soc final - 1) What is postmodernism? Discuss some of the...

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1) What is postmodernism? Discuss some of the similarities and differences between the various postmodern theorists addressed in the course. How do these theorists help us to understand the movie “12 Monkeys.” I. What is postmodernism? a. It is an intellectual movement encompassing the arts, literature, film, dance, music, architecture, and the social sciences whose aim is to trace out the theoretical, political, cultural, and moral implications of the collapse of the idea of progress. b. Anything that modernists perceive as “deviant”, postmodernists attempt to portray as “normal”. c. By undermining and rejecting the intellectual foundations of modernity, like such ideas as progress and essentialism, postmodernists provide support for cultural movements that go against these ideals: like the civil rights movement, feminist movement, etc. d. Postmodernists reject the idea that there is a single “grand narrative” that describes all of history, and believe that such grand narratives should be replaced with a focus on local histories, especially of those who are considered “backward”. e. Post modernists are also anti-foundationalists, believing that all values and truths are historically contingent social constructions. That is, they deny the existence of any transhistorical yardsticks against which the validity of alternative value systems might be judged. f. There are many different degrees of post modernism, which can each help us in understanding the film: 12 Monkeys. II. Specific postmodern theorists a. Michel Foucault i. A French theorist who was concerned with the changing nature of “governmentalities”. These are practices by which control is exercised over people. ii. In his book Discipline and Punishment , he: 1. looked at reform of prison systems, and argued that although reforms were intended to eliminate cruel forms of punishment, modern forms of incarceration are actually more dangerous because they force prisoners to become instruments of their own oppression. 2. example: The panopticon is a prison cell structured to allow guards to observe every action of inmates without being seen themselves. Thinking that they were always being watched, the prisoners behaved properly in order to prevent punishment. 3. this depicts the spread of surveillance and control in disciplinary society. iii. His believed that discipline is swarming through society, known as Carceral archipelago. This means that the process affects some parts of society and not others, or may affect some parts at one
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time and others at another time. This is significant because it shows that there is no natural or universal tendency, a belief held by modernists. 1.
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This test prep was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course SOC 1101 taught by Professor Mclaughlin during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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soc final - 1) What is postmodernism? Discuss some of the...

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