Poststructuralist emphasis on aesthetic (and romantic) trends can be constructively articulated with an Enlightenment ethos which appeals to constant self-interrogation and self-creation. Within this perspective, privileging differences, linguistic creativity, and debunking critique rightfully challenges antidemocratic epistemologies and political trends while illumining partial (and negatively exclusionary) assumptions within more democratic ones. Marx's approach is less vital to contemporary critique to the degree that it neglects these positive facets of poststructuralist emphasis on difference and the Other. In this respect, poststructuralist critiques temper rationalistic Enlightenment residues within Marx's approach and reinforce its orientation toward plurality and utopianism (in the sense of fuelling socialist visions for better futures).
This summation of some the complex relations pertaining to a fruitful tension between Marx and the postmodernism debates, while not exhaustive, concludes one of the main claims of the book. The work of Marx does provide an interpretive key for the postmodernism debates insofar as they share a common concern with critique and the project of social change, which underpins criticisms of the Enlightenment and modernity. Furthermore, it contributes toward fulfilling the stronger claim that whatever theoretical vitality and political relevance the debates exhibit is indebted, in no small measure, to the positive connections which can be constructed between these debates and Marx's materialist critique interpreted as a situated knowledge approach.
Among those aspects of lasting value in Marxism, Habermas identifies "a conception of history as an evolutionary learning process, and an insight into the selective nature of capitalist rationalization," Callinicos, Against Postmodernism, p. 113. These Habermas incorporates into his theory while attempting to address what he notes as the "nonexistent Marxist theory of democracy," p. 119.