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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Postmodernism and Politics of Style by Dick Hebdige/ MA Previous

Sebin Justine



MEL 132

Western Aesthetics

July 15, 2010

Essay Mapping

Postmodernism and Politics of Style by Dick Hebdige

In this essay Dick Hebdige discusses on post modernism. He also discusses how it became useful to world. He begins the essay by giving an introduction to postmodernism

Definition and introduction of postmodernism is discussed in this paragraph.

Postmodernism is-space- condition-predicament-an aporia- unpassablepath-where competing intentions- definition- diverse- social-intellectual tendencies-lines of force coverage-clash.When-people-discribe-postmodern as- d├ęcor of room-design of building-diegesis of the film-construction of a record- television commercial - an arts documentary- layout of page in fashion magazine or critical journal- anti teleological tendency with epistemology- attack on metaphysical presence- general attenuation of feeling- collective chargin –group of rhetorical troupes – a proliferation of surfaces- new phase in commodity fetishism-facination for images-codes and style- process of cultural- political or existential fragmentation-decentring of subject—collapse of cultural hierarchies- decline of university-functioning of new miniaturized technologies-broad societal and economic shift into media- then –is clear –we- presence –of buzzword.

This paragraph discusses how peoples view on postmodernism

Viewed Benigly-degree – semantic complexity-surrounding-postmodernism-signal- that- number of people-with-interests-opinion –feel- that- something-important-stake –worth-struggling-arguing. Substantiative appeal of -debates – consist- degree-of contemporary crisis-directly-confronted-articulated-grappled with.Uneasiness- which – concern-rapidity and glee-which-intellectuals-intent-abandoning earlier positions-staked out-in- pre-post-erous ground- older-critical debates-predominates-uneasiness-which-underpinned-this case-by-squarer-puritival -aversion-decadence-fatalism.

The paragraph describes various definition of postmodernism

Postmodernism-resembles-modernism-that-it-need-to be thought-plural. Different –writers-define-differently-but- writer- can talk- different time-about-differnent post. Jean Francois Lyotard-used-term-to three sepratetendencies. 1) trend-within-architecture-away-from-Modern Movement’s project-of a last rebuilding- whole space-occupied-humanity. 2) decay-confidence- in –idea –of- progress and modernization. 3) recognition-no longer-employ-metaphor-of-avant-garde- as if- modern artist- soldiers- fighting-borders of knowledge. There is- postmodernism-as –descriptive category- liternature and visual arts-postmodernism- used-refer-a tendency- towards-stylistic pluralism, crisis- avant-garde-as idea and as institution- the blurring on-allegedly unparalleled scale-categories of high and low forms, idioms and contents. There-attempts-discribe-postmodern-emergent cultures and subcultures associated- the new userfriendly- communication technologies . There- much talk-bricolage, creative consumption, the decentring and de professionalization- knowledge- technical expertise, the production – meaning in use. There – talk too- general breakdown – social and cultural distinctions: an end- to- outmoded fantasy- the masses and- corollary in – market but also –historically grounded communities of – industrial period: end – existing subjectivities, existing collectivities. These fragmentations- sometimes linked- erosion – boundaries between – production and consumption, between different media and- incommensurable times and unsynchronized rhythms- different process, experiences, actions. Sometime- it – suggested- together- blurrings and mergers- led to collapse- hierarchies- kept apart the competing definition of culture- high culture, low culture, mass culture, popular culture, culture as- whole way of life- such a way- these categories- their contents- no longer-regarded –separate, distinct and vertically ranked.

Distinguishing between neo-consrvative-anti-modernist and critical post modernism is discussed.

Hal Foster- distinguishes between- neoconservative-antimodernist-critical postmodernism-and points out-some- critics – practioners seek- extend-revitalize-modernist project-others condemn-modernist objectives- and sets out-remedy- effects-of modernism-while- others-working in- spirit of ludic-critical pluralism – endeavor –open up- new spaces. In –latter-critical alternative-postmodernism-defined- positive critical advance-fractures through negotiation-1) petrifiedhegemony of- corpus of radical aesthetic stratergies – proscriptions and –pre-Freudian-subject-formed-hub of- progressive wheel of modernization-functioned in-modern period as-regulated focus for- range of- disciplinary scientific, literarary,legal and burocratic discourse. Critical postmodernist –to challenge-validity-unilinear version-artistic and economic –technological development- to concentrate instead on what gets left out-marginalized, repressed or buried underneath that term. Modernism –discarded by- postmodernist –a eurocentric and phallocentric category- involves- systematic preference for certain forms and voice of others. What is recommended- its place- inversion- modernist hierarchy- a hierarchy- since its inception- eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries- places- metropolitan center- over underdeveloped periphery. Western arts form- Third World – men’s art over womens art, in less anatomical terms – masculine or masculinist forms, institutions and practices over feminine, feminist of femineist ones. Here –word –postmodernist-used to cover-stratergies-setout –dismantle – power- the white.

