資料彙整   /  概念  /  後現代主義相關資料:5.The Postmodern Agenda
"The Postmodern Agenda" 

Different Definitions

Pluralism & Postmodern conditions

Periodization and the Modern

Historical Development

Postmodern Architecture 
   A Chinese intro

--For Jencks, the key concept of Postmodernism is pluralism, which

  •  offers a new synthesis at a higher level;
  • overcomes the modern world picture.
Examples of Postmodern Architecture: Western Postmodern Architecture, Postmodern Architecture in Taipei AdHoc Urbanism without Planning? Postmodern or RoyalEast Area in order and disorder? (fju)  Hsin-Chuang''s Shopping Plaza (fju)


  • "The new whole" (p. 15); "the difficult whole"(Robert Venturi, 27): Why is eclecticism radical, but not conservative?  Is postmodernism synthesis always possible or meaningful?
  • Is free communication possible?  (36)

The boldfaces in the following outline are added by Kate Liu.

I. Postmodernism: Different Kinds and Different Definitions

  • "post-modernism has become more than a social condition and cultural movement, it has become a world view."  p. 10
  • two philosophies: Neo-modernism and Post-Modernism    10
      "They differ over whether the previous world view should be taken to an extreme and made radical, or synthesized with other approaches at a higher level."
  • p. 33 deconstructive or eliminative postmodernism vs. Constructive or revisionary postmodernism  p. 33
  • definitions:
    • a common definition: "to be beyond or after the modern"
    • a cultural movement that precedes the modern [Lyotard]
    • Lyotard p. 16 --a continuous revolution of the new; "A work can become modern only if it is first postmodern.  Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in the nascent state, and this state is constant."
Jencks see the "postmodernism Lyotard define as "Late Modern" : "the exaggerated and incessantly revolutionary form of Modernism"  For Jencks, postmodernism "hybridises" modernism by "[reweaving] the recent modern past and local culture." (p. 16)
    • a metahistorical category that cut across periods of cultural history (Umberto Eco)p. 22 the new use of history and irony
    • Toynbee p. 18: the failure of post-Christianity as a kind of syncretic faith; breakdown and disintegration.
    • Hassan p. 21  The characteristics he listed, for Jencks, "represents the antithesis of what was going on in post-modern architecture at the time."
    • Barth p. 21  synthesis or transcension of these antithesis [realist vs. modernist].
  • "One of the reasons it became potent was its suggestive ambiguity, the way it specified the departure point, but left open the final destination."


II. Pluralism (Related Concepts: Binarism & Modernist Elitism) p. 11
 & the Postmodern conditions (also called: civilization or postmodernity) --positive and negative tendencies--p. 13

pluralism--and binariness                  p. 11
Post-modernism means the end of a single worl view, and, by extension, ''a war on totality'', a resistance to single explanations, a respect for difference and a celebration of the regional, local and particular.  Yet in its suffix ''modern'', it still carries the burden of a process which is international and in some senses universal.  In this sense it has a permanent tension and is always hybrid, mixed, ambiguous, . . . ''double-coded."

p. 11-12  . . .the post-modern trends and shifts . . .do not mean the triumph of a single alternative: . . .

--a restructuring of modernist assumption with something larger, fuller, more true.

    e.g. Darwinian competition substituted by an ecological view--one that is more  cooperative and holistic
against binaries---relative relativism: the continuum, net, rhizome and pattern recognition
oppositional terms in postmodern theory--purpose vs. play, centring vs. dispersal, signified vs. signifier
. . . the shift from one the the next is not a reversal, not an opposition; rather it is a hybridisation, a complexification of modern elements with other ones.. . .

purpose--to overcome elitism inherent  in the previous paradigm.  elitism in literature?

  • pm. challenge of monolithic elitism--to bridge the gaps that divide high and low cultures, elite and mass, specialist and non-professional, and most generally put--one discourse and interpretive community from another.
  • crossing, but not breaking down boundaries; cultural studies
      There is no overcoming these gaps. . the different ways of life can be confronted, enjoyed, juxtaposed, represented and dramatised. . .
The Postmodern Condition: positive (and the negative): the increase in communication (and the information glut and advertisement), the growth of knowledge (and the consumer society), the rise of leisure (and of Disneyland simulacra), the flowering of Post-Fordism (and the insecurity of workers), the emergence of a new world order (and the Pax Americana), the EC, GATT and global economy (and the Third World Debt and IMF riots) --for every positive post-modern trend there is a corresponding negative consequence.


