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". 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.
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 -
- 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.
- Larry Wall, Perl, the first postmodern computer language