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Postmodernism: Postmodernism is a philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in the mid-20th century. It is characterized by a skepticism towards traditional notions of truth, reality, and objectivity. Postmodernists argue that these notions are not universal or absolute, but rather are socially constructed and vary from culture to culture. See also Modernism, Culture, Society, Relativism, Cultural relativism.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Terence Ball on Postmodernism - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 25
Postmodernism/Ball: The interpretive standpoint or perspective of postmodernism arises out of ‘the postmodern condition’ of fragmentation and the failure of systematic philosophies or ‘grand metanarratives’ such as Hegelianism and Marxism that emerged from the European Enlightenment (Lyotard, 1984)(1). Postmodernism is not a single, unified perspective; nor, still less, is it a systematic philosophy shared by all who call themselves postmodernists. This diffuse group includes Mikhail Bakhtin, Paul de Man, Roland Barthes, Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida (literary critics and semioticians), Michel Foucault (social historian and genealogist), Jacques Lacan (psychoanalyst), Gaston Bachelard (historian of science), Jean Baudrillard (cultural theorist and critic), Richard Rorty (philosopher), and William E. Connolly (political theorist), among many others. All respond, in different ways, to the postmodern condition of fragmentation, discontinuity, disillusionment, and contingency.
History: The world is not as coherent, continuous and comprehensible as earlier (and especially Enlightenment) thinkers believed. Even our most basic beliefs are historically contingent (Rorty, 1989)(2). Pace Hegel and Marx, history has no larger point or ‘meaning’ discernible via an overarching philosophy of history or ‘grand narrative’ (Lyotard, 1984)(1).
Progress: Nor is there progress in human affairs. What is called progress is more often than not an advance in some dominant group’s power to oppress another. Advances in technology – in communications technology, say – increase the opportunity for surveillance and suppression (Foucault), and mass media promote one-dimensional views of truth, beauty, normality, and morality that perpetuate and legitimize the modern consumer society and those who profit from it (Baudrillard).
, >Truth/Postmodernism.

1. Lyotard, J.F. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
2. Rorty, R. 1989. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ball, Terence. 2004. „History and the Interpretation of Texts“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ball, Terence
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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