Updated: Feb 28
Post modernism is a product of modernism and modernist values.
A late 20th-century movement outlined by broad level of skepticism, relativism and subjectivism.
It opposes the modernist statement that there is an objective reality.
The term is associated with Jean Francois Lyotard as it first came in 1979 with the publication of his “Postmodern Condition”.
Post modernists have denied the faith in science and technology as the instruments of human progress.
Main post modernists thinker involves Jean Francois Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault , Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.
Martin Heidegger a German philosopher and post modernist thinker along with Lyotard have popularized the term postmodern.
They say postmodernism is about the distrust towards all those theories and ideologies which claimed them to be the universal theories.
Friedrich Nietzsche also one of the postmodernist rejected all the moral and political principles as a mere nihilism.
Michel Foucault was mainly concerned with the forms of knowledge.
Derrida’s deconstruction is another approach to understand the postmodernism, opposed the claims of a single truth and knowledge.
According to Jane Bennett the term postmodernism can be understood in three ways.
A sociological designation for an epochal shift in the way collective life is organized.
Second as an aesthetic genre.
Finally third as a set of philosophical critiques of teleological or rationalist conceptions of nature, history, power, freedom and subjectivity.
Postmodernism in participates in all three ways, but most intensively in the third way.
Difference between Modernism and Postmodernism
Postmodernist thought was the result of opposition and repudiation to the modernist thought.
Modernism has a deep faith in the idea of grand narrative as it believes that there can be a grand theory.
Modernism relates to a series of cultural movements that took place in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. These movements include reforming movements in architecture, art, music, literature, and applied arts.
The postmodernism refers to the confused state of cultural developments that came into existence after modernism.
As a matter of fact, the period after 1960s is generally considered postmodern in nature. To be precise, postmodernism is construed as begun after 1968.
However, postmodernism, when compared to modernism, is more complex to understand and appreciate.
Thinking, during the post modern era, was considered irrational and unscientific in its approach.
Unlike modernism, postmodernism did not pay any kind of attention whatsoever to original works. They would dub them as pieces that gained popularity due to propagation.
Opposition of Modernity
Modernist political theorists like Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire and others have contributed toward the idea of representative democracy, rational stature, formal equality and other relevant concepts.
Scholars in this period all around the world have continuously defend the void promise of emancipation through modernity.
The claim of postmodernist was simple that there is no objective value, no established reality an off course no universal truth.
Rather, there are numerous realities, diverse of truth and variety of people with their own set of values and realities.
Postmodernists attacked all such modernist projections and questioned existing established styles of understanding.
Postmodernist roots are developed on the denial and opposition of the modernist land.
Foucault and Derrida
Michel Foucault has declined, but he is considered as one of the important postmodernist.
He defined the post modernism through two guiding concepts: the power and the discourse.
Modern institutions viz the hospitals, schools, mental asylum, sanatoriums and prisons are disciplinary tools of power to make people disciplined.
Foucault seeks to uncover and denounce the ways and the process through which human beings are normalized.
He severely challenged this legitimization of modern society as it increases the surveillance which is a result of progress and development in science and technology.
Derrida’s idea of deconstruction signifies his approach of challenging the foundations and hierarchies on which the western political tradition and culture have been based.
Critique of Postmodernism
Postmodernism established itself by critiquing modernism, further it also part to certain criticism.
Many small movements driven by enlightenment are under postmodernist threat.
Postmodernists themselves are not able to sustain the very same objective of emancipation that it intended to adhere to.
Secondly postmodernism lack the coherence and a common understanding that can be shared by all.
Post modernism is routinely denounced as nihilistic, immoral or politically irresponsible.
Postmodernist believes that there is no absolute or universal truth and the truth changes with the advent of new events and discoveries.
It means that scientific events that took place historically on one side of the world have influenced political and social events that are now taking place on another.
It embraces and encourages individual expression, the cross-cultural dialogue and debates as a necessary factor.
Thus postmodernists regard their theoretical position as uniquely inclusive and democratic.