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The Foundations of Social Research Ch 9

The Foundations of Social Research Ch 9

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The Foundations of Social Research

Michael Crotty Chapter Nine Postmodernism

The Foundations of Social Research
 Postmodernism,

academic terms  Post as in after, logical succession or time succession?  Postmodernism does not displace modernism just as postpositivism does not displace positivism. They coexist and share many of the same concerns.

the most slippery of

The Foundations of Social Research
 What

is modernism/modernization or modernity?  Patterns of social life linked to industrialization  Process of social change initiated by industrialization

The Foundations of Social Research
 What

is the modern world?  Rational  Instrumental reason  Control and manipulation of nature  Certainty and precision of science and technology  Modernity as the child of the enlightenment

The Foundations of Social Research
Modernism evinces great faith in the ability of reason to discover absolute forms of knowledge.  Science and scientific method are the paramount ways in which validity and a universally recognizable reality is achieved.  Modernism is the path to emancipation, delivering us from the fetters of ignorance  Modernity=progress

The Foundations of Social Research
 Modernity,

out of the enlightenment, also posited an autonomous individual self that is self-reliant and very much in control.  Postmodernity is a thoroughgoing rejection of what modernism stands for and an overturning of the foundations on which it rests.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Where

modernism purports to base itself on generalised, indubitable truths about the way things really are, postmodernism abandons the entire epistemological basis for any such claims to truth.  Postmodernism commits itself to ambiguity, relativity, fragmentation, particularity, and discontinuity.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Postmodernism

delights in play, irony, pastiche, excess—even ‘mess.’  Engages in the radical decentering of the subject, privileging nonidentity (or the dispersal of identity) over any stable self-conception.

The Foundations of Social Research
But to simply place postmodernity and postmodern thought in an exclusive time/space framework is not very ‘postmodern’ of us. Its claims were stated before they were consciously postmodern claims  Crotty posits alternative definition of modernity as well, stating that modernity, in art and literature is not merely identified with industrialization but is a response to it.

The Foundations of Social Research
In art and literature we can see that Modernity concerns a particular set of cultural or aesthetic styles associated with the artistic movement which originated around the turn of the century  Modern art is notably ambiguous, which neither embraced nor rejected modernity, its acceptance is made with full awareness of the many anomalies it holds.

The Foundations of Social Research
Weber, great modern thinker  Modernity is the disenchantment of the world. What does that mean?  Benjamin and Adorno committed to anatomizing modernity on its own terms rather than lamenting the past or rejecting modernity all together  Weber, Benjamin and Adorno typify the struggle of modernity, far from retreating from the bourgeois world it finds itself inhabiting, it mounts a challenge from within.

The Foundations of Social Research

  

Modern art, for example, challenged previously existing aesthetic realism’s assumptions that aesthetic value came from some sort of correspondence between artistic representation on the one hand, and reality on the other. Picasso, the Eiffel tower, James, what did they do? See 189, bottom What is ostranenie? What does it have to do with poetry and modernity? So modernism in art and literature is a spirited, ambiguous response to modernity, rather than a movement identified with modernity itself.

The Foundations of Social Research
Postmodernism v. postmodernity  Postmodernity is a distinct historical stage in societal development.  Postmodernism, like modernism, is a response to a qualitatively new society “a profound mutation in recent thought and practice”  Besides being a response to the postmodern world, postmodernism arises out of and in reaction to modernism.

The Foundations of Social Research
Postmodernism denotes a whole set of contemporary literary and cultural movements which self-consciously define themselves in opposition to earlier, equally self-consciously modernist cultural movements.  Postmodernism as moment in time  Postmodernism as postmodernity v. postmodernism as cultural response  Postmodernism as cultural response and postmodernism as theory.

The Foundations of Social Research
If modernism is taken to be Posnock’s ferment of experimental activity erupting within modernity but in reaction against its abstraction, rationalization and instrumentality, what is postmodernism?  What is left to it that is not found in modernism itself?  Its as if postmodernism was the necessary outcome of modernist style inquiry…  Lets look at 192, 193, starting with quotation at bottom of 192

The Foundations of Social Research
Consequences of postmodernity  The very setting prevents us from launching ourselves into challenging, subversive innovations with anything like a messianic vision for the future or any hope of redeeming the situation.  Postmodernism has the distinction of simultaneously feeling very freeing and very crippling all at once.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Where

to go with theory and research in postmodernity  Post-structuralism, born out of the reaction to French structuralism and borrowed in the US to develop a theoretical understanding of the postmodern condition.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Lyotard,

sometimes called the father of postmodern theory, defines postmodernity in terms of “incredulity towards metanarratives,” and that postmodernity is a “nonsentimental adieu (in other words, good riddance) to the traditional metaphysical longing for totality, holism and presence.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Patty

Lather defines postmodern as the larger cultural shifts of a postindustrial, post-colonial era and poststructural as the working out of those shifts within the arenas of academic theory.  Poststructuralism=a theorizing, a corollary, a strain, a synonym of postmodernism?

The Foundations of Social Research
   

 

Structuralism Relationships between language, reality and consciousness are based in a system of signs Language is very deterministic in structuralism in terms of social meaning Durkheim, Saussure (early semiotics, sign, signifier, signified), Levi-Strauss, the linguistic turn Formal structure found in language thus becomes the source of meaning for the structuralist. Paragraph 1, p. 199 top

The Foundations of Social Research
Milner’s five characteristics of Structuralism  Positivism  Anti-historicism  Demystification  Theoreticism  Anti-humanism  Structuralists whose work straddles the border between structuralism and poststructuralism: Barthes, Althusser, Foucault

The Foundations of Social Research
Barthes and mythologies/semiotics  Foucault and epistemes/discursive formations i.e., capitalism, family, prison, gender, ,knowledge itself.  Althusser, reading Marx as a structuralist theory i.e., economics, politics, ideology, as instances of society, are all presented as structures  So how can structuralism be both positivist and subjectivist at the same time? See p. 201, bottom.

The Foundations of Social Research
 Friedrich

Nietszche: his subterranean impact on post-structuralism and post-structural and structuralist thinkers, Foucault and Derrida.

The Foundations of Social Research

Post-structuralism retains structuralism’s commitment to de Saussure’s view that the meaning of words derives from their relationship to one another and not from any postulated relationship to non-linguistic reality. Language becomes situated within societal relationships of power (Foucault) and within the unconscious (Lacan) Where structuralism looks for decisive forms shaping factors in structural forms discoverable within society or the unconscious, in poststructuralism, structures no longer offer the life line they were once seen to be throwing to the shipwrecked. The main difference is that poststructuralism leaves positivism entirely behind and becomes very anti-humanist.

The Foundations of Social Research
Barthes and the text, Foucault and power, Derrida and the sign  Derrida and “everything is a text,” “primacy of the written over the spoken,” difference  Lacan and the imaginary, pre-oedipal faze, speechless identity between mother and child gives way to linguistic consciousness that father provides. The symbolic order is thus masculine  Kristeva and intertextuality

The Foundations of Social Research
Lyotard and grand narratives  The postmodern world is at once, and paradoxically, a world of massification and a world of fragmentation. The mass society obliterates time-honored distinctions and without these distinctions we have no sense of how the whole might fit together. As Lyotard insists, there is no metanarrative that can bring things together for us.

The Foundations of Social Research

Given the array of epistemological and theoretical perspectives you have encountered, where do you find yourself on the epistemology continuum? Why, how so? What kinds of research questions and topics would you deal with and what kind of methods would you utilize and why? Be prepared to answer this question on the exam.

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