Postmodernity
• Huyssen’s “Mass Culture as Woman” – in
particular his definition of Modernism
• Basic Points of Habermas, Jameson,
Baudrillard in The Anti-Aesthetic
• One detail each (key detail) from
Habermas, Jameson, Baudrillard
• Discuss for next week’s task: example of
PoMo – some parameters for finding and
interpreting
Mass culture as Woman - Huyssen
There is a systematic tendency in modernist critique of mass
culture to cast commercial novelties as feminine
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Mass Culture – Woman
Reader/Consumer of Pulp
Subjective Audience
Emotional, engaged
Passive, receiver
Indistinct, silence
• Actress (mimic)
• Imitative
• Reproductive
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Modernism – Man
Writer/Producer of Art
Objective Observer
Ironic, detached
In Control, sender
Distinctive, voice
• Author(itative)
• Authentic
• Productive
Critique of Postmodernity – Three Classic
Examples: Habermas, Jameson, Baudrillard
• These are theories/critiques of Postmodernity, not
proponents or examples
• POSTMODERNIZATION: Post-industrial,
Post-Fordism, Post-Colonialism, LateCapitalism, Liquid Modernity, Information
Society, Consumer Society, Globalization
• POSTMODERNISM: Reactions and
attempts to make sense of this new world
Critique of Postmodernity – Three Classic
Examples: Habermas, Jameson, Baudrillard
• Habermas – main point:
• The ideology of modernism is now mass
• Used for neoconservative purposes
• Used to cover up ongoing modernization
in the socio-economic realm (left intact)
Critique of Postmodernity – Three Classic
Examples: Habermas, Jameson, Baudrillard
• Jameson – main point:
• The techniques of modernism now apply
to “Consumer Society” at large
• Pastiche
• Schizophrenia
Critique of Postmodernity – Three Classic
Examples: Habermas, Jameson, Baudrillard
• Baudrillard – main point:
• The performance of modernism now
applies to the everyday lifeworld
• Projection of Self (Scene) replaced by
Display of Self (Obscene)
• Utility replaced by Ecstasy
Huyssen’s Definition Modernism (p. 197)
• Autonomous from Everyday Lifeworld
• Self-referential, ironic, rigorously deliberate
• Individual Consciousness – not sociologically
determined or grounded in zeitgeist
• Experimental-Scientific - carries knowledge
• Technique is foregrounded (exploring language,
canvas, frame is idealized purpose)
• Rejection, break with “realist” tradition
• Critical adversary of society – achieved through
distinction and distance from mass culture
Habermas – Modernity – Incomplete Project
• Most insightful point (p.8):
• Protest requires “Communicative
Rationality” or reason
• But Protest only occurs when economic
and instrumental rationality is felt
• But need to understand his implicit
concern: the Democratic Public Sphere
Jameson – Consumer Society
• Most Insightful point (p. 114-15)
• Modernist Individual Subject is myth
(poststructuralism, more next week w/Foucault)
• If one individual can develop a private code, a
unique style, then all can
• Fragmentation of all norms into mere style
• But need to understand the logic of pastiche and
schizophrenia – and their consequences
Baudrillard – Ecstasy of Communication
• Most insightful point (p. 131)
• When all objects become commodities,
then all functions become communication
• The individual becomes information, too.
• But need to understand earlier point about
the (modernist) logics
Next Week – Find an Example of
Postmodernity
• Method – 1970s and 1980s, Everyday Example
(not textbook example from art history)
• Where to find it? Newspapers are still a
wonderful archive of the everyday – but perhaps
you have some other archive?
• Looking back 25+ years, the “utopian” character
of these examples should have worn off – we
know the actual, lived consequences, not just
the potential wish-image promised at the time.