Sociology; Postmodernism

This is for the 'culture and identity' syllabus.

  • Created by: Sam Hill
  • Created on: 20-04-09 21:05

Postmodernism; Postmodernist theories.

Key features of postmodernism are that identity is reshaped through varying cultural beliefs. Identity can be changed. We are media-saturated, image is increasingly important, e.g. designer trainers reflecting their income. It is opposite to all modern theories (e.g. Marxism).

Harriet Bradley believes that there are three levels to identity;

Passive - Recognised but not seen as important, e.g. voting Labour.

Active - Not vital but we use it to enhance our experience, e.g. a black man not getting a promotion.

Politicised - At the forefront of our identities and actions, e.g. civil rights movements.

These can vary through our peer groups. Bradley suggests there is structure but can change in light of experiences.

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Postmodernism; Identity and class.

Certain class inequalities still exist, e.g. our social class reflects our culture, like working class may prefer football to the upper class. There is a strong class loyalty in this department.

The class system has challenged in the last 50 years; middle class has expanded and it is more diverse. It is undermined through individualism.

Post-modernism is seen as insignificant as commodities can be bought by working class as well. Bradley believes it is 'passive', but is enhanced through economical turmoil.

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Postmodernism; Identity and gender.

The key features of gender are biologically and their appropriate behaviour through primary/secondary socialisation. Recently however, these have changed through lack of patriachy and changing cultural beliefs.

The 'crisis of masculinity' is relevant, in that men now have equal job rights to women, sex re-assignement, meaning it is blurred. Bradley believes this is active identity.

Sexuality is seen as less of a stigma today, however in some cultures, it is still deemed as an illness and deviance, so it may remain hidden.

Discourse - a way of understand a particular social group or activity.

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Postmodernism; Identity, ethnicity and nationalism

Ethnicity may be a key source of identity, through their beliefs (i.e. Rastafarianism and the fall of the West), their identities (black boys considered as 'muggers'), our families (traditional or mainstream) or our interaction with others (i.e. skinheads and their racism). It could occur through social inequalities or shared cultural beliefs. Bradley beleives this is both active and politicised.

'Britishness' may impact on several social groups, as certain cultural traditions may exclude certain social groups, e.g. St.George's Day for Irish descendants.

Ethnicity is still disadvantageous, as whites normally are considered higher acheivers and more ept than others by employers.

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Postmodernism; Identity, age and disability.

Age can be key for identity. Middle-aged are more economically comfortable, while older and youngers are both more economically deprived and suffer from stereotypes more. For the young, identity can change as we age through socialization from a wider range of sources.

The identities of elders may be more politicised, through pension levels and the community charge.

Stigmas and discourses may affect the disableds identities as (interactionists) they may start to see themselves as others see them through the cultures intepretation of them. Arguments for their rights are apparent, they beleive social opression is more important than impairments.

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