A book review the condition of postmodernity

Harvey is neither overly uncritical nor celebratory toward postmodernism. The Time and Space of the Enlightenment Project. The Condition of Postmodernity, David Harvey By Steve Best David Harvey is well-known in social theory circles for books like Social Justice and the CityThe Limits to CapitalThe Urbanization of Capitaland Consciousness and The Urban Experience -- all seminal attempts to chart the relatively new and unexplored interface between political economy and urban geography.

Above all, the changing meaning of space and time which capitalism has itself wrought, as forced perpetual re-evaluations in representations of the world in cultural life.

It follows that the recently created "more flexible mode of accumulation" would produce a different form of time-space experience.

The Condition of Postmodernity : An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

Rather than rejecting postmodern developments as superficial and merely transitory, he believes they represent a new paradigm of thought and cultural practice that requires serious attention. Yet, unlike most other Marxist readings of postmodernism, Harvey also sees positive aspects to postmodernism, such as its concern for complexity, difference, otherness, and plurality which are neglected in many modern practices.

An important part of Harvey's book is devoted to analysis of historically changing forms of space-time experience. Harvey characterizes this in terms of an ever greater "time-space compression" where long durations of time required for travel and communication are reduced to almost nothing and the vast, disparate spaces of the planet are absorbed into a homogenized, global village.

Material living standards rose for the mass of the population in the advanced capitalist countries, and a relatively stable environment for corporate profits prevailed. In The Condition of Postmodernity David Harvey in addition to his central goal of illuminating the relationship between cultural production and the dominant regime of accumulation rehabilitates the ancient Greek application of economy by showing how what we now think of as economics has critical ties with cultural and intellectual production.

The Condition of Postmodernity : An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

But it also rested upon the link between Renaissance perspectivism and a conception of the individual as the ultimate source and container of social power, albeit assimilated within the nation state as a collective system of authority.

Moreover, Harvey finds that postmodernists provide a caricatured account of modern cultural and theoretical practices. To illuminate postmodern developments, Harvey usefully draws from numerous fields, including art, architecture, urban planning, philosophy, social theory, and political economy.

The dimensions of space and time have there been subject to the persistent pressure of capital circulation and accumulation, culminating particularly during the periodic crises of overaccumulation that have arisen since the mid-nineteenth century in disconcerting and disruptive bouts of time-space compression.

Yet we still live, in the West, in a society where production for profit remains the basic organizing principle of economic life.

The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

He holds that "neither time nor space can be assigned objective meanings independently of material processes" and that "conceptions of time and space are necessarily created through material practices which serve to reproduce social life" Harvey might easily grant such influences he at least sees some continuities between modernism and postmodernismbut he needs an account of "cultural dominant" that explains how a diversity of pre-existing factors, as well as new ones, coalesce into a postmodern sensibility.

To understand postmodernism and postmodernity, one first has to understand modernism and modernity, and Harvey provides good accounts of the major sources of modern ideas and the key structural features of modernity. The crisis of was in part born out of a confrontation with the accumulated rigidities of government policies and practices built up during the Fordist-Keynesian period.

Marx implicitly asserts that no economic analysis without an accurate concept of value can possibly reflect the economic reality. In the same spirit as Marx, David Harvey shows how cultural and intellectual production material and immaterial is either taken up by the dominant economic regime to promote and reproduce itself, or functions as a means by which the public can get a new and critical view of capitalist logic and the human experience.

There is, within the regulation school, little or no attempt to provide any detailed understanding of the mechanisms and logic of transitions. Since crises of overaccumulation typically spark the search for spatial and temporal resolutions, which in turn create an overwhelming sense of time-space compression, we can also expect crises of overaccumulation to be followed by strong aesthetic movements.

Specifically, Harvey directly relates postmodern developments to the shift from Fordism to a "more flexible mode of accumulation" he deliberately avoids the term "post-Fordism" to avoid suggesting there are not some fundamental continuities in the two modes of capitalist organization.

Postmodernism represents not a complete rupture from modernism, but a new "cultural dominant" where elements that could be found in modernism appear in postmodernism with added emphasis and intensity. The transition he points to is important, though there are in fact no serious difficulties in extending Marx's theory of commodity production to cope with it.

In effect, he used a certain form of spatial organization to accelerate the turnover time of capital in production. Harvey also acknowledges a middle-of-the-road postmodernism which spurns grand narrative but which does cultivate the possibility of limited action.

To put it this way is not, however, to argue that spatial practices are derivative of capitalism. Also, he believes that the "meta-narratives that the post-modernists decry Marx, Freud, and even later figures like Althusser were much more open, nuanced, and sophisticated than the critics admit" It was either the worship of Mammon or, worse still, the myths stirred up by an aestheticized politics that called the tune.

If, therefore, 'the only secure thing about modernity is insecurity,' then it is not hard to see from where that insecurity derives.

The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

The problem with this otherwise reasonable response to what sounds like an improbable claim that our economic paradigm has effects that inevitably spill over into other realms of social life is that it does not do the concept of economy justice, does not acknowledge the etymology of the word economy.

We need some way, therefore, to represent all the shifting and churning that has gone on since the first major post-war recession ofwhich does not lose sight of the fact that the basic rules of a capitalist mode of production continue to operate as invariant shaping forces in historical-geographical development.

Overall, he is better on art and architecture than philosophy and social theory. Media stars, for example, can be highly paid yet grossly exploited by their agents, the record companies, the media tycoons, and the like. In this new book, David Harvey seeksto determine what is meant by the term in its different contextsand to identify how accurate and useful it is as a description ofcontemporary experience.

Ultimately, Harvey's analysis of postmodernism is reductionistic and requires better theorization of the mediations between economic and cultural practices.

Keynesian policies had appeared inflationary as entitlements grew and fiscal capacities stagnated.The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict Harvey presents an illuminating and powerful critique of postmodernism, arguing that it represents the cultural manifestation of late capitalism and specifically that it emerges from a transformation 4/5(4).

The Condition of Postmodernity Notes by Patrick Mooney. N.B. This chapter-by-chapter summary necessarily distorts Harvey's argument by de-nuancing it and stripping out most of Harvey's examples.

The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict Harvey presents an illuminating and powerful critique of postmodernism, arguing that it represents the cultural manifestation of late capitalism and specifically that it emerges from a transformation 4/5(4).

David Harvey's book "The Condition of Postmodernity" has by now likely reached the status of a classic. Little of it is dated for a book now 22 years old, and it remains to be seen whether the current crisis will sound the tocsin for postmodernism as the dominant cultural Reviews: 7. David Harvey's book "The Condition of Postmodernity" has by now likely reached the status of a classic.

Little of it is dated for a book now 22 years old, and it remains to be seen whether the current crisis will sound the tocsin for postmodernism as the dominant cultural form of expression of developed bigskyquartet.coms: 7.

Postmodernity as idea, critique, cultural experience, and social condition has engendered an enormous, sometimes angry, sometimes anxious debate across many disciplines in 4/4(1).

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A book review the condition of postmodernity
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