Definitions of postmodernism Post = after Modern = just now Post-modern = after the now – problem already – when does something that is modern become not modern? Modernism = starts in 1890s –a time of massive technological change, the 2nd wave of the Industrial Revolution Modernism is related to the Enlightenment project –a belief that scientific method could help push back the barriers of knowledge and bring about a world of order, security and knowledge (an idea which was literally tested to destruction with the dropping of the atomic bombs in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945
The Enlightenment – sciencewill take us forward?
Definitions of postmodernism Remember – a number of conflicting definitions – there is no definite right or wrong definition, make sure you discuss this in the exam Approaches to defining the term postmodernism society / culture / lifestyles are significantly different to 30, 50, 100 years ago Concerned with developments in the media, consumer society and IT These developments have an impact on our sense of identity and reality itself (French President Chirac “We are all Americans now” in the aftermath of 9/11)
Social media and its power –promo video http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla yer_embedded&v=zihI7fYeq2o# How Facebook changed the world…
Definitions of postmodernism 1870s – Chapman – first uses the term ‘postmodern’ to describe paintings he interpreted as being more advanced than Monet or Renoir 1917 – Pannwitz – nihilistic, amoral postmodern men (in the aftermath of WW1 and its huge cost in human life – approx 20m dead) 1947 – Toynbee – a postmodern age – western civilization had become troubled with social turmoil anxiety and revolution in the time since the start of The Industrial Revolution 1957 – Rosenberg – important social and cultural changes taking place which were technologically driven
In what ways can the term‘postmodern’ be defined?
Arguments for postmodernismLyotard Postmodernism is a period of time The era of postmodernism – from the 1960s and continuing The era is marked by technological change – it has become easy to travel to far-flung places and communicate with people thousands of miles away the coming of the ‘global village’ as prophesised by Marshall McLuhan in the early 1960s – a global village shaped by social networks? Easier transport – the jet engine Easier communications – the internet / web 2.0 & UGC / social networking / broadband
History of Now – Hello World http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8dsSBE WNBQ
Arguments for postmodernismLyotard An era like others – the Victorian era – the high water mark of the British Empire, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution The postmodern condition –the end of grand narratives – the big ideologies which seek to explain the totality of life Grand narratives which have declined – e.g. religion Religions seek to explain all facets of life in reference to their belief systems – bad things happen to you because you are ‘evil’ (in this life or a previous one…) In their place has come the rise of micro-narratives – smaller scale, single issue politics – such as the green movement or Fathers 4 Justice
What is Lyotard’s approachto defining postmodernism?
Arguments for postmodernismBaudrillard Makes outrageous statements - e.g. the Gulf War did not happen, 9/11 was a TV event Earlier cultures depended on face-to-face communication Contemporary culture is dominated by images communicated by electronic mass media (TV / internet / video games / film) Increasingly our lives are shaped by simulated events – such as home shopping via the internet or TV, ‘talking’ with friends via Facebook (But not everywhere – in certain parts of the world only)
Arguments for postmodernismBaudrillard http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8552410.stm
Arguments for postmodernismBaudrillard Baudrillard’s conception of postmodernism rests upon 3 ideas – simulation / implosion / hyperreality The postmodern era is governed by images – the representation (or re-presentation) is king – style is more important than substance Simulation – where the image becomes more real than the real thing – WO’B watches the Heineken Cup final at home on TV after going to the game to get a clearer understanding of the game; where Prime Minsters talk in parliament about Deirdre Barlow’s legal case
Arguments for postmodernism The line between image and reality implodes – the ‘real world’ disappears – such as in The Matrix – reality has been supplanted with an image of the world When the distinctions between the real and the unreal becomes so blurred – this is the hyperreal Disneyland – models of places are more real than the real things The world becomes a universe of simulacra For Baudrillard, the implosion of reality into the media is to be celebrated as a good thing
Our War: Ten Years in Afghanistan http://a2mediacoursematerials.blogspot.co.u k/2011/07/our-war-ep3-part1.html Wootton Bassett: The Town That Remembers http://a2mediacoursematerials.blogspot.co.u k/2011/07/wootton-bassett-town-that- remembers.html Baudrillard argues signs have become detached from reality, that signs have no meaning – is this true?
Arguments aboutpostmodernism Fredric Jameson – postmodernism is an apology for the cultural practices of ‘late capitalism’ – blending genres together in films / TV / video games is done primarily for financial reasons, it doesn’t necessarily mark the start of a ‘new age’ in human history Bricolage for money – Life on Mars & Ashes to Ashes – blend police drama, with science fiction, with a dash of metaphysical horror (what is real? Are we alive or dead?) – done to draw audiences to what would otherwise be a very familiar product
Arguments aboutpostmodernism Jameson – postmodern culture is flat and depthless, it lacks in personal style and has given rise to pastiche (copying) – there is no originality anymore
Jameson – do you agree withhim? Coursework – is it original? Are any of the texts studied original?
Arguments aboutpostmodernism But – was there ever? Shakespeare – original or rip off? Romeo and Juliet / Antony and Cleopatra / Macbeth – all old stories which Shakespeare recycled Was Shakespeare a postmodernist? But he was writing before the 1960s wasn’t he…
Arguments against postmodernism Jurgen Habermas – the Enlightenment project – of trying to further develop our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in is far from complete, this project, powered by the grand narrative of the belief in science being able to deliver progress has not been ended – Lyotard is wrong to say otherwise Christopher Norris – Baudrillard’s ideas are philosophically muddled, we should not treat his ideas too seriously
Arguments against postmodernism Lyotard – the postmodern era begins at the start of the 1960s - Is dividing time into eras like this the only way of doing this? Hobbawm - Age of Extremes – 1914-1991 http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/jan/15/news.comment There’s more than one way to read history The ‘End of History’ was claimed when the Berlin Wall and Communism fell in eastern Europe Afghanistan 1838 – Britain invades to try to stop Afghanistan being used as base to attack British interests (India) Afghanistan 2001 - Britain invades to try to stop Afghanistan being used as base to attack British interests.. As the French say, ‘Plus ca change, plus cest la meme chose’ The more things change, the more they stay the same