Intimations of Postmodernity
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This thoughtful and illuminating book provides a major statement on the meaning and importance of postmodernity.
un-predetermined, 55 INTIMATIONS OF POSTMODERNITY flexible social reality which pre-empts none of its options, which is open to the influence of a plurality of only loosely co-ordinated power centres, and which emerges from an interaction between only partly translatable, communally grounded meanings. A most important point has been promoted for some time by S.M.Eisenstadt in his seminal comparative study of civilizations. Eisenstadt insists that the very idea of the social system is in need
intellectuals have been historically best prepared to offer, and from which they derived their sense of social importance, are nowadays not easy to provide; and that the demand for such services is anyway much smaller than one would expect it to be. It is this feeling which leads to a ‘status crisis’; a recognition that the reproduction of the status which the intellectuals got used to seeing as theirs by right, would now need a good deal of rethinking as well as the reorientation of habitual
sociology, or a ‘sociology of the consumer society’, rather than of a ‘post-Wittgensteinian’ or ‘postGadamerian’ sociology. In other words, this strategy points toward a sociology of postmodernity, rather than a postmodern sociology. There are number of specifically ‘postmodern’ phenomena which await sociological study. There is a process of an accelerating emancipation of capital from labour; instead of engaging the rest of society in the role of producers, capital tends to engage them in the
blended the right to intellectual adjudication with the axiom of the peak location of modern civilization in the temporal and spatial hierarchy of social forms. The same intention shows through another of Dilthey’s decisions—to focus the labour of inter pretation on art and philosophy, as allegedly the ‘high points’ of any civilization, in which the spirit of a given culture comes into full blossom and hence can be best found and most completely g rasped. Hermeneutics turns, therefore, into a
destined to be all along: the informed, systematic commentar y on the knowledge of daily life, a commentary that expands that knowledge while being fed into it and itself transformed in the process. REFERENCES 1 2 3 A fuller discussion of the two categories can be found in my Legislators and Interpreters: On Modernity, Postmodernity and the Intellectuals (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1987). All quotations from Kant in this section are from J.M.D.Meiklejohn’s translation (Critique of Pure Reason,