Modern and postmodern

Authored by: Peter Beilharz

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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What was the fuss about modern and postmodern? It might be tempting to view this as a past controversy, for which all passion is spent. At a minimum, the legacy of this dispute is that it called modernism and modernity into question, again. The dispute is recurrent, and has been going on for centuries now. Into the 1980s, the trend of the post-war boom was flatlining. Interest often shifted into the question of globalization. Inasmuch as modernity and modernist discourse was often driven by Americanism, this was a timely development. The dynamo of modernity now may rather be China. This chapter revisits some of the key arguments of earlier debate about modernism and postmodernism, from Lyotard and Fehér and Heller to Bauman, then Jameson and Harvey. These powerful views remain, and focus still on the bright and dark sides of modernity and postmodernity. Now, a generation on, there may be a need for discussion of modern and postmodern, old and new.

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