• Summary
  • Contents
  • 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'.

Derrida: Deconstruction and Identity
Derrida: Deconstruction and identity

Derrida's writing creates a certain anxiety around the idea of the postmodern, and consequently around the idea of a postmodern politics. This anxiety can, I think, be traced to three sources: (1) his complication of the problem of defining postmodernism; (2) his questioning, both implicit and explicit, of the resources deployed in postmodernist theory; and (3) his return to a certain politics of enlightenment and reflection. Thus, in so far as my account of postmodernism and its political implications will follow a deconstructive line, I need to make some introductory remarks concerning the significance of each of these issues.

As we have seen, the general structure of the arguments set out by Jameson, Harvey and Habermas is to propose ...

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