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8.4.06

Postmodernism does not exist (yet) 

One of our team brought up in yesterday, and I began looking for some references. When I was doing my thesis, the European Journal of Marketing had a special on postmodernism, and one of my lecturers prior to that, David Stewart, was quite in to the concept about 10 years ago.
   I always had my doubts about whether postmodernism, in marketing at least, was a real concept. In , brought order; postmodernism, at least expressed in , tended to be “slightly messier”, from a layperson’s point of view. Postmodern was typified by the Coupé Fiat, Alfa 147 and Ford Scorpio, or so thought in in the mid-’90s. Ten years on, these vehicles look dated, as much as vehicles designed during what could be termed the era. They hardly look daring as we became accustomed to them; and the shapes just seem like modernism with . (If the Coupé Fiat is postmodern, then surely so was the Triumph TR7.)
   Postmodern graphics just reminded me of , and some of the work just prior to that. We are talking mid-1900s. , Beach Culture, et al did not suggest anything that novel to me—sure, they were clever and I admired them, albeit with a slight aloofness brought by —but it was not a beyond modernism that was unprecedented in history. I also had my doubts at school that were postmodern, when there were functioning models like that could be, at least to me, a resulting, efficient model for law and remedying a period of chaos. (Or, for that matter, many models that are still practised among numerous , which seem superior to many occidental ones.)
   When researching the topic as relating to marketing to answer our team member’s question, postmodernism is thought of as the —where individuals determine ’ meanings, not . It is perhaps a more obvious representation of an existing concept being put on to its head: that organizations no longer owned , but consumers controlled them through emails, tattoos, and blogs. , and new are cited as some of postmodernism’s hallmarks in marketing and branding—but is this that new?
   The notions of individualism have been with us for some time, and whatever is happening in branding, such as in Stefan Engeseth’s book One, seems to be a logical extension of that. Freedom of choice was the promise of in the modernist era. As to new social movements: while I am no , the movements are the same as they ever were, only we are forming more useful groups across planets thanks to electronic communication. Again an extension of what has gone before.
   For some reason, I think postmodernism will simply be seen as an extension of modernism by the . Until our institutions actually change, or our behaviours become far more responsible, and we begin treating the ’s inhabitants as one, I don’t believe we have a new movement. The next great movement is either a highly pessimistic one (where we destroy ourselves through carelessness in and in military ), or a highly optimistic one (where, through the planetary emergency we find ourselves in, we consciously make a shift to a more caring society where neighbourhoods are globally and structured).
   If the can grow strongly and quickly enough, then the latter is more likely, as people band together and share their thoughts. Misunderstandings—particularly between states—evaporate into the past. The next generation of , brought up with the internet, seek real relationships via the internet separate from irrelevant and detached . The internet could be the best BS filter for a generation that can instinctively detect marketing-speak, spin and gobbledegook. And then we can talk about postmodernism.

Del.icio.us tags: postmodernism | globalization | globalism | global | consumer movement | modernism | marketing | branding | brands | environment | history | internet | blogosphere | design | cycles | policy | Confucianism | politics | romantic | individualism
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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