Postmodernism

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  • Topic: Postmodernism, Postmodernity, Jean-François Lyotard
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Postmodernism
¡§There is a sense in which if one sees modernism as the culture of modernity, postmodernism is the culture of postmodernity¡¨ (Sarup 1993). ¡§Modern, overloaded individuals, desperately trying to maintain rootedness and integrity...ultimately are pushed to the point where there is little reason not to believe that all value-orientations are equally well-founded. Therefore, increasingly, choice becomes meaningless. According to Baudrillard (1984: 38-9), we must now come to terms with the second revolution, ¡§that of the Twentieth Century, of postmodernity, which is the immense process of the destruction of meaning equal to the earlier destruction of appearances. Whoever lives by meaning dies by meaning" (Ashley 1990). Ryan Bishop, in a concise article in the Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology (1996), defines post-modernism as an eclectic movement, originating in aesthetics, architecture and philosophy. Postmodernism espouses a systematic skepticism of grounded theoretical perspectives. Applied to anthropology, this skepticism has shifted focus from the observation of a particular society to the observation of the (anthropological) observer. Postmodernity concentrates on the tensions of difference and similarity erupting from processes of globalization: the the accelerating circulation of people, the increasingly dense and frequent cross-cultural interactions, and the unavoidable intersections of local and global knowledge. "Postmodernists are suspicious of authoritative definitions and singular narratives of any trajectory of events.¡¨ (Bishop 1996: 993). Post-modern attacks on ethnography are based on the belief that there is no true objectivity. The authentic implementation of the scientific method is impossible. According to Rosenau, postmodernists can be divided into two very broad camps, Skeptics and Affirmatives. „h Skeptical Postmodernists- They are extremely critical of the modern subject. They consider the subject to be a ¡§linguistic convention¡¨ (Rosenau 1992:43). They also reject any understanding of time because for them the modern understanding of time is oppressive in that it controls and measures individuals. They reject Theory because theories are abundant, and no theory is considered more correct that any other. They feel that ¡§theory conceals, distorts, and obfuscates, it is alienated, disparated, dissonant, it means to exclude, order, and control rival powers¡¨ (Rosenau 1992: 81). „h Affirmative Postmodernists- Affirmatives also reject Theory by denying claims of truth. They do not, however, feel that Theory needs to be abolished but merely transformed. Affirmatives are less rigid than Skeptics. They support movements organized around peace, environment, and feminism (Rosenau 1993: 42). Here are some proposed differences between modern and postmodern thought. Contrast of Modern and Postmodern Thinking

ModernPostmodern
ReasoningFrom foundation upwardsMultiple factors of multiple levels of reasoning. Web-oriented. ScienceUniversal OptimismRealism of Limitations
Part/WholeParts comprise the wholeThe whole is more than the parts GodActs by violating "natural" laws" or by "immanence" in everything that isTop-Down causation LanguageReferentialMeaning in social context through usage Source: http://private.fuller.edu/~clameter/phd/postmodern.html Points of Reaction

"Modernity" takes its Latin origin from ¡§modo,¡¨ which means ¡§just now¡¨. The Postmodern,, then literally means ¡§after just now¡¨ Appignanesi and Garratt 1995). Points of reaction from within postmodernism are associated with other ¡§posts¡¨: postcolonialism and poststructuralism. Postcolonialism

Postcolonialism has been defined as:
1. A description of institutional conditions in formerly colonial societies. 2. An abstract representation of the global situation after the colonial period. 3. A description of discourses informed by psychological and epistemological orientations. Edward Said¡¦s Culture...
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