We Have Never Been Postmodern: Cultural Theory at the Speed of Light

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Furthermore, Jonathan Rutherford Rutherford 8 , looking at contemporary changes in the practices and cultures of capitalism, has proclaimed that:. We are living through an age of transition. The new co-exists with the old. We can identify political, economic and cultural elements of this change, but we do not yet have a way of describing the kind of society we are living in.

The great explanatory frameworks of political economy and sociology inherited from the industrial modernity of the nineteenth century leave too much unsaid. Theories of the moment tend to skip from one modern phenomenon to another. They are like stones skimming across the surface of water. We lack a story of these times. This so-called new era has also been characterised variously as the age of fallibility Soros , the age of access Rifkin , the age of uncertainty Bauman a , the age of turbulence Greenspan and the age of instability Smith and there is no let up today in the rush to characterise in a pithy, poignant, pregnant phrase, the culture of the period we are seen to be entering.

We have been here before. Many attempts have been made at capturing such a story in the last two decades. Starting in the s, Anthony Giddens, who later went on to become Tony Blairs favourite sociologist Giddens , , ; Seldon , ; Radice ; Rentoul , has often claimed that we are in a period of evident transition and offered the view that we are now living in a post-traditional society Beck, Giddens and Lash Alternative modernities, on the other hand, as Lawrence Grossberg has dubbed them, are seen as a product of a contemporary.

As the fierce conflict over precisely which capitalism will take over the globe develops apace, it seems that we are consumed again by the question of which modernities we will inhabit in the near future. A cold modernity for a world in what Paul Virilio has called a cold panic Virilio a? A dangerous moder- nity Redhead b to go along with the rise of Naomi Kleins disaster capitalism Klein , a sign of the sociologies of the future where trajectories of the catastrophic, or in this books claustropolitan sociol- ogy language post-catastrophe, will materialise more and more?

The French urban theorist of speed, technology and modernity Paul Virilio, although categorically no postmodernist, has spoken of the postmodern period and the atheism of postmodernity as well as the profane art of modernity Virilio a. Followers of Virilio, whose urgent, futuristic, poetic, provocative and sometimes reactionary ideas are always, already in the background throughout this book, have even suggested a subsequent displacement, or replacement, of the postmodern condition by a social formation they say is the dromocratic condition, based on Virilios idea of dromocracy the society of speed or of the race.

Many other contempo- rary social theorists have turned away from their erstwhile interests in the postmodern in the s and s. Scott Lash, for instance, has acknowl- edged that he does not particularly like the term postmodern Gane and one time guru of postmodernity, Zygmunt Bauman Bauman , , , , ; Blackshaw ; Bauman and Tester has conceded that for some time he has been distancing himself from the concept, preferring his own original idea of liquid modernity Gane and committing himself to a thorough going sociological rethinking of the modern Bauman , , a, b, b, , a, b.


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This reconceptualisation of modernity and modernisation is reflected in contemporary debates about what it means to be modern as has been argued in relation to modern terror groups such as Al Qaeda whose origins are for a writer like John Gray Gray , , b squarely in modernity rather than tradition. Further, the central issue has become what it is to experience an attempted demodernisation, say in post-war Iraq Graham ; iek , Afghanistan or Pakistan or how remodernisation can take place in the case of what Francis Fukuyama Fukuyama , and other neo-conservatives have called state building in failed states such as Rwanda, Somalia, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Sudan and what critical geog- rapher Stephen Graham Graham , has prophesied as the new.

The theorisation of imperial- ism and colonialism, especially post-empire and post-colonialism Gilroy , is a continued imperative for us all whether or not postmodern theorists Boyne and Rattansi have been able accurately to describe the rise of the West in these global processes. So the time is ripe for a rethinking of modernity; and social theory. Notions of conditions after modernity are, I argue, not ultimately persua- sive.

Criticism of postmodernism - Wikipedia

What is argued further, though, in this book is that there are only modernities, conflicting and overlapping. New modernities sit alongside old modernities.

Intersecting Lives: Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio

A new mobilities paradigm amongst researchers at CeMoRe Centre for Mobilities Research Centre at the University of Lancaster in the UK has pioneered work on cosmopolitan sociology and mobilities in other words, cosmobilities research. This influential mobilities paradigm Urry , , , has threatened to shake up cosmopolitan sociology as a modernist, or postmodernist, project.

Modernities, and their mobility, provide the conceptual key to looking at the contemporary condition afresh. There are different modernities, dif- ferent ways of being modern. Anthony Giddens conceives of what other people call the post-modern as the radicalising of modernity Giddens and Pierson Ulrich Beck, who has talked of the modernisation of modernity Gane , has suggested, helpfully, that there are not only different paths to modernity but also different modernities, and that we live in an age of entangled modernities.

Global modernities have been identified in social and cultural theory in the s but now in the second decade of the twenty-first century they are sorely in need of a radical reconceptualisation. The sociology of society, of modernity, has threatened to become the sociology of mobility. These contemporary modernities are mobile. The city cultures, for instance, of the twenty-first century are mobile city cultures. These are modern mobilities. Modernity is always, it appears, on the point of arriving. In Paul Virilios frequently used original French language nugget, ce qui arrive!

