PostmodernismPostmodernism
What?What?
B&S: Postmodernism is:B&S: Postmodernism is:
1.1. A ‘period’A ‘period’
2.2. A cultural view associated with theA cultural ...
Discussion:Discussion:
 What are some of the key debatesWhat are some of the key debates
within postmodernism?’within pos...
Cultural Hierarchies:Cultural Hierarchies:
‘‘Theatre is lifeTheatre is life
Film is artFilm is art
Television is furniture...
 The TimesThe Times
 SupermanSuperman comiccomic
 Laurence Olivier film ofLaurence Olivier film of Pride and PrejudiceP...
Case Studies activityCase Studies activity
 Using the prompt sheet and yourUsing the prompt sheet and your
reading of B&S...
postmodernism in actionpostmodernism in action
 Teen TVTeen TV
 HorrorHorror
 CybercultureCyberculture
fromfrom HelplessHelpless (Season 3)(Season 3)
The gang are in the library researching possible causes of Buffy’s
loss of ...
fromfrom Buffy vs. DraculaBuffy vs. Dracula (Season 5)(Season 5)
Buffy has just staked Dracula. After everyone's left, a f...
from Shakespeare’s Henry Vfrom Shakespeare’s Henry V
This story shall the good man teach his son;This story shall the good...
fromfrom The GiftThe Gift (Season 5)(Season 5)
BUFFY: Stay close but don't crowd her. We'll follow in a
minute. Everybody ...
Postmodernism and HorrorPostmodernism and Horror
 Horror constitutes a violent disruption of theHorror constitutes a viol...
Postmodernism and cyberculturePostmodernism and cyberculture
 ‘‘Postmodernism’ is a term sometimes used toPostmodernism’ ...
Postmodernism and cyberculturePostmodernism and cyberculture
 Cyberculture enables us to be producers rather thanCybercul...
 Postmodernisms andPostmodernisms and
McLuhan’s Rear-View MirrorMcLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror
McLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror is:McLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror is:
 A way of describing our relationship with newA way of descr...
Levinson on McLuhanLevinson on McLuhan
The internet as new media:The internet as new media:
 Levels hierarchiesLevels hie...
Stances Toward Technological Determinism:
1.1. ExtremeExtreme (also called "strong" or "hard")(also called "strong" or "ha...
In opposition, two groups
downplay the role of
technology:
3.3. Socio-cultural deterministsSocio-cultural determinists pre...
To think about:To think about:
 Where would you place yourself?Where would you place yourself?
 McLuhan?McLuhan?
 Levin...
Further reading:Further reading:
Daniel ChandlerDaniel Chandler on technological determinism:on technological determinism:...
Terry L. Heaton: perspectives on the web,Terry L. Heaton: perspectives on the web,
the news and postmodernismthe news and ...
And for your amusement at the expense ofAnd for your amusement at the expense of
postmodern theorists and their impenetrab...
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08 postmodernisms and rearview

  1. 1. PostmodernismPostmodernism
  2. 2. What?What?
  3. 3. B&S: Postmodernism is:B&S: Postmodernism is: 1.1. A ‘period’A ‘period’ 2.2. A cultural view associated with theA cultural view associated with the periodperiod 3.3. A style with definable featuresA style with definable features …….... 4.4. A conceptual framework forA conceptual framework for analysing / approaching the aboveanalysing / approaching the above
  4. 4. Discussion:Discussion:  What are some of the key debatesWhat are some of the key debates within postmodernism?’within postmodernism?’  What are the defining features of post-What are the defining features of post- modern texts?modern texts?  In what ways can these beIn what ways can these be problematic?problematic?
  5. 5. Cultural Hierarchies:Cultural Hierarchies: ‘‘Theatre is lifeTheatre is life Film is artFilm is art Television is furniture’Television is furniture’ ………….... "I find Television very educational. Every time"I find Television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another roomsomeone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book."and read a good book." Groucho MarxGroucho Marx
  6. 6.  The TimesThe Times  SupermanSuperman comiccomic  Laurence Olivier film ofLaurence Olivier film of Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice  Buffy the Vampire SlayerBuffy the Vampire Slayer  La BohemeLa Boheme  McFlyMcFly  The SunThe Sun  The complete works of ShakespeareThe complete works of Shakespeare  BBC adaptation ofBBC adaptation of Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice  Jane Austen’sJane Austen’s Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice  The BeatlesThe Beatles  BachBach
  7. 7. Case Studies activityCase Studies activity  Using the prompt sheet and yourUsing the prompt sheet and your reading of B&S, suggest a media textreading of B&S, suggest a media text which you feel can usefully be definedwhich you feel can usefully be defined as postmodern.as postmodern.  Justify your choice.Justify your choice.
