Making sense of Postmodernsim…

The word postmodernism is more like a shorthand way of describing a whole style of contemporary culture.

Strinati’s five ways to define post modernism:

1. The breakdown of the distinction between culture and society.

When things are more real in the media than in real life, the postmodern means people make sense of reality by referencing media texts. For example, ADVERTISMENT, a product used to be able to be successful by being a quality product how ever postmodernism means a poor quality product can still do well if it has great advertisement. Another example would be characters such as Bruno or Borat, we know more about these characters than we know about the person that plays then Sacha Baron Cohen. He is going along with postmodernism by staying in character when interviewed so the audience can carry on with this fake world that they love so much. This media reality becomes our reality and the disconnection between reality and media reality is reducing.  

Baudrillard- Hyper-reality. Where this culture perceives the copy and more real than the original and the fake is more readily accepted than the original.

Jameson- Historical deafness. History is now documentaries where the historical knowlede is based on media representation. For example war films havce changed so much over the years in terms of reality of content however they are all about the same wars.

2. An emphasis on style at the expense of substence and content.

Celebrities: sometimes contemporary culture values appearences over function such as good looks over intelligence and talent.

Branding: somtimes the label of the item of clothing is more important than the product itself.

Style over substance: some celebrities are famous for being famous rather than for having an actual talent, a good example for this is for people who have been contestants on Big Brother.

Jameson: Meaning is lost in culture, there is no longer depth to our culture. The public then try and add depth by showing public displays of grief if a beloved celebritiy dies. It’s like our way of saying “We do care, honest” when the week before the celebrity was nothing but entertainment to us.

3. The breakdown of the distinction between high culture and popular culture.

High art: opera, ballet, theatre

Popular Culture: avaliable to the masses

Postmoderism is about the line between these two groups being blurred and how high art is now avaliable for anyone and how the two are being intertwined without worry. Examples of this are pop songs with pieces of classical music in and Andy Warhol mixing pop art prints with the Mona Lisa.

4. Confusions over time and space

This is all how quickly information can travel, it can go from one place to another in a matter of seconds. The internet enables you to send emails to someone on the other side of the world in no time at all. However this may not nessecarily be a brilliant thing, i think this might cause us all to get bored of something way too easily. There is no excitement of putting a letter in the post box written by hand and recieving a letter, it all feels a bit impersonal sending emails not that I don’t do it. This has made the world much more efficient and keeps up with the fast pace of everything else. People are leading much busier lives and need this quick way of contacting people. We now also have the etchnology to be able to see the world using only the click of a mouse. We are all experienced travellers without going anywhere, everything is “here and now”.


This is about how we aren’t living in one big theory such as communism, facism, liberalism or socialism as now all of our cultural understanding is based on personal interpretations, people are making up their own ideas on the time that we are living in. This decline in absolute ways to explain reality may have come about due to the more secular society we are living in where religious views have less influence on us. We want a complex world where some people can’t even explain how they are living their lives, its a mixture, a postmodern way of life that can’t be explained by a simple “ism” word.


The breakdown of the distinction between high culture and popular culture.


Media Texts and the Postmodern

The postmodern brought about a new way of constucting texts and ideas that at the start everyone was fine with is being in the mainstream media however as events such as 9/11 occured the population became vunerable and needed the comfort of more classically structured approaches to make better sense of the world.



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