Intimations of Postmodernity
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This thoughtful and illuminating book provides a major statement on the meaning and importance of postmodernity.
reality in which such natural attributes fail to appear; and to what extent analysis based on the expectation of rationality can becloud, rather than enlighten, the peculiarity of conditions radically different from the orderly inner-societal space. The monopoly of violence and taxation had been, in Elias’s view, a product of the long process of competition between roughly equal units; in the long run, such competition leads (through an elimination contest), to the concentration of power in ever
and individual life alike is that of self-monitoring. Ours is a self-reflexive world (as Anthony Giddens has demonstrated to great effect); 29 self-reflection, monitoring the outcome of past action, revising the plan according to the result of the reflection, re-drawing the map of the situation as the latter keeps changing in the course and under the influence of action, re-evaluation of the original purposes and adequacy of the originally selected means, and above all an ongoing reassessment of
their inherent plurality and their mutually supplementary, rather than mutually exclusive, character. LEGISLATIVE REASON AS HISTORICAL MEMORY In his recent book of essays Martin Jay offered his own version of the widespread post-Heideggerian intellectual concerns. He suggested as the formula for social-scientific (and, more generally, philosophical) strategy to ‘combine hermeneutics of suspicion with recollected meaning’—the first part standing for the acceptance of plurality of truths in the
currently practiced way of ‘embracing contingency’12 (to use Agnes Heller’s memorable expression) already privatized with the advent of postmodernity. We are bound to live with contingency (aware of contingency, face to face with contingency) for the foreseeable future. If we want this future to be also a long one, tolerance must be secured in the only form in which it may put a brake on tribal hostilities: in the form of solidarity.13 One may go a step further and propose that tolerance as such
the many biographies of these cur ious times of ours, to which most biographers give the name of postmodernity, which means hardly anything more than the end, absence or disappearance. After all, how can one write about change which is still happening and far from being complete? All change is about something which has been but is no more, or something else losing its old look or habits…. But the change Baudrillard writes about is not an ordinary change. It is, so to speak, a change to put paid