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Since time in memorial, the world has experienced changes which have taken place from time to time. Postmodernism is an umbrella of differentiated ideals, methods and practices. The concept comprises of various philosophical methods such as feminism, neo- Marxism, post structuralism and post colonialism. The term postmodern is not a recently used term; it started to be used in the 19th century. In the year 1870, John Chapman described the end of French impressionism as a style of painting. In 1920s, the new form of art and music was described as postmodernism (Shrader 1998, p.1-21). In 1949, international architectural style had underwent several improvements as a result of failure of what was the modern architecture back then. The new developed architecture was referred to as postmodern architecture.
There are various factors indicating about the shift of modernism to Postmodernism era. It is not easy to establish the actual date when the world changed from the old era to the current Postmodernism. It took a while since it was first proposed up to the time it was inaugurated as a new era. The 1960s decade marked the turning point for the new era with changes in literature, religion, industrialization, architecture, and technology (Vaki 2005, p.79-120). This paper brings out the whole picture of the facts about postmodernism era.
The embracement of postmodernism was accelerated as a result of criticism of modernism, which has been blamed for failing to satisfy life in the world. Human suffering increased, and expectations were not met. The late modernism was characterized by social turmoil, nuclear threat, and multinational capitalism. Anxiety, tension and conflict increased across the world as a result of various issues. The Second World War brought about economic and social destruction, while postwar reconstruction, which took place during the 1950s, was the turning point for entering to a new era of postmodernism. Cold war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union affected the spirit of reconstruction across the world with the fear of war between the superpowers. Many countries underwent a period of tension as a result, of political assassination, Civil Rights Movement, and environmentalism among others (Woods, 2002, p. #).
All aspects and philosophical principles of modernism were highly criticized and rejected by prominent scholars and philosophers (Shrader 1998, p.1-21). Objectivity and subjectivity principles were the first aspects to be rejected. The truth and abstract meaning had lost meaning, where truth was criticized of its individualized attribute. History was highly upheld, but it had no meaning as an important aspect in modernism; the present and the future were to be the main focus.
Modernism was characterized with capitalism and self interest on expense of others. As per this theory, slavery and human resource exploitation is right. This brought about economic benefit and increased production of goods and services to improve living standards to human beings.
Postmodernism and Industrialization
Postmodernism has brought various changes in industrial set up, from perspective mode to post-industrialism. These changes have brought transformation from a manufacturing industrial set up into technical and professional operations referred as knowledge workers (Sigurdur 2003, p.701-735). As a result, organizations have experienced several changes from the modern perspective to Postmodernism.
Modern organization advocated for centralized and hierarchical authority. In this case, authority was been confined to a given individual or a group of people who excise power, with other being required to follow their decisions with little or no consultation. Postmodernism, on the other hand, advocates for decentralization of authority, lateral interrelationship among the units in an organization, operational level of decision making. People enjoy the freedom to make decisions at their own capacity and consult where necessary. In result, organizations in a Postmodernism environment are more democratic than those in the modern era.
Modern perspective supported mass marketing, constant goals and preset strategies. Postmodernism, on the other hand, advocates for niche markets, evolving goals and contingent strategies. The niche market advocates for segmentation of the market and differentiation of products. Evolving goals are goals which change along with the changes in the organizational environment. This is as opposed to modern perspective where goals put in place remain to be till the end of the period covered. In addition, Postmodernism advocates for flexible strategies incorporating situations at hand.
Postmodernism favors dedifferentiation of units, duties, responsibilities and functions in an organization or a group of people working together. In result, individuals in an organization are required to be multiskilled, holistic and flexible. Multitasking carries the day in a postmodern world when an individual can be performing different tasks at the same time. This is as opposed to modernism, which is characterized with differentiation of units, identities, and tasks in an organization. In this case, individuals are required to specialize while division of labor carries the day.
In a Postmodern perspective, resources should be utilized in diversified and differentiated manner. This should be achieved through the increased knowledge and excellent performance. This can be achieved through creativity and sharing of ideas among people in an organization and among outsiders. On the other hand, modernism advocates for unity and similarity in resource utilization (Vaki 2005, p.79-120).
Modernism favored technological design for mass production and bench marking. On the other hand, Postmodernism favors interactive technology to facilitate customization and certified production. The new approach advocates for competitive advantage and efficiency to enhance quality production of goods and provision of services. In result, producers of goods and providers of services strive for knowledge and skills, so as to improve their systems and operations to meet their customers’ demand as they out-compete their competitors.
First, the enlightenment of humanism and Romanticism brought about anti-spiritual attitude among the human beings. Romanticism believed that God is present in human life and is involved in physical activities in the world. God is the life force while man has nature at his hand and control. Some Christian leaders rejected the Romanticism and expressed their concern about the generations to come (Woods, 2002, p. #). Schaeffer, Francis and Rookmaaker were the first evangelical scholars to reject it, claiming that if it is adopted in future the world will be composed of human beings who are neither humanists nor Christians, which is spiritually unhealthy.
