Postmodernism in Geography Study Material by NETSET CORNER

Postmodernism in Geography Full Notes

[6] Postmodernism

  • It is a recent movement in humanities, philosophy, arts and social sciences. Postmodernism first emerged in the field of architecture and literary theory and then incorporated into social sciences afterwards.
  • It emphasises openness in social and geographical enquiry, artistic experimentation and political empowerment.
  • It developed in reaction to historicism in modern geographic thought. Historicism gives emphasis on biography (chronological description of individual and collective events). Consequently, it (historicism) neglects spatiality.
  • In the opinion of Soja (1989) historicism is based on an overdeveloped historical contextualization of social life and social theory that actually submerges and marginalized the geographical or spatial imagination. This results into subordination of space to time that obscures geographical interpretation of the changeability of social world.

Components of Postmodernism

There are several components of postmodernism, these are:

[i] Postmodernism as an object or an era: era is defined by things such as literature, art, and architecture and by processes such as differing forms of capitalist production that result in the context of postmodern thought.

[ii] postmodernism an attitude: This attitude can be understood as an intellectual movement that provides a coherent set of ideas for understanding the world in a particularly postmodern way.

[iii] Postmodernism as Style It originated in literature and literary criticism and spread to other artistic fields such as design, film, art, photography and architecture.

[iv] Postmodernism as Method It is the most enduring of the three main trends. It considers deconstruction as a principal strategy in which writing and reading of a text are influenced by multiple positioning of an author or a reader.

[v] Post Modernism as Epoch It is considered as an epoch in which changes in culture and philosophy are themselves located in the evolution of global economy and geopolitics. Hence, postmodernism is the culture of late capitalism.


Postmodern geography is characterized by-

[1] Postmodernism corrects the bias towards historicism by putting space in the centre of explanations; spatial dialectics alongside the historical dialectic. Inspired by postmodernism, David Harvey argued that historical materialism has to be upgraded to historical-geographical materialism

[2] Postmodernism puts a previously marginalized geography at the centre of social science by restoring spatiality alongside historical in critical social theory

[3] Postmodern geography lays emphasis on geo-social changes, population growth, hunger, disaster etc.

[4] Postmodern geography shifts from macro to micro and also from general to specific.

[5] Postmodern geography has thus moved away from spatial analysis to social theory.

[6] Ed Soja argued that postmodernism stresses the importance of geography and spatiality by championing differences.


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