Chat with us, powered by LiveChat After reading the chapter, identify 3 artifacts in the form of lyrics, poems, pictures, etc. that embody and/or represent your own definition of postmodernism and its influ - Wridemy Bestessaypapers

After reading the chapter, identify 3 artifacts in the form of lyrics, poems, pictures, etc. that embody and/or represent your own definition of postmodernism and its influ

After completing the weekly readings, provide a thorough response in your own words to the weekly questions posted below. Please make sure you submit a one-word document with all your answers. A minimum of 550 words and a maximum of 700 words (font size 12, single-spaced) are required for each complete assignment. Please follow APA format in your work. Please remember to include one or two sentences identifying the habits of mind Links to an external have used to promote the reflection of the readings.

From Aronowitz and Giroux Chapter 3:

After reading the chapter, identify 3 artifacts in the form of lyrics, poems, pictures, etc. that embody and/or represent your own definition of postmodernism and its influence (Make sure you provide an explanation of why you chose each artifacts), and (2) Reflect and evaluate the three postmodern problematics discussed in the chapter (do you see any of those problematics in today’ school system?)

From Aronowitz and Giroux Chapter 5:
How is border pedagogy related to postmodernism?, and (2) evaluate how border pedagogy can help teachers to become agents of difference (provide specific examples).

From Tyack and Cuban Chapter 2:
Explain and evaluate the relationship between policy cycles and institutional trends described by the authors.

  • Tyack & Cuban: Tinkering Toward Utopia,
    • Chapter 2

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24. Juno Jordan, ()n C.111/: 1101/t/, u/ I NN,1y, (llmli111 '" ,1111, I lttl It I 1f1 I, 111 2~. The no~ion. of litorac~ n~ , form of rnll 111 ,1I polllli – 1111,1 , 111111 .. 11, 1 p,lll lt 111,11 11.,ct

gog,cal practice Is most evident in the works o f f',Hdo 11 11111, ,.,., 1111 , •~~lllfilo, l',ill ln re1r:, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Uorgman 11,111 11,~ (Nnw Ymk : ~IH•i>III ) ress, _1968); Paulo Fre,re and Donaldo Macedo, Literacy: Rc11tllnH !ho l\nd and r/11,

orld LSouth Hadley, Mass.: Bergin & Garvey, 1987). 26. Jordan, On Cati, 29.

27. Martha Nus.sba~m's comment on the narrowness of Bloom's reading of the fruit~ f Western c1vrl1zatton Is worth repeating:

His special love for these books fthe old Great Books of the ancient philosophers] has certainly prevented him from attending to works of literature and phi losophy that lie outside the tradition they began. for he makes the remarkable claim that "onlv in the Western nations i e th · fl , , .•, ose in uence~ by Greek philosophy, is there some w ill ingness to doubt the 1den1_1f1cat1on of the good with one's own way." This statement shows a startling ignorance of the critical and rational ist tradition in classical Indian tho.ugh!, of the arguments of classical Chinese thinkers, and beyond this, of countless examples of philosophical and nonphilosophical self-criticism from many parts of the world. (Nussbaum, "Undemocratic Vistas," 22)

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Genealogical practice transforms history from a judgment on the past in the name ofa present truth to a "counter-memory" that combats our current modes of truth and jus­ tice, helping us to understand and change the present byplacing it in a n ew relation to the past. Jonathan Arac, Postmodernism and Politics

The Crisis of Modernism in the Postmodern Age

Educational theory and practice have always been strongly wedded to the language and assumptions of modernism. Educato rs as d iverse as John Dewey (1916), Ralph Tyler (1950), Herb Gintis (Bowles and Gintis, 1976), John Goodlad (1984), and Martin Carnoy (Carnoy and Levin, 1985) have shared a faith in those modernist ideals that stress the ca­ pacity of individuals to think critically, to exercise social responsibility, and to remake the world in the interest of the Enlightenment dream of reason and freedom. Central to th is view of education and modernity has been an abiding faith in the ability of individuals to situate them­ selves as self-motivating subjects within the wider discourse of pub lic life. For many educators, modernism is synonymous w ith ''the contin­ ual progress o f the sciences and of techn iques, the rational division of industrial work, and the intensification of human labor and of human domination over nature" (Baudri l lard, 1987, 65-66). A faith in rational-


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ity, science, and technology bull1 t•<1-.1,., tlw 11111,h 1111 1111 th f 111 I"'""• nent change, and in the continual ,md fHOK1,,1111 lv1 1111f11ldl t1H 111 hl11 l111y Similarly, education p rovides the soclaliz lng J>1111 ' """'" ,111cl l0Hllli1h1ll1111 codes by which the grand narrative of progrcs:-i and 111111111n dt•v11lnp ment can be passed on to future generations.