III. Postmodernism: Periodization and Its Relationships with the Modern pp. 10; 11

  • Periodization --The modern period--"from 1450 to the 1950s, from the Renaissance when the West became ascendant to the point where it was incorporated within a larger global culture . . ." (11).  The Modern movement: modernisation, the condition of modernity, and cultural Modernism.
  • modernisation--industrialization; modern thinking--Darwin, Freud, Marx, (Newton)
    • the shift to the postmodern --1875, 1914, 1945, 1960
  • Post-Modernism means the continuation of Modernism and its transcendence/sublation, a double activity that acknowledges our complex relationship to the preceding paradigm and world view.  . . .
  • the theories of the modern paradigm have not been overturned so much as transformed into parts of a larger framework where they still keep their identity. . .p. 11
p. 15 --sublation, or Hegelian dialectic which resolves contraries, is not always the result or goal of post-modernism: parts, sub-assemblies, sub-cultures often keep their unassimilated identity within the new whole.  Hence the conflicted nature of the pluralism, the radical eclecticism of the post-modern style./
  •  Cultural Modernism became an orthodoxy within late-capitalist society (after 1945? as some claim), its doctrines started to dominate western academies and such institutions as Museum of Modern Art, . . .
    (e.g. F.R. Leavis; New Criticism;
    moderndernity--differentiation; post-m--de-differentiation)
    e.g. western cities--frozen into the icy anonymity of modernism
    e.g. Modern archtecture--Internationalist Style

    "the univalence of Mies''s architecture allowed [Abbie Hoffman] no freedom of movement, or interpretation, at all."
    "The black, quasi-Fascist buidlings of Mie''s late period are a perfect embodiment of the three great "isms" of modernity--reductivism, determinism and mechanism. " Mies van der Rohe


IV. Postmodernism: Historical Development
different stages: p. 17
1. 1870s to 1950: prehistory
2. 1950s to 1970s: Postmodern seen as Modern in decline
3. 1960s:  Post-Modern as the Counter-culture of the 1960s--e.g. Pop Art and Adhocism (James Rosenquist''s F111)
4. 1970s and early 1980s:  Post-Modern as pluralist politics and eclectic style
5. 1979 to the present: Post-Modern Classicism, a public language
6. 1980 to the presen: Critical Reactions to the condition of Postmodernity
7. 1988 to the present: Critical summaries of the Post-Modern Paradigm.

What Jencks considers to be postmodern:

  • pm movement: feminism and post-feminism; the green and ecological movements; crossing disciplines, mixing genres
  • politics--progressive democratisation (include Taiwan); electronic democracy, information-age pluralism
  • the end of communism in the East;
  • the rise of the ecological world view in the West;
  • the steady growth of the post-Newtonian sciences.
His examples of Late Modernism: William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckettt, John Cage,


Postmodern Architecture

"Modernism . . . is progressivist in architecture and reactionary in other disciplines. . . " (43, Jencks 1996)

The newness of the modern movement would lie principally in forms of reduction, simplification, and concentration.  Line, space and form were to be pared to their essentials and the self-sufficient functionality of every building frankly proclaimed.
--expression of the principle of unity and essential meaning.

Architectural modernism had its beginnings in the upsurge of utopian architectural theory and practice in the early years of the century.  This revolution was centred primarily upon the Bauhaus school founded in Germany in 1919, and the ideas of the Bauhaus found expression in the work and writing of Walter Gropius, Henri Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
(the key figures involved in it including the founder Walter Gropius, his successor Mies van der Rohe)

--For Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architecture was to serve as the single most powerful expression of the Ziegeist; in being thoroughly itself, . . ."Architecture depends on its time,'' he wrote.  ''It is the crystallization of its inner structure, the slow unfolding of its form.''
--visible expression of the new unity of art, science and industry.
univalence--The univalent building is one which advertizes its simplicity of forms, insisting on the one theme which dominates its construction.  This is achieved by the device of repetition. . .The univalence of the modernist building seems to establish its absolute self-sufficiency, as an ideal principle made solid and visible. --exclusion--should not "mean" but "be."

pm. architecture--a return to the sense of meaningful or referential function of architecture.
--A renewed awareness of the suppressed linguistic or connotative dimension in architecture.

The language of pm architecture: neo-vernacularism, allegory(the use of metaphor), Neo-Classicism (Free-Style Classicism; the classicism that shows grandeur, elegance, solemnity, monumentality, but without ideal proportion; p. 28-29).

from Jencks, Charles, ed. The Post-Modern Reader.  New York: St Martin''s Press, 1992


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