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Postmodernism v.3


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Postmodernism v.3

  1. 1. Postmodernism Mary Corrigan, Steven Moore, Randy Perlis
  2. 2. Postmodernism Definition • Postmodernism postulates that many apparent realities are only social constructs and are therefore subject to change. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, & motivations in the formation of ideas. It evolved in reaction to the modernist scientific mentality of objectivity and the progress associated with the Enlightenment. Aka "armchair radicals" postmodernist researchers focus their critiques on changing ways of thinking rather than on calling for action based on these changes. Crotty, M. (1998)."The Foundation of Social Research." Sage. pp. 185- 191, 209-213
  3. 3. Postmodernism Definition Postmodernism might be considered a family of theories and perspectives that have something in common. The basic concept is that knowledge claims must be set within the conditions of the world today and in the multiple perspectives of class, race, gender, and other group affiliations. Philosophers are Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Freire, Butler, etc. Creswell, J. (2013) "Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design. 3rd ed. Sage. (p. 27).
  4. 4. Postmodernism Definition Postmodern attacks on ethnography are generally based on the belief that there is no true objectivity and that therefore the authentic implementation of the scientific method is impossible. Reed, Isaac A. (2010) Epistemology Contextualized: Social-Scientific Knowledge in a Postpositivist Era. Sociological Theory,28(1), 20-39.
  5. 5. Postmodernism Definition Postmodern discourse (represented here mainly by the work of Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari) analyzes social life in terms of paradox and indeterminacy, thus rejecting the human agent as the center of rational control and understanding. Cooper, R., & Burrell, G. (1988). Modernism, postmodernism and organizational analysis: An introduction. Organization studies, 9(1), 91- 112.
  6. 6. Questions Reality and Representation ”There are no absolute truths and no objective values. There may be local truths and values around, but none of them has the endorsement of things as they really are . . . “(Rue, 1994). Trudeau, G. (April 24, 1979). Interview with Presidential Candidate Jerry Brown, Doonesbury
  7. 7. Criticizes Metanarratives “I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives” Lyotard (1984). “Postmodernism commits itself to ambiguity, relativity, fragmentation, particularity and discontinuity” (Crotty, 1998, p. 185).
  8. 8. Focuses upon Power Relations and Hegemony Results in the “deletion of boundary between art and everyday life; collapse of hierarchical distinction between elite and popular culture” (Sarup, 1993). American Gothic Comes to the City Series by Steve A. Furman
  9. 9. Criticizes Western Institutions and Knowledge “To think well, to feel well, to act well, to read well, according to the episteme of unmaking, is to refuse the tyranny of wholes; totalization in any human endeavor is potentially totalitarian”(Wolin, 1992). Moon Walk 1987 By Andy Warhol Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
  10. 10. Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 9, 2004) • Born in French Algeria • Analyzed and Criticized Western Philosophy • He is “…understood as leaving behind a legacy of himself as the “originator” of deconstruction and as a public intellectual.” • Often criticized for not meeting the “…accepted standards of clarity and rigor…” by analytic philosophers. Some even protested his receipt of an honorary degree from Cambridge. Calcagno, A. (2006). Foucault and Derrida: The Question of Empowering and Disempowering the Author. Human Studies, 33-51. Jacques Derrida. (2012). Retrieved March 7, 2014, from The European Graduate School: Graduate & Postgraduate Studies: Lawlor, Leonard, "Jacques Derrida", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. Smith, B., & et al. (1992, May 9). Open letter against Derrida receiving and honorary doctorate from Cambridge University. The Times, London. Downloaded from
  11. 11. Michel Foucault (1926–1984) • French Historian and Philosopher • Strong academic basis in psychology and its history • First major work was “History of Madness in the Classical Age (1961) • Focused on an archaeological method of writing • Believed the goals of power and knowledge are inseparable. Gutting, Gary, "Michel Foucault", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. Downloaded from
  12. 12. Gilles Deleuze (January 18, 1925–November 4, 1995) • French Philosopher • Labeled himself a “Pure Metaphysician” • Known for writing in a very difficult manner to follow. • Collaborated with Guattari on several texts • Wrote Anti-Oedipus with the intent of “forcing” the reader to think. Smith, Daniel and Protevi, John, "Gilles Deleuze", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>. Downloaded from
  13. 13. Jean-François Lyotard (1924 - 1998) • French Philosopher • Abandoned Paganism for Postmodernism • Defined the postmodern as “incredulity towards metanarratives, where metanarratives are understood as totalizing stories about history and the goals of the human race that ground and legitimize knowledge and cultural practices.” • Wrote The Postmodern Condition Woodward, A. (2014, March 8). Jean-François Lyotard. Retrieved from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource: Downloaded from
  14. 14. Félix Guattari (April 30, 1930-August 29, 1992) • French Philosopher • Collaborated with Gilles Deleuze • Editor of La Voie Communist • Explored a variety of subjects, including schizoanalysis Felix Guattari - Biography. (2012). Retrieved March 7, 2014, from The European Graduate School: Graduate & Postgraduate Studies: Downloaded from