- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: For Beginners; Reprint edition (Aug. 21 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1934389099
- ISBN-13: 978-1934389096
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #370,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Postmodernism for Beginners Paperback – Aug 21 2007
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The author manages to maintain sufficient detachment from his subject to provide perspective and levity while at the same time taking it seriously enough to provide a substantial explanation of the causes and symptoms of postmodernism, a decoding of its formidable jargon, and a lucid explication of difficult writers such as Baudrillard and Jameson. He also addresses key questions such as the difference between modernism and postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-modernism (let me put it this way: the former "reads" the text of verbal signs, or words; the latter reads the text of visual signs, or images).
A couple of caveats: Deconstructionists, post-modernists, etc. tend to take themselves very seriously, ironically adopting reactionary positions and political ideologies no less rigid than the "logocentric" views they originally challenged. Also, in many respects the media culture changes so quickly and unexpectedly that even "pomo" gurus like Baudrillard can suddenly look quaintly old-fashioned and dated.
Finally, post-structuralism, deconstruction, postmodernism are primarily words of the academy; their value as currency, moreover, rapidly diminished after the 1980s. But because so many young academics, graduate students, and sophomoric philosopher-dilettantes invested so much of themselves in learning French theory (often at the expense of studying the objects of inquiry), they tend to overestimate its importance on the present-day scene, imposing it upon bewildered young students having difficulty weighing its actual importance. The author's plan does not include a critique of "postmodernism," but had he room for an additional chapter, he might well have considered providing one.
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