The periodisation of transition within modernity has been fraught with difficulty as has the periodisation of the process from tradition to modernity. Early to late modernity, old to new modernity, heavy to light modernity, solid to liquid modernity, first to second modernity, con- densed to diffuse modernity, systemic to network-like modernity, original modernity to reflexive modernity and modernity to present-day moder- nity are just some of the myriad conceptualisations of the transitions within modernity that have been suggested in recent contemporary social and cultural theory throughout the world.

On top of that there is the much. Then we have claims at various times in the last three decades that there needs to be new social theory after postmodernism or beyond postmodernity Woodiwiss ; Gane But we are never quite sure when these transitions have taken place. Phases or stages or eras of modernity are being constantly theorised but the question of when did the new condition appear, when did the present phase or stage or era occur, is left strangely unanswered. Much of social and cultural theory today, innovative and stimulating as it often seems, is speculative sociology without periodisation, an appar- ently endless reflection on a problem earlier designated as the shift from Fordism to post-Fordism, or old times to New Times, or old manufac- turing economy to new knowledge economy.

For instance, Zygmunt Bauman talked at the turn of the millennium of the present phase of modernity, what he has christened liquid modernity Bauman , a with its attendant offshoots such as liquid love Bauman , liquid life Bauman , liquid fear Bauman and the liquid modern world Bauman b. But as readers of such theoretical speculation we remain unsure when it was that the move from the earlier phase actually happened, indeed if it ever did. What Bauman saw as solid modernity must have metamorphosed into liquid modernity at some point for the argument to work.

Was solid modernity the state we were in during the s, s and s? Or even the s, s, s? Bauman, to give him his due, does recognise, significantly, that all modernity is that which melts into air as Marx and Engels, exemplary theorists of earlier modernity in many ways, though, ultimately, flawed theorists of capitalism, put it over a century and a half ago when writing The Communist Manifesto in Marx and Engels All that is solid melts into air is always the principle definition of the modern condi- tion as Marshall Berman astutely pointed out a quarter of a century ago Berman The melting of solids is not just a phase of modernity, it is the constant, permanent present, what can be seen throughout the pages of this book, and earlier texts, as accelerated culture.

I would argue that the problems in contemporary humanities and social science debates often lie in this lack of periodisation and a rigorous theory of transformation from one period to another. The user generated content movement, open source or Web 2. The flattening of expertise and authority, the attack on professionalism and the rise of the cult of the amateur that these changes herald has often been seen as examplifying the onset of the postmodern, instancing postmodernism and postmodernity.

In fact it is more a sign of anti-statist libertarianism, of the right and left, as much as it is evidence of a transition to the postmodern. This book is a contribution to debates in the humanities and social sciences which are attempting to rethink modernity after neo-liberalism whenever that era may come to its end , and the body of theory which has emerged to start to help with this rethink. Were we, though, once postmodern? Theorists like Jean-Francois Lyotard Lyotard , and Fredric Jameson Jameson , became associated in the s, s and s with the idea that there had, sometime in the late twentieth century, been a period of transition, morphing into a postmod- ern condition, which itself had a long and complex historical trajectory.

For example, Perry Anderson Anderson has noted that the idea of postmodernity dates back to at least the s. Jean-Francois Lyotard, author of several highly influential texts on postmodernity, aesthetics, pol- itics, the avant-garde and the sublime Lyotard , , ; Lyotard and Thebaud , once associated with the leftist grouping in France in the s which, translated into English, was emblazoned with the epithet Socialism or Barbarism, imagined, in the s and s in the course of his report on scientific knowledge, that there had been developing an incredulity towards grand and meta-narratives often exemplified by, for instance, science, Marxism, feminism, liberalism and so on so profound that he labelled it a postmodern condition.

But then everything, seem- ingly overnight, became postmodern enough to necessitate dictionaries of postmodernism Sim , even though postmodernism was written off itself as just another grand or meta narrative. Everywhere, for a time, there was PoMo postmodern art Ferguson , postmodern sociology Lash ; Featherstone , postmodern cinema Denzin.

248329195 REDHEAD We Have Never Been Postmodern

Always, as soon as these postmodern formations proclaimed their emergence over the last thirty or forty years, they were declared to be dead on arrival DOA in various channels of official media discourse of the day. Today, it is proclaimed, such an era or structure of feeling is well and truly over it is said that we are living, today, somehow or other, after postmodernity.

Surmodern, supermodern, intermodern and post-postmodern; altermodernity, liquid modernity and autmodernity; and pseudomodernism, hypermodernism and digimodernism have variously been put forward as alternative terms for those no longer satisfied by the idea of the postmodern, postmodernity and postmodernism.

