Presentation (Elaboration), 2002
6 Pages, Grade: 1,0
1. A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH
2. THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
3. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MODERNITY AND POSTMODERNISM
David Harvey asks how economic shifts can bring about cultural transformations like postmodernism. He believes in material basis of culture, and tries to explain Postmodernity as a historical-geographical condition; Marxism provides the meta-narrative behind postmodernism; it’s not so different that Marxism cannot cope with it
For Harvey, shift in experience of time and space lies at heart of Postmodernity. Effect of a crisis of Fordist economy. It is link between economy (flexible accumulation) and culture (postmodernism).
Each mode of production will produce a certain way of how space and time are experienced. Defined through social practices, for ex. circular vs. progressive sense. Since capitalism is revolutionary process that aims at ever more profitability, Time-Space-concepts change and strive towards acceleration of processes and abolishment of spatial borders
The ordering of time and space plays major role in the production of social order. Every change of S-T-order reproduces the dominance of the ruling class.
But this is no continuous process: C tends to overaccumulation and must devise new ways of production, and there are ongoing class struggles (in Harvey, economy depends on exploitation of working class). à Insecurity: Nobody really knows what “right time and place for everything” is. During times of max. change and crises (overaccumulation), great disruptions in T-S-orders à major shifts in representation, cultural forms and philosophical sentiment.
1848 marks beginning of M. Significant T-S-compression through technical developments like photography, new printing techniques
Greatest acceleration yet from fin-de-siècle till WWI. X-ray, cinema, automobile, airplane made T and S central topic: Joyce captures simultaneity, Proust stresses individuality of T
2 reactions to T-S-shift. A) Attempt to relaunch universalist and accordingly internationalist Enlightenment project, characterized by strong belief in progress and a deliberate disregard of space: Enlightenment idea of emancipation of man in global space bound together through the recognition of truth, communication and social intervention. This strain of M set out to find eternal truth in middle of fragmentation and disruption. How this was to be done? Fragmentation is dealt with like at Ford’s assembly line, organization of scattered parts; ideal of the machine, in which relativism and perspectivism become inherent mechanisms for ordering S and T. Even The Human Stain attempts this
B) The second reaction, on contrary, gives privilege to place over time. Aims at the abolishment of special barriers, unification of space. The more unified space, the more important the qualities of single fragments of that unified space; cf. capitalism: as spatial barriers are diminished (globalization), qualities of different areas become more important (competition). Sort trust in regionalism. This includes aestheticisation of local, national politics. For if state or local place is to be the stable center, it cannot be based on the shifting social values, but must resort to aesthetics, myths. In this sense, both M and P have tendency to establish myths as a stable structure against continuous T-S-shifts.
Around 1973, the beginning of Postmodernity, flexible accumulation with increased fluidity of money, flexible exchange rates, fashion as a phenomenon than applies to more and more products, throwaway products, part-time work, transition from manufacturing of goods to offering services etc. leads to a new quality of T-S-compression. Faunia has several jobs, totally different experience of time than Coleman, who now has all the time in the world. Both are typical workers of their time: The producer of knowledge, the service-woman. Yet also typical in their economic relation. Coleman’s job can only exist because the poor are exploited.
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