Post Modernism To Sociological Understanding Sociology Essay Essay

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Important parts to sociological believing about postmodernism emerged from several faculty members, some of whom considered themselves postmodernists and others who did non. This essay will discourse the beginnings of postmodernism and its positions and concentrate chiefly on the plants of Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard and poststructuralist Michel Foucault. In add-on to this, unfavorable judgments of their work and their influences within societal theory shall be analysed.

Postmodernism developed as a reaction to the insufficiencies of the 18th century Enlightenment motion which held positions about scientific positivism, the hunt for absolute truth, ultimate significance and the nature of world utilizing reason. Postmodernists are anti-essentialist and argue that an absolute scientific truth has been discredited as truths are multiple and ever altering. The belief is that people no longer rely on scientific discipline. In support of this, Fulcher & A ; Scott ( 2003 ) argue that in 1962, Thomas Kuhn suggested that scientific discipline creates its facts alternatively of supplying given facts. He argued that scientists collaborated with other research workers who shared peculiar constructs and methods in common to convey about factual cognition ; Kuhn claims this tells scientists what to happen in experiments and assist explicate observations that do non fit their preconceived thoughts. This position was developed farther by Lyotard, which shall be discussed in more item ( Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004 ) . It is argued that the postmodern society is associated with pluralism, difference, uncertainness and cultural relativism as there is a huge pick of readings of the universe environing worlds. Furthermore, individuality reigns and people find it hard to organize a existent individuality doing them dying and insecure ( Jones et al. 2011, Giddens 2006, Bilton et al.2002, Connolly 2013, Boyne & A ; Rattansi, 1990 ) . Therefore, postmodernists stress for the demand for local cognition produced out of peculiar locations ( Macionis & A ; Plummer, 2nd edn ) .

Jean- Francois LyotardA ( 1995 ) stated ‘I define postmodern as disbelief toward metanarratives. This disbelief is doubtless a merchandise of advancement in the scientific disciplines ‘ . This rejection of metanarratives is related to the postmodernist thought that there is no societal theory that can supply absolute sociological cognition. Meta-narratives which are large narratives that seek to happen the nonsubjective truth about society, provided by the likes of Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx who attempt to explicate the societal universe in its entireness have been abandoned, as suggested by Lyotard. This involves agnosticism towards the thought of history traveling in the way of advancement, freedom and ground ( Beyer 1992, Connolly 2013, Ritzer, ) .

Lyotard uses the construct of ‘language- games ‘ . He argues that linguistic communication is debatable as it does non supply a map for world. With positivism nevertheless, linguistic communication is considered to be a natural mercantile establishment to depict observations but postmodernists reject this impression as there are excessively many significances for one word which are in changeless flux. Lyotard argues that the Enlightenment brought about scientific denotive games whereby scientific statements are scrutinised by other scientists and rational statement is used to set up whether a statement should be accepted or rejected. The belief is that scientific discipline can assist worlds to go more self-aware. However, Lyotard rejects this position and argues that nowadays statements are judged non by whether they are true or non, but whether they are utile and efficient or non ( Connolly 2013, Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004 ) .

On the other manus, Giddens ( 2006 ) argues that Jean Baudrillard sees society as characterised by simulations and hyper world. The creative activity of simulacra effort to reproduce world and ballyhoo world is a description of the societal universe in which simulations and simulacra become existent and predominate. Society is dominated by media, engineering and information which have created an empty universe. Appignanesi et Al. ( 2004 ) suggest that Baudrillard argues that this has reversed Marx ‘s theory that economic forces form society. Alternatively, society is influenced by a changeless flux of meaningless marks and images. Meaning is now created by the flow of images such as in Television programmes, dad music and so forth. Persons now respond to media images instead than to existent people or topographic points. These provide impermanent multiples of world to devour ( Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004, Kirby 2000, Agger, 1991 and Giddens 2009 ) . Jones et Al. ( 2011 ) argue that this dislocation between world and cognition is portion of people ‘s cognition in the postmodern universe as suggested by Baudrillard. He calls this ‘the disintegration of life into Television ‘ ( cited in Giddens, 2006: 115 ) . In add-on he states, ‘TV watches us, Television alienates us, Television manipulates us, and Television informs us ( Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004, p. 976 ) . Baudrillard is pessimistic about the hereafter and does non believe in socialism as suggested by Marx. He views the multitudes as being bit by bit more inactive. Therefore, life is led toward nihilism ( Ritzer, 2008 ) . In contrast, Lyotard is optimistic about these new alterations. Unfortunately, Baudrillard ‘s work has been criticised for being extremely abstract and relies upon illustrations to exemplify statements ( Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004 ) .