There is, as Terry Eagleton has pointed out Reisz , even a return of grand narratives, once condemned to the dustbin of history by postmodern theory, especially in the debates about resurgent global religious belief Ruthven and the general idea that God or He is back, and a concomitant new aetheism Hitchens ; Cottee and Cushman , often with a materialist core iek b , to counter such beliefs. Postmodernism in these debates is frequently associated, for a good or ill, with a culture without history, or where history has stopped, as if nothing done a couple of minutes ago was of any authentic value.

Multiple alternative definitions of the postmodern abound in these debates as will be seen throughout the pages of this book: for instance, postmodernism as the breakdown of the binary division of art and commerce; postmodernism as the breakdown of the binary division of law and culture; postmodernism as the breakdown of the binary division of high and low culture; postmodernism as the break- down of fiction and reality; postmodernism as the general breakdown of hierarchies social, cultural and political; postmodernism as cultural pla- giarism; postmodernism as moral relativism; and so on and so forth.

Much of this literature works on the basis that we were once postmodern but now we are not in some cases such a condition is celebrated for allowing real politics, ethics and social action to come back into our culture. Slavoz iek, who has been described as the most dangerous philosopher in the West, as well as an academic rock star and the Elvis of Cultural Theory iek , has frequently placed postmodern or postmodernism or postmodernity in inverted commas in his many books and other writings, arguing ultimately for a revived Leninist communism after postmodern- ism, or a communism beyond postmodernity iek a, b, , a, b, a, b, , Others argue for a new, twenty- first century defence of the ideas of the Enlightenment which have been seen to be widely called into question by postmodernism for many decades Taylor This book goes further than these many engaging and stimulating debates to claim that we are not in any sense after postmoder- nity.

There never has been a postmodern era only modernity. And such notions of the modern, modernism and modernity can be thought of as militant, socialist or revolutionary Hatherley as they once were in the not too distant past; for example in the twentieth century when what Owen Hatherley calls left modernisms Hatherley emerged, modernisms which can still be seen as useful, offering a sense of pos- sibility that decades of being told There is No Alternative has almost beaten out of us.

This book is of its time, and hopefully timely. It reactivates key tropes and signposts in contemporary theory and may help to reboot the endeavours of scholars in various sub-disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. It offers, tentatively, some resources for what it calls.

The contentions being made in the book have profound consequences for the contemporary version of what C. Wright Mills half a century ago called the sociological imagination. Especially the notion that the postmodern is not an era after modernity in a teleological, linear fashion but that it is always already part of modernity. The indi- vidual chapters in the book all explore and operationalise original concepts developed for this putative claustropolitan sociology project: namely, post-cultural state, post-space, post-pop, pastmodernism, post-sports, post-politics, post-catastrophe, post-theory, post-future all part of ways of seeing a new sociological object, mobile accelerated nonpostmodern culture MANC.

They produce, as a result, concrete studies of frag- ments of contemporary culture, and some of its outstanding theorists, in the course of this abstract exploration. I have elsewhere Redhead a, b, , b, introduced the concepts of post-youth, post-subculture, accelerated culture and non-postmodernity as better alternatives to explain and explore what seemed always to be presented extensively and rather randomly as postmodern culture.

While open to different and competing conceptualisations for the world we now inhabit, this book claims that there never was an era of postmodernity in the first place. But that does not mean we might be before postmodernity in the same way as some have argued Ali , due to communisms first failure in the twentieth century, we might be, in a very long historical process, before communism.

For those still waiting for this long histori- cal process to unfold, what Louis Althusser and others have referred to as the lonely hour of the last instance, the divisions between scientific and other materialisms, humanism and anti-humanism, and utopianism and anti-utopianism, remain as stark as ever they were. One thing is for sure, we are not after postmodernity. Just look at it! The statism we are in now! But, as students carrying placards protesting at the fee hikes by the David Cameron led coalition government in the UK proclaimed, Its the knowledge economy, stupid! When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown began New Labours path to power in they were seen as part of a new postmodern political culture Perryman which offered all kinds of possibilities, especially in the area of creative industries.

The concept of the post-cultural state is introduced here into the international debate about the theory and practice of creative indus- tries Kong and OConnor ; McKinlay and Smith ; Bilton in the context of this apparent postmodern political culture. This creative industries debate has become part of the so-called new, or knowledge, economy the new capitalism even Doogan Although often the cause of deep scepticism there is even a business magazine called The New Economy it is a crucial step in the understanding of culture and the economy in the new century.

The entire globe is supposedly in an era after the crash, or as Gordon Brown, former prime minister of the UK who was prepared to put the global economy through whatever it takes Richards put it, in a book length justification for better globalisa- tion, beyond the crash Brown But globalisation itself, and global culture Featherstone , are themselves constantly in question, having just as much justification to be seen as beginning in the late nine- teenth century as the late twentieth century Hirst and Thompson or early twenty-first.

In the mode it is employed here, the post-cultural state recalls, play- fully, the phrase the new industrial state once used, in another era, by J. It has a double meaning. It refers to the new cultural condition we find ourselves in, and the way in which the modern state has governed, or intervened in, culture through law and other means of gov- ernance or regulation.

