Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Anthropology Honours year syllabus was centered around Post-Modernism. At the pub one day towards the end of the year one of my fellow ‘anthroposse’ (a name we came up with for ourselves at a previous pub session – we met weekly on a Friday at midday, not for lunch, only for drinking) asked ‘Does anyone know what post-modernism means?’ We all shook our heads and offered various guesses, but didn’t really come up with a definition.
 Post Modernism
During research last year for my Grad Dip in Urban and Regional Town Planning, I came across this definition of post-modernism:

‘Post-modernism is against universal truths.’

‘The central tenant is that there can be no overarching theory of how society works because society differs from place to place’.

‘‘reality’ is very much a social construction, reflecting the characteristics of the individual making the constructions’.

‘events must be explained by the context in which they occur, rather than by reference to universal laws or principles’ (Walmsely, 2000:14)

Turns out that post-modernism had been the central tenant of our undergrad anthro studies all along. Post-Modernism is how we were taught to see the world as Anthropology. It become part of our habitus. We just didn’t know that we were post-modernists.

Reference: Walmsely, D 2000 ‘Community, Place & Cyberspace’ Australia Geographer vol 31, No 1 pp5-19

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