What is postmodernism? What was modernism?
As with structuralism and post-structuralism, there is a great deal of debate about how exactly modernism and postmodernism differ. The two concepts are of different vintage, ‘modernism’ being a long-standing category which is of crucial importance in the understanding of twentieth-century culture, whereas the term ‘postmodernism’, as is well known, has only become current since the 1980s. ‘Modernism’ is the name given to the movement which dominated the arts and culture of the first half of the twentieth century
’) postmodernism itself. And it uses neo-gothicism
to encounter the (1990s’) promise of knowledge and emotion
that arises from this parody. 1
A. S. Byatt has long shaped the more English form of
postmodernism that she herself has called ‘self-conscious
realism’ ( 1991a , 4). Recent critics have retained social realism as
predominant frame of reference for her work and emphasise the
Postmodern ethics: Bauman’s Levinasian turn
Questions of ethics and morality were central to Bauman’s concerns over a long period of his life. This is hardly surprising. Any
intellectual project which has at its heart the constant desire to
envisage a future different from the existing – the ‘is’ – in order
to create social conditions which embody the dignity of an altogether greater freedom has to have a persistent concern with what
‘ought’ to be the case. The ‘ought’ immediately plunges the thinker
into reflecting upon the nature of morality and ethics. This
The dialectics of non-linear, multi-scenario social transformations
Aleksander Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov
It is impossible to study social transformations without the dialectical method: only this can show a system in its development.
Although postmodernism is no longer fashionable, dialectics has not returned to popularity. On the contrary, the idea persists that dialectics is dangerous because it can reveal real contradictions in social development and realistic ways of resolving them.
Not only is the dialectical method necessary, but it needs to be developed further
Sociology and postmodernity
If Bauman’s stance in Legislators and Interpreters is not difficult to
classify as ‘postmodernist’ in a fairly strong sense, his remarks on
the specificity of the postmodern condition as characterised by
uncertainty and ambivalence in Modernity and Ambivalence do little
to dispel that impression. I will soon explore in greater depth how
Bauman’s analysis of the postmodern condition develops in a variety of works throughout the 1990s. For the time being, though, it
is necessary to explore a key theoretical dilemma that confronted
The politics of postmodernity
O S T M O D E R N I S M is something that we have heard a lot about for some
time now. However its meaning remains ambiguous and open to different
interpretations. Moreover, it is a term that appears in a number of different
contexts: art, architecture, cultural studies, literature and social theory all bear
reference to the ‘postmodern condition’. Indeed, some thinkers, like Zˇizˇek and
Eagleton, see postmodernism as now the dominant discourse in many academic
disciplines – although perhaps this institutionalisation indicates
Modernism and postmodernism
‘Modernism’ is a term usually reserved for a set of movements in
the arts that began in the latter part of the nineteenth century
in Europe, gained a particular momentum in the early years of
the twentieth century and continued to flourish until at least the
middle of the twentieth century, the periodisation being dependent on when one believes that a new set of aesthetic strategies and
products, dubbed postmodernist, began. As we will see, for many
commentators postmodernism in the arts was, by and large, a continuation of modernism
‘postmodernism’ upon the new directions in African writing.
Why do some writers resist this term? Why do other writers accept the
ideas of a postmodern consciousness? There have been some firm
assertions about the fact that postmodernism can prove a disabling
distraction to black writing from its vernacular traditions (for
example, see Nkosi 1998 ). Arguments that
postmodernism is a perpetuation of colonialism
Modernism and postmodernism
O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
And if we live, we live to tread on kings.
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 5.2.82–7.
So we should not expect Foucault to give us a philosophical theory that
deploys … notions. Still, philosophy is more than theories.
‘Foucault and Epistemology’ by Richard Rorty in David Couzens Hoy
(ed.), Foucault: A Critical Reader1
Foucault: the catcher in the modern rye
When discussing modernity, one
Postmodernism as a literary-critical concept has
followed a complicated trajectory that, now that the once heated debates no longer generate
much interest, cannot be said to have led to much general agreement as to what exactly it
stands for. We have a Wittgensteinian family of narrative strategies and poetic techniques
that are indeed generally seen as postmodern, but that is as far as critical agreement goes.
It might therefore be tempting to dismiss this particular incarnation of the