Modernism vs Postmodernism

The modernism vs postmodernism debate

  • Created by: Natalie
  • Created on: 18-01-12 22:14


  • Industrialisation - the use of technology for the manufacture of standardised goods for the mass marked. Manual workers with jobs for life
  • Social class is the main form of social division and source of identity
  • Culture reflects the class structure
  • Politics centre around social structural class interests and is focussed around political parties and governments
  • Nation-states, national economies and national identities predominate
  • The mass media is concerned with one way communication and reflects the basic social reality.
  • Tradition, religion, magic and superstition are replaced by rational thought and scientific theories. These are seen as superior forms of knowledge.
  • Scientific knowledge and scientific and technological progress are seen as forces for good.
  • Sociology developed to try to understand and explain society whilst using the same scientific methods as the natural sciencesd
  • Functionalism and Marxism developed as structural theories that used scientific methods.
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Postmodernism (1)

  • Wider consumer choice with manual work replaced by the service economy. Jobs for life disappear.
  • Consumption, media images and lifestyle become major sources of identity. We can pick 'n' mix multiple identities
  • Culture becomes more diverse and fragmented
  • Politics become more personalised and linked to diversity. Party politics are displaced by identity politics (i.e. gay, ethnic and religious politics).
  • New social movements emerge based on personal concerns rather than structural influences
  • Nation-states and national identities are displaced by gloabisation - global products, global media and global marketing.
  • Society becomes dominated by new global interactive media (i.e. social networking sites and electronic communication).
  • The mass media creates our sense of reality
  • All forms of knowledge are equally valid


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Postmodernism (2)

  • There is a loss of faith in the certainty, rational thought and scientific and technological progress of modernism
  • Science and technology often cause rather than solve problems. There is a growing scepticism about the idea of progress and science as a force for good.
  • Society can no longer be understood through the application of perspectives that seek to explain society as a whole (e.g. Functionalism and Marxism) because society has become fragmented into so many  different groups, and interests and lifestyles are constantly changing.
  • There are few of the social constraints on people that structuralist approaches identify and social structures no longer exist.
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