Postmodernism

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By Andreas Huyssen

Today's problem to the divide among mass tradition and modernism is going by means of the identify of the postmodern. Huyssen argues that postmodernism itself can't be considered as an intensive holiday with the prior, as its creative and political thoughts are indebted to that different pattern in the tradition of modernity - the historic avant garde.

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Additional resources for After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism

Sample text

41 The purpose of Adorno's long essay on Wagner, written in 1937/38, was not to write music history or to glorify the modernist breakthrough. Its purpose was rather to analyze the social and cultural roots of German fascism in the 19th century. Given the press ures of the times-Hitler's affiliation with Bayreuth and the incorporation of Wagner into the fascist culture machine-Wagner's work turned out to be the logical place for such an investigation. We need to remember here that whenever Adorno says fascism, he is also saying culture industry.

Art's increasing likeness to a subjectively perceived physical world made all art abandon its objectivity thus recommending it to the public. The slogan I'art pour I'art was but the veil of its opposite. This much is true about the hysterical attacks on decadence: subjective differentiation reveals an element of ego weakness which corresponds to the spiritual make-up of the c1ients of the culture industry. "40 Three brief observations: Adorno's aversion against later avantgardist attempts to reintegrate art and life may have been as strong as it was because he held those attempts, however one-sidedly, to be similar to that ofJugendstil.

Especially with the help of the new technological media of reproduction and dissemination monopoly capitalism has succeeded in swallowing up all forms of older popular cultures, in homogenizing all and any local or regional discourses, and in stifting by co-option any emerging resistances to the rule of the commodity. All culture is standardized, organized and administered for the sole purpose of serving as an instrument of social control. Social control can become total since in "the circle of manipulation and retroactive need ...

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