`Ross Abbinnett brings a keen and subtle philosophical mind to bear on themes and debates that have become commonplace in sociology. This is a sinuously written book which casts new light on pressing contemporary issues. It is required reading for everyone who wants to think seriously and with an open mind about the terrain of the present' - Keith Tester, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth This incisive and timely book provides a concise and reliable guide to the debate on modernity and postmodernity. In particular the work of Lyotard, Beck, Bauman, Baudrillard, Giddens, Jameson and Derrida is critically reviewed. Culture and Identity provides: a thorough and accessible discussion of the main themes in the modernity-postmodernity debate; a shrewd and penetrating account of how these themes address everyday life; a novel account of how technology is altering our perceptions of the `human'; and a balanced account of the hope for radical politics and radical critique to correct the excesses of capitalism. What emerges most forcefully from the book is the error of dismissing postmodernism as a self-indulgent and ultimately, dangerous piece of ideology. Abbinnett provides a pertinent reminder of the continuing importance of the themes and challenges raised in the `postmodern moment'.

Culture, Politics, Différance

Culture, politics, différance


In this chapter I will open up the postmodernist economies of culture, representation and aesthetics we have examined to Derrida's account of the metaphysics of presence. In particular, I want to examine his claim that deconstruction demands that we regard human cultures as ‘non-identical’; as forms which constantly attract and exceed the categories of being through which the demands of political unity are sustained. Specifically, I will to look at:

  • Derrida's relationship to Heidegger and the question of Being;
  • the implication of culture in this question, especially the ideals of friendship, community and belonging which have organized Western conceptions of shared identity;
  • the difference between the symbolic economy of deconstruction and those presented by Baudrillard and Lyotard;
  • the concepts of difference and ‘dual responsibility’ ...
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