PRINT September 1993

Culture’s In Between

A RECENT CHANGE in the writing of cultural criticism has left the prose plainer, less adorned with the props of the argument’s staging. Where once “scare quotes” festooned the text with the frequency of garlands at an Indian wedding, there is now a certain sobriety to semiotic and post-Structuralist celebrations. The “isms” and “alities”—those tails that wagged the dogma of critical belief—no longer wave new paradigms or problematics into being. The death of the author, or the interral of intention, are occurrences that arouse no more scandal than the sight of a hearse in a Palermo suburb. Critical practices that sought to detotalize social reality by demonstrating the micrologies of power, the diverse enunciative sites of discourse, the slippage and sliding of signifiers, are suddenly disarmed.

Having relaxed our guard, hoping perhaps that the intellectual modes we sought to foster had

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