Sociology Index

Postmodernism - Abstracts


Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - In this essay, Jameson lays out the differences in culture between the modern and postmodern periods. Jameson is concerned with the cultural expressions and aesthetics associated with the different systems of production. He is not interested in a mechanism of change. Jameson draws on the fields of architecture, art and other culturally expressive forms to illustrate his arguments. The heaviest emphasis is placed on architecture. It is essential to grasp postmodernism as discussed here not as a style, but as a dominant cultural form indicative of late capitalism.

Limits of Postmodern Theory- The impetus behind this paper has been the recent publication of Fredric Jameson's 1991 Welleck Lectures, The Seeds of Time. As these lectures were delivered a decade after Jameson's initial attempts to map the terrain of postmodernity it appeared to me to provide an occasion to reflect upon the current status of Jameson's highly influential and much criticised theory of postmodernism as the cultural logic of late capitalism.

Postmodernism: What One Needs to Know, by William Grassie, for Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, March 1997.
Abstract. Introduction to postmodernism and deconstruction as they relate to the special challenges of scholarship and teaching in the science and religion multidiscipline.

Unacknowledged Roots and Blatant Imitation: Postmodernism and the Dada Movement - David Locher - Dept. of Social Sciences - Missouri Southern State College
Abstract: This paper is an attempt to stimulate thought and discourse toward postmodern social theory. The writings of Baudrillard and Lyotard are deconstructed with a focus on their conceptualization of the postmodern. The author argues that there really is no such epoch as the postmodern era. Direct quotes from Baudrillard, Lyotard, and several Dadaists are used to support these claims. This paper is not an attack on the logic or internal consistency of postmodernism, but rather addresses the validity of claims about the unique and original nature of postmodern thought itself. This lack of originality points to a greater question about the validity of the concept of a postmodern era.

Postmodernism is a complicated term, or set of ideas, one that has only emerged as an area of academic study since the mid-1980s. Postmodernism is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion, and technology. It's hard to locate it temporally or historically, because it's not clear exactly when postmodernism begins.
Perhaps the easiest way to start thinking about postmodernism is by thinking about modernism, the movement from which postmodernism seems to grow or emerge. Modernism has two facets, or two modes of definition, both of which are relevant to understanding postmodernism.

Rethinking Post-Modernity: Some Lessons in "Equal Treatment" of Capitalism and State Socialism, By Zdenek Konopasek, Institute of Sociological Studies, Charles University
Contemporary social theory is untouched by truly sociological analyses of the phenomenon of European State socialism. Theories both of postmodernity and modernity have been based almost exclusively on studying capitalist societies in the West. State socialist societies made themselves visible for the theoretically ambitious sociologists of the post/modern only by their own collapse at the end of the 80s. The postmodern was approached then as the force (of capitalist origin) that had helped to dismantle the communist regimes in the Soviet block. According to such a stance, the postmodern is antithetical to the "real socialism." The disappearing state socialism of Eastern Europe was suddenly discovered as "modernity in its most determined mood and most decisive posture; modernity streamlined, purified of the last shred of the chaotic, the irrational , the spontaneous, the unpredictable" (Bauman). In this way, the postmodern debate helps to retrospectively understand the state socialist (as non-postmodern).
With the advent of postmodern era it becomes possible to think about socialism and capitalism symmetrically, in the same terms. Socialism and capitalism can be studied together. Unexpected similarities and parallels emerge, once established asymmetries and distinctions become problematic. In my view, this offers an opportunity for a more balanced notion of the post/modern.

Anachronism of the Moral Sentiments? Integrity, Post-Modernism and Justice - This is an essay about the relationship between post-modernism and justice. My topic is the apparent disjunction between post-modernists' moral and political intuitions on the one hand and their philosophical views and cultural leanings on the other. Crudely put, the essay asks what we can learn from the fact that someone who rejects the notion of "integrity" as either a psychological, moral or textual quality, nevertheless condemns the Dean or the Senator for having "no integrity," admires the display of principled consistency in public life or the interpretation of the Constitution, and would characterise the difference between, say, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton, as the difference between a principled ascetic who would endure jail or death for his beliefs and a pack of cut-out caricatures, reshuffled at every shift in public opinion, held together only by an expensive suit and a set of selfish appetites. - James Boyle.

Contemporary Philosophy, Critical Theory and Postmodern Thought.