[Note 1]

The seed of this discourse was Fredric Jameson's essay "Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," New Left Review 146 (July-August 1984): 59-92. His essay provoked Mike Davis's reply, "Urban Renaissance and the Spirit of Postmodernism," New Left Review 151 (May-June 1985): 106-113, and then a nearly simultaneous batch of major books, all following Jameson's hypothesis that Los Angeles is to be treated as the exemplar of late capitalism: David Harvey,The Condition of Postmodernity : An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford, 1989); Edward W. Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (London, 1989); Mike Davis, City of Quartz : Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (London, 1990). Jameson refined and expanded his argument in Postmodernism: Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham, 1991). It is very important, however, to note that Jameson, Davis, and Harvey, all worked out their accounts as frank variations on Karl Marx. These are materialist works in significant ways (even if "culture" is the material), and all presuppose the possibility of certain knowledge about the postmodern condition, and about Los Angeles, even though Jameson and Harvey are very concerned about our slipping grasp on that knowledge. The more thoroughgoing postmodern concern with Los Angeles rejects any "metanarrative" (e.g. Marxism) and seeks to achieve a total skepticism. For this view, see Micheal Dear, "The Premature Demise of Postmodern Urbanism," Cultural Anthropology 6 (November 1991): 538-52.