What is postmodern culture? Do modern values still matter? Why is everyday life now apparently more liberated than in the past yet, at the same time, strangely disconcerting? "Modernity and Postmodern Culture" is a critical introduction to claims concerning the postmodernization of culture and society. Contemporary culture may be 'postmodern' in the sense of fluidity of meaning, changing power relations and commodification in art, entertainment and everyday life, but modernity persists in the dynamics of capitalist civilization, albeit in an increasingly reflexive mode that is characterized by widespread uncertainty about social existence, progress and rationality. The theories of Baudrillard, Beck, Castells, Giddens, Habermas, Haraway, Jameson, Lyotard and others on the contemporary scene are discussed and specific issues concerning architecture, theme parks, screen culture, science, technology and the environment are examined. Jim McGuigan argues that there have been tensions between instrumental and critical reason throughout the history of modernity that are still being played out. He questions the irrationalist tendencies and, also, the accommodative attitude to prevailing conditions of much postmodern thought, and insists upon the enduring relevance of the Enlightenment tradition to social and cultural analysis.
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Jim McGuigan is a sociologist of culture at Loughborough University. His other books include Cultural Populism (1992), Culture and the Public Sphere (1996), Studying Culture (1993, 1997), Cultural Methodologies (1997) and Technocities (1999). He is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Cultural Policy and Keywords - A Journal of Cultural Materialism.
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