Assessment of Postmodernism

Satisfactory Essays
‘Modernity, on all its sides, may be defined in terms of an aspiration

to reveal the essential truth of the world’ (Boyne and Rattansi,


‘[In postmodernism] philosophical pillars are brought down, the most

notable of which are the ‘unities’ of meaning, theory and the self’

(Hassard and Parker, 1993).

In my opinion the above quotes neatly summarise the motivational ideas

behind modernism and postmodernism as thought processes. However

different the inspiration, methodology, and conclusions of classical

sociological ideas such as those of Marx, Durkheim and Weber it can be

said that their documentation of society into meta-narratives

indicates an inherent desire to fully understand the modern world in

which they lived (Morrison, 1995). This desire of modernists is

summarised in the Boyne and Rattansi (1990) quote; postmodernists on

the other hand do not seek to fully understand society with one direct

answer and methodology but attempt to question what is happening in

society with reflexivity and ambivalence; understanding how relativism

shapes all sociological thought. Hassard and Parker (1993) illustrate

this point with the imagery of strong ‘philosophical pillars’ being

brought down to be questioned, re-examined and perhaps even destroyed

with postmodern thought. Although postmodernity is not just a style of

thinking it has been stated as a social condition or a ‘social,

political and cultural configuration’ (Boyne and Rattansi, 1990); a

process of development from 19th century modernity which encapsulates

‘literary theory, linguistics, philosophy and social analysis’ (Boyne

and Rattansi, 1990). With its very nature postmodernism does not

attempt to hold any great answers for social thought, atleast not in

the same style as modernism, however this essay is an attempt to look

at how worthwhile postmodernism has been to sociology by examining how

it has influenced the progression of social thought. This will begin

with looking at how postmodernism has affected the sociological

stances in the modernist classics. I will also discuss what

postmodernism means to feminism a more recent sociological


Marx’s ideas on class oppression and political revolution stem from
Get Access