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The cult of jargon

Business bullshit has moved on, so why hasn't social theory bullshit changed since the 1990s?

By Sam Leith   August 2010


I had a funny experience the other day, while reading a book I’d been sent for review. I found myself feeling like an undergraduate again. This was a history book at the social theory end of things—and it wasn’t so much what it said as the way it said it that filled my mouth with the taste of soggy cake and lime tea.

It was such fun. I went through playing buzzword bingo. “Disruptive”—Bing! “Porous”—Bing! “Overdetermined”—Bing! “Complexly dialectical”—Bing! Bing! “Problematise”—Bing! “Subaltern”—Bing! “Liminal space”—Bing! Bong!

This was the sort of writer who prided himself on using “structure” and “privilege” as…

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