Teaching sociology today what is postmodernism and how do you teach it
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golden oldies. re-enactment. Star Trek conventions (simulacra?) museums. Tim Dant ... architecture, art, advertising,fashion, television, pop music...

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Postmodernism

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Teaching Sociology TodayWhat is Postmodernism and how do you teach it?

Tim Dant

Sociology, University of Lancaster

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


introduction

  • postmodernism: cultural movement

  • Jencks 1987

  • key ideas:

    • simulation (Baudrillard)

    • nostalgia (Jameson)

    • loss of grand narratives (Lyotard)

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


modernism

  • forward looking:

    • progressive, new, designed, human principle, iconoclastic (James Joyce)

    • architecture: rectangular, glass + steel

  • rational:

    • calculative, powerful, systematic

  • undecorative:

    • manmade materials, hard lines, functional

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Seagram Building,

New York

1958

Mies van der Rohe

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Herbert F. Johnson

Museum of Art at

Cornell University

1973

I.M.Pei

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


World Trade Centre

1970

Minoru Yamasaki

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


  • Vanna Venturi House

  • Robert Venturi

  • 1961-64

  • unsymmetrical

  • classic references

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


postmodernism

  • nostalgic references back

    • classical, modern, traditional

  • simulation of modernism

    • borrows modernist forms

  • playful – no grand narrative

    • mix of styles, references

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


AT&T headquarters

International Style

‘Chippendale’ pediment

1984

Philip Johnson

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


New York,

New York Hotel

Las Vegas

1997

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


modernity + postmodernity

  • modern-ism, postmodern-ism

    • cultural movements

  • modern-ity, postmodern-ity

    • periods of history

  • critique of modernity  postmodernity

    • inhumanity of rationality, system

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


postmodernity

  • a development of modernity

    • incoporation of critique

  • sociology:

    • globalisation

    • complexity

    • knowledge

    • surveillance

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


economy and culture

  • new economy

    • based on taste, ideas, aesthetics?

    • production of knowledge

    • new technologies, new bureacracies

    • flows of resources, information, products

    • liquid, mobile, complex

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


postmodernism: simulation

  • simulation - Baudrillard

    • imitation, copy, appearance of reality

    • substitution for the real

      • brick façade simulating brick building

      • ceramic tiles simulating limestone or wood

    • ‘precession of simulacra’

      • simulation precedes the real - Disneyland

  • fakery, feigning, pretending…

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


real or copy?

  • signifier of something?

  • Disneyworld, “Celebration”

  • New York, New York hotel

  • war: war games, video games, video images

  • cloning, genetic modification

    • who is the real human?

  • Twin Towers… in Beijing

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


World Park

Beijing, China

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


postmodernism: nostalgia

  • nostalgia: Jameson

  • repackaging the past,

    • pop culture replayed

    • Elvis - 1997 concert…

    • Elvis impersonators…

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Elvis in Las Vegas (late ‘60s)

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


reliving the past

  • cultural logic

    • economics of recycling culture

    • golden oldies

  • re-enactment

    • Star Trek conventions (simulacra?)

    • museums

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Marquess of Winchester’s regiment of the English Civil

War Society – Pike attack – Cliveden 2007

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Jorvik Centre York

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


York ‘Shambles’

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


loss of grand narratives

  • postmodernism as mix and match,

    • old and new, parody, pastiche

    • fashion: ‘supermarket of style’

  • plurality of knowledges (Lyotard)

  • grand narratives:

    • religion, political system as legitimation

    • …. but not science

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


little narratives

  • medicine:

    • bio-medicine + alternative healing

  • no foundation, no essential principles

    • crystals…

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


Healing crystals…

Silk bag of crystals healing stones contains:

Red Jasper for Bronchitis, Cancer, Diabetes and Wasting Disease

Green Aventurine for Fever, Stress, Eczema and as a General Tonic

Sodalite for Blood Pressure(high or low) Burns, Sinus and Impotence

Hematite for Anemia, Neck Tension, Depression and Muscles

Moonstone for PMS, Fertility, Menopause and Reproductive System ….

Etc!

Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


conclusions

  • simulation

  • nostalgia

  • end of grand narratives

  • ‘pomo’ as a cultural movement

    • architecture, art, advertising,fashion, television, pop music…

    • cultural practices: design, medicine, business

  • Tim Dant - Sociology - Lancaster


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