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Postmodernism

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Postmodernism is not so much a theory or school but a mood, reacting to the objectivity of what postmodernists feel to be a modernist culture - defined by science, authority and metanarratives. The word postmodernism borders on tautology - modern is usually understood to mean current, but how can postmodernism be post-now? Postmodernism also has another problem: that in its advocacy of rejecting metanarratives, it is itself creating a metanarrative. It is also difficult to define postmodernism as those who subscribe to postmodernism "resist closed, tightly bounded "totalizing" accounts of such things as the "essence" of the postmodern"[1]. Postmodernism has also been influential in many different disciplines - starting with architecture, but spreading through literature, philosophy, cultural studies, history, the arts (including visual arts, cinema and performance arts), theology and religious studies and even computing[2].

Postmodernism has become popular since the 1980s, where it came out of various strands of critical theory, including poststructuralism, deconstruction and a new focus on issues of gender, race and identity (see queer theory, postcolonialism). The diversity of these different approaches can suggest that postmodernism is in fact more a label to describe what many feel as a cultural 'break', separating Western culture today from what went before -

References

  1. Kevin J. Vanhoozer, "Theology and the condition of postmodernity: a report on knowledge (of God)" in The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer), ch. 1, p. 3.
  2. Larry Wall, Perl, the first postmodern computer language