Modernism & Post Modernity


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  • consumption fragmentation (individualism) Identity from other sources Families (many options) Breakage with the past/tradition Education for what? Duality of media (choice/interchange) Covert control (CCTV etc) Global Science is only one source of knowledge – plurality of truths now We can now make spiritual choices that fit in with our identity and our own version of ultimate truth and meaning. Faith is now ‘up for grabs’ in the absence of absolute truth Emphasis on the centrality of style, at the expense of substance Recycling past cultures and styles – pastiche Playful use of ‘useless’ decoration Celebration of complexity and contradiction. Mixture of high and low culture. Sensitivity to the subtleties of image, language and signs Intermixing – different styles – collaging Accepting the collapse of distinction and difference Rejection of monolithic definitions of culture – celebrate pluralism and diversity Scepticism towards metanarratives and ‘absolutism’ Decline of the idea of only one source of meaning –truth. There is a rejection of science evident in concerns about the environment and the damage causes by industrialisation. People tend to look at the negative side of progress rather than see the positive benefits which can be seen by the rising tide of criticism of cars and transport policies. We are more influenced by other cultures and belief systems so that we use goods produced in a variety of countries, we eat foods from a variety of sources. We are more aware of popular cultures and they assume greater significance in our lives than ever before. The media control our perspectives and create our realities. Consumption and lifestyle define our status rather than work and income. We tend to reject politics in the traditional sense of world views and take on personal perspective politics such as feminism, pacifism, environmentalism or fundamentalism. We are less likely to view things as a traditional dichotomy (e.g. male vs. female) but to see things as places on a continuum (gender as a number of possibilities) Much of what we do and see is referential, for instance the media often need a previous knowledge of other, similar media forms to be understood. Media cultures are complex and difficult to assimilate. ( Independence Day draws on a long tradition of ‘B’ movies)
  • Religion in a post-modern age Faith could re-emerge as scientific thinking loses significance Religious symbols have new life in new contexts Faith is now ‘up for grabs’ in the absence of absolute truth People can blend elements of various faiths to suit their lifestyle Globalisation has divorced faiths from locations and cultures fundamentalism is a response to a moral vacuum People can make choices which are more personal and meaningful Collective worship no longer needs to be based on ‘face to face’ interaction How have traditional religious symbols been recycled. Where can we find crucifixes, pentangles, kaballah bracelets, buddhas etc
  • It ignores the ruling class use of the media as a tool of ideological domination It is wrong to claim people cannot distinguish between reality and media image By assuming all views are equally true, it becomes just as valid to deny the Nazi’s murdered millions as to affirm it Critics argue that we can use knowledge to sol Strengths: Postmodernism has tried to interpret the new social and cultural changes, such as the opening up of the Eastern Bloc. It has attempted to analyse the growing impact of mass media on society It challenged the absolutist positions of the old metanarrative It sees individuals as having choices to create pick and mix identities through consumerism.   Weaknesses: Postmodernism is a confusing theoretical approach, as different thinkers emphasise different aspects. In challenging the metanarrative, it is in danger if becoming a new theoretical position in itself. Postmodernism emphasises the cultural at the expense if the social and economic It fails to recognise the constraints on the individuals of the huge social inequalities that still exist based on economics, gender and ethnicity. It is seen as overplaying the role of the mass media and taking a relatively passive view of the individual as audience member. ve human problems
  • However, unlike postmodernists, Giddens and Beck believe we can make rational plans based on objective knowledge to reduce these risks and achieve progress.
  • Modernism & Post Modernity

    1. 1. A2 Theory and MethodsModernity and Post- Modernity
    2. 2. Mass Production Community life Family Science aided progress and finding the truth Social class Modernity Nationhood A belief incontinuity and Overt social situation control A role for A one-way education media Structure/security/place/stability YOU KNEW WHO YOU WERE
    3. 3. Fragmentation of social life Globalisation Search for has narrowed truth time and People less space likely to Modern age has lost the enlightenment follow rigid ideology Consumerism is all Postmodernism Greater pluralism in modern life The impact of ICT on social life No absolutes Culture andTransformation Traditional labels structures are of the self and categories fragmented (‘pick ‘n’ mix’) loose relevance Less predictable Confusion/lack of structure/ incessant choice YOU CREATE WHO YOU WANT TO BE
    4. 4. Post-modernism illustrated – ‘reality TV’ & ‘Disneyland’Reality TV illustrates the interchangebetween the consumer and the mediaThey are ‘real people’ who can beobserved and scrutinised. Disneyland is a simulacra. It is They do not entertain – rather than simulated reality. It is artificial – yet exist…they are a mish-mash of cctv ‘real’. surveillance and game show In the real world they are talentless It is a place that exists and is nobodys who are treated as stars accepted because our imagination makes it so. The fine line between reality and fantasy is ‘greyer’. The power of the symbol over substance
    5. 5. Modernity & Globalisation The Enlightenment Project• Modernist theories e.g. Marxism are part of the project- the idea that through reason and science, we can discover true knowledge and progress to a better society
    6. 6. Find evidence of your own contact with globalisation:1. Look at the labels in your clothes/shoes and find four different countries in which they have been produced.2. Identify four events in distant parts of the world that you have seen on TV in the last month.3. Identify four global brand names you have seen advertised in this country or, if possible, seen in other countries.