Diagnoses of the post modernism is discussed in this paragraph

Diagnoses-postmodern condition cluster round- threat or promise- various kinds of merger. A number-immanent mergers –identified: coming together-different literary,televisual, musical style and genres, mergers of subjects and objects. This tendency –at one level- signaled-much vaunted contemporary preference - art, literature, film, television and popular music for parody, stimulation and allegory- the figures –risen like-ghosts from – grave of- fatally afflicated author. Shift towards- tropes- rooted-deconstructionism, in the abandonment-of pursuit – orgins- and –poststructuralist-attacks-metaphysics of presence.

Postmodernism in architecture

Postmodernism in architecture-identified with-end of European modernist hegemony-imposed with growing conviction- on global scale from 1920’s onwards- known- as international style. Reaction –against- International Style architecture-pioneered- in Britain- people like- Edward Lutyens- a whole generation- has been taken it. Modernism in architecture – identified with- more or less intentional destruction of – coordinates through- communities orient themselves-space and time : the destruction- of historyas- lived dimension- of neighbourhood as- socially inhabited space. Architecture is- independent and isolable field- but- less are-definite links-made with-postmodernism. It is – shrinkage in the aspiration of- intellectual practioner himself -links- architecture of post- to its artistic, critical and philosophical.

The given paragraph gives a greater view of postmodernism.

Word –postmodernism- announces- at very least- certain degree of skepticism- concerning-transformative and critical-power of art, aesthetics, knowledge. It announces- end- simple faith-what sometimes- called ‘grand metanarratives’-the great stories- for thousands of years- cultures of west- telling themselves-to keep-dread prospect of otherness at bay. Poststructuralism marks- decline- great stories of west- which has told itself- inorder to sustain itself- against rest, in order- place itself- Master and Hero – world. These stories- functioned in past- as forms of- reassurance- first stories- which John Berger talks about. Berger – imagines – first men- crouching round their fires- night telling stories. Each story- represents- ring of fire- light lit to pierce-darkness. To chase – darkness forever. And today we- crouching on our haunches- centered around-dying embers of many great stories- many heroic, epic master-narratives-stories which have lost- lusture and light, their power and plausibility- today we may- live without- solace and their comfort. If postmodernism means- end to belief- coherence and continuity as givens-end to- metaphysic of narrative closure, postmodernism mean- what Paul Virilio calls- the triumph of the art of the fragment: a loss- totality, necessary and therapeutic loss of wholeness. It may mean- substituting- history without guarantees for-older models- of mechanical and necessary progress. But if this –sounds –grandiouse and pretentious – and far too close- to modernist project- claim to displace- we – cut postmodernism down to size- reducing its terms of reference.

The given paragraph deals with the uses of postmodernism

Postmodernism –used loosely- to designate- range of symptoms which announce- break with- traditional cultural and aesthetic forms and experiences: break, for instance- traditional notions of authorship – originality. Postmodernism – used - shorthand term- reference certain qualities and tendencies- characterize- contemporary metropolitan milieu: growing- public familiarity with formal- representational codes- a profusion of consumption lifestyle, cultures, subcultures, a generalized sensitivity to style- and to difference: etnic, gender, regional and local difference. Some – artist and critics- denounces postmodernism- a flatulent retreat from- responsibility of – artist to bear- critical witness- times- which we live. Others stress- extend –which- sacerdotal postures and duties of- artist themselves- questioned and dismantled insofar- they serve to amplify- duplicate- voice of the father. There –many- good thing- found- ruins -in the collapse- older explanatory system.

Paragraph here deals with idle consumer.

The idle consumer- of- late 1980s – a bundle of contradictions: monstrous, brindled, hybrid. The idle consumer- deducted from – contemporary advertisement- not he or she – but it. The idle consumer- not- the idle productive worker-of an earlier epoch- a sexually repressed nobody, alienated from- sensual pleasure, subjected to- turgid life-denying disciplines of- working week and nuclear family. Instead idle consumer – it: enemy of personal pronouns- is a complete social and- psychological mess. Idle consumer- extrapolated from- barrage – contradictory interpellations- advertising billboards-magazine spreads- television commercial- is conflicting drives, desires, fantacies,appetites.


We – lost – Big Theories- Big Stories but post modernism- helped- rediscover- power- that resides- little things- disregarded detail- in aphorism- in metaphor- allusion- images and image stream.


Hebdige, Dick. Postmodernism and Politics of Style. Art in Modern Culture: An Anthology of

Critical Texts. Eds: Franscina, Francis and Jonathan Harris. London New York: Phaidon,

1992. Print.

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