Sociology Index


Modernism is the movement from which postmodernism grew. Postmodernism rejects boundaries between high and low forms of art. 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 culture, and technology. It's hard to locate postmodernism temporally or historically, because it's not clear exactly when postmodernism begins. Theories both of postmodernism and modernity have been based almost exclusively on studying capitalist societies and capitalism in the West. Postmodernism is a complicated term, one that has only emerged as an area of academic study since the mid-1980s.

Postmodernism is a movement that developed in the 20th century across philosophy, arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. Postmodernism also rejects rigid genre distinctions, emphasizing pastiche, parody, and bricolage. But unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates.

Postmodern art and thought favors reflexivity and self-consciousness, fragmentation and discontinuity, especially in narrative structures, ambiguity, simultaneity, and an emphasis on the destructured, decentered, dehumanized subject. Postmodernism doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation, or incoherence, but rather celebrates that.

According to Frederic Jameson, modernism and postmodernism are cultural formations which accompany particular stages of capitalism. The phase we're in now, is multinational or consumer capitalism, associated with nuclear and electronic technologies, and correlated with postmodernism.

Talking pomo: An analysis of the postmodern movement by Steve Mizrach.

Postmodernism according to friends, foes, and spectators.
"Critics of postmodernism come mainly from the Marxist camp. They feel that postmodernism is a diversionary tactic, the last ditch of a late capitalism in the process of dying. Marxists also dislike postmodernism's relativist treatment of science, since as they see 'criticism' and science as being identical. Postmodernism intertwines with Nietzschean thought, deep ecology, mysticism, and libertarian individualism makes many Marxists view it as right-wing, reactionary, perhaps even fascist!"

Postmodernism Abstracts

Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - 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.

Postmodernism has been the buzzword in academia for the last decade. Books, journal articles, conference themes and university courses have resounded to the debates about postmodernism that focus on the uniqueness of our times, where computerization, the global economy and the media have irrevocably transformed all forms of social engagement. As a professor of sociology who teaches about culture, I include myself in this environment. Indeed, I have a great interest in postmodernism both as an intellectual movement and as a practical problem.

Unacknowledged Roots and Blatant Imitation: Postmodernism and the Dada Movement - David Locher.

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. 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.

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, and because it's not clear exactly when postmodernism begins. 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, Zdenek Konopasek. 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 debate helps to retrospectively understand the state socialist (as non-postmodern). Socialism and capitalism can be studied together. Unexpected similarities and parallels emerge, once established asymmetries and distinctions become problematic.

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.

Postmodernism Books

Post-Modernism Reader W.T.Anderson (ed: 1995). Finding an accessible way into post-modernist ideas is not as difficult as it was a couple of years ago. A variety of short readings cover a wide range of concepts in a clear and informative way.

Introducing Postmodernism R.Appignanesi and C.Garrett (1999). Originally called "Postmodernism for Beginners", it's not hard to see why they changed the title. It is, however, a headlong-rush through the basic principles of postmodernist theory, from its origins, its application to Art and its most well-known advocates.

Sociology of Postmodernism - Scott Lash - Synopsis: This authoritative and revealing book provides the first sociological examination of postmodernism. Lash examines the differences between modernism and postmodernism, providing a clear explanation of why postmodernism is important. Publisher: Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books Lt. ISBN: 0415047854.

Roads to Dystopia - Sociological Essays on the Postmodern Condition - Stanford M. Lyman.
If the postmodern condition is a dystopia characterized by alienation and despair, argues distinguished sociologist Stanford Lyman, postmodern epistemologies compound the problem by denigrating Enlightenment philosophies that still offer agency and hope to those who struggle to be free.

Postmodernism and a Sociology of the Absurd
And Other Essays on the "Nouvelle Vague" in American Social Science - Stanford Lyman.
In the fifth volume in the Studies in American Sociology Series, Stanford M. Lyman offers commentaries on and critiques of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction, posing questions concerning theoretical and epistemological problems arising from what appears to be a nouvelle vague.