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Postmodernism for Beginners


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Postmodernism for Beginners

  1. 1. Postmodernism for beginners c deakin, 2005
  2. 2. Remember the ‘good old days’! Life was once predictable Things were well structured – mapped out for us We knew who we were – a clear identity We had firm beliefs about the nature of things
  3. 3. From modernity to post-modernity Modern age Post modern age • production • consumption • Community life • fragmentation (individualism) • Social class • Identity from other sources • Family • Families (many options) • A belief in continuity and situation • Breakage with the past/tradition • A role of education • Education for what? • A one-way media • Duality of media (choice/interchange) • Overt social control • Covert control (CCTV etc) • Nationhood • Global • Science aided progress and finding • Science is only one source of the truth knowledge – plurality of truths now Structure/security/place/stability Confusion/lack of structure/ YOU KNEW WHO YOU WERE incessant choice YOU CREATE WHO YOU WANT TO BE
  4. 4. Key features of post-modernism• Truth is relative• Consumerism is all• Transformation of the self (‘pick ‘n’ mix’)• Disillusionment with the idea of progress• Uncertainty• Fragmentation of social life• Incessant choice• Globalisation• The impact of ICT on social life
  5. 5. Search forGlobalisation truthhas narrowedtime and space People less Modern age has lost the likely to follow enlightenment rigid ideologyWe recreate postmodernism Greater pluralism isthe past, modern lifeblend with thepresent No absolutes Traditional labels Culture and structures and categories lose are fragmented relevance Less predictable
  6. 6. Further thoughts… Progress is now aScience no longer has the questionable enterprise answers Post modern society feeds upon Cultural cohesion itself..recreating the comes from sharing past, entwining it with the same mediathe present, with some self mocking humour Accepting many realities and that all the big Each cultural identity can co- explanations are only exist…giving the individual bigger stories many ways of being
  7. 7. 10 points of post-modernism & style1. Emphasis on the centrality of style, at the expense of substance2. Recycling past cultures and styles – pastiche3. Playful use of ‘useless’ decoration4. Celebration of complexity and contradiction. Mixture of high and low culture.5. Sensitivity to the subtleties of image, language and signs6. Intermixing – different styles – collaging7. Accepting the collapse of distinction and difference8. Rejection of monolithic definitions of culture – celebrate pluralism and diversity9. Scepticism towards metanarratives and ‘absolutism’10. Decline of the idea of only one source of meaning –truth.
  8. 8. Faith could re-emerge as scientific thinking loses significance• Science and progress always undermined faith (see Comte and the demise of the theological stage)• As technical and bureaucratic (Weber) thinking/living lose favour• Think about the acceptance of the alternative ‘spiritual’
  9. 9. Jacques Derrida • Modernism = logocentrism • Post-modernists rejected this and argue that trying to tell the ‘big story’ now is impossible • Social structure is in a state of flux • All meaning is now relative and socially constructed • Reality is fragile and confusing
  10. 10. Jean Francois Lyotard (1984) • Science has helped destroy the metanarratives • All metanarratives are simplistic and reductionst • We should focus on playing language games to explore the many narratives that exist • Knowledge is no longer a tool of the authorities – we have choice/freedom • Actions/ideas are now judged on how useful they are..rather than how true they are.
  11. 11. Jean Baudrillard‘we are constantly surrounded by anecstasy of communication and thatcommunication is sickening’We are now just customers whosedesires are created by the media.We pursue the images attached to theproducts‘simulacra’ - make believe goods which bear no relationship to the real world We live in hyper-realities in which appearances are everything. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING !
  12. 12. Post-modernism illustrated – ‘reality TV’ Reality TV illustrates the interchange between the consumer and the media They are ‘real people’ who people can be observed and scrutinised. They do not entertain – rather than exist…they are a mish-mash of cctv surveillance and gameshow In the real world they are talentless nobodys who are treated as stars
  13. 13. Post-modernism ilustrated –’Disneyland’ Disneyland is a simulacra. It is a simulated reality. It is artificial – yet ‘real’. It is a place that exists and is accepted because our imagination makes it so. The fine line between reality and fantasy is ‘greyer’. The power of the symbol over substance.
  14. 14. Post-modernism illustrated - diet The high street is global. Look at the choices and combination that we now have. What is the impact on traditional culture? Identity? People are also driven by to change their body shape through diet..a control..choice. People are constructing themselves and designing their individual identities
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. Religious symbols have new life in new contexts How have traditional religious symbols been recycled. Where can we find crucifixes, pentangles, kaballah bracelets, buddhas etc
  17. 17. Faith is now ‘up for grabs’ in the absence of absolute truthWe can now makespiritual choices thatfit in with our identityand our own versionof ultimate truth andmeaning.
  18. 18. People can blend elements of various faiths to suit their lifestyle Many people are finding greater freedom to ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ faiths to suit their lifestyles. This is about individual interpretation and incorporating elements, ie, buddhist philosophy with Christian morality (Yuppie Buddhist experience in early 1990s)
  19. 19. Globalisation has divorced faiths from locations and cultures Religion is now moreuniversal and thereare less barriers tohold people back fromjoining faiths thatdiffer to tradition
  20. 20. fundamentalism is a response to a moral vacuum There has been a revival of ultra traditional ideas and ‘strict morality’ with some religions which many have found inviting and a source of ‘security’
  21. 21. People can make choices which are more personal and meaningfulAlmost an extensionof individuation andthe search forindividual meaning.the control andoppressive elementsof religion can beedited (see Rastafari)
  22. 22. Collective worship no longer needs to be based on ‘face to face’ interaction Organised religion may be suffering – but faith is still alive. Structures/institutions are melting away as they now existing within individual minds and action.