Media Studies: Examine The Changes In Mass Media And/Or Popular Culture From The Postmodern Perspective.

1954 words - 8 pages

To understand the changes in popular culture from the postmodern perspective, the concept of postmodernism must first be understood. The question of what postmodernism is cannot be easily answered, as postmodernism itself is not a topic that can be easily pinned down.A large number of theorists have tried to define postmodernism, with varied success. Hebdige, (1998) said that "it becomes more and more difficult as the 1980s wear on to specify what it is that 'postmodernism' is supposed to refer to as the term gets stretched in all directions across different debates, different disciplinary and discursive boundaries, as different factions seek to make it their own, using it to designate a plethora of incommensurable objects, tendencies, emergencies."The term itself has become so ambiguous that the definition of the word has been called into question. While the prefix 'post' attached to postmodernism suggests that it is a cultural era that came after modernism, many theorists suggest that postmodernism is not a chronological period, but a way of thinking. Lyotard (1984) says that "postmodernism is incredulity towards metanarratives", Bauman (1991) regards postmodernity as "modernity conscious of its true nature," while Woods (1999) says that "postmodernism pits reasons in the plural - fragmented and incommensurable - against the universality of modernism and the longstanding conception of the human self as a subject with a single, unified reason."With such a plethora of definitions, the question remains on what postmodernism is and how does it relate to the media and popular culture? One way of understanding the theory is to look at Jean Baudrillard's work. Baudrillard is recognized as one of the foremost postmodern theorists, although he has been criticized by several authors, including Christopher Norris, Douglas Kellner and Mark Poster.His work since the 1980s has focused on the media and mass communications. In his book, Simulacra and Simulacrum (1988), Baudrillard hypothesizes that the current age is one of hyperreality - that the current projection of the real, or the image that the real presents, has become more real that the reality itself. The massive flood of signs and images circulating in the media today is so great that the distinction between objects and their representation has blurred, if not disappeared completely. He states that "abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal" (Baudrillard, 1988)This state of affairs, where the image of the real supersedes the reality, is, according to Baudrillard, brought about due to the media, which projects the image of the reality. The changes in the media and improvements in media technology have only served to strengthen the projected image of reality which the media must, by necessity,...

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