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Unstable UniversalitiesPoststructuralism and Radical Politics$
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Saul Newman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719071287

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719071287.001.0001

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The politics of postmodernity

The politics of postmodernity

Chapter:
(p.17) 1 The politics of postmodernity
Source:
Unstable Universalities
Author(s):

Saul Newman