Monday, February 07, 2005

The "elusive present"

I thought a lot about Will's comments on postmodernism and found this in Michael Real's Exploring Media Culture (1996) He calls postmodernism the "elusive present" and lists these characteristics:

1 - the domination of the style of pastiche in art, architecture and overall aesthitics, a style that combines "unlikely combinations" of styles borrowed from past cultural products...

2 - the breakdown of "grand narratives," especially the "metanarrative of science as universal human problem-solver..."

3 - the centrality of communication technologies to provide global access to "a culture of mass reproduction ...or copies of which there is no original..."

4 - the consumer culture of late capitalism, where the "Puritan ethic of production has been replaced by the commercial ethic of conspicuous consumption"

5 - "the fragmentation of sensibility into discontinuous forms of knowledge and culture in which anchored mearings and permament principles are absent...includes a culture marked by excess and overload and marked by...minimalism and decoration, together with a personal and social life dominated by the pleasure principle, relativism, privatism , and a schizophremia that dips in and out of different personalities...."

6 - "an inability to resolve from within postmodernism the dilemmas that postmodernism describes so forcefully..."

Given these characteristics of postmodernism and others we discussed, are we there yet, or somewhere in between?

1 comment:

umaysay said...

I appreciate postmodernism as a strong movement against all sorts of social problems such as war, inequality, etc. that have been derived from plethora of "instrumental reason." However, even though people are aware of the postmodern phenomena according to their own worldviews, postmodernist's worldview is too pessimistic. As the intellectuals who are dealing with social problems, I think that postmodernists are also responsible for suggesting alternatives. In this sense, I think that Habermas is persisting to realize the incomplete modern project via communicative action based on critical-rational reason in pointing out that the confronting social problems are derived not from plethora of reason but from deficiency of "critical, aesthetic reason." Where is the answer? Well, it may also depends on our own worldviews...