The moral, politica l, and social technologies that structure and drlVt the imperatives of publ ic school ing are drawn from the modernist vlnw of the individual student and educator as the guarantor of the dolk ,111' balance between private and public life, as the safeguard who t ·,111 guarantee that the economy and the democratic state w ill functio n i11 ,, mutually determining manner. Within the discourse of modernism, knowledge draws its boundaries almost exclusively from a Europc,111 model of cultu re and civilization. Civilization in this script is an extc 11 sion of what Jean-Frarn;ois Lyotard (1984) calls the "great story" of tht• Enlightenment. ln addition, modernism has been largely drawn front cultural scripts written by wh ite males whose work is often privileged as a model of high cu lture informed by an elite sensibility that sets it off from what is often dismissed as popular or mass culture. While it is not the purpose of this chapter to w rite either the story of modernism1 or its specific expressions in the history of educational theory and prac­ tice, it is important to note that modernism in both its progressive and reactionary forms has provided the central categories that have given rise to various versions of educational theory and practice. To question the most basic principles of modernity redefines the meaning of schooling, and also calls into q uestion the very basis of our history, our cu ltural critic ism, and our manifestations and expressions of public life. In effect, to challenge modernism is to redraw and remap the very nature of our social, political, and cu ltural geography. It is for this rea­ son alone that the challenge currently being posed by various post­ modernist discourses needs to be taken up and examined critically by educators.

In th is chapter, we want to argue that the challenge of postmodern­ ism is important for educators because it raises crucial questions re­ garding certain hegemonic aspects of modernism and, by implication, how t hese have affected the meaning and dynamics of present-day schooling. Postmodern criticism is also important because it offers the promise of deterritorializing modernism and redrawing its political, so­ cial, and cultural boundaries, wh ile simultaneously affirming a politics of racial, gender, and ethnic difference. Moreover, postmodern criti­ cism does not merely challenge dominant Western cultural models with their attendant notion of universally valid knowledge; it also re­ situates us w ithin a world that bears little resemblance to the one that

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lllll cl the w ,111d 11,111,111'1.. 111 M111 .. ,11111 I r1•11d. 111 t•ffN I, postmode_rn Ill! l1i 111 , ,,11 ,. ,1111•11111111 111 1111' "11111111g bound,,rlcs related to the ,n­

t 1011,K l11lhw111 c• of 1111 ulnc 1t o 11 k mass media and information tech­ n11l11H), 1111• c ll11t1Klt1g 11,111111• of dass and social format ions in post in-

111 11 l,dl11•d 1,1pl t,1l lsI socl<•1'ics, and the growing transgression of 1111111,d,11 !11~ l>c•lwoon li fe and art, high and popular culture, and image

11d 11111l l ty. w,, wlll , 11 guc in this essay that postmodern criticism offers a com­

ltl11 ,1ll1111 o f roaclionary and progressive possibilities, and that its vari­ " ' ' " cll~c·ourscs have to be examined with great care if we are to benefit 111 1ll! li ,,lly and pedagogically from its assumptions and analyses. We ~ 111 1111>0 ,lrgue that a crit ical pedagogy is not to be developed on the 111111111 of a cho ice between modernism and postmodernism. As Ernesto I , 11 l,111 ( 1988) aptly states, "Postmodern ism cannot be a simple rejec­ llc lll o( modernity; rather, it involves a different modulation of its th11111cs and categories" (65}.2 Moreover, both discourses as forms of , 11llural criticism are flawed; they need to be examined for the ways in wll lC"h each cancels out the worst dimensions of the other. They each 111nlain elements of strength, and educators have an opportunity to l,1'lh lon a critical pedagogy that draws on the best insights of each.

. Most important, we will argue that those ideals of the project of mo­ d1•rnity that link memory, agency, and reason to the construction of a 1h•mocratic public sphere need to be defended as part of a discourse of 1 l'lt lcal pedagogy with in (rather than in opposition to} the existing con­ ditions of a postmodern world. At issue here is the task of delineating tho broader cultural complexities that inform what we shall call a post­ modern sensibility and criticism. Such a delineation needs to take place within t he boundaries of a pedagogy and politics that recl~i':11.s ,md reinvigorates, rather than denies o r is indifferent to, the poss1b1lt­ tlcs of a radical democracy (Giroux, 1991}.