It should be remembered, as Peter Fitzpatrick has. The use of the term post-cultural state involves close exami- nation of the vanishing line between law and popular culture as Richard Sherwin Sherwin has called it, when legal culture and popular culture Redhead dissolve into each other in a process which has been labelled postmodernisation of law in the Age of Images Sherwin In this process, the modern nation state, as it did in the UK for a while, sometimes becomes a part of the popular cultural sphere.

What is Postmodernism?

Such processes can be seen clearly in a rethinking of the story of the crea- tion and development of creative industries policy Andersen and Oakley especially in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport DCMS in the thirteen-year-long New Labour government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown which ended in Brown and Blair conducted an experiment which is often cited approvingly in the creative industries debates around the world, especially in Oceania and Asia Leo and Lee The post-cultural state, in my argument, involves the social engi- neering of a more widespread new individualism where citizens are to be remade as creative entrepreneurs.

It is argued here that debates about creative industries should be resituated within the wider framework of the agenda of cosmopolitan sociology and its still problematic analyses of modernity, the state and culture the selfsame flawed framework that leads this book to call instead for a claustropolitan sociology of the future. As the question what would new thinking for social, political and cul- tural theory after the crash look like?

Cruddas and Rutherford is forced on the agenda of various new social movements as well as more mainstream parties, the nature of the role and function of the state in the twenty-first century global society looms large once again. Will we revive the thinkers, and thought, of the past? Will the economic and political thought of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels change the world once again as Eric Hobsbawm has imagined in his nineties Hobsbawm ? Maybe the commodity exchange general theory of law and marxism of Soviet legal theorist E. Pashukanis Naves , will suddenly become fashionable as we hurtle back to the conditions of the s in what has been called a new depression Jacques a, c, d , a concept so pertinent that singer Loudon Wainwright III even recorded his Ten Songs for the New Depression.

Or is it time to draw a line under the past and start anew? Will there be a Government 2. The meltdown that occurred on the worlds stock markets between August and October , has, it is said by commentators of various political persuasions, effectively ended the neo-liberal era, which can itself be dated to the mid s. It was Margaret Thatcher, as prime minister in the s, who famously stated there is no such thing as society.

As her successor, several times removed, and seen to be in a conservative tradition after Blair OHara , David Camerons public refutation of this dry Tory position in his attempt to construct a progressive, or compassionate, conservatism Jones , and even adopt the left Red Toryism proposed by Phillip Blond Cruddas and Rutherford ; Blond a and b, with its much trumpeted commitment to voluntarism, localism, civil associa- tion and social enterprise, was supposed to signpost a new era.

There is such a thing as society its just not the same thing as the state, argued Cameron, then leader of the opposition Conservative Party, in November in a speech to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. He also said in in the Annual Hugo Young lecture in London, before he succeeded Gordon Browns doomed three-year Labour government Rawnsley ; Seldon and Lodge ; Radice ; Richards ; Mandelson , and became prime minister of the UK, that: our alternative to big government is not no government some reheated version of ideological laissez-faire. Our alternative to big government is the big society.

But the big society is not just going to spring to life on its own: we need strong and concerted government action to make it happen. We need to use the state to remake society. For some commentators, in some cases having been through new times debates before, the times are entirely new, tumultuous and dan- gerous Jacques b.

Now it is, almost overnight, said to be a world that is post-American, post-liberal, post-New Labour, post-modern again and post-free market, whilst hyper neo-liberal policies are being pursued at home and abroad Seldon and Lodge There are other commentators who, while agreeing that the end of the neo-liberal age is nigh, have claimed that we are in a new conjuncture and that re-regu- lated capitalism will have widespread cultural and social effects and con- sequences for progressive politics Cruddas and Rutherford David Camerons policy pronouncements before he became prime minister point to a basic philosophical rhetoric of a shrunken, minimal- ist state, the way for which was rigorously paved by legal and political theorists such as Iredell Jenkins Jenkins and Robert Nozick Nozick in the s and s and subsequently taken up enthusiastically by the Tea Taxed Enough Already Party and Palinite movements in the late s in the USA in the presidency of Barack Obama.

But the refram- ing of the states role pervades all efforts to move beyond the contempo- rary laissez-faire philosophy and the dominance of the free market. The question of the state is, crucially, brought back in establishing the state were in Hutton , , , , In the important discussions of the so-called global weightless knowl- edge economy there have been various new conceptual tools created to analyse the phenomenon. For some commentators the idea of there being a new economy at all is itself a fantasy, and a dangerously debilitating one at that. What I argue here is that whether or not there is something new in the knowledge economy that radically differentiates it from previous economic eras, the state and culture are involving themselves in moder- nity in new formations, and that this process deserves taking seriously, theoretically and politically.

The best way to see this process is in the relationship between the state and creative industries. I am interested here in the form in which the relationship between state and culture fits into more general social theorising about modernity. The case study chosen here, the example of the creative industries policy of the UK government Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which from onwards spawned the label creative industries Andersen and Oakley ; Bilton , is instructive, particularly in view of the fact that this specifically New Labour experiment in state, modernity and culture has been applied, more or less approvingly, internationally over the past decade.

