The Long Twentieth Century & The Cultural Turn: World-Historical Origins of the Cultural Economy

  • Benjamin D. Brewer James Madison University

Abstract

In this essay I link Giovanni Arrighi's world-historical framework in The Long Twentieth Centuryto debates about the "cultural turn" in global capitalism since the 1970s. I do so primarilythrough interrogation of the writings of one of the major figures in such debates: FredricJameson. In his Jameson's engagementwithArrighi's, he emphasizes the determinative influenceof finance capital on an expansion in the degree of cultural abstraction and fragmentation that isemblematic of the post-modern condition. Building on this linkage, I extend and elaborateArrighi's analysis of historical capitalism's cycles of accumulation, in which periods of materialexpansion give way to phases of financial expansion and accelerated restructuring of theorganizational and institutional foundations of the world-economy. I conclude that Jameson'sassertion of a link between the financialization of the world economy and post-modern culturalforms is best understand as a correlative rather than a causal relationship, for the growingsalience of finance capital and the new forms and degree of cultural abstraction are themselvesboth dimensions of the more fundamental socio-economic restructuring attending a period offinancial expansion.
Published
2011-02-26
How to Cite
Brewer, B. D. (2011). The Long Twentieth Century & The Cultural Turn: World-Historical Origins of the Cultural Economy. Journal of World-Systems Research, 17(1), 39-57. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2011.425
Section
The World-Historical Imagination: Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century in Prospect and Retrospect