Presentation on theme: "Do We Live in a Postmodern Society?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Do We Live in a Postmodern Society? What makes this PoMo?Serious people (Elite culture) made to seem frivolous (Pop culture)PlayfulTaking from other historical periodsLecture by Dr Christopher Kollmeyer
2 Outline for Lecture Key Question: Do we live in a postmodern society? Postmodernism Defined: Things characterised by a rupture with, and movement beyond, modernism.Possible Realms where Postmodernism ManifestsTime, Space, and Social RelationsArts, Pop Culture, and AestheticsEpistemologySocietal StructuresEconomyPoliticsGeo-political affairs
3 First, What is Modernity? It’s a historical period that began in the 1700s in Western Europe.It resulted in massive social change in which long-standing, traditional societies were rapidly and thoroughly transformed.Economy: agrarian industrialHuman settlements: small & rural large & urbanPolity: empires nation-statesEpistemology: traditional, dogmatic rational, scientificIt spread unevenly across the world’s societies.Imperial expansion (e.g. India, the Americas)Imitation (e.g. Japan, Turkey)Japan 1853: Matthew Perry of US Navy sails in Japanese HarborSuperior military force favorable trade treatyend to Japanese isolationJapan responded by modernizing its society
4 Human Population Growth: Example of Massive Social Change Occurring During Modernity Modernizing Countries high population increasesDemographic TransitionAG societies: high births (but also high deaths) stableModernizing: High births (but now low deaths) rapid growthModernized:: low births ( and low deaths) stable
5 Summary of Selected Social Changes Occurring During Modernity Sphere of SocietyPre-modernityModernityEconomyFeudalismAgrarianCapitalismIndustrialPolityEmpireMonarchyNation-StateDemocracyHuman settlementsRuralSmall-scaleUrbanLarge-scalePopulationHigh birth rateHigh mortalityFalling birth rateLow mortalityKnowledgeDogmatic, traditional, stableScientific, rational, changing
6 Time-Space Compression: Technology Shrinks Our World Sailing ships (1500s – 1840s)Humans Experience Geographic Distance thru TimeOr space as a barrier to human activity is measure in time to travel across it.This varies with technologyExample: Aberdeen to LondonHorse (several weeks)Sailing ship (several days)Train (day or two)Airplane (one hour)Trains and stream ships (1840s – 1920s)Propeller airplanes (1920s-1940s)Jet airplanes (1940s –present)Source: David Harvey The Condition of Postmodernity. Pp. 241
7 Information Age and time-space compression Intel Corp invents micro-chip in 1972Information tech becomes generalizedthroughout societyInformation now travels at light speed so-called ‘Death of Geography’
8 Time-Space Compression Occurs Unevenly Old and new technologies co-exist.London to New York (5,000 miles) == London to northern Scotland (500 miles).Package London to New York (5 days)E-document (instant!)Source: Peter Dicken Global Shift. Pp. 153.
9 Social Consequences of the Separation of Time and Space ‘Dis-embedding’ of social relations: Removing social activity from its localized context. Co-presence not required.Globalized Social Interdependence: Distant events increasingly have local consequencesOntological Insecurity: Declining stability and continuity in one’s personal identity and one’s surrounding social environment.Dis-embeddingPre-modern:Social interaction required co-presenceModern times:Certain amount didn’t require co-presenceNowCo-presence not required.Ontological InsecurityNature of our existence and our social world. Take-it-for granted assumptions about the nature of our existence.Burka and mow hawk.SoCal, Aberdeen, and midriffsSocial practice de-rooted for original locationsSource: Anthony Giddens The Consequences of Modernity.
10 PoMo in Fine Arts and Pop Culture: Dominance of Signs and Symbols SignifiedSignifierDiscuss PoMo in the Arts and popular cultureSymbol representing a manAn actual man
11 PoMo: De-linking of Signifier and Signified ‘Empty' or 'floating' signifiers: Signifiers with vague, highly variable, or little connections to their signified.Advert for Perfume: SignifierPerfume: Signified≠
12 Postmodern SignsSimulacrum: Simulacra are copies without originals. Or representations that bear little relation to any reality.Disneyland as Simulacrum par excellence
13 PoMo in the Fine Arts: Andy Warhol and the Blurring of High and Low Culture, of Near and Far, of Past and PresentAcross history, place, and types of culturesChairman Mao (first leader of communist china)Beethoven (classical music composer from Germany late 1700s early 1800s)Goethe (German Poet from the same period)
14 PoMo in the Fine Arts: The Many Identities of Cindy Sherman