The Concept of 'Postmodernism'

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CHAPTER 1 The concept of ‘Postmodernism’- A Theoretical Approach It is a cliché by now to say that we live in a postmodern world, and it is true that the word ’postmodern’ has become one of the most used, and abused, words in the language. Still, it is striking that not many people can say with assurance what this term actually means and involves. Some theorists suggest that ‘postmodernism’ refers to a mood or an attitude of mind, others define it as a literary, cultural, or philosophic phenomenon. Either way, critics haven’t agreed on a common definition for the concept. “Brian McHale points out that every critic “constructs” postmodernism in his or her own way from different perspectives, none more right or wrong…show more content…
Since the work is preoccupied with the postmodern valences of contemporary dance, we shall move on to the next layers of the discourse, concentrating on theoretical points of view which will serve as a fundamental base for our analysis of contemporary dance. 1. 1. Postmodern Aspects of Contemporary Dance When trying to subsume the postmodern features of contemporary dance, Linda Hutcheon quotes Sally Banes: “(…) in order to include, for instance, the sorts of things which (under the influence, perhaps, of performance art) are considered postmodern in dance: “irony, playfulness, historical reference, the use of vernacular materials, the continuity of cultures, an interest in process over product, breakdowns of boundaries between art forms and between art and life, and new relationships between artist and audience” (Banes 1985: 82).[x] In addition to these aspects we could also enumerate other characteristics of contemporary postmodern dance such as: identity politics, recontextualization, fragmentation, use of technology in performance, nostalgia. Since the dance discourse came to resemble in many ways the fictional or narrative one, we consider that terms such as parody, pastiche, intertextuality, are not only appropriate, but also relevant for such a discussion. 1. 1. 1. Parodic and Ironic Discourse The concepts of parody and irony are given special attention by Linda Hutcheon in The Politics of Postmodernism. She states
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