  8. 8. postmodernism in actionpostmodernism in action  Teen TVTeen TV  HorrorHorror  CybercultureCyberculture
  9. 9. fromfrom HelplessHelpless (Season 3)(Season 3) The gang are in the library researching possible causes of Buffy’s loss of powers XANDER: You know, maybe we're on the wrong track with the whole spell, curse and whammy thing. Maybe what we should be looking for is something like, um, Slayer kryptonite. OZ: Faulty metaphor. Kryptonite kills. XANDER: You're assuming I meant the green kryptonite. I was referring, of course, to the red kryptonite, which drains Superman of his powers. OZ: (thinks) Wrong. The gold kryptonite's the power-sucker. The red kryptonite mutates Superman into some sort of weird... BUFFY: (impatiently) Guys? Reality?
  10. 10. fromfrom Buffy vs. DraculaBuffy vs. Dracula (Season 5)(Season 5) Buffy has just staked Dracula. After everyone's left, a fog startsBuffy has just staked Dracula. After everyone's left, a fog starts forming, and Dracula reappears. As soon as Dracula has fullyforming, and Dracula reappears. As soon as Dracula has fully appeared, a hand appears and stakes him again. He gasps.appeared, a hand appears and stakes him again. He gasps. BUFFY:BUFFY: You think I don't watch your movies? You always comeYou think I don't watch your movies? You always come back.back. Dracula explodes into dust again. Buffy folds her arms andDracula explodes into dust again. Buffy folds her arms and watches. The fog begins to collect - again.watches. The fog begins to collect - again. BUFFY:BUFFY: I'm standing right here!I'm standing right here! The fog dissipates.The fog dissipates.
  11. 11. from Shakespeare’s Henry Vfrom Shakespeare’s Henry V This story shall the good man teach his son;This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world,From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; …But we in it shall be remember'd; … We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with meFor he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition:This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bedAnd gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaksAnd hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
  12. 12. fromfrom The GiftThe Gift (Season 5)(Season 5) BUFFY: Stay close but don't crowd her. We'll follow in a minute. Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn. she exits SPIKE: Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it? GILES: "We few...we happy few..." SPIKE: "We band of buggered..."
  13. 13. Postmodernism and HorrorPostmodernism and Horror  Horror constitutes a violent disruption of theHorror constitutes a violent disruption of the everyday worldeveryday world  Horror transgresses and violates boundariesHorror transgresses and violates boundaries  Horror throws into question the validity ofHorror throws into question the validity of rationalityrationality  Postmodern horror repudiates narrativePostmodern horror repudiates narrative closureclosure  Horror films produce a bounded experienceHorror films produce a bounded experience of fearof fear From: Pinedo, IC; (1997)From: Pinedo, IC; (1997) Recreational Terror: Women and the PleasuresRecreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewingof Horror Film Viewing; New York:SUNY; New York:SUNY
  14. 14. Postmodernism and cyberculturePostmodernism and cyberculture  ‘‘Postmodernism’ is a term sometimes used toPostmodernism’ is a term sometimes used to describe the age of computer technology anddescribe the age of computer technology and cybernetics, as coming after the era of factorycybernetics, as coming after the era of factory production [also known as ‘late modernity’]production [also known as ‘late modernity’] What other areas of resonance can you identifyWhat other areas of resonance can you identify between postmodernism and cyberculture/newbetween postmodernism and cyberculture/new technologies?technologies?
