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Trying to define Postmodernism

Posted on: March 10, 2010

Postmodernism and “The Other Side”

Dick Hebdige

The reading made me more confused than before as I thought I knew the basics of Postmodernism. However, after considering the semantics and history of the term brought together by Hebdige in his travel through the most gifted minds of the period, I am lost…

Although postmodernism has become a “buzz word” and can be found as associated to all kinds of fields, in most cases writers define it and analyse it differently, making it really difficult to actually understand what it means and what it stands for.

“The degree of semantic complexity and overload sourounding the term… signals that a number of people with conflicting interests and opinions feel that there is something sufficiently important at stake here..”

In order to define postmodernism, Dick Hebdige brought together 3 approaches that bind this compound together and differentiate it from other currents:

1. Against Totalisation

Postmodernism denies all discourses that consider individuals as one, a collective entity – anti-generalist being against the oppression of the power over the “I”.

2. Against Teleology

Again, in postmodernism, things are not designed with a specific purpose in mind as its specific rhetorical tropes are parody, simulation, pastiche and allegory

“Postmodenity is modernity without the hopes and dreams which made modernity bearable.”

3. Against Utopia

In postmodernism, the idea of the perfect, ideal society put forward by so many ideological political regimes is ignored and denied as “all utopias come wrapped in barbed wire”. It is the blind belief in progress, evolution, class struggle that led to all the atrocities in the world. This is mainly a renunciation of Marxism in its old way.

Gramsci, one of the most important Marxist thinkers of the twentieth century, sees the two entities of society (power and popular) as negotiating and working together. However, in postmodernism, Marxism has not totally disappeared but it functions according to this idea of collaboration as it adapted to the new laws of society, being “more prone perhaps to listen, learn, adapt and to appreciate, for instance, that words like “emergency” and “struggle” don’t just mean fight, conflict, war and death but birthing, the prospect of new life emerging: a struggling to the light”.


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1 Response to "Trying to define Postmodernism"

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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