    7. 7. Globalisation- growing interconnectedness of societiesOccurring for several reasons:1. Technological changes e.g. Internet/ air travel2.Economic changes e.g. Growth of transnational companies (TNC’s)3.Political changes e.g. Fall of communism & growth of transnational bodies have created opportunities for global capitalism4.Changes in culture and identity
    8. 8. Rapid changes linked to globalisation have led to new questions:• What kind of society do we now live in- modern/ new postmodern society?• What kind of theory can explain today’s society?- postmodernism/new version of modernism?• The Enlightenment project- can we achieve true knowledge to improve society? Three theories offer answers: PM, theories of Late modernity, Marxist theories of PM
    9. 9. What is PM?
    10. 10. Postmodernism• We now live in a new era• There are no objective criteria to prove whether a theory is true therefore any theory claiming to have the truth about how to create a better society e.g. Marxism is a meta narrative- someone’s version of reality. They are no longer sufficient to make sense of our changing world• We should celebrate the diversity of views rather than seek to impose one version of the truth
    11. 11. • They do not accept the ideas of the Enlightenment project- do not believe in the power of Science to solve all social and environmental problems.• Media produces an endless stream of images, making culture unstable and fragmented; there is no longer a coherent set of shared values. People cease to believe any one version of the truth• Identity becomes destabilised: we can change it simply by changing our consumption patterns, picking and mixing media-produced images to define ourselves
    12. 12. What criticisms of PM are there? Page 255
    13. 13. Theories of Late Modernity• Unlike Postmodernism, theories of late modernity (TLM) argue that today’s rapid changes are not the dawn of a new postmodern era, but a continuation of modern society.• We are now in late or high modernity. Key features of modernity have now become intensified; e.g. change has always been typical of modern society, but now it has gone into overdrive.• TLM subscribe to the Enlightenment project.
    14. 14. Giddens reflexivity and high modernity• High modernity has two key features that encourage globalisation and rapid change:• Disembedding – no longer need face to face contact in order to interact. Disembedding breaks down geographical barriers and make interaction more impersonal.• Reflexivity: Tradition and custom no longer serve as a guide to how we should act.• We are thus forced to become reflexive – to reflect on and modify our actions in the light of information about risks.• This means we are continually re-evaluating our ideas. Under these conditions, cultures becomes increasingly unstable.
    15. 15. • Disembedding and Reflexivity account for rapid and widespread nature of social change in high modernity• By enabling social interaction to spread rapidly across the globe, they help to drive the process of globalisation
    16. 16. Beck: risk society• We now face new high consequence risks, e.g. environmental harm. Beck calls these ‘manufactured risks’ as they result from technology, not nature.• Like Giddens Beck sees late modernity as a period of growing individualisation, in which we become increasingly reflexive. Tradition no longer governs how we act. As a result we have to think for ourselves and reflect on the possible consequences of our choice of action
    17. 17. Evaluate TLM pg 257
    18. 18. Marxist Theories of Post modernity• Like Beck & Giddens (& unlike PM’s) they believe in the Enlightenment project for achieving objective knowledge and using it to improve society• However they agree with PM’s that we have moved from modernity to postmodernity• But do not see it as a new society but merely the most recent stage of capitalism• To understand modernity we must examine its relationship with capitalism
    19. 19. Flexible accumulation• Postmodernity arose out of the capitalist crisis of the 1970’s (end of the economic boom) which gave rise to a new way of achieving profitability (Flexible accumulation)• It involves the use of ICT, an expanded service and finance sector, job insecurity and working ‘flexibility’ to fit employers needs.• It involves production of customised products for ‘niche’ markets (rather than mass markets) and brings many of the features of postmodernity
    20. 20. The features include:• Customised products promote cultural diversity• Easy switching of production from one product to another• Leisure, culture and identity become commodities produced for profit• Global finance markets and ICT produce compression of time and space• It brings about political changes, especially the weakening of the WC movement. In its place, a variety of oppositional movements emerge e.g. feminism, environmentalism
    21. 21. Summary• We have moved from modernity to postmodernity however Marxist views differ in two ways:1. They retain a faith in Marxist theory as a means of explaining these changes2.They argue that the goal of Enlightenment project- to change society for better- can still be achieved