kristeva whose novels and esthetic positions she subscribes
: for several times in her new book, took part in the conservative election
: campaign of Edouard Balladur (a kind of old styled conservative politician,
: reprensenting "la vielle France" of the 18th century). Some aspects of
: Kristevas new book are directly related to this ideological shift in the
: intellectual circle of Sollers.
I do see your poins and unfortunately have to agree
also in the interview I made I was confronted with
a lot of "nouvelles formes du sacré" as opposed to
a politically interested thinking which I can't read
otherwise but along the line you said

concerning baudriallard, I gave also a talk at Columbia
where he confronted 1968 to be purely "reactionary"
it is an interesting strategy by Baudrillard to
denounce all the progressive moves that occured around
1968 and label it reactionary, i.e. to say the way he thinks
now.. I was surprised that the public didn't show
any reactoin... I talked to him afterwards about this
with such an insistance that he walked away from me
..... with Baudrillard there is a kind of a bitterness
and a disappointment involved that goes together
with a general ignorance of the fact that the world
keeps moving ahead also with le grands penseurs parisiens

Julia Kristeva on the other hand really believes in
what she says. there is no zynisism involed, no new trend...
it is more the fact that she becomes absorbed by a tradition she keeps
reading and quoting: St. Augustin and others....
needless to say that for me, the "new forms of the sacred" turn
into an irrational kind of metaphysics that doesn't
help us to resolve problems or make "revolts"...
In this sense, I guess we have to revolte against her...
Since she represents a powerful segment of actual contemporary
intellectual European live.

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