Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

by Christopher Butler

The key postmodernist ideas are explored and challenged, as they figure in the theory, philosophy, politics, ethics and artwork of the period, and it is shown how they have interacted within a postmodernist culture.About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics.

Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

What People Think about "Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction"

Now, to me, the most important contribution of postmodernism is to instil a kind of cautiousness while reading any social and historical texts. To my delight, ahem , Alan Sokal published one article in a postmodernist journal titled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" where he said that the quantum theory of gravity is a social and linguistic construct! iii) I agree that there is the issue of multiple explanations of a single phenomenon, but the crucial point is that they usually operate in different regimes of some inherent parameter of the theory. Take for example the most hotly debated issue of high-temperature superconductor; many physicists are arguing about the correct and complete theory of it, which is still elusive, but what we presently have is some conflicting theories which either operate in the different regimes (of temperature, pressure, doping concentration etc.) or, surely, one of them is correct. Same is true for Newtonian and Einstein's theory of gravity: they simply operate in different regimes.

Full disclosure: I mainly liked it because I strongly agree with his diagnosis of the infamously slippery and nebulous concept of postmodernism.

Not that it would have necessarily been better, because the big secret about postmodernism is almost nobody calls themselves a postmodernist, and at the most says things like, "I'm using a postmodernist technique of deconstruction." Critics of postmodernism usually attack a straw man of what they think a postmodernist is, complete with a series of positions that nobody I have ever met actually holds. 1. You would think Butler would do his best on literature, but while I am not a big fan of postmodernist literature and many of the authors that Butler mentions specifically, he never even tells us what postmodern literature is apart from contrasting it to a ridiculous definition on realism where the author portrays the world as it really is. As far as I can tell, the people that are labeled postmodernists never claim that truth is relative or that there is no objective reality, only express skepticism that the systems that people currently claim deliver this to us actually do so. Number of times he or any of his arguments are mentioned in this book: 0.

But the book *is* a bit superficial -- which is justifiable, perhaps, given the tendency of books on this topic to obfuscate by speaking about themselves from *within* the jargon...; but it is also a bit boring. I don't know if it is the author who is boring or the topic that I (certainly do) find boring -- or maybe both.

Here is a holistic summary of postmodernism as outlined by Butler: its affiliation with Freudianism and Marxism, thus its resistance to anything bourgeois; its deconstructive skeptical approach; the death of the subject, i.e. we are subjected beingsthe idea that our self is other-determined by social and economic hierarchizing structures; the politicizing of art; the trend for parody and pastiche in art and architecture; the depthlessness and lack of affect in postmodern literature; the belief that everything is text; the belief that everything is fiction, a story; the belief that everything is interpretation, i.e. perspectivism This book is great as an introduction, particularly for those unready for the rigorous theoretical accounts of postmodernisms avant-garde critics and theorists.

Saya tidak mahu menghabiskan buku ini. Satunya kerana saya sendiri masih belum biasa dengan idea-idea Derrida atau Foucalt. Bagaimana pula saya mahu membaca tulisan yang meradd idea-idea ini.