Deconstructionist writers like Derrida and De Sassure focus on theories that fragment metanarratives or truth. Their focus is on plurality of knowledge by way of multiple interpretations of signs like those in mass media and consumer culture (Beaudrillard, 1988). In this way, it is no longer possible to utilise one narrative, as signs in consumer culture are pastiched and can provide plural meanings rather than contradictory ones. While for Baudrillard and Lyotard, plurality is the demise of the authentic and therefore the end of modernity, Kumar, describes the extension of modernity in saying the “…Order now
combination of many traditions to form a new, rather than rejection of the old tradition. ” (Kumar,1995,105) Kumar explains that it is not clear that postmodernity has begun, nor that modernity is clearly over. Rather than it being a clearly demarcated phase, it is described as unevenly loose process that is clearly happening where “There is simply a more or less random directionless flux across all sections of society. ” (Kumar, 1995, 103). He perceives these changes to be consistent with postmodernism but realizes there is no guiding principle for the change as for example in Marxist theory and capitalism.
Other key writers advocating for the relevance of modernism, are Smart, Lash & Ury, Crook and Habermas. Crook (1992) critiques Habermas by arguing that we are in an advanced state of modernism or known as late modernism rather than postmodernism. He argues that if capitalism is associated with modernism, then advanced rationalisation and comodification can only mean we are in a high level of modernism. Crook prefers to sit more on the fence and although advises against nostalgia for modernism he explains it is too early to predict the postmodern condition but also premature to say modernism is over (Crook et al, 1992).
Meta narratives like progress and rationality are still sought as the final end. To conclude this briefing, an understanding of postmodernism in the absence of a clearly guided definition has been provided. Potmodernism referred to the ‘breakdown’ of modernity or at least the transformation of modernity. This briefing discussed that where modernism meant the embracing of universal truths like progress, reason and rationality, postmodernism could be seen in two ways; abandonment of the modern for the pursuit of a different approach or the extension of modernity.
Under this scenario, I discussed the blurring of different knowledge. The question remains to be clarified as to whether western society is in a modern or postmodern reality. Given the Bush administration’s post September 11 warfare, the pursuit for ‘truth’ like freedom and liberty has widened the gap between modern and postmodern thinking at a global level and polarized those who believe in universal truths and those that do not.