- Andrew Dell’Antonio
A term carrying diverse and sometimes contradictory meanings, used to describe aesthetic tendencies as well as critical approaches beginning in the 1970s. There is considerable debate over whether its parameters are chronological or philosophical, and concerning the nature of its relationship with modernism.
Many have posited postmodernism as chronologically defined, resulting from disintegration of cultural paradigms established during a “modernist” era or socioeconomic condition variously defined as beginning sometime between the 15th and 17th centuries and ending at some point in the mid-20th century (Jameson, 1991). These paradigms include imperial expansion and centralization, meta-narratives of progress and enlightenment within European (and implicitly masculine) authority, and concerns with authorial originality within what has been characterized as an “anxiety of influence.” In this sense postmodernity is marked by a breakdown of authority and orthodoxy, and a realization that multiplicity of voices and perspectives provides a more legitimate reflection of cultural realities (Jencks, ...