Postmodernism: Revision

L.O: To recap on our knowledge
about postmodernism in
preparation for the exam.
Modernism recap
• Modernism is characterized by the shift from
agricultural to industrial society.
• The modernist view of culture was rooted in the idea
that "traditional" forms of art, literature, social
organization and daily life had become outdated, and
that it was therefore essential to sweep them aside and
reinvent culture.
• It experimented with form and drew attention to the
processes and materials used.
• It attacked traditional modes of representation in order
to reveal the “truth” in the human condition.
Modernism vs Postmodernism
• Postmodernism is a cultural movement that came
after modernism. In many ways it can be
considered as an extension of modernism.
• It follows our shift from being a industrial society
to that of an information society, through
globalization of capital.
• Postmodernism is a term applied to a wide-
ranging set of developments in critical theory,
philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and
Postmodernism: A rejection of grand
• Postmodernism grew from the loss of faith in the
idea of progress dating from about the 1960s.
• If modernism stems from a fundamental belief in
progress then postmodernism is about the absence of
such an overarching concept.
• It rejects “grand narratives” (Jean-Francois Lyotard)
• Whereas modernism was primarily concerned with
principles such as identity, unity, authority, and
certainty, postmodernism is often associated with
difference, plurality, intertextuality, and scepticism.
Key features of postmodernism
• “Truth” rejected • Challenging
• Reaction against modernism producer/consumer
• Challenging originality relationships
• Multiplicity • Questioning scientific
• Decenteredness & reasoning
fragmentation of meaning • Embracing paradox
• Irony & self reference • Lacking a clear organising
• Rejects verisimilitude principle
• • Embracing extreme
Opposing hierarchy
complexity, contradiction,
• Rejection of grand narratives
ambiguity, diversity and
• Mixing previous styles and intertextuality.
• Parody and pastiche
• Recycling culture
• Postmodernism refers to a cultural, intellectual,
or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy
or organizing principle and embodying extreme
complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity,
interconnectedness or interreferentiality in a way
that is often indistinguishable from a parody of
itself. It has given rise to charges of
• It is also sometimes used to describe tendencies
in a society that are held to be antithetical
to traditional systems of morality.
Postmodern Media
• In our media saturated world the distinction
between reality and the media representation of it
has become blurred or even invisible.

• Media reality is the new reality.

• Representations get remixed and played around
with through pastiche, parody and intertextual
references which deliberately expose their
constructed nature.
Ideas in postmodern media
• Postmodern media rejects the idea that any media text is of
any greater value than another. All judgements of value are
merely taste. Anything can be art, anything can deserve to
reach an audience.
• Culture “eats itself” as there is no longer anything new to
produce or distribute.
• The distinction between media and reality has collapsed
and we now live in a “reality” defined by images and
representations – a state of simulacrum. (See sheet on
• All ideas of “the truth” are just competing claims and what
we believe to be the truth at any point is merely the
“winning” discourse.
Blurs line between reality and
Simultaneously real and unreal
Structured Reality Challenges producer/audience
• Structured reality is the evolution of reality tv such as Big Brother.
• With structured reality audience doesn’t know what’s real and what’s
• This challenges the relationship between producer and audience. We
normally have a clear distinction between what is a real text and what is
• We are meant to think it’s all real yet we know some of it must be fake.
• It is hyperreal because it is real – these are real people – yet not real at the
same time.
• Some of the interactions and coincidences (like people bumping into each
other) are too obvious to be real.
• Its “reality” is reinforced through other media texts. Gossip magazines treat
the storylines as real news.
• The stars themselves also reinforce this reality by tweeting about events.