The Politics of Postmodernism

The Politics of Postmodernism

The Politics of Postmodernism

The Politics of Postmodernism

Synopsis

This remains one of the clearest and most incisive introductions to postmodernism. Perhaps more importantly, it is a compelling discussion of why postmodernism matters. Working through the issue of representation in art forms from fiction to photography, Linda Hutcheon sets out postmodernism's highly political challenge to the dominant ideologies of the western world. A new epilogue traces the fate of the postmodern over the last ten years and into the future, responding to claims that it has, once and for all, 'failed'. Together with the new epilogue, this edition contains revised notes on further reading and an updated bibliography. This revised edition of The Politics of Postmodernism continues its position as essential reading.

Excerpt

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Few words are more used and abused in discussions of contemporary culture than the word 'postmodernism.' As a result, any attempt to define the word will necessarily and simultaneously have both positive and negative dimensions. It will aim to say what postmodernism is but at the same time it will have to say what it is not. Perhaps this is an appropriate condition, for postmodernism is a phenomenon whose mode is resolutely contradictory as well as unavoidably political.

Postmodernism manifests itself in many fields of cultural endeavor - architecture, literature, photography, film, painting, video, dance, music, and elsewhere. In general terms it takes the form of self-conscious, self-contradictory, self-undermining statement. It is rather like saying something whilst at the same time putting inverted commas around what is being said. The effect is to highlight, or 'highlight,' and to subvert, or 'subvert,' and the mode is therefore a 'knowing' and an ironic - or even 'ironic' - one. Postmodernism's distinctive character lies in this kind of wholesale 'nudging' commitment to doubleness, or duplicity. In many ways it is an even-handed process because postmodernism ultimately manages to install and reinforce as much as

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