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What is Postmodernism? Essay

Logically, postmodernism literally refer to the “era” or “developments after modernity”. It indeed refers to the actual dissolution or termination of the social forms that are linked to modernity (Sarup p. 165). 1979 saw the entry of the term postmodernism in the philosophical lexicon. Postmodernism illustrates a new school of thought, reflection and even action that are related in one way or the other to the numerous factors that are constantly changing in the modern world.

Postmodernism constitutes a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices that utilizes certain concepts to destabilize some other concepts. (Howe pp. 513-532). Whereas post-modernity refers generally to the description of either philosophical or social period the current generation is living in, postmodernism is normally associated with cultural expressions of various sorts. Certain scholars for instance believe that postmodernism’s cultural works present possible solutions to the vast problems faced by cotemporary society.

A postmodern condition comprises a world that is predominant of the logic of capitalism with no consideration of the theories or policies of the natural world. Such a society is constantly under specific government agencies scrutiny with much emphasis on private lives of individuals (Sarup p. 165). A postmodern society experiences sophisticated technology that has drawn separation within its people due to increased reliance on these technologies. Modernity stems on the faith in “one grand theory” unlike post modernity which rejects such totalizing theories but instead focuses on contingent theories.

One major distinguishing characteristic of modernity is that it rejects tradition unlike post-modernity which evaluates it more positively . Modernity can be identified and defined by “an obsession with evidence, visuality and visibility” (Leppert, Jim pp 19-35). Modernity comes with an increased movement of persons, goods and capital accompanied with a considerably intensified flow of information in areas that were otherwise separate. This kind of influence will usually extend past the boundaries of a local setting or area.

Consequently, various aspects of the society are standardized and perfected to effect mobility as well as significant development of routes via which the observable influences and elements travel. Specialization is another important characteristic that accompanies modernity. The numerous segments of the affected society becomes highly specialized and with increased interdependency among different areas (Sarup p. 165). It is also worth noting that the period of modernity traces its roots to one truth unlike post-modernity that stems its belief in multiple truths.

Many scholars in the modern society observe that art is defined and modeled strongly by the culture of a people. This has generated a lot of criticism on the post-industrial societies with many accusing them of abandoning universal criteria and objective standards in appreciating art. Otherwise, some postmodernist critics still feel that indeed it was the modern art that was a betrayal by failing to admit its own dependence on both context and situation.

Postmodernists have also suggested that post-industrial economy, unlike the modern economy, will see service and information being more important commodities than the usual goods (Felluga 2003). Other technologies like robotics and biotechnology may also eliminate some essential part of the modern society like the human labor. This will according to post-industrialists will liberate industrial proletariat from the ancient industrial revolution procedures. Post-industrial society emphasizes more on the work of the mind rather the usual manual work in the modern society.

Experts also observe that the roots of post-industrial society are the dying gasps of capitalism. Scarcity which is one of the important factors in modern economies may cease to exist and factories or other work place exercise more democracy with the workers allowed participating in making key decisions (Howe pp 513-532). Postindustrial society predicts maximum production with minimal use of raw materials. Postmodernism has faced a lot of criticism in the past with many critics accusing it of being unrealistic, idealistic and sometimes, even romantic.

Other group of persons also think that postmodernism is truly dangerous with a possibility of bringing progress to an end! (Norman pp 10-69). This they argue will eventually consign all of us to a steady state utopia with a “perfect” supply of all human needs while maintaining the status quo. The post-moderns on the other hand present their analysis as that which focuses on propagation of development with the utilization of the historical insights though not exactly the same as them.

This is indeed very difficult comprehend due to some facts (totalizing theories) imposed on our historical existence and even commend our destiny. At one point, postmodernism seem to reject technology yet some technological notions are contained within itself expressing the new direction of orientation of things. Such contradictions certainly make it very impossible to grasp the real ideas behind postmodernism. References Howe, David. “Modernity, Postmodernity and Social Work. ” Br J Soc Work 24 (October 1994): 513-532. Leppert, Richard. “The Social Discipline of Listening”.

In Aural Cultures, edited by Jim Drobnick, 19-35. (2004). Toronto: YYZ Books; Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery Editions. ISBN 0920397808 Sarup M. An Introductory Guide to Post-Structuralism and Postmodernism: University of Georgia Press, (1993) Felluga, Dino. “Modules on Hutcheon: On Postmodernity. ” Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. <http://www. purdue. edu/guidetotheory/postmodernism/modules/hutcheonpostmodernity. html>. (Accessed on May 09, 2009 at 11. 29am) Norman K Denzin, Images of Postmodern Society, SAGE publications limited (1991)


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