In one of the right wing think tanks seeking to advise the Liberal Democrat- Conservative coalition government actually recommended the complete demolition of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of the shrinking of the state argument. In the event, the coalition govern- ment comprehensive spending review implemented deep cuts in the department and restricted its role in regulation and promotion of issues like school sport and local provision of leisure and the arts. Literally, the recommendation was that the UK state, become after, or beyond, the.

What was regarded by some as a failure of style over substance had apparently ended Bayley The post-cultural state, too, must be seen in the context of a retheorisa- tion of modernity and postmodernity by various social and cultural theo- rists all over the globe. For instance Zygmunt Bauman has put forward the idea of there being a recent change in modernity to what he calls liquid modernity Bauman whilst Ulrich Beck, proponent of both a cos- mopolitan sociology Beck ; Boyne and a cosmopolitics Beck has argued for both the idea of a new modernity, which he has termed risk society and world risk society Beck , , , and, furthermore, the idea of a second modernity that has recently displaced the age of simple first modernity.

First modernity, in Becks theorisa- tion, appeared to reign until some unspecified period in the late twentieth century. Second modernity for Beck is distinguished by relexivity, where what is taking place today is the modernisation of modern society. This condition is qualitatively different from the postmodernity that earlier social and cultural theorists put forward in the s and s.

For Scott Lash Lash this second modernity is moreover a non-linear moder- nity. It is characterised explicitly by Lash as signifying an information age where as far as critical thought is concerned there is no longer an outside place to stand and where power becomes almost solely a ques- tion of intellectual property.

In the so-called information age, it seems from this mode of argument, ownership and property relations have been replaced and the culture industry Adorno of Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School has imploded into the social in the form of perva- sive culture and information technology industries Wynne I want to set these debates about modernity in the context of the devel- opment of what can be called here the post-cultural state.

Some insight into the post-cultural state is gleaned from the creative industries debates which have for some time been impacting on government departments, and media, communications and arts faculties in universities, all over the world. Definitions of cultural and creative industries vary widely OConnor, , ; Bilton but culture in this sense, at the very least, means industries and practices like design, architecture, multimedia, film, broadcasting, publishing and fashion, as well as information software.

Major arguments have taken place over the area covered by the two seemingly similar labels, cultural and creative industries. It may be, too, as again participants in the debates have claimed, that cultural industries policy has more connection with the nation state formation as such and creative industries strategy more affinity with the global and the local international order of governance. In countries like Canada and Australia that has meant more intervention through state governments than federal, for example. Further, for at least two decades, the notion of cultural industries has sat side by side with city cultures and urban regeneration, which in turn has included the problematic idea of cultural regeneration OConnor , ; iek ; Kong and OConnor of cities, with cultural and leisure precincts or quarters becoming the major focus for boosterism and economic impact, dragging more diverse cultural pursuits such as sporting industries, galleries and museums, and gardens in their wake.

Cities throughout the world have begun to brand them- selves through culture as the notion of the creative city has emerged and expanded globally Landry ; Kong and OConnor These debates have raised fundamental questions about the very exist- ence and purpose of certain disciplines in the academy especially in the humanities and social sciences as well as the function and purpose of the modern nation state as an enabling state Botsman and Latham , sometimes called the new managerial state Clarke and Newman , and its role in the formation and sustainability of creative futures in the new economy Arthurs ; May ; Hodsoll ; Andersen and Oakley As Stuart Cunningham Cunningham a , then director of the Creative Industries Research and Applications Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, succinctly put it in the early s Cunningham b : We can no longer afford to under- stand the social and creative disciplines as commercially irrelevant, merely civilizing activities.

Such statements became highly quotable by various governments in the world wishing to dynamise their economies through creative industries strategies and harness their universities to the task. Further, Cunninghams view was, importantly, that these disciplines must be recognized as one of the vanguards of the new economy. It is generally assumed in these debates that the idea of the new economy is a fait accompli.

It is possible to set these kinds of viewpoints in a different context, without necessarily accepting the transition from an old to a new economy, by examining something that is definitely new or post : namely, the post-cultural state. In some ways this term complements the notion of cultural capitalism Bewes and Gilbert ; Perryman ; Perryman and Coddington that had been put forward by some contemporary theorists who have looked at the postmodern political possibilities after the regimes of the likes of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and followers of a third way Perri 6 ; Hargreaves and Christie ; Giddens , , in governance.

In the s and s postmodernist theo- rists, or at least theorists of postmodernism, stressed what Fredric Jameson Jameson once called the cultural turn: that is, the tendency for everything to become cultural Du Gay and Pryke For Scott Lash Lash at that time the logic of the social was being displaced by that of the cultural as society moves to another modernity Lash , from an age of industrial capital to an age of informational capital or global information society.

