Postmodernism concept is one that is widely not understood as well as accepted today. The unfamiliarity associated with this concept probably has been the one that has contributed to its wide resistance. This resistance is seen in poetry, reaction against the modern architecture, music and even film. The last years have been marked with a form of inverted millenarianism where the perception of the future either being redemptive or catastrophic has been replaced with the end of certain senses such as ideology, social democracy, social class, or even the welfare of the state (Jameson 1991).
Features of postmodernism Most of the features that are identified in the post modernism theory are reactions against the already established forms of modernism. The older modernism has been seen as one that did function against the society in ways that have been regarded as negative, critical, subversive and even oppositional. On the other hand, postmodernism is seen as one that reproduces or replicates and reinforces the consumer capitalism logic. The main question would therefore be whether there is a way in which it does resist that logic (Stephanson 1988).
For the greater part of the past thirty or so years, the post-modern debate has mainly concerned itself with if the end of modernity has been reached. It is in Jameson’s work where a rigorous investigation of the local narratives or texts is found. Though he analyses particular local texts, he does so in a manner that integrates them into the larger Marxist theory. The reason he is able to merge the Marxism theory with the cultural theory is because he is able to give the economic importance of an organization within a specific cultural theory (Jameson 1991).
He also does manage to infuse the political force with the cultural texts. Jameson does this by proposing that the available singular texts such as paintings, popular films, and architecture provide the everyday person with the possible means to evaluate the political landscape and thus recognize the positions they hold (Stephanson 1988). Jameson is seen to borrow from the Ernest Mandel’s Late Capitalism when analyzing narratives. This he does by perioditizing stages of capitalism and having the view that the ‘third stage’ of capitalism is a purer form of capitalism.
He thus perioditises the history of capitalism by establishing a link between the different cultural styles to the stages of capitalist development. Thus his argument that modernism, realism, postmodernism are all cultural levels of monopoly capitalism, market capitalism and multinational capitalism may hold (Jameson 1991). Though his argument is that these cultural levels are related to certain levels of capitalist economic organization of the specific time, he however does insist that they remain distinct logics.
In order to show this, he portrays post modernism as being more than just a mere opposition to modernism. The modernity and postmodernity The belief that the world ought to be changed by development of human reason forms the base of modernity theory. In this kind of perception, the beliefs were supposed to be universally applicable as well as totally compatible. Thus when the modern theory was built on the foundations of reason, it was seen as one that is limited to certain conditions but one that could be applicable to all people at any particular moment (Stephanson 1988).
Postmodernity on the other hand points out to an epochal shift from the modernity thus resulting in the development of a new social setup that has its own unique organization principles. It is in this view that the postmodernist see society as one that can no longer be perceived as truly functioning in one way all the time. In this regard the perception in the postmodernist view that it is not possible to explain society ‘as it is in itself’ may hold. Thus society can be said to be found in singularity or even locatable but rather it is found everywhere and is constantly changing.
It cannot thus be explained by the virtue of universalizing theories that have been proposed by modernity (Jameson 1991). Postmodernism has been marked economically with a great advancement in technology. As the manual labor decreases, there is a corresponding increase in professional workers with different specializations (Stephanson 1988). Politically, there is an observed increase in struggles and needs that represent an expanded desire of the postmodern society. The view that Jameson hold about postmodernism is that it is one that has cultural dominance found in particular stages of capitalism.
He sees postmodern as a cultural logic that is connected to the economic system of the late capitalism. Thus postmodernism can be seen as a new social positioning. Jameson thus argues that it is possible to point out the end of modernity or in other words the beginning of postmodernity. He sees a loss of depth in the post modernity (Jameson 1991). While modernity expressed as an object art is something that is mysterious and thus one that carried a secret that was to be uncovered, history to uncover and truth to reveal, postmodernism integrate all art and thus represents them as just part of commodity production.
Art can thus no longer be seen to hold any utility value but rather it ends up being arranged along the consumer logic lines. Thus the end result is that a cultural object is reduced into a means of consumption. Since from the Jameson’s view is that everything is cultural in the postmodern society, then postmodernism can be regarded as a society of image (Stephanson 1988). Jameson’s sociology and psychology all seem to meet at his view of what is the cultural object. Though the cultural object maybe the foundation of a political promise, there must be a particular method by which people read texts politically.
He holds that we are in a social spatial confusion and the solution thus lies in the re-understanding of our totality. This can be achieved if self-consciousness about the social totality is regained. This maybe an acceptable view since one cannot understand social change without having the conception of the society as a whole (Stephanson 1988). There is no need to strive for this self-consciousness since unknowingly, we are always striving for it. He finds the cultural films and texts as the points through which we may understand the society representation as it actually is.
This is an acceptable view since the stereotypes and reality of our everyday experiences about social reality are forming the raw materials that the television and commercial film usually work under (Jameson 1991). Postmodern narratives can thus be used to map one’s social class or position in a society. It is within the narratives and texts that one finds the possibility of representing the unrepresentable while at the same time treating people with equality along gender lines, class lines and in other forms of discrimination (Stephanson 1988).
In Jameson’s view about these kind of representation is that the end result is confusion rather than the anticipated articulation. This tedious attempt to represent social totality despite its diverse nature has been regarded as the twentieth century geopolitical unconsciousness. The texts thus aiming towards such goals can thus be regarded as conspirational texts since whatever message they carry may be taken to be part of the unconscious (Jameson 1991). Since in each of the postmodern cultural object there is a deep fantasy about the nature of our social life, Jameson advocates a system of aesthetic representation.
When modernism is considered to be a product of money, then postmodernism can be regarded as the product of the new era that is characterized by the intensification of the forces that call forth for reification (Stephanson 1988). Though modernism has been replaced by postmodernism in the age characterized by global capitalism, this has not happened as it was anticipated. The voids and anxieties of modernism have been filled by the postmodern logic of consumption. Thus, with the observed universalization of capitalism, a clear difference between economics and culture is lacking.
Culture can thus be said to be in everything and it is the postmodernity that makes cultural economics while at the same time turning economics into various forms of culture (Jameson 1991). Conclusion An inverted millennialism has marked the last few years. The aesthetic production has today become part of the commodity production. The theories of postmodern society all bear the news of the a new type of society that can be regarded as a postindustrial society that is usually designated as the consumer society, information society, media society, high tech or electronic society.
These postmodern theories have obviously succeeded in demonstrating that the new social structure does no longer the laws of classical capitalism. Jameson has related development in architecture to the cognitive potentials as a whole. This thus suggest that when an individual is confronted with rapid alterations in the built environment, most of them do not portray the ability to orient themselves in the new world.