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How postmodernism can be used as a theoretical approach to the Humanities Essay

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Updated: Jan 15th, 2020

There are myriad of practices, methods and ideals that encompass the concept of postmodernism, especially in regards to humanities. As a matter of fact, this concept entails quite a number of theories attached to critical thinking and philosophy, contrary to the belief that it is a philosophical movement. Some of the most common theoretical applications of postmodernism have been witnessed in humanities, post-structuralism and feminism.

In other words, postmodernism is apparently another perspective through which traditional ideologies can be approached in non-conventional ways by deviating from the mode of superculturalism that has been pre-established. Owing to this complexity in defining postmodernism, the concept has been treated and debated with lots of controversy.

For instance, this concept gained a lot of prominence during the 1950s before it could eventually be discussed alongside humanities such as art and literature during the 1960s. In any case, the origin of postmodernism is largely believed to have been developed through humanities.

On the other hand, Humanities include all those study disciplines that involve the human race but at the same time void of science or scientific origin. Most branches in literature, theology or philosophy studies lie under humanities. Theology and musical and visual arts are also studied in humanities. English, among other languages form a strong basis in humanities as a medium of communication. The liberal studies, as well as general human artistic works, are all embraced in humanities.

Needless to say, it is definite that humanities can be theoretically approached from the concept of postmodernism. For example, theories that attempt to explain metaphysics, formalism, constructivism, realism, relativism, as well as positivism, are firmly grounded in postmodernism in spite of the slight departure. In a sense, the western civilization has been critiqued through its intellectual pillars, traditional practices and the enlightenment legacy.

According to postmodernism theory, most of those elements that are considered to be realities are merely social constructs. As a result, they are prone to transform at any given time. This conforms to philosophical thinking of certain theorists of the 20th century.

For instance, Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) argued out that there are currently so many signs that reality seems to have disappeared. Moreover, the concept of postmodernism theoretically emphasizes the relative importance of motivations, power relations and language when formulating ideologies and belief systems. This coincides with most tenets in humanities.

In essence, the sharp binary classification has been attacked by the postmodernism concept. Some of the classifications that have been disputed include colonial versus imperial, black versus white, gay versus straight and female versus male. Such strict classifications are disputed in postmodernism. As a theoretical explanation towards humanities, studies in sociology and political science tend to benefit a lot from this standing point.

The concept continues to argue out that any form of reality should be treated as plural. In addition, realty depends on the interpretation of the parties involved as well as the nature of what is being addressed. Indeed, this can be used as theoretical explanation to the theory of truth as portrayed in philosophy. The concept of postmodernism is also quite categorical that since people’s perception of the world is subjective, absolute truth is non-existent.

To date, it is evident several fields in humanities have been influenced by postmodernism. Some of theories derived from postmodernism have been used either directly or indirectly in music, visual arts, anthropology, history, architecture, linguistics, sociology, literary criticism as well as religion.

While postmodernism has been discussed at length in various pieces of literature, it is profound to note that modernism has also vastly contributed to most humanities while the intrinsic difference between the two is minimal. Moreover, postmodernism has also changed various perspectives in the interpretation of the law as well as in business and marketing.

It has also been considered to be an academic movement by far and large since it depicts some form of reactivity to modernism in as far as the entire field of humanity is concerned. In particular, theories derived from postmodernism are often closely related to skepticism, textuality and plurality. Hence, humanity is the key beneficiary of such theoretical platforms.

In yet another description of postmodernism by Fredric Jameson, who was a literary critic, it is evident that this concept was also understood as part and parcel of the economic theory of capitalism that was cultural-based and dominant as well. This took place during the historical period of late capitalism. The latter has also been conclusively expounded by Ernest Mandel, who was a Marxist theorist.

According to the latter theorist, the concept of postmodernism took shape during the late capitalism years and was largely associated with consumer capitalism, multinational capitalism and globalization. Nonetheless, globalization seems to be a recent development in the field of humanities, although aptly fitting within the confines of postmodernism. Furthermore, the postmodern philosophy, such as the concepts of objectivity and subjectivity are purely developed from the theoretical application of postmodernism.

To recap it all, it is vital to reiterate that the development of postmodernism theory has largely influenced the ideological assumptions in the field of humanity. Therefore, it can be used as a theoretical approach to humanities.

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IvyPanda. "How postmodernism can be used as a theoretical approach to the Humanities." January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-postmodernism-can-be-used-as-a-theoretical-approach-to-the-humanities-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "How postmodernism can be used as a theoretical approach to the Humanities." January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-postmodernism-can-be-used-as-a-theoretical-approach-to-the-humanities-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'How postmodernism can be used as a theoretical approach to the Humanities'. 15 January.

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