  15. 15. Postmodernism and cyberculturePostmodernism and cyberculture  Cyberculture enables us to be producers rather thanCyberculture enables us to be producers rather than consumers of texts – again, small, fragmentedconsumers of texts – again, small, fragmented production unitsproduction units  Studies of cyberculture often focus on multiple andStudies of cyberculture often focus on multiple and unstable identitiesunstable identities  Blurring of real and simulated – virtual realities, CGIBlurring of real and simulated – virtual realities, CGI  Blurring of cultural hierarchies – bricolage,Blurring of cultural hierarchies – bricolage, appropriationappropriation  Absence of narrative/cultural authority &Absence of narrative/cultural authority & single/scientific truthsingle/scientific truth
  16. 16.  Postmodernisms andPostmodernisms and McLuhan’s Rear-View MirrorMcLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror
  17. 17. McLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror is:McLuhan’s Rear-View Mirror is:  A way of describing our relationship with newA way of describing our relationship with new technology. We define the new through itstechnology. We define the new through its resonance with the familiarresonance with the familiar Eg:Eg:  electric keyboards look like pianos – why?electric keyboards look like pianos – why?  We still talk about ‘dialling’ phone numbersWe still talk about ‘dialling’ phone numbers  The ‘file’ icons on computer desktopsThe ‘file’ icons on computer desktops  The term ‘desktop’The term ‘desktop’ Hence, terms become divorced from contextsHence, terms become divorced from contexts
  18. 18. Levinson on McLuhanLevinson on McLuhan The internet as new media:The internet as new media:  Levels hierarchiesLevels hierarchies  Form more important than contentForm more important than content McLuhan as a technological determinist:McLuhan as a technological determinist:  People as the products/effects of the media,People as the products/effects of the media, rather than vice-versarather than vice-versa  diminishment of human controldiminishment of human control
  19. 19. Stances Toward Technological Determinism: 1.1. ExtremeExtreme (also called "strong" or "hard")(also called "strong" or "hard") technological deterministstechnological determinists:: InformationInformation technology (or some other) will radicallytechnology (or some other) will radically transform society and/or our ways of thinkingtransform society and/or our ways of thinking (or has already done so).(or has already done so). 2.2. In a more cautious variation of this stance,In a more cautious variation of this stance, weakweak (or "soft") technological determinists(or "soft") technological determinists present technology as a key factor whichpresent technology as a key factor which maymay facilitatefacilitate such changes in society orsuch changes in society or behavior.behavior. Commentators on technology take four main standpoints:
  20. 20. In opposition, two groups downplay the role of technology: 3.3. Socio-cultural deterministsSocio-cultural determinists presentpresent technologies and media as entirely subordinatetechnologies and media as entirely subordinate to their development and use in particular socio-to their development and use in particular socio- political, historical and culturally-specificpolitical, historical and culturally-specific contexts.contexts. 4.4. VoluntaristsVoluntarists emphasizeemphasize individualindividual control overcontrol over the tools which they see themselves asthe tools which they see themselves as "choosing" to use."choosing" to use. from: Technological or Media Determinism Daniel Chandler http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet11.html
  21. 21. To think about:To think about:  Where would you place yourself?Where would you place yourself?  McLuhan?McLuhan?  Levinson?Levinson?  How do you perceive the relationshipHow do you perceive the relationship between postmodernism andbetween postmodernism and technological determinism?technological determinism?
  22. 22. Further reading:Further reading: Daniel ChandlerDaniel Chandler on technological determinism:on technological determinism: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tecdet.htmlhttp://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tecdet.html  Imagining Futures, Dramatizing Fears:The Portrayal of Technology inImagining Futures, Dramatizing Fears:The Portrayal of Technology in Literature and FilmLiterature and Film  Technological or Media DeterminismTechnological or Media Determinism Passages from Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.  http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~kimble/teaching/cis/cis4.html Article reflecting on Cyberpunk, cyberspace & the global village: Marshall McLuhanMarshall McLuhan Meets William Gibson in "Cyberspace“Meets William Gibson in "Cyberspace“ by Michael E. Doherty, Jr.by Michael E. Doherty, Jr.  http://ibiblio.org/cmc/mag/1995/sep/doherty.htmlhttp://ibiblio.org/cmc/mag/1995/sep/doherty.html
  23. 23. Terry L. Heaton: perspectives on the web,Terry L. Heaton: perspectives on the web, the news and postmodernismthe news and postmodernism  TV News in a Postmodern World: Beyond the WorldTV News in a Postmodern World: Beyond the World Wide Web August 2004Wide Web August 2004 http://dirckhalstead.org/issue0408/heaton.htmlhttp://dirckhalstead.org/issue0408/heaton.html  TV News in a Postmodern World: The Rise of theTV News in a Postmodern World: The Rise of the Independent Video Journalist October 2003Independent Video Journalist October 2003 http://dirckhalstead.org/issue0310/tvpomo.htmlhttp://dirckhalstead.org/issue0310/tvpomo.html
  24. 24. And for your amusement at the expense ofAnd for your amusement at the expense of postmodern theorists and their impenetrablepostmodern theorists and their impenetrable writing…writing… ‘intellectual writing doesn't have to have any conscious direction at all’  http://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/postmodernhttp://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/postmodern  http://www.brysons.net/generator.htmlhttp://www.brysons.net/generator.html  http://www.info.ucl.ac.be/people/PVR/decon.htmlhttp://www.info.ucl.ac.be/people/PVR/decon.html How to DeconstructHow to Deconstruct Almost Anything--My Postmodern AdventureAlmost Anything--My Postmodern Adventure Chip Morningstar, ElectricChip Morningstar, Electric CommunitiesCommunities
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