The role, and even the long-term existence, of the nation state is called into question in these theoretical battles, at least in terms of power and sovereignty. As the modern nation state, and indeed the local state state governments in Australia and Canada for example , sought to find a new role in the wake of two decades of dominance on the international scene by the pervasive philosophy of neo-liberalism with all its concomitant implications of minimal statism , the cultural emerged as an economic imperative.

The regulation of culture by the state has a very long history Hunt a , which cannot be fully interrogated here because of space, and is undoubtedly entangled with the transition from police to a more modern form of liberal governance Hunt b. Such necessary study, which has also spawned the sub-discipline of non-modern soci- ology, is now massively informed by the posthumous release of Michel Foucaults copious lectures at the College de France from the s when he was Professor of the History of Systems of Thought Foucault , , Importantly though, the modern, territorial, sovereign state that had originally emerged in the sixteenth century Hirst may well have been seriously undermined by the globalising neo-liberalism Gray a, b of the last few decades, and the question what should happen to the state?

Nevertheless the modern nation state, from all the evidence, still plays a major role in economic life. The debate. What precise role should be played by the post-cultural state is a matter that is constantly at stake as can be seen in the serious think tank suggestions for the complete demise of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the UK. In the s, and especially the s, cultural industries, largely made up of the arts and sport, became a province for governmental agency in a post-industrial, de-industrialising world.

Relabelling of industries and the national and local state as cultural has also taken place on a wide international scale. To push the arguments forward Anthony Giddens Giddens , eventually a guru of the social sciences for New Labour and the New Democrats like Bill Clinton especially on the politics of climate change Giddens , sug- gested a problematic move beyond left and right to analyse some of the current confusions around the economics and politics of culture and the relation of the creative industries to such considerations.

In the words of Giddens Giddens much of the backdrop to all this was a runaway world where globalisation was reshaping our world bringing in changes from Adelaide to Ankara, Aldershot to Assisi changes which to Giddens and other cosmopolitan sociologists were broadly positive. This perspec- tive involves more than a redesignation of the interventionist more or less social democratic mode or non-interventionist, laissez faire more or less neo-liberal mode debate, sometimes couched as regulation versus economic liberalism.

The new, weightless, or knowledge economy, celebrated by writers like Charles Leadbeater Leadbeater is by no means an accepted truth, although more widely accepted than in the s when it was first declaimed. The terrain is an arena of struggle, a veritable battleground of ideas and practices, and rightly so. For its most celebrated supporters Leadbeater , the new knowledge economy has been driven by new factors of production and sources of competitive advantage like innovation, design, branding and know-how which are at work in this new era in all industries.

Others see the information economy as only relevant in the technologically advanced economies. Some commentators claim that the old economy was already, at least by the early s, post- manufacturing and therefore substantially knowledge based and domi-. For some critics though the issue is, indeed, is there a new economy at all? The question, too, can be asked, is there a post-cultural state? Is there a smart or creative state federal or national in the same way that countries and cities have been termed smart or creative?

It can certainly be argued that the move has been from the strategically cultural to the creative in the sense that the focus is less the public arts and broadcast era media and more the general application of creativity in all areas of industrial endeav- our. But the emergence of the post-cultural state is traceable in a way that the transition to a supposed weightless new economy is not.

The role of the modern nation state has undergone something of a transformation in the years since the early s, and cultural industries ideas that were developed around the national and local state OConnor , have in some ways given way to more free floating creative industries strategies as the s melted into the noughties, and eventually the tens.

The ques- tion of the modern cultural state and its role in creating what I call here sustainable creative futures, both the universities and the cultural entre- preneurs that develop the creativity and the industries which produce it, has become central. The legal issues around copyright, patent, design and trademark have also been given a renewed boost since that is where the economic dynamism of creative industries strategies can be found. But, still, alarmist commentators can be found proclaiming dire warnings, sug- gesting that the economies which become over reliant on creativity in other words on the knowledge economy risk bankruptcy.

Governments, buying a creative industries strategy off the peg as it were, therefore had to beware. Post-cultural state is my label for the form in which the cultural state comes to the fore. The main examples here are drawn from the UK but have far more widespread international import and implication Kong and OConnor ; Leo and Lee , especially because so much reli- ance has been placed on this specific model, or international experiment.

The self-styled New Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Seldon , ; Seldon and Lodge , often said by the participants, with some pride, to be based around a more wide ranging self-important project Radice , are a convenient starting point for exploration. The label creative industries emerged from within the ranks of New Labour in the first Blair term, which lasted from May until June The Blair government example had been a beacon for many interested in cultural policy, even though some of its severest critics have regarded the UK government as having indulged in a national account- ing gimmick to promote the creative industries role in the future of the.

British economy Andersen and Oakley Since its first general election victory in the New Labour party of Tony Blair has been frequently equated with New Right thinking rather than New Left. New Labour is distinguishable though from some of the politics of the New Right, neo-liberalism and free market experiments that dominated the s and early s but in many ways leaned to the centre-right media on a daily basis as the diaries now published after the event manifestly reveal Campbell , However, there were centre-left strategies, too, including cultural policy, in an emergent, sup- posedly third way, politics which former director of the London School of Economics Anthony Giddens frequently proclaimed and politicians like Bill Clinton, Gerhard Schroeder and Tony Blair officially signed up to.

