post modernism

Topics: Postmodernism, Culture, Postmodernity Pages: 15 (3603 words) Published: January 28, 2014
Post - Modernism and Mass Culture


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Post Modernism/20/1/98/P.Covington/Media Disc

This is a relatively new development and there are few sources that present clear and readable accounts of it. It is a reaction to the belief of postmodernists that Marx concentrated excessively on production, at the cost of consumption.

This concept, despite its variety of meanings and definitions, is used to refer to many aspects of social life from musical forms and styles, literature and fine art through to philosophy, history and especially the mass media. Post modernism is a slippery term that is used by writers to refer to several different things. Featherstone (1991) points out the term has been used to refer to …

1. New developments in intellectual and cultural theory
2. The suggestion that our subjective experience of everyday life and our sense of identity

has somehow changed significantly in recent years.
3. The view that capitalist or industrial societies have reached new and important stages in

their development, the shift from modernity to post-modernity.

Post - Modernism and Mass Culture


Post - Modernism and Mass Culture


Jean Baudrillard
Post Modern sociologies contain the observation that in post-modernity, as opposed to modernity, we witness the decline of absolute truth and the rise of relativism, see my notes on this – where no single dominant meanings can be widely agreed on in society regarding the nature of social life. When asked in an interview to define post-modernism Jean Baudrillard commented….

There is no clear or appropriate answer to that. Basically, if post-modernism exists, it must be the characteristic of a universe where there is no more definitions possible. It is a game of definitions which matters…they have been deconstructed, destroyed…it has all be done. The extreme limit of these possibilities has been reached…all that are left are the pieces. Baudrillard, 1993

In this essay Simulations he attempts to explain the differences between 'reality' as lived by individuals in their day-to-day life, and the so-called reality portrayed by the media. Baudrillard, like other post modernists, contends that everyday reality and media have become blurred. Individuals obtain what they experience as real knowledge about the real world from the media, but this is actually reproduced knowledge about an entirely simulated or reproduced world. This he calls the hyper real. Moreover, Baudrillard views consumption not only as merely economic and material activity but also a symbolic and meaningful and status differentiating activity. To give an example , Coke at a conscious level are recommending a drink, at a secondary level, they are recommending that the drink may be fun, acceptance, romance, or whatever, and at a more general level, reinforce the belief that such consumption is 'good'. The whole package is 'the real thing'. In fact, Coke is mainly coloured sweetened water and largely market researchers create the values associated with it.

Umberto Eco (1987) an Italian most modernist philosopher and literary figure, defines the hyperreal as that which is more real than real.
In using the concept of the hyperreal, some post modernists claim that increased importance of the media in contemporary society, the nature of relationships between the media and audiences is changing. Baudrillard claims that audiences, especially of TV, have undergone rapid and profound change in their experiences.

Audiences live their real lives through simulations of reality given by the media. Thus the knowledge and experience social actors believer they have of 'real life' becomes indistinguishable from that given to us by the media. An example of this was the 'instant' 24-hour images of warfare produced by CNN from the Gulf War. Audiences felt that they had experienced the war themselves, yet they only did so through manufactured TV images....
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