The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

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9780631162940: The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change
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In this new book, David Harvey seeks to determine what is meant by the term in its different contexts and to identify how accurate and useful it is as a description of contemporary experience.

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The Condition of Postmodernity is David Harvey's seminal history of our most equivocal of eras. What does postmodernism mean? Where did it come from? Harvey, a professor of geography and a key mover behind extending the scope and influence of the discipline of geography itself, does a thorough job here delineating the passage through to postmodernity and the economic, social, and political changes that underscored and accompanied it. As he clearly states, the rise in postmodernist cultural forms is related to a new intensity in what Harvey terms "time-space compression," but this new intensity is a qualitative rather than quantitative change in social organization, and it does not point to an era beyond capitalism as "the basic rules of capitalistic accumulation" remain unchanged. Unlike Fredric Jameson (whose equally rewarding Postmodernism stands as the twin pillar to Harvey's critique), who explicitly relies on Ernest Mandel's periodization of late capitalism, Harvey eschews a narrowly economic focus, the limits and contradictions of production that have led to the rise in the service sector, and takes a more multidisciplinary approach to his history. As comfortable discussing Manet as he is labor markets, Harvey is an excellent writer, and The Condition of Postmodernity is an exceptionally informative and enjoyable read. --Mark Thwaite, Amazon.co.uk

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A great deal has been written on what has variously been described as the post-modern condition and on post-modern culture, architecture, art and society. In this new book, David Harvey seeks to determine what is meant by the term in its different contexts and to identify how accurate and useful it is as a description of contemporary experience.

But the book is much more than this: in the course of his investigation the author provides a social and semantic history - from the Enlightenment to the present - of modernism and its expression in political and social ideas and movements, as well as in art, literature and architecture. He considers in particular how the meaning and perception of time and space themselves vary over time and space, and shows that this variance affects individual values and social processes of the most fundamental kind.

This book will be widely welcomed, not only for its clear and critical account of the arguments surrounding the propositions of modernity and post-modernity, but as an incisive contribution to the history of ideas and their relation to social and political change.

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