How the physicist Alan Sokal hoodwinked a group of humanists and why, 20 years later, it still matters.
An oral history by Jennifer RuarkJanuary 01, 2017
"The hoax was not all particularly about science studies. It was about an academic culture. People in the humanities, especially people who were particularly ambitious, were aware that the fortunes of the sciences were rising in academia, and the fortunes of the humanities were declining. So to have a scientist sign on to poststructuralism was such a coup that they didn’t bother to read his article carefully.
Part of what poststructuralism was about was an effort of young academics to stake out a particular approach, and that approach pit culture against politics and economics. What they were saying was, unlike those old fuddy-duddy economic determinists, we understand that the main category is culture. But then we had the recession of 1998, and then in 2008 there was the economic meltdown. It became really difficult to argue that economics wasn’t important."