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Postmodernism Implosion

jclarke | Saturday January 20, 2018

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, New Spec, Theory, Postmodern Theory

The Big Idea

Postmodernism is a term that’s very familiar across the culture and within academic study and it’s a term that’s used a great deal. But what does it actually refer to?

  • Before defining and discussing postmodernism it might be useful to define modernism because, of course, the term postmodernism indicates a cultural discourse and process of production that has come into ‘being’ after modernism.
  • For Baudrillard, postmodernism represents a collapse of certainties that have been a part of our Western culture for millennia.  For Baudrillard, the ‘real’ has collapsed.
  • Baudrillard’s perspective is quite nihilistic. The ‘traditional’ and certain points of reference for values in the culture are arguably no longer ‘important’ or relevant. 
  • Key issue: who controls the placing of value on one text rather than another?
  • The fluidity of gender identity, nationalities, intercultural combinations arguably threaten traditional certainties. Postmodernism is the term used to refer to the processes which these cultural evolutions are an example of.

So, here are some notes about what constitutes modernism:

  • Key to how we understand modernism is the idea of the avant garde
  • Modernism is as much as about the end ‘product’ as it is about engaging with the processes and means of its creation.
  • Postmodernism challenges modernism’s “official status, its canonization in the museum and the academy, as the high culture of the modern capitalist world.” (Storey:182)
  • Modernism was once subversive but when it became a favouriote of the art and cultural establishment the  subversive quality was arguably ended.
  • “Modernism …is marked by a deep suspicion of all things popular.” (Storey:183)
  • Examples of modernist artists: Pablo Picasso, T.S.Eliot, James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht, Virginia Woolf, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Eisenstein.

And here are some ways of thinking about what postmodernism is:

  • The term has been used since the 1870s but it only...

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