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Postmodernism in the literal sense means that it evolved after modernism. It is actually a broader term that is used in various fields such as philosophy, art, music and critical theory. Postmodernism serves as a striking contradiction to classical foundations of philosophy in critical theory and philosophy. Many see postmodernism as a continuation or rather an extension of modernism. It stresses on the role of language, power relations and motivations and openly attacks the views of stringent classifications such as men versus women, white versus black and the imperial versus colonial.


Postmodernism holds the techniques and ideas same as modernism, but emphasises on parody, playfulness and irony. Postmodernists focus on the role of exploring the universal system by creating what is known as the truth itself. For most of the postmodernists it is the rhetoric that gives rise to any sort of a perceived reality that is universal. Postmodernist thoughts are basically deliberate departures from those of the modernist approaches that have been previously dominant. Postmodernists trust that the westerners’ claims of freedom and affluence continue to be nothing but empty promises and they have not met the needs of humanity. They affirm that truth is relative. It means truth is something that it is up to the individual to determine for themselves.

It’s been more than four centuries that the postmodernists have advocated and fostered a “new age way” of creating and rationalizing the human life and progress. Typical postmodernists are atheists but then some of them prefer to follow the eastern religious thoughts and customs. In fact many are naturalists including humanitarians, environmentalists and philosophers. These postmodernists confront the core religious and capitalistic values of the western world; they seek change for a new age of liberty within a cosmic commonality.


There are four broad classifications of post modern criticisms:

  • Criticism from the perspective of people who decline the concept of modernism and its sprouts
  • Criticism from the people who uphold modernism, who also believe that post modernism is deficient of the crucial characteristics of the so called modern project.
  • Criticism within the post modern community who seek improvement or change based on their understanding of post modernism
  • And finally from those who trust that post modernism is just a passing one and not a growing phase in social organization

One common criticism of post modernism is that it is brilliantly diverse. But then much of post modernity centered on the opinion that it tries to deconstruct modernity. It encourages obscurantism [which is the practice of deliberately preventing facts from being known] in ways that were similar to reactionary movements of the past.

The term post modernism when used in a negative sense, describes those tendencies that are perceived as relativist, counter-enlightenment or anti-modern. And specifically in relation to the critiques of rationalism, universalism and science.

The tendency to the “abandonment of objective truth” is specifically attacked by most criticisms. Because critics see it as the most crucial unacceptable feature of the post modernity. American literary critic and Marxist Political theorist, Frederic Jameson criticises post modernism. He claims the cultural logic of the late capitalism, for its refusal to seriously engage with meta-narratives [the complex idea that is thought to be a brief explanation of historical experience or knowledge] of capitalization and globalization.


Modernism is a label for a wide variety of cultural movements, whereas Post modernism is used in a wider sense to refer to the activities from 20th century that exhibit awareness and re-interpret the modern. It is based on socio-political theory.

Using rational and logical means to gain knowledge was the base for modernism but then post modernism rejected the application of logical thinking. The post modern era thinking was based on unscientific and irrational thought process [as a reaction to modernity]. Modernism had an objective, theoretical and analytical approach whereas the post modern approach was subjective. Post modernism lacked the analytical nature and its thoughts were flamboyant and completely based on belief. The basic difference between modernism and post modernism is, modernist thinking is all about searching for an abstract truth of life but post modernist thinking trust that there is no universal truth or abstract.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • sthembile hlongo May 23, 2011, 1:40 am

    this is realy helpful and benefiting 2 us communication students ,thank u

  • Shehan August 21, 2012, 5:01 am

    good on ya broo

  • ndou tsireledzo June 8, 2013, 5:07 pm

    can you please give us communication students a clear explanation of postmodernism

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