- Subject index
`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'.
Chapter 4: Lyotard and Jameson: Postmodernism and the Aesthetic
Lyotard and Jameson: Postmodernism and the Aesthetic
Clearly there is a close relationship between what has become known as ‘postmodernism’ and the aesthetic dimension of experience. Indeed, much of the criticism of postmodernist theory has focused on what seems to be a determination to elevate the playful, the ludic and the poetic above the ethical and political necessities of late modernity. Habermas, we have seen, claims that this splitting-off of aesthetic experience from the norms of communicative action established in the lifeworld, contributes to a general state of political disaffection and disempowerment. The ascendancy of an avant-gardist art which bears little relation to everyday experience is seen as alienating the aesthetic from the contradictions (between instrumental and communicative rationality, ...