We Have Never Been Postmodern: Theory at the Speed of Light: Theory at the ...

Manifestly, questions of culture, and especially popular culture, have been massively changed by the economic, social and political thrust of the New Right since the late s. It is only now that social and cultural theorists are fully grasping what that process might mean in terms of the limits, extents and possibilities of state intervention, and moreover politi- cal shifts in the governance of culture around the globe in the decades to come. Particularly in a field like Culture, Media and Sport as in the United Kingdom New Labour rechristened the Tory Department of National Heritage, itself only in existence since the question becomes what can actually be achieved through state and other means of regulation and intervention in economic and cultural fields McGuigan , ; Greenhalgh in a world ruled by neo-liberal policies since the s.

In particular, for cosmopolitan sociologists like Ulrich Beck and Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim Beck and Beck-Gernsheim a new individualism was seen to be becoming a widespread, normalised cultural condition, partly as a result of more than thirty years of neo- liberalism and partly due to a globalisation of culture on an unprecedented scale. This new individualism also simultaneously undermines attempts to restore a social engineering function for the state and law. For some com- mentators Wheeler third way thinking has eschewed the regulatory function of the state in favour of co-operation and partnership even in the area of corporate behaviour.

What is clear is that the collective culture of the past is increasingly being eroded and new forms of collectivism and communitarianism White are difficult to sustain. If many of. Did New Labour herald a New Culture? Or was Blairism merely an extension of the much vaunted so-called Thatcherism a Blatcherism to compare with the Butskellism of the s of the s? Enterprise, freedom and individualism had been keywords of the Thatcher and Major years; what would replace them if anything in the new era?

Especially, what cul- tural revolution had taken place in the rise and fall the of the New Right, and what might New Labour Culture look like? Enterprise Culture was as much in evidence in culture as in any other sphere of economic activity in the s, s and s. The new economy debates of the s and s gave entrepreneurialism a new dynamism, cultural workers in this self-labelled knowledge economy seemingly especially privileged.

Some commentators saw the gains made by the Thatcher and Major governments as especially pronounced in the business of the arts. For them the message to New Labour on taking office was culture is booming, just dont blow it parodying the Tories election slogan Britain is booming, dont let Labour blow it. The restrictions perceived to be asso- ciated with Labours s interventionist, corporatist, union-oriented regime for these critics had been wiped away deregulated between and The crisp conclusion being proferred was that people were better off culturally than they were in when Margaret Thatcher was first elected as prime minister.

New Labour was, in this version of the story of our times, generously bequeathed a lasting cultural legacy to go along with the supposed economic boom created by Tory Chancellor Kenneth Clarke which failed to win his party a fifth term in office. For its own part New Labours resurrection of D-reams dance pop hit Things Can Only Get Better OFarrell ; Harris as its elec- tion theme tune suggested, rhetorically, a cultural continuity rather than a radical and ultimately decisive break with the recent past. It also under- lined, in a rather hamfisted way, Labours Newness, keying in several years too late to s clubcultures Redhead a.

According to the writer and Blairite policy analyst Charles Leadbeater Leadbeater in a pamphlet for the then influential think tank Demos Leadbeater :. The idea of collective or mutual culture arising from the individu- alistic and hedonistic clubcultures of the mid-late s is an intriguing one Redhead a.

Account Options

The transition, however, is by no means as easily achieved politically as it was with other examples of New Labour and popular culture such as the saga of Dianas death in Campbell and the collective grief expressed for Blairs Peoples Princess. Tony Blair frequently seemed to hark back to a liberalism before the Labour Party in Britain was formed early in the twentieth century.

However his third way pamphlet for the Fabian Society Blair in its rhetoric at least echoed much of the beyond left and right, renewal of social democracy, argument outlined in Anthony Giddens books on the same subject Giddens , , , ; Giddens and Hutton ; Hutton, , initially also incorporating the idea of a stakeholder society Hutton It also sought to distinguish New Labour from the New Right without comprehensively forging a third way between neo- liberalism and conventional post-war social democracy.

A platform for future development of such a twenty-first century objective was undoubt- edly suggested but to many observers little was put in place in either of Blairs administrations to suggest that this could be achieved. Creative industries was, though, one of the sites where such strategic thinking was indeed applied. But how might all of this post-social democracy Diamond and Liddle impact on culture, and indeed the creative industries in regimes adopting or aping New Labour?

New Labours connection to culture, popular and otherwise, is a complex story. To playwright Tom Stoppard New Labour s first five years showed a persistently grudging attitude to the arts in general and critic Robert Hewison dismissed them as a pretty philistine lot. Nevertheless in the spending review announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown arts funding was increased from million to million in to , a record level for arts spending.

