Postmodernism and the Point of Sociology

A brief post on the relationship between Postmodernisation and what the point of Sociology might be from a Postmodern Perspective:

The process of Postmodernisation consist of:

  • Globalisation which destabilises social structures – Globalisation is an unpredictable process
  • Consumer culture is free from social structure and this is what informs most people’s lives
  • Hyperreality is more important than actual reality, such that it is impossible to get in touch with the real world (individual’s cannot free themselves from discourse)
  • Individuals have the freedom to construct identity, this =More Diversity Tolerance of diversity is essentially utopia.
  • The End of Metanarratives – Because of all of the above, the idea of searching for one truth or one grand theory which can be applied to help free us from ‘want or oppression’ is out of date – there are many truths.
  • Objectivity does not exist – we can only gain knowledge through discourse/ language and we cannot see beyond language.

What might Sociology look like in the Context of Postmodernity? 

Just a few suggestions…

  • Because Sociology should abandon the quest for truth, and because individuals are free, it makes sense that the focus of Sociology should be on what people do with their new found freedoms in post-modern culture – thus the focus should be on people’s stories, on exploring the diversity of identities – of special interest here is the exploration of hybrid identities.
  • Also of particular interest to ‘Postmodern’ researchers is the issue of ‘transgression’ – focussing on telling the stories of those who go against traditional norms -Deviants and criminals for example.
  • There is also a critical element to Postmodern research – which is deconstruction – using evidence to pick apart those theories which claim to have found the truth, in order to keep those dreaded metanarratives at bay.
  • To my mind most BBC Documentaries are good examples of Postmodern Research – typically narratives of transgressive individuals or groups, with little theory.
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