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DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Postmodernism names many different kinds of cultural object and phenomenon in many different ways. Among these, perhaps three different applications of the term may broadly be distinguished. First, postmodernism designates a number of developments in the arts and C ulture in the second half of the twentieth century. The reference point and point of departure for this form of postmodernism are the various forms of modernism that flourished in the arts and culture in Europe in the first half of the century. Second, it describes the emergence of new forms of social and economic organization, again roughly since the end of the 1939–45 war. As such, its reference point and point of departure is the movement of modernization which characterized the early years of the century, with the growth of industry, the rise of the mass market, and the accelerations in automation, travel, and mass communication. Third, it signals a particular kind of theoretical W riting and reflection, usually, though not exclusively, writing and reflection which takes the first or second area as its object. It may be useful to distinguish these three areas of application with the terms postmodernism; postmodernity; and the postmodern . (It should be said that this division is a convenience adopted for present purposes alone, and does not correspond regularly to usages of these three variants in critical writing.) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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