all this talk of the end of history is really just an attempt to "exorcise the spirit of Marxism" from our collective memory. And then he went on to look at the some of the "spectral" metaphors in Marx, whose description of capitalism is full of vampires and ghosts and the living dead.Though I came to hauntology by way of attempts to apply it to music--"sonic hauntology"--I'm interested in this idea of history "haunted by the stuff we exclude". Really, I always have been, even if I didn't articulate it as such. I was trying to touch on some of this when I wrote about the common thread I perceived running through old folk music and Blood Meridian and so forth. Then there is the question of who the "we" is that is doing the excluding. And who is or isn't served by certain historical myths.
Along the way, Derrida coined the term "hauntology" as a pun on "ontology." Ontology is the study of being, of what exists. Derrida wants to say that our ideas of reality are "haunted" by the stuff we exclude—the things we don't want to remember or acknowledge. The Holocaust, for example, or the slave trade. Our sense of Western history as the progressive march of "freedom" and "civilization" is haunted by genocide and enslavement.
After quoting part of the same k-punk passage that I did in my earlier post ("It's no accident that hauntology begins in the Black Atlantic, with dub and hip-hop. Time being out of joint is the defining feature of the black Atlantean experience"), Mike says: "This is what's at stake in the term "hauntology" losing its precision: the memory of specific historical experiences that called for specific aesthetic responses." He then proceeds with a short, interesting discussion of Rastafarianism and Dub, of which the following is only a small part:
Like Rastafarianism, Dub is a response to a specific historical situation. Artists like [Lee "Scratch"] Perry rose to that occasion. If Byrne and Eno [with their My Life in the Bush of Ghosts] were inspired by Perry's work and wanted to appropriate it for their own concerns, that's great. But when critics describe B&E as these "nerdy," "cerebral" musicians experimenting with electronic music, they start to construct just another history of the Western Avant-garde that ignores the intellectual contribution of Black artists. Perry was as much a theoretician as B&E.Read the rest here.
I expect I'll return to these themes in the future. For now, the upshot, for me, is that Spectres of Marx is yet another book that I feel like I have to read and that, again, I need to get myself acquainted with Dub.