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The writing by Dick Hebdige generally features postmodernism. The essay has used various ideas of philosophers such as Marx, Gramscian, Berman, Lyotard and Nietzsche among others to criticize the postmodernism. Postmodernism is a movement that questions modern philosophical assumptions and values in order to determine their applicability and viability. The movement started in the western countries around eighteenth century. Postmodernists argued that modernization is evil as it is a subject to misuse if gotten into the wrong hands. Modernists, on the other hand, argue that modernization improves the living standards of human beings by creating comfortable environment. The writing has featured key issues such as power and authority, modernism and enlightenment. This essay discusses the key issues and contrasts theoretical assumptions found in the manual.
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The issue of modernism has been the major interest in the writing. Modernism is characterized by industrialization, urbanization and technology. Industrialization consists of growing factories in the west that led to commercial generation of products. This was boosted by the abandonment of Marxist theory and adoption of the capitalist economy. Technology involved the scientific researches and findings that resulted to major inventions. Technology has been used in the industries to produce goods, thus replaced the manual labour. It has also been used in improving communication. Modernism is also evident in new architectural designs of buildings and military advancements, such as the development of nuclear bombs. According to modernists, industrialization and technology breakthrough shall improve the human life. On the other hand, postmodernists challenge this statement by arguing that technology is dangerous and oppressing as it can cause serious destruction if it gets in wrong hands, such as the case of nuclear bomb in Japan.
Enlightenment has been highlighted in the writing. It has been elaborated by Rorty and refers to it as ‘Great Mind’ in his epistemological complex argument. Enlightenment seeks to understand the ideas before determining the correct choice. Gramscian argues that people should understand the idea behind the government, and hence determine the right kind of government, which ideally is democratic. The ideas should not just be correct, but should be convincing and represented by strong statements. Arguments should capture popular imaginations that help solving problems and anxiety in addition to giving dreams and hopes. ‘... ideology should be convincing and convincingly presented, arguments that capture the popular imagination, that engage directly with issues, problems, anxieties, dreams and hopes of real men and women’ (Hebdige 253).
Power and authority is the other issue in the writing. Gramscian advocates for the government formed on the basis of popularity. The accepted common ideas should be the ones that should have the power. However, the articulation concept proposes that power should be established through group formation and it is based on complex ideas. The two ideas are both based on democracy though varies in method of gaining the power. The authority should be accountable and should address the problems affecting people.
The Gramscian approach and the articulation concept are the two assumptions that have been made in the writing. Gramscian approach assumes that conflicting alliances engage in ‘a war of position’ in various issues where the popular and dominant alliance wins. The popular group has the power and imposes its moral leadership on the masses (Hebdige 255). It also legitimates its authority through consensus. The articulation concept assumes that ideological formations from conflicting groups have to be actively combined and altered to secure effective alliances between the fractional teams. The two assumptions are similar in that they are based on democracy. They represent the will of the people. The difference between the two assumptions is that the first does not harmonize the diverse views of the masses as the popular side have the power over the rest of the population while the second incorporates the diverse views of the involved groups.
The essay has discussed the key issues and has contrasted the theoretical assumptions found in the writing. The essay has featured the issue of power and authority, modernism and enlightenment. Postmodernism has challenged the viability of these issues. Gramscian approach and articulation concept are assumptions that have also been featured in the essay.