The breakdown of modernity;
1. Are now living in a postmodern era
2. Do we need postmodernism to explain our behaviour?
theories of late modernity
Theories of late modernity
How are these theories different to postmodernism?
Ø Continuation of modernity
Ø Key features of modernity that were always present have been intensified they still believe that we can discover objective knowledge
Ø Enlightenment project is still useful.
disembodying and reflexivity
What does Giddens mean by “disembodying” and “reflexivity” in his explanation of the rapid social change we see in late and high modernity?
Ø Disembodying the change of social relations from local contents of interaction.
o No longer face-to-face contact in order to interact.
o Breaks down the geographical barriers and makes interaction personal.
Ø Reflexivity we are continually re-evaluating our ideas and theories.
Giddens and Beck
Giddens and Beck criticise the postmodern view
Ø Giddens we face a number of high consequence risks
o I.e. nuclear war, pollution etc.
o We cannot intervene to improve things (managing the risks)
Ø Beck; risk society highlights the new dangers within society
risk politics and progress
Risk, Politics and Progress
Rational Knowledge-we can overcome them
marxist theories of postmodernity
Marxist Theories of Postmodernity
Ø Marx claimed that his theory showed how the working class revolution could overthrow capitalism and bring an end to capitalism.
Ø Postmodernity = fundamental break
Ø Marxists = product of capitalism
Ø The crisis gave rise to a new regime of accumulation –a new way of achieving profitability
Ø Harvey calls this flexible accumulation/post-Fordism
Ø It replaced the more rigid pre-1970s Fordism mass production system
Ø It involves the use of ICT, an expanded service and the finance sector, job insecurity and the requirement for workers to be “flexible” to fit their employers’ needs.
Ø This brought move brought along changes of which were cultural characteristics of postmodernity
Flexible Accumulation continued
o Production of customised products for niche markets promotes cultural diversity
o Easy switching of production from one product to another encourages constant shifts in fashion
o Consumption turned into leisure, culture and identity into products/commodities
o Cultural products such as fashion, sports and music have become an important source of profit.
Ø Jameson argues that postmodernity represents a more developed form of capitalism because it commodifies virtually all aspects of life, including our identities.
politics and progress
Politics & Progress
Ø Harvey & Jameson argue that flexible accumulation has also brought political changes characteristics of postmodernity.
Ø It has weakened the W/C and socialist movements.
Ø In their place a variety of oppositional movements have emerged such as womens liberation and anti-racism etc.
Ø Harvey and Jameson are optimistic that these oppositional movements can form a rainbow alliance = to bring about change.
Ø Marxist theorists agree with postmodernists that we have moved from modernity to postmodernity.
Politics and progress continued
Ø Best & Kellner say that they differ in 2 ways
o Retain a faith in Marxist theory as a means of explaining these changes.
o They argue that the goal of the Enlightenment Project > to change society for the better – can still be achieved.
Ø Marx’s original view of the Enlightenment project was that it would be achieved by the W/C leading a revolution to overthrow capitalism and create a better society.
Ø By contrast, by accepting that political opposition to capitalism has fragmented into many different social movements such as feminism and environmentalism.
Ø Marxist theories of postmodernity appear to abandon this possibility