Postmodernism: Paralysed by postmodernism

Kitching, Gavin
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24096901-25132,00.html

Publisher:  The Australian
Date Written:  06/08/2008
Year Published:  2008  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX9346

A great deal of "theory" in the humanities and social sciences -- and not just postmodern theory -- involves the creating of a kind of conceptual landscape filled with curious kinds of abstract objects -- "language", "power", "justice", "state", "culture", "government", "the polity", "the economy" and a host of others, which are viewed "theoretically" from somewhere way "outside" or "above" them. But it is just this way of looking at things -- from "on high" -- that makes it so difficult to see how people in the landscape are able to create and re-create the world in which they live, and are not simply trapped or formed by it. In fashionable postmodernist treatments of identity or subjectivity, language, as the ultimately hollow and imprisoning object, is put together with the notion that anybody who uses words must be committed to the standard definition of those words, to produce the conclusion that "language" determines the meaning of "identity" words such as man, woman, gay, straight, black, white, natural, normal -- and thus "constructs" (as it is said) human identity or subjectivity itself.

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