Alternatively, associated with station structural linguistics is Michel Foucault who incorporated a assortment of theoretical penetrations, peculiarly from Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche. Like Nietzsche, he was peculiarly interested in the relationship between power and cognition. Foucault pays peculiar attending to the techniques that are developed from scientific cognition and how they are used by assorted establishments to exercise power over people via surveillance, enforcement and subject. His work is known as Foucault ‘s archeology where he sets about doing sense of the familiar by looking into the yesteryear. He sees history traveling from one system of domination based on cognition to another. He suggests that there is no history but a multiple, overlapping and synergistic series of legitimate vs. excluded histories. One illustration he suggests is that there are additions in the ability of the sane and their agents such as psychologists to suppress and quash the mad, who ab initio used to be viewed to possess a ‘gift ‘ ( Ritzer 2008, Marsh et Al. 2009, Giddens, 2006, Macionis & A ; Plummer 2002, Jones et al. 2011, Appignanesi et Al. 2004 ) . This means that what counts as true, morally right is comparative to a peculiar clip, topographic point and power battle ; truth alterations harmonizing to whoever is powerful plenty to specify it ( Jones et al. 2011 ) . Foucault developed the construct of discourse by pulling upon the work of Claude Levi-Strauss who argued that linguistic communication originates in the unconscious human head. Furthermore, civilization is besides the creative activity of the same unconscious idea procedures. Culture is hence similar linguistic communication. Therefore there is nil in societal life that is a consequence of the creative activity of the inventive head. Human existences are non the writers of their life narratives as these are written for them in linguistic communication and in civilization which exist independently of persons. Therefore societal world is defined by structural influences as a system of linguistic communication external to the histrion. This nexus between idea, linguistic communication, cognition and action Foucault summarizes with the phrase ‘discursive practises ‘ ( Jones et al, 2011 ) .

Fulcher and Scott ( 2003 ) argue that Foucault and Lyotard ‘s plants are frequently linked as they both reject the thought that there are restraining constructions in societal life and recognize atomization and diverseness in cultural and societal life. Foucault ‘s Hagiographas have been influential in fostering research into power and cognition across the societal scientific disciplines ( Ritzer, 2008 ) . His attack to analyzing the relationship between truths, significance and power has shaped the theoretical and research docket of the societal scientific disciplines ‘ Jones et Al. ( 2011 ) ( p. 128 ) . Furthermore, Agger argued that ‘Foucault has made direct empirical parts to societal scientific disciplines where he has studied the discourse/practices of prisons ( 1977 ) and gender ( 1978 ) . This research supports his statement.

Overall, postmodernism is criticized for being untestable, superficial, disconnected, relativistic, abstract and missing deepness. A effect of this is that people are unable to do sense of an progressively complex society. In add-on to this, Giddens ( 1990 cited in Bilton et Al. ( 2002 ) argues that the postmodernist history of modern-day society is contradictory because Lyotard and Baudrillard ‘s statements are based on uncertainness. Furthermore, Giddens criticises postmodernist attacks for rejecting the impression that worlds are originative agents with an active portion in determining their societal universes. The position that an absolute interruption with yesteryear has occurred, as suggested by Baudrillard, has been solidly rejected by most sociologists, as he was unable to place the point of separation between modernness and postmodernity or supply a clear history of the move into postmodern society. This insufficiency may hold led doubting sociologists like Giddens ( 1991 ) and Beck ( 1999 ) to travel for footings such as ‘late modernness ‘ to depict the societal alterations representative of modern-day society. Other unfavorable judgments by Greg Philo and David Miller suggest postmodernism ‘s inability to account for societal causing and the deduction of factors such as the economic system. Alternatively, the focal point was merely on surface portraitures of societal alteration and losing the impact of deep societal constructions and turning inequalities which should non be ignored within sociology. Furthermore, Philo and Miller argue that Baudrillard is said to feign as though media images have no connexion with world at all. In their research, they found that media audiences are good cognizant of the difference between world and Television images. Philo and Miller abandon the postmodern feeling that people are free to devour, make as they wish and recreate individualities as they please. They believe that people are still really much inhibited and shaped by constructions such as the capitalist economic system. Postmodernists ignore that civilization is shaped by the capitalist economic system ( Haralambos & A ; Holborn, 2004 ) . Another unfavorable judgment is brought frontward by Jurgen Habermas who rejects the statements of postmodernism impression that it is impossible to understand the societal universe rationally ( Kirby, 2000 ) .

However, the biggest part of postmodernism may lie in its methodological attack in denying both the hunt for absolute truths and an accent on happening the foundations of societal happenings. Alternatively, the postmodern attack suggests that the influence of authorization and power demand to be analysed in societal theory, with the purpose of concentrating on the exposed societal conditions of marginalised groups of society ( Ritzer, 1997 ) . Additionally, Agger argues that postmodern attacks have been effectual reviews of positivism, interrogating taken for given premises about scientific discipline. However, postmodernism has non produced a concrete version to replace positive classical theories.

In decision, Foucault has shown through his surveies how cognition was historically established through his construct of discourses. Baudrillard ‘s analysis has been suggested to perchance heighten research in the societal scientific disciplines on civilization and the media ( Agger, 1991 ) and Lyotard has shown how scientific discipline is merely one of the many discourses presently in power to command people.

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