Secondly, existentialism, a cold humanism theory, proposed that life does not have meaning. According to this theory, individuals develop their own meaning in life depending on their knowledge experience and expectations. There is no absolute truth as it is subjective to individual situations. What an individual views as a truth may not be true in another person’s perspective. Many scholars view Existentialism as a Postmodernism religious theory.
The 1950s were marked with rebellion against the post modern spiritual views. Modernization had failed to bring happiness to people; in result, people held various demonstrations, which were dominated by students in 1960s. Postmodernism religious perspective, also referred to as post religious perspective, is based on five basic assumptions. First, truth and error have no meaning in human life, and, hence, they are irrelevant. Individuals create their own truth, which differs from one situation to the other. It is, therefore, viewed that there is no absolute truth in life. Secondly, growth in nature brings out different perspective of truth. As culture changes, new truth comes up to replace the previously held truth and, hence, there is no absolute truth. Thirdly, in Western civilization Christianity has lost its place in society and should be replaced with multi- culturalism. This is in result of its inability to solve peoples’ problems and sustaining moral standards among human beings (Fredric 2002, p.53-92). Historic language has turned meaningless while what is happening now and in the future should be the only reality in human life.
Postmodernism was first inaugurated in the United States of America in the year 1972. David Antin and the Black Mountain College played an immense role in the intellectual and artistic description of poetry and arts in Postmodernism age. They participated in the issuing of a journal named ‘boundary 2,’ the title of which was the Journal of Post Literature and Culture. Today, the journal remains influential in literature and culture within the Postmodernism circles. Jorge Luis issued a short story entitled Pierre Menards, which can be seen as a prediction of Postmodernism. This story was published way back in the year 1939.
In the year 1971, Ihad Hassan an Arab-American scholar published a book entitled Towards Postmodern Literature. Hassan tried to trace the development of literature of silence, which is one of the characteristics of postmodern literature. According to McHale, Postmodernism has brought about the shift from epistemological to ontology in literature. Novelists including Vladimir Nabokov, John Hawks, and Barthelme Donald among others played an
Musical schools are put in place with the objective of changing music with the trends in the postmodern era. Modernism music was characterized with elitism and dissonant sound variation and presentation. Michael Nyman and Lou Harrison were among the first composers to change the face of music into Postmodernism perspective (Manuel 1995, p. 227–239). They composed music with simplified texture and constant harmonies. Others like John Cage were against the narratives of beauty and objectivity as advocated in the modern perspective. Popular and ethical music traditions have influenced a pool of postmodern music composers and presenters, which accelerates the change from modern to postmodern classical music. Classic and romantic music have also dominated Postmodernism music, as opposed to modern musical style, which was dominated with history and non romantic emphasis.
Postmodernism and Architecture
Modern architecture was built on the ideal perfection and harmony in function and form. The period was characterized with hostility and blandness among the stakeholders. According to critics of this perspective, perfection and harmony were subjective and limiting to plays in the architecture field. The notion of pure or perfect has been ejected by various architectural plays. Postmodernism architecture advocates for personalized performance and variation of outcomes instead of objectivity and ultimate truth principles (Manuel 1995, p. 227–239).
Technological advancements such as television, videos and computers have dominated Postmodernism era more than they used to in modernism era. They facilitate dissemination of information without or with a minimal face to face contact between the recipient and the disseminator. Technology has shaped human life and has brought the change of culture in the entire society. For example, conveying information from cyberspaces, the sender, the system and the receiver are modified in such a way that their cultural differences are reduced to zero to enhance effective communication (Mumby 2001, p. 585–623).
Postmodernism technology has seen the end of writing as practiced in the modern era. The need for easier and faster form of communication led to human effort to discard writing as a form of communication. It was criticized for its space and time consumption by both the sender and the receiver. Samuel Morse is the father of electric communication; he was the first man to send an electrical message. With his success of sending an electric message from Washington to Baltimore, new era in communication was born. This approach of communication has grown all over the world, where millions of people use e-mail, social sites, and cyber calling among others to disseminate information all over the world.
Another postmodern technology application has taken place in the transport sector. As the world turns into a village, international relations in terms of human capital mobility, commerce and tourism activities, and transportation facilities have been improved to uphold the spirit of Postmodernism (Fredric 2002, p. 53-92). Modernism has been accused of being unable to observe environmental conservation measures, as well as speed and inefficiency. Postmodernism, on the other hand, has come up with better facilities with less environmental hazards than it used to be during the modernism era. With high speed jets, electric vehicles and trains, the world of transport has seen a tremendous change, which marks the shift between the two eras.
In conclusion, the world had positively embraced the concept of Postmodernism for the last half a century, since 1960s when it was inaugurated. Human beings have a reason to celebrate the era for the improved standards of living generally across the world. Changes in literature, religion, industrialization, architecture, and technology have played an immense part in bringing about the distinction between the modernism and Postmodernism eras. It has also brought about changes in governance, human relation and political policies across the globe. As some scholars and philosophers have started advocating for metamodernism replacing Postmodernism era, it is evidenced that some states and countries are still struggling to enter the modern era. It is, therefore, recommended that state holders should move with speed to salvage such states and countries. This will enhance equality among the people across the world.