We Have Never Been Postmodern

We Have Never Been Postmodern: Theory at the Speed of Light

Steve Redhead
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    We Have Never Been Postmodern
    Book Description:

    This book sets out a variety of reasons why we should move away from seeing the recent era as 'postmodern' and our culture as 'postmodernist' through a series of analyses of contemporary culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4345-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 After Postmodernity?
    (pp. 1-10)

    As the end-of-the-century party dreamed up by Jean Baudrillard (Redhead 1990) finally closed and pre-millennial tension gave way to a post-millennial hangover (Redhead 1997b) new cultural, economic and social theories have emerged at the speed of light to describe supermobile modernities, globalised markets and international mobile city cultures. The world experienced more than a decade of globalisation, modernisation and mobility but in the wake of economic, political and environmental crises these processes seem to be on the verge of being reversed: welcome to deglobalisation, immobility and demodernisation with millions of displaced people wandering the globe (or the universe) in the...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Post-Cultural State
    (pp. 11-35)

    Just look at it! The statism we are in now! But, as students carrying placards protesting at the fee hikes by the David Cameron led coalition government in the UK proclaimed, ‘It’s the knowledge economy, stupid!’ When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown began New Labour’s path to power in 1994 they were seen as part of a new ‘postmodern political culture’ (Perryman 1994) which offered all kinds of possibilities, especially in the area of ‘creative industries’. The concept of the ‘post-cultural state’ is introduced here into the international debate about the theory and practice of creative industries (Kong and O’Connor...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Post-Space
    (pp. 36-63)

    Since at least the mid-1990s there has been a rethinking in key contemporary social and cultural theorists’ discourse of the notion of modernity (Gane 2004), and furthermore ‘what it means to be modern’, as John Gray has put it (Gray 2003, 2007, 2009a, 2009c, 2011). Moreover, a distinct move has taken place away from the once widespread embrace of the concepts and intellectual framework associated with postmodernity, postmodernism and the postmodern in general. The myriad texts on theories of modernity and postmodernity, for instance including theorists such as David Harvey and Fredric Jameson alongside others from various disciplinary persuasions (Hutcheon...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Post-Pop
    (pp. 64-82)

    In this chapter I want to take a look at some contemporary issues from the cultural politics of Pop. Everything is Art nowadays, as the author Gordon Burn demonstrated so well in his writings on Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and many others (Burn 2009). But Pop, too, is everywhere. And Pop is into Art, ‘Brit’ and other myriad versions (Burn and Hirst 2001; Burn 2009). Contemporary art is part of Pop culture but Pop is also part of the accelerated culture of non-postmoden contemporary art. For Paul Virilio, ‘critic of the art of technology’ and theorist of speed, the accident...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Pastmodernism
    (pp. 83-91)

    ‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Would you please welcome Columbia recording artist, Bob Dylan.’ Night after night, year after year, dating from the late 1980s, the dulcet tones of his resident announcer introduced Bob Dylan, ageing song and dance man, troubled troubadour, pulped pop star, to his devout live audience; or what was left of it. Never ending tour. Never bloody ending. Same words, same voice, every night. In the middle of the noughties Dylan, then sixty-five years old, could say (Lethem 2006), ‘I see that I could stop touring at any time, but then, I don’t really feel like...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Post-Sports
    (pp. 92-104)

    In this chapter I want to investigate some aspects of the speeding-up of sport and sports media in contemporary accelerated culture alongside a generalised rethinking of the sociology of modernity. In a 1990s book of essays entitled Sport and Postmodern Times Brian Pronger (Pronger 1998) coined the term ‘post-sport’ when reviewing the transgression of the body in sport within queer theory. But the term ‘post-sport’, or ‘post-sports’, also connotes a more apocalyptic place for sport and sport media: the world, for instance, of ubiquitous illegal betting dominated scandals in international cricket and the corrupt practices of financial incentives for sport...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Post-Politics
    (pp. 105-118)

    In this chapter I want to sound a warning about the possible knee jerk return to past theorists in the detritus of the collapse of faith in the neo-liberal ideas that have ruled the globe since the 1970s. All theory is produced in a political and social context, so it is important to trace the context of the production of previous theories which now may be turned to in the midst of crises, once again, even if they ended up the first time around in some kind of ‘post-political’ vacuum. In the early 1990s it could be written in a...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Post-Catastrophe
    (pp. 119-132)

    Bob Dylan neatly encapsulated the ‘structure of feeling’ of what I mean by a claustropolitan sociology project in his ‘Mississippi’, a song given three separate releases on one album in Tell Tale Signs, volume 8 of the official bootleg series in 2008: Dylan sang in one version – ‘Every step of the way, We walk the line, Your days are numbered, So are mine, Time is pilin’ up, We struggle and we scrape, We’re all boxed in, Nowhere to escape’. In John Armitage’s stimulating article in the West Coast art and politics journal Left Curve (Armitage 2006) he proposed a dichotomy...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Post-Theory
    (pp. 133-144)

    This book as a whole considers the possibilities of an alternative to the direction in social and political theory carved out by cosmopolitan sociology. Cosmopolitan sociology has become a dominant theoretical and methodological discourse in the twenty-first century since the postmodern turn of the 1980s and 1990s but has now run its course. I have looked at some aspects of the always problematic work of the French theorists Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard, and suggested some alternative directions for reconceptualisation of modernity and postmodernity, and the features of the accident, collapse and catastrophe today, which go beyond the established discourse...

  13. CHAPTER 10 Post-Future
    (pp. 145-158)

    It is a time for predictions and forecasts. George Friedman, a private forecaster and intelligence analyst has looked ahead to ‘the next one hundred years’, forecasting the contours of the whole remainder of the twenty-first century to come (Friedman 2010). In geopolitics Friedman has predicted China’s decline, a new US/Russia cold war and, by the end of the century, Mexico graduating to become a new superpower. A conference, LandCorp’s C2030 Summit in Perth, Western Australia, has looked at the future of the cityscape in the twenty-first century, right on the Indian Ocean. FuturePerth, an urban planning think tank in the...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 159-180)
  15. Index
    (pp. 181-184)