Independent - Slideshow research:
Mr William's recently provided me with a slideshow that presents the basic foundations of Postmodernism Doing so after believing that the series of movies I watched will have given me a good introduction into the concept.
- Jean-Francois Lyotard: Regarded as one of the most influential postmodern theorists, his essay "The Postmodern Condition" began the postmodern debate. He believes that knowledge is a means of empowerment and is communicated through narratives (interpretations), "Grand/Meta Narratives" establish views as absolute truths beyond criticism, but reduce culture to universal codes. Lyotard dubbed this kind of culture a mini-narrative, wherein ideology of the regime is essentially a monopoly of knowledge. Culture now distances itself from centralizing knowledge; doing away with hierarchies that movements such as Marxism or Islam enforce. Instead, grand narratives have no credibility and have been replaced with mini-narratives contributed by "liberating postmodern expressions". He proposes that knowledge should be shared through "flat network of areas of inquiry"; allowing all to be included. Stating that authority oppresses plurality and it is impossible to establish moral authority because of this.
- Jean Baudrillard: Famous for stating the "loss of the real", he says that "the distinction between what is real and what is imagined is...blurred and meaning is...eroded"; calling this hyperreality. Our culture is now one where superficial appearance is all that can be achieved, replacing depth. The media constructs a hyperreality that replaces the real, with the masses faith supports the media, allowing it to make more (a dominating culture). We prefer television sitcom to reality as reality is dull, we shape our living rooms around the TV set to consume information and the TV removes us having to interpret information and judges it on our behlaf; regardless of inaccuracy. Eventually, all the information will implode in itself as it is simply staging meaning, not creating it. A hyperreal nebula.
- Habermas: A critic of Lyotard, instead he wants "...order, unity and security."
- Fredric Jameson: A Marxist and postmodern critic. Argues that postmodernism is a "...new kind of superficiality..." that lacks depth. He describes that we can now only "...'represent' our own ideas and stereotypes about the past...through glossy stylized means..." We now look to the past and imitate it, in lieu of creating our own identities. We'e addicted to photographs, forming an impression of the past through these [and the media].
Key words and phrases:
- Postmodernism: A time period where new text is borrowed from exisitng ones. It rejects conventional reality and forms. Caused by the abrupt influx of technology (TV) and ever-increasing multiplicity. It has reacted to the authoritarian hierarchization of culture by blurring boundaries and rejecting norms. A lie to avoid hierarchy.
- Fragmentation: The playing of narrative structure into one of fragments that from one, jumbled story.
- Intertextuality: Using different text in order to add a different layer of meaning Includes Parody (the work is imitated in a playful nature) or Patiche (openly imitated to make use of an original style).
- Self-reflexivity: An indication of how aware postmodern work is of their own constructive character. They 'know' they are fiction.
- Meta/Grand-narrative: Narratives of narratives, distrusted by postmodernists, they contain no truth but are accepted as universal. They exclude bodies that are not at the top of power.
- Mini-narrative: Interpretations that contain no universal truths but together form a body of knowledge more adept at describing contemporary conditions than grand narratives.
- Hyperreality: The world of signs of referents in reality has been replaced by simulacram - the signs lose their association with underlying reality. By Baudrillard.
- Plot-drift: A technique of using so many tangents and digressions into a story that what it actually 'is' is difficult to determine.
- Pluralism: Society is diverse and cannot be generalised. You cannot avoid all the other possibilities that aren't conventional.
- Postmodernists distrust meta-narratives and authority structures, such as religion or class.
- They believe in plurality, a multi-facted world, where binary opposites are merged into one chaotic mess.
- Harshly criticise authority (political, religious, academic, legal), often placing a negative spin on these (i.e they are incompetent or corrupt). Taking an iconoclastic approach of challenging meta-narratives and how they self-perpetuate, making people live in false consciousness instead of finding the truth. A form of blind faith and brainwashing.
- Knowledge is power. When it becomes hierarchical, it allows those in charge to maintain power. Judgement can be used to scare people and cause hysteria, forcing their consensus in the process. Rendering people naive and confused about the world.
- Imitations of reality represented by the media have come to be given more credibility than the reality they were meant to imitate.