Thursday, February 05, 2004

grid book blog :: A Primer on Postmodernism

Postmodern Primer: I agree in general with Grenz's summary of the postmodern ethos. In the first chapter is a brief outline of the book: references Enlightenment/Modernity, then the shift to Postmodernity, and ending with a brief exhortation to Evangelicals not to be the last defenders of modernity. His brief references to Derrida, Foucault, and Rorty introduce the main players of postmodern thought whose influence will be explored later. In the second chapter Grenz surveys the cultural landscape of Postmodernity (film-fiction-art-architecture-thearte). All very interesting and insightful.

But instead of a detailed summary of the chapters, let me outline some of the questions that I'll asking Grenz throughout the book. 1) Are we going to make a distinction between postmodernity (cultural/social manifestations) and postmodernism (intellectual/philosophical) [David Lyon’s makes this distinction in Postmodernity, p. 9.]? And if we do are we being consistent with the implications? I don't think we need to stick to that distinction linguistically (b/c most people use them interchangeably), but I think we should be aware that there is a difference, and I think that in general Grenz investigates the philosophical aspects rather than the cultural. 2) Also (about labeling), are we really entering a postmodern age, or one that is better defined as hyper-modernity, or late-capitalism? 3) And with all the talk about being de-centered, how can we talk about postmodernity in a holistic manner? What I mean is that many whom Grenz heralds as postmodern theorists won't dare call themselves that because to define the postmodern is to enter the world of totalization and historical periodization which most of them reject from the start. I however think that (provisional) totalizing is not an absolute evil and I’m quite comfortable with it.

I'll end with two links that continue the attempt to define the postmodern. The first is Brian McLaren, The Three Postmodernisms (an post-evangelical, emerging Christian thinker) and the second is by Mick Underwood, Postmodernism: introduction (a cultural studies professor in England)

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