Preface
n
This book has gone through several crucial transformations over
years of its writing. I began with primarily a thematic approach to p
noia in a large assortment of contemporary fictions. Initially, my
tempt was to show the relation between paranoia and postmoder
constructions of identity as one of difference and resistance, parti
larly within the historical framework of the cold war, but I modified
trajectory considerably when it became clear that the binary I was
constituting—between paranoia and schizophrenia, between paran
rigidity and postmodern multiplicity—was reductive of what I now
lieve to be an often complicitous relation between postmodernity
paranoia. Then, my enthusiasm for the topic flagged with die Wend
Germany and the illusory end of the cold war: paranoia was out; p
noia was past; paranoia was boring. Only when I began to read thro
thesuddenproliferationofworksbySlavojŽižek,toregardthecomp
progression of thought between Fredric Jameson’s The Political Unc
scious and his Postmodernism, and to reread Anthony Wilden’s mo
mental System and Structure, did it become apparent that I ought to
gard what I term ‘‘cultural paranoia’’ in this book symptomatically,
in so doing, see contemporary manifestations of paranoia as occurr
within a matrix of cultural pressures and forces that include natio
ism, global capitalism, and the formation of identity under postmo
nity. This discussion of paranoia thus takes place within an evolv
area of study that might be called ‘‘cultural pathology,’’ or more p
cisely—given the epidemic nature of contemporary paranoia—‘‘
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