Modernism & Postmodernism: Detailed notes

Notes include:

  • Modernist views
  • Postmoderism:
  • Chaos, uncertainty & collapse of social structure
  • Globalisation
  • Metanarratives and 'Myth of the truth' - Lyotard (1984)
  • Choice, identity and consumption
  • Media-saturated society - Baudrillard (2001)
  • Giddens (2006)
  • Pick 'n' mix identities - Baudrillard (2001) & Bradley (1996)
  • You are what you buy - Bauman (1996)
  • Strengths of Postmodernism
  • Critical Views of Postmodernism - Giddens (1991) and Harvey (1990)
  • Other criticisms of Postmodernism, including Ollocks (2008)
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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

Modernism & Postmodernism


The main views of modernity and modernist views include:

Industrialisation and the manufacture of goods for a mass market
Work and social class as the main forms of social division and social
identity, and both culture and politics are socialclass related…

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

Lyotard (1984)

Described postmodernism as `an incredulity towards metanarratives' and
argued that people no longer believed in the `myth of truth'
Because society is now changing so constantly and so rapidly, societies
can no longer be understood through the application of general theories
or metanarratives…

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

o Laser technology and video reportage have eliminated the blood,
the suffering and the corpses from war, and the TV news presents
a sanitised version of conflicts
o Consequently, wars become mediaconstructed spectacles, which
have such an air of unreality about them that we are…

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

You are what you buy

Bauman (1996)

Argues that life in postmodern society resembles a shopping mall:
o People can stroll around consuming whatever they like,
o They can try out and construct whatever identities they choose
o And they can change them whenever they…

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A2 Sociology Theory and Methods

People are having to think about and reflect on the circumstances in
which they live their lives
In late modernity, reflexivity for individuals focuses on personal freedom
and fulfilment as people establish goals for what Giddens calls their `life
This social reflexivity means that…




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