Moves from the discourses of dialectical negation to cultural-populist affirmation--that is, from Hegel to Madonna Studies--in order to envision a mode of critique that can persuasively describe and explain the cultural contradictions of late capitalism.
From Hegel to Madonna presents a genealogical survey of the discourses of negation and affirmation associated with the work of Hegel, Adorno, Deleuze, and Guattari; then, rotating from the philosophical to the political-economic axis, turns to the problem of a general economy of "commodity-fetishism. " Drawing on the work of Marx and Freud, Miklitsch mobilizes a new, renewed understanding of "commodity fetishism"--what he calls the commodity-body-sign--in order to examine received notions of consumption and commodification. The aim is to envision a dialectical mode of critique, at once critical and affirmative, that can account for the cultural contradictions of late capitalism. The author also analyzes the phenomenon of Madonna Studies, reading the interest in the pop star as a sign of the academic times, a symptomatic figure not only of cultural studies in all its celebratory, cultural-populist excess but of a critical discourse responsive to postmodern culture in all its politically complex mutability.
Robert Miklitsch is Assistant Professor of English at Ohio University.
"Specific readings of other critical arguments, especially the discussion of materials about Madonna, are often brilliantly illuminating in Miklitsch's juxtaposition of multiple angles of analysis. On a larger scale, the informing trajectory of Miklitsch's argument with its ambition to link philosophical, psychoanalytic, semiotic, and economic accounts of 'commodity fetishism'constructs a similarly multifaceted form of understanding. Thus, it's an argument that always requires a reader on the stretch, able to shift suddenly from one discourse to another while still preserving an awareness of where you've just been. " -- Evan Watkins, The Pennsylvania State University