Introduction to postmodernism

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Welcome to the postmodernism course.

Here you will learn about postmodernism. What it is, what it is not, and research on the topic will be explored from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.

Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about the topic:

Scholars and historians most commonly hold postmodernism to be a movement of ideas contrary to modernism. Modernism is concerned with the metaphysical aim of uncovering a fundamental truth that lies beyond what we consider to be 'reality'. The Modernist interest in what lies beneath the surface of human existence, was influenced by the works of (among others) Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the questions posed by Quantum Theory. Postmodernism questions whether these ideals can actually exist at all.

In a nutshell, the pro-postmodernism argument runs that economic and technological conditions of our age have given rise to a decentralized, media-dominated society in which ideas are simulacra and only inter-referential representations and copies of each other, with no real original, stable or objective source for communication and meaning. Globalization, brought on by innovations in communication, manufacturing and transportation, is often cited as one force which has driven the decentralized modern life, creating a culturally pluralistic and interconnected global society lacking any single dominant center of political power, communication, or intellectual production.

Postmodernism's adherents often argue that their ideals have arisen as the result of particular economic and social conditions, including what is described as "late capitalism" and the growth of broadcast media, and that such conditions have pushed society into a new historical period. However, a large number of thinkers and writers hold that postmodernism is at best simply a period, variety, or extension of modernism and not actually a separate period or idea.

Postmodern scholars argue that such a decentralized society inevitably creates responses/perceptions that are described as post-modern, such as the rejection of what are seen as the false, imposed unities of meta-narrative and hegemony; the breaking of traditional frames of genre, structure and stylistic unity; and the overthrowing of categories that are the result of logocentrism and other forms of artificially imposed order.

Scholars who accept the division of post-modernity as a distinct period believe that society has collectively eschewed modern ideals and instead adopted ideas that are rooted in the reaction to the restrictions and limitations of those ideas, and that the present is therefore a new historical period. While the characteristics of postmodern life are sometimes difficult to grasp, most postmodern scholars point to concrete and visible technological and economic changes that they claim have brought about the new types of thinking.

Critics of the idea claim that it does not represent liberation, but rather a failure of creativity, and the supplanting of organization with syncretism and bricolage. They argue that post-modernity is obscurist, overly dense, and makes assertions about the sciences that are demonstrably false.

There are often strong political overtones to this debate, with conservative commentators often being the harshest critics of post-modernism. There is a great deal of disagreement over whether or not recent technological and cultural changes represent a new historical period, or merely an extension of the modern one. Complicating matters further, others have argued that even the postmodern era has already ended, with some commentators asserting culture has entered a post-postmodern period. Alan Kirby has argued, in his essay "The Death of Postmodernism, and Beyond", that we now inhabit an entirely new cultural landscape, which he calls "pseudo-modernism".

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