But the issue was more than just state funding for the arts. For these opponents of New Labour the problem was not just finance but to some extent the down market aspect of the culture New Labour were prepared to cel- ebrate. Others bemoaned the lack of feeling for the popular even amongst the populism of New Labour.

Certainly in Jack Cunningham, shadow secretary of state for national heritage in the previous parliament, seemed defen- sive on films and plays he had or hadnt seen, such as the film of Irvine Welshs novel Trainspotting Redhead Tony Blair himself, though, campaigned in the British general election as a modern man, by which he meant he was from the rocknroll generation, colour TV and the Beatles. He even played in his own rock band the Ugly Rumours in his Oxford University days in the early s. This contrasted with the more traditional jazz fandom of his deputy, John Prescott, whose preference for late nights at Ronnie Scotts club in London mirrored Tory Kenneth Clarkes.

The fact that the first out gay MP in the House of Commons, Chris Smith, was picked by Tony Blair to take over the reins of the Department of National Heritage once the election was won, and that the choice of first minister for sport was the late former Greater London Council member and lifelong Chelsea fan Tony Banks, suggested to some commentators that Blairs sense of modernity extended further than mere rhetoric.

This was confirmed during the election itself in an interview for Channel 4 with comedian and writer David Baddiel, whose anthem Footballs Coming Home officially entitled Three Lions, music courtesy of Ian Broudie from The Lightning Seeds, and the theme tune of the Euro 96 soccer tournament co-written with fellow lyricist and soccer fan Frank Skinner was adapted by New Labour at its pre-election conference as Labours Coming Home.

Soccer fandom, rather than the more conservative cricket culture that his predecessor John Major so publicly adopted, seemed to be a talisman of modern man. Martin Kettle confided to Guardian readers after the general election that the new prime minister was probably not quite so keen on soccer in the mids when the sport was much less politically correct in the wake of the Heysel disaster in Brussels in Under David Cameron, supposedly an Aston Villa supporter since a young boy, there is little need to affect a love for football or to speak mockney Harris Overall, though, the connections between New Labour and the cultural sphere seemed, initially, to recall the previous time a new young Labour prime minister took office after a long period of Tory misrule: the time was and the prime minister Harold Wilson.

In that era the Beatles were, initially, a symbol of the enterprise of Wilsons New Britain. The year s slogan Lets Go With Labour hinted at the promise of a. Harold Wilsons cultural envoy Jenny Lee, as minister for the arts, was remembered in the debates about culture in the wake of Tony Blairs own triumph. It was suggested that New Labour needed a new Jenny Lee.

Tony Blair himself made a keynote speech during the campaign outlining arts and cul- tural industries policy and introducing the idea of a NESTA National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts talent fund for indi- viduals. The refusal renders postmodernist philosophy complicit with the prevailing relations of domination and exploitation. The term bollocks in the title of course relates to nonsense.

A fine example can be found in Private Eye issue , being an imaginary interview of Tracey Emin by an unduly fawning Alan Yentob. Alan Sokal , a physics professor at New York University , formulated the Sokal affair , a hoax in which he wrote a deliberately nonsensical article in a style similar to postmodernist articles. The article was enthusiastically accepted for publication by the journal Social Text despite the obvious lampooning of postmodernists view of science.

Sokal liberally used vague post-modernist concepts and lingo all the while criticising empirical approaches to knowledge. On the same day of the release he published another article in a different journal explaining the Social Text article. This was turned into a book Fashionable Nonsense which offered a critique of the practices of postmodern academia. Francis Wheen 's book How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World broadly critiques a variety of non-critical paradigms with a significant critique of cultural relativism and the use of postmodern tropes to explain all modern geo-political phenomena.

According to Wheen, postmodern scholars tend to critique unfair power structures in the west including issues of race, class, patriarchy, the effect of radical capitalism and political oppression. Where he finds fault in these tropes is when the theories go beyond evidence-based critical thinking and use vague terminology to support obscurantist theories.

Relativism, according to Wheen becomes a sort of wall which shields non western cultures from the same sustained critiques. While inherent sexism in North America is open to hostile critique as it should be according to Wheen , according to postmodern thought it is taboo to critique honour killings and female genital mutilation in North Africa and the Middle East.

Wheen admits that, while some of this may have merit, its case is highly exaggerated by relativism. Wheen reserves his strongest critique for those who defend even the most appalling systemic mistreatment of women, even in countries where Western contact and influence is minimal. Probably best known criticism of postmodern society is novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis that got adapted into movie American Psycho film. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Sokal affair. Why Orwell matters, Basic Books. Transgressing the Boundaries. NY Times, May 22, Postmodernism disrobed.

Retrieved 28 February Originally published in Nature — Archived from the original on Retrieved Mater Dei Institute. Archived from the original on January 31, Book Censorship in Nazi Germany. Oxford, Oxford University Press ". Historische Zeitschrift. Nature, 9 July , vol. Criticism of postmodernism. Categories : Postmodernism Criticism of postmodernism. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links CS1 maint: unfit url.



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