Sociology Theory : Sociology Theory Postmodernism Postmodernism : Postmodernism It is a slippery term that is used by writers to refer to several different things such as many aspects of social life from musical forms and styles, literature and fine art through to philosophy,
History and especially the mass
media. Postmodernism : Postmodernism Featherstone (1991) points out the term has been used to refer to:
New developments in intellectual and cultural theory
The suggestion that our subjective experience of everyday life and our sense of identity has somehow changed significantly in recent years
The view that capitalist or industrial societies have reached new and important stages in their development, the shift from modernity to
post-modernity. Postmodernism - principles : Postmodernism - principles The media is a key factor in the spread of 'global ideas' and information. Critics point to the USA as the main producer, which has in turn led to a form of cultural imperialism in the late 20th C. For example, Ritzer talks of the McDonaldisation of society. Postmodernism - principles : Postmodernism - principles A response to the bewildering array of choice and diversity is to 'pick and mix' to suit sub-group and sub-cultural identities. So young, Japanese people may drive, 1950's American cars, dance in the part to early rock and roll music and have elaborate Elvis, quiff hairstyles, while at the same time adhering to Japanese ideas of culture and style. Postmodernism - principles : Postmodernism - principles The media contribute to our knowledge of the world and more recent sociological approaches stress knowledge imparted by the media as fragmented, confused and overwhelming, stressing its relative nature. Postmodernism - principles : Postmodernism - principles For example, a tabloid paper like The Sun can have articles on eating disorders and include in the same edition pictures of women that encourage them. Key references : Key references Jameson, Lyotard, Baudrillard - with the decline of engineering and manufacturing in many advanced capitalist economies, the provision of cultural and media services becomes a key economic sector. In the UK for example, the record industry is one of the leading export sectors of the economy. Baudrillard I : Baudrillard I Semiology rather than economics which holds the key to understanding the principles or 'codes' governing such transactions
It is the agencies of signification - advertising agencies, marketing consultancies, PR firms, and the mass media -, which play a crucial role in circulating these codes.
For example, the 'designer labels' attached to jeans, shirts and coats all 'mean' something according to the code recognised by most young people. Baudrillard II : Baudrillard II We live in a world which is 'media saturated'; a world in which we are bombarded by media and advertising messages through multi-channel TV, globalised electronic and cable networks, a profusion of radio stations, newspapers and street billboards. Baudrillard III : Baudrillard III We lose the ability to distinguish between reality (for example, the real practical
values of a commodity) and its image.
Thus for Baudrillard, the post modern world is dominated by 'simulacra' (literally, false or deceptive images, but also referring to a copy that is almost indistinguishable from the original), in which we no longer try to distinguish reality from image; the two blur together. Conclusions : Conclusions The distinction between culture & society has broken down
Style has replaced substance puts ..'images dominate narrative‘, (Harvey)
Art becomes increasingly integrated into the economy - art & popular culture are becoming indistinguishable
People become confused about time and space Conclusions : Conclusions There are no metanarratives Evaluation uses : Evaluation uses Attempts to deal with new developments in culture and experience
This is a media dominated world which often appears to represent reality
Like soap operas, "real" is just another social construction and where it is difficult to distinguish the "reality" of people's lives from the images they portray
Image has precedence over reality – advertising
Focuses on consumption over production Evaluation - limitations : Evaluation - limitations Lechte states science & reason still dominate over hyper-reality when judging
Kellner claims technological determinism & overemphasis on technology in social relations
Strinati suggests the media may be important but not as much as claimed
Postmodernism is a metanarrative!
It recycles Manipulation Theory of the Frankfurt School
Postmodernists are too cynical about the masses