A Contribution to the Study of Galactic Dimensions by Shapley H.

By Shapley H.

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As a metaphor, it provides insight into the complex relationship between the macrological politics of economics and culture in the world system and their correlatives in materialist theory. As a concept, oscillation develops the notion that dynamism of this kind is a specific constituent logic of opposition and disarticulation. The movement between these levels is itself oscillatory, which will tend to weaken their autonomy while strengthening their mutual integrity. 2. Although I will have cause to mention oscillation's cognates in the physical sciences (without which, for instance, we would have no measure for time, no principle for electricity, and nothing as luxurious as radar), it is its metaphorical possibilities that have proved more suggestive for the metatheory of the present work.

The nature of this force (akin to the architectonic that Alan Sinfield has elaborated, that which produces "faultlines")3 provides the conceptual ground for a rearticulation of materialism. But what kind of materialism does this imply? Most of the present chapter will answer this question obliquely through a consideration of the explanatory power of oscillation as a metaphor (metaphor less as an inspirational tool but more as a marker of material change, 21 22 METAPHORS (DF MATERIALISM) including the mutability of materialism itself).

Between the class struggle and its representation as "political," we must resort to metaphors.... [L]et us say that it is in the (historical) vacillation of ideology that politics appears. — ETIENNE BALIBAR What constitutes materialism, in particular, a materialism apposite with the complex contours of culture? The question is fraught with difficulty given the long and detailed history of materialism's problematic relationship to cultural material and its conceptual space. 1 Yet this is not just a key to the contradictions endemic to a materialist aesthetic but also a procedural clue to a materialist analysis of the present.

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