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Postmodern Media

Rob Miller | Friday October 26, 2012

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR A2, Hot Entries, New Media, Postmodernism, Theory, Postmodern Theory

Postmodernism challenges conventional relations between audience and text but also arouses controversy in terms of the validity of some theoretical concepts – these concepts have been much criticised, particularly by Marxist writers. What makes some texts postmodern and some not has been, and is the subject of much debate with the suggestion that to be truly postmodern the boundaries between reality and representation must be blurred.

Postmodernism itself is a wide ranging term which applies to literature, art, economics, philosophy, architecture as well and new and traditional media forms. Interpretation is everything with the concept of reality constantly under scrutiny and the key suggestion that these realities are social constructs which are open to change; everything is subjective and there is no absolute truth. The term itself was first postulated in the 1920s as an antidote to avant-garde modernity, but was developed further in the 1950s and 1960s by art and literature.

In the classroom Postmodernity can either be explained in 30 seconds, over a whole term or never – a film or television programme that is a pastiche of generic codes (bricolage), that makes constant intertextual references or is self referential, focussing as The Day Today (Morris/Iannucci) did on the mechanics and form of news reporting rather than the news itself – see also Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe.

My other attempts to explain postmodernity to students have also suggested that perhaps the Victorians could be argued to be early postmodernists with Victorian parlours lacking any distinct form or style and offering instead a bizarre, cluttered eclecticism of styles with objects and ornaments from different time periods with no obvious form or arrangement. Ikea or Habitat living rooms would resist this classification.

Either way postmodernism denies and is against binary classification and logic, it is style over substance – Old Gregg, a...

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