The argument that is developed here unfolds as follows: first, we will provide some theoretical groundwork for developing a broad map of what constitutes the meaning of postmodernism, and what can be called the postmodern condition. Briefly put, the postmodern condi­ tion refers to the various discursive and structural transformations that characterize w hat can be called a postmodern cult ure in the era of late capitalism. Second, we w ill articu late some of the central and most crit­ ical themes that have emerged from the various discourses on post­ modern theory. In this section we will examine the conservative and radical implications of these positions. Third, we will argue that in or­ der to develop a more adequate theory of schooling as a form of cul­ tural politics it is important that contemporary educators integrate the

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central theoretical fealurcs of u post111odc-111l.,111 111 " 111 111111 wllli 1111• more radical elements of modernist dist 0 111 s1•.

The Meaning of Postmodernism

Though postmodernisrn has influenced a wide variety of fields that in­ clu~e music, fiction'. film, drama, architecture, criticism, anthropology, sociology, and the visual arts, there is no agreed-upon meaning for the term.3 In keeping w ith the multiplicity of difference that it celebrates, postmodernism is not only subject to different ideological appropria­ tions, it is also marked by a wide variety of interpretations. This can be illustrated by briefly looking at the different views of postmodernism articulated by two of its leading theorists, Jean-Fran~ois Lyotard (1984} and Fredric Jameson (1984).

Lyotard has described postmodernism as a rejection of grand narra­ tives, metaphysical philosophies, and any other form of totalizing thought. In his view, the meaning of postmodernism is inextricably re­ lated to the changing conditions of knowledge and technology that are producing forms of social organization that are undermining the old habits, bonds, and social practices of modernity. For Lyotard, the post­ modern is defined th rough the diffusion throughout Western societies of computers, scientific knowledge, advanced technology, and elec­ tronic texts, each of wh ich accents and privileges diversity, locality, specificity, and the contingent against the totalitizing narratives of the previous age. According to Lyotard, technical, scientific, and artistic in­ novations are creating a world where individuals must make their own way w ithout the benefit of fixed referents or traditional philosophical moorings. Total mastery and liberation are dismissed as the discourses of terror and forced consensus. In its place postmodernism appears as an ideological and political marker for referencing a world without sta­ bility, a world where knowledge is constantly changing and where meaning can no longer be anchored in a teleological view of history.

Fr~d ~i_c Ja,:nes~n'.s _(1984, 1988) writings on postmodern ism challenge the nihilism 1mphc1t In many such theories. Jameson defines postmod­ ernism as the "cultural logic" that represents the third great stage of late capitalism, as well as the new cultural dominant of the times in W~stern societies. For Jameson (1984), postmodernism is an epochal shift that alerts us to the present remapping ofsocial space and the crea­ tion of new social formations. If postmodern ism represents new forms of fragmentation, the creation of new constellation s of forms, and the emergence of new technological and artistic developments in capitalist

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111 h ly, l ,1111«1111111 d111 11111 11 "<p11111l l1y c 11lll11g lo, tlw death of grand 111111,1tlv111, 111 l1y 111l1•l11,11l11K 111.. 1111•< t1011k spectacles that substitute 11111tH"" Int 11111llly. 111"111 ,u l , lw M!;ll '!i fo r new cognitive maps, different 1111111" 111 rop wM1n1uIlui1 !hut provide a systematic reading of the new

••II«' I >oui;l,,s Kellner (1988) is right in arguing that Jameson's view of post-

11111dc11•11lsm is quite different from that of Lyotard and a number of nll11•r prominent theorists of the postmodern. Kellner wri tes:

In any case, one sees how, against Lyotard, Jameson employs Ihc form of a grand narrative, of a totalizing theory of society ,ind history that makes specific claims about featu res of postmodernism–which interprets as "the cultural log_ic of_ capital" rather than as a code word for a new (post)h1stoncal condition – as do Lyotard and Baudrillard (however much they reject totalizing thought). Obviously, Jameson wishes to preserve Marxism as the Master Narrative and to relat ivize all competing theories as sectorial or regional theories to be subsumed in their proper place within the Marxian Master Narrative. (262}

Postmodernism's refusal of grand narratives, its rejection of univer­ reason as a foundation for human affairs, its decentering of the hu­ manist subject, its radical problematization of representation, and its celebration of plurality and the politics of racial, gender, and ethnic dif­ ference have sparked a major debate among conservatives, liberals, and radicals in an increasingly diverse number of fields. For example, conservative cu ltural critics such as Allan Bloom (1987) argue that post­ modernism represents "the last, predictable stage in the suppression of reason and the denial o f the possibility of truth" (379). In a similar fashion, conservatives such as Daniel Bell (1976) claim that postmod­ ernism extends the adversarial and hedonistic tendencies of modern­ ism to destructive extremes. For a host of other conservatives, post­ modernism as it is expressed in the arts, music, film , and fiction is pejoratively dismissed as " a reflection of .. . the present wave of (destructive] political reaction sweeping the Western world" (Gott, 1986, 10).

Liberals such as Jurgen Habermas and Richard Rorty take opposing positions on the relevance of postmodernism. Habermas (1983) sees it as a threat to the foundations of democratic public life, while Rorty (1985) appropriates its central assumptions as part of the defense of lib­ eral capitalist society. Among left-wing radicals, postmodernism runs a theoretical gamut that ranges from adulation to condemnation to a

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cautious skepticism. R..idlc;.11 nllll's MH 11 ,,~ h•11 y I AHie 11111 11'1111, ), I11 111 y Anderson (1984), and Barbara ChrlstiJ11 ( 11/11/ ) 111•1 1111,.1111111l11111l'i111 ,111

either a threat to or a flight fro m the rea l world ot pulll It " ,11 ic I 11111tl-(l{l1• Hal Foster (1983), Andreas Huyssen (1986), Stua, I I l,1II (1 11 Cros~htllK, (1986), and a number of feminist critics such as ll! l'('~il de La u1·1•ll'I (1987), Meaghan Morris (1988), and Nancy Fraser and Linda Nicho lson (1990), approach the discourse of postmodernism cautiously by int(•I rogating critically its claims and absences. Radical avant-garde theorisl~ such as Jean Baudrillard (1988) and Jean-Fran~ois Lyotard (1984) utili.t.t ' postmodern discourses as a theoretical weapon to articulate either th(• nihilism of capitalist society and its alleged collapse of meaning or thl' tyranny implicit in the totalizing narratives characteristic of modernity.

While it would be easy to dismiss postmodernism as simply a code word for a new theoretical fashion, the term is important because it di• rects our attention to a number of changes and challenges that are a part of the contemporary age. For some social theorists, postmodern­ ism may be on the verge of becoming an empty signifier, while others credit it with a theoretical and heuristic relevance deriving from its ca­ pacity to provide a focus for a number of historically significant de­ bates. As Dick Hebdige (1986) points out, there can be little doubt that the term "postmodern" appears to "have occupied a semantic ground in which something precious and important was felt to be embedded" (79). The discourse of postmodernism is worth struggling over, and not merely as a semantic category that needs to be subjected to ever more precise definitional rigor. Rather, it is important to mine its contradic­ tory and oppositional insights for possible use in the service of a radi­ cal cultural politics and a critical theory of pedagogy. At the same time, to provide a basis for understanding its cultural and political insights, we want to argue that postmodernism in the broadest sense refers to an intellectual position, a form of cultural critici sm, as well as to an emerging set of social, cultural, and economic conditions that have come to characterize the age of global capitalism and industrialism. In the first instance, postmodernism represents a form of cultural criti­ c ism that radically questions the logic of foundations that has become the epistemological cornerstone of modernism. In the second in­ stance, postmodernism refers to an increasingly radical change in the relations of production, the nature of the nation-state, the develop­ ment of new technologies that have redefined the fields of telecom­ munications and information processing, and the forces at work in the growing globalization and interdependence of the economic, political, and cultural spheres. All of these issues will be taken up below in more specific detail.

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11, ,11111• 1•11111111 1111111H wlr ,, w 1· thl11!- ,111 1 tlw l><tsl< assumptions that 1h11 v,11 I111I., d h , 11111 1o , .., 111 I11 ,-.1i11111h•1 nlsm have in common, we want to 1t,1i,lly 11l,1llllt ,1tn 1111 ""'"' ' o l th<• conditio ns that have come to charac- 11111, , 1 wh,,t c,111 lw 1 ,1llod ,1 postmodern age. We don't believe that 1111•, t111o d11rnlsm represents a drastic break or ru_pture fr?':11 modernity ,,11 111u r h ns it signals a shift toward a set of social cond1t1ons that are 11 11 onstlluting the social, cultural, and geopolitical map of the world, wllll t' simultaneously producing new forms of cultural criticism. Such a ,.1,1(1 represents a break away from certain definitive features of mod- 1•m ism, " with the emphasis firmly on the sense of the relational move ,1wny" (Featherstone, 1988, 197). At the same t ime, we believe that_the v.irious discourses o·f postmodernism have underplayed the continu­ it ies t hat mark the transition from one age to another w ithin the cur­ rPnt capital ist countries. Modernism is far from dead – its central cate­ KOries are simply being written within a plurality of narratives that ar~ ,11empting to address the new set of social, political, technical, and s~1- t1ntific configurations that constitute the current age. Stuart Hall (1n Grossberg, 1986) captures the complexity of the relationship between modernity and postmodernism in the following comment:

But I don't know that w ith "postmodernism" we are dealing with something totally and fundamentally different from that break at the turn of the century. I don't mean to deny that we've gone through profound qualitative changes between . then and now. There are, therefore, now some very perplexing features to contemporary culture that certainly tend to outrun the critical and theoretical concepts generated in the early modernist period. We have, in that sense, to constantly update our theories and to be dealing with new experiences. I also accept that these changes may constitute new subject-positions and social identities for people. But I don't think there is any such absolutely novel and unified thing as the postmodern condition. It's another vers ion of that historical amnesia characteristic of American cultu re- the tyranny of the New. (47)

In what follows we will discuss some of the major features of the post modern condition. In doing so, we will draw on a vari~ty of differ­ ent theoretical perspectives regarding the nature and meaning of these conditions.

The postmodern condition has to be seen as part of an ongoing shift related to global structural changes as well as a radical change in the way in wh ich culture is produced, circulated, read, a_nd consumed. Such shifts cannot be seen as part of the old Marxist base/super-

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struct ure model. Instead, they have 10 bt• vl1•wc•cl ''" 111111 111 ,, ..,.,1,,1; of uneven developments that have emerged out of tfw, 1111fllt I l11•lwm•11 traditional economic models and new cultu ral fon1111tl011'I 1111cl 111od11'I of criticism, on the one hand, and related discourses th,1I 111,1rk out thu terrains of certain aspects of modernism and postmodernism on tlw other. On an ideological level, the deterritorialization and remappinf( characteristic of the postmodern condition can be seen in the effort by many theorists and critics to challenge and rewrite in oppositional terms the modernist idea ls of rationality, totality, certainty, and progress along with its "globalizing, integrative vision of the individu­ al's place in h istory and society" (Richard , 1987/1988, 6). But the struggle against the ideals of modernity is not limited to the rewriting of its major texts and assumptions. For example, such a struggle cannot be seen exclusively as a matter of challenging a privileged modernist aesthetic, which calls into question the oppressive organization of space and experience that characterizes institutions such as schools, museums, and t he workplace ; nor can the struggle against modernity be read simply as a call to open up texts to the heterogeneity of mean­ ings t hey embody and mediate. These sites of struggle and contesta­ tion are important, but the postmodern condition is also rooted in those fundamental political and technological shifts that undermine the cent ral modernist notion that there exists "a legitimate center – a unique and superior position from which to establish control and to determine hierarch ies" (Richard, 1987/1988, 6). This center refers to the privileging of Western patriarchal culture, with its representations of dominat ion rooted in a Eurocentric conception of the world, and to the technological, political, economic, and m ilitary resources that once were almost exclusively dominated by the Western industrial coun­ tries . In effect, the basic e lements of the postmodern condition have been created by major changes in the global redistribution of political power and cultural legitimation, the deterritorialization and decenter­ ing of power in the West, the transformations in the nature of the forces of production, and the emergence of new forms of cultural crit­ icism. In what follows, we will spell these out in greater detail.

The economic and political cond itions that have come about in the Western nations since the Second World War have been extensively analyzed by theorists such as Stanley Aronowitz (1987/1988), Scott Lash and John Urry (1987), and Jean Baudrillard (1988). Although these theo­ rists hold differing positions on the importance of postmodern ism, each of them believes that postmodernism can only be understood in terms of its problell)atic relationship w ith central features of the mod­ ernist tradition. Each of their analyses is impo rtant. For Aronowitz

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11'111 /1'11111), 111111l1•1111ty II f,1lllt 1111111 1 , ..,1 11111 11t,11t· Ii-, rcc;cding o n a world­ wide lc•wl ''" th,• 1111, ' '" 111 p1 11drn 11011 thal drive tho global economy 14111 h11111,t'llllHIY dl11111 111111d through the multinatio nalism of corpo ra­ '" •11• u11cl tlw o irH rgP11< '<.l of economic powers outside of the Western 1111 l11 11 ttl,dl1od nations. M o reover, Aronowitz believes that the modern­ I t l1•Hlllrni1Iing narratives of public life no longer have the power of , , •11vl1 IIon o r the ideological cohesiveness they once had. Ideological •111ppoI t has given way to bad faith. This can be seen in the various ways 111 which sexual and power hierarchies, electoral politics, and faith in h11h1sl rlalism are now under attack from a wider variety of groups at 1h11 •,11mc time that they are more deeply entrenched in elite publ ic dis­ , 11111 sc and politics.

I or Lash and Urry (1987), capitalism has become increasingly disor- 11,111ILcd. They argue that this process, while not contributing directly lo the development of postmodernist culture, represents a powerful lw·c·c in the emergence of many elements making up the postmodern , ondition. The central changes that Lash and Urry point to include the d,•concentration of capital as national markets become less regulated l1y national corporations; the decline in the number of blue-collar workers as deindustrialization reconstructs the centers of production ,ind changes the makeup of the labor force; a dramatic expansion of Ilic white-collar workforce as well as a distinctive service class; an in­ <rcase in cultural pluralism and the development of new cu ltural/ 1 lhnidpolitical formations; and demographic changes involving the fi­ nancial collapse of inner cities and the growth in rural and suburban populations. And, finally, though they touch on a number of other con­ siderations, Lash and Urry emphasize the appearance of an ideological/ cultural apparatus in which the production of information and symbols not only becomes a central aspect of the making and remaking of ev­ eryday life, but contributes to the breakdown of the division between reality and image.

In Jean Baudrillard's (1988) discourse, the postmodern condition represents more than a massive transgression of the boundaries that are essential to the logic of modernism; it represents a form of hyper­ reality, an infinite proliferation of meanings in which all boundaries collapse into models of simulation. In this perspective, there is no rele­ vance to an epistemology that searches out the higher elevations of truth, exercises a depth reading, or tries to penetrate reality in o rder to uncover the essence of meaning. Reality is on the surface. Ideology, alienation, and values are all jettisoned in this version of postmodern discourse, and are subsumed within the orbit of a society saturated w ith media messages that have no meaning or content in the rationalist

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sense. In this view, information as noli>l' b p,1,,lvd ) , 1111 11111, d by the masses, whose brutish indifference obliterates 1h11 g1111111d ol nu•dl,1 tion, po litics, and resistance. In emphasizing the glitter ol tlw 1•vcryd,1y as spectacle, Baudrillard points to the new forms of techno logy and 111 formation that have become central to a reproductive order that blur, the lines between past and present, art and life, and commitment and experience.

But Baudrillard's (1988) society of simulatio ns, a society in which "signs replace the logic of production and class conflict as key constitu• ents of contemporary capitalist societies" (Kellner, in press, 11), trans­ lates less into a provocative analysis of the changing contours and fea­ tures of the age than it does into a nihil ism that undermines its own radical intent. Fatalism replaces struggle, and irony resigns itself to a " mediascape" that offers the opportunity for a form of refusal defined simply as play. Foundationalism is out, and language has become a sig­ nifier, floating anchorless in a terrain of images that refuse definition and spell the end of representation. In Baudrillard's postmodern world, history is finished, subsumed in a vertigo of electronic fantasy­ images that privilege inertia as reality. For theorists like Baudrillard, the masses have become the b lack hole into which all meaning simply dis­ appears. Domination now takes place through the proliferation of signs, images, and signifiers that envelop us without a hint o f either where they come from or what they mean. The task is not to interpret but to consume-to revel in the plurality of uncertainties that claim no boundaries and seek no resolutions. This is the world of the spectacle and the simulacrum, a world in which the modernist notion of the "aura" of a work, personality, o r text no longer exists (Benjamin, 1969). Everything is a copy, everything and everyone is networked into a com­ munication system in which we are all electronically wired , pu lsating in response to the simulations that keep us watching and consuming. In Baudrillard's world, the postmodern condition is science fict ion, mean­ ing is an affront to reality, and pedagogy vanishes except as form be­ cause there are no more experts.

In spite of the different politics and analyses presented by each of these positions, they all respectively conced e that we are living in a transitional era in w hich emerging social conditions call into question the ability of o ld orthodoxies to name and understand the changes that are ushering us into the twenty-first century. Whether these cha

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