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Modernism and Postmodernism - Essay Example

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Modernism and Postmodernism

In the next section the focus will shift to the contribution and impact of modernism and postmodernism to our society.

"Modernism signals a dialectical opposition to what is not functionally 'modern, namely 'tradition'." (Eysteinsson, 1990, pg.8). The term modernism refers to a movement that gained popularity in the closing years of the 19th century and was prevalent through the period of the world wars right upto the late 1940's. (criticalpoet website) Like any other socio-cultural movement, modernism has a great impact on the poetry, fiction, drama, painting, music and architecture of that era. The era of modernism has also been referred to as the period of 'scientific idealogy'. The ideologies of modernism were backed by scientific rationale and these scientific theories were used to expose the failing of rival beliefs. A popular example of modernist is the theory of Darwinism as against the Biblical Literalism. (Nine O'clock Service website)

It was an era when people tried to break away from traditional beliefs and practices. breaking away from convention there were several experiments with news forms and styles of self expression. The website of the Nine O'clock Service quotes J.urry whi in his 'The tourist gaze: leisure and travel in contemporary societies' (1990) says Modernism ""involves structural differentiation. the separate development of a number of institutional and normative spheres; of the economy, the family, the state, science, morality, and an aesthetic realm" (p.84) The website goes on to state that the modernist sees ordered differences in all aspects of life like scientific and every day knowledge, literature and popular fiction class and mass"; "art and craft"; "education and entertainment or even serious and commercial.
In terms of sociology, the modern society is said to reflect the industrialized world where technology plays an important role. The age also saw the break up of traditional communities and religious beliefs and individuals with their strength and convictions came into prominence.
But modernism had its flaws. Over the years another school of thought challenged the modernists notion of truth as defined by science. This wave has been called 'post-modernism'. Historian Arnold Toynbee first used the term post-modern in 1939. A very broad based term, post modernism has come to define the beleife that there can be no absolute truth and focuses on the concept of relativity. It is a revolutionary theory that does not believe in the pursuit of truth on defined knowledge. Instead postmdernism believes that every experience is unique and temporary. (Rosenau.P, 1992, pg 26) It suggests that there are no single truths and experiences and circumstances define our understanding of truth.

Post modernism too has had its impact on every walk of life. This theory came into prominence somewhere in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The idea of postmodernism is relevant in the works of thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche. His "death of God" movement propounded the theory that knowledge is interpretive with no one meaning. With the death of God Nietzsche held that moral truth was relative. The self was acclaimed as the most powerful who he termed superman. But with the rise of powerful men like Hitler and stalin who held the society to ransom, thinkers of the post war generation realized the significance of ...Show more

Summary

Society is in a state of constant change. Francis Schaeffer in his book The God Who Is suggests that cultural paradigms shit in an orderly manner. …
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