Postmodernism and Its Discontents
Theories, Practices
Edited by E. Ann Kaplan
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200 pages / November 1988 / 9780860919254

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On the current battlefield of cultural criticism and production, no term has been more vigorously contested than 'postmodernism'. Defying clear definition, yet persisting as an indispensable category, it has become one of the central topics in the theory and practice of contemporary culture.

Postmodernism and Its Discontents collects some of the major theoretical statements in this debate, including the key intervention of Fredric Jameson, and pits them against original contributions by a range of younger writers who explore the terrain of postmodernism in a variety of cultural practices. Essays on poetry and punk culture, recent American fiction, rock videos, Hollywood and foreign film, and sports and soap operas complement more directly theoretical pieces which tackle, to repeat the title of one essay, 'what is at stake in the debate on postmodernism.'

Above all, this collection is distinguished by its steadfast refusal to elide the determinate political issues posed by postmodernism. Each of the essays insists upon the materiality of cultural production, locating various post-modernist practices in the social conditions of contemporary life, including the overarching structures of gender and class.


“A savvy and sophisticated collection contributing significantly to the current debate on postmodernism and oppositional politics, whether Marxist or feminist. The authors' emphasis on contemporary film and popular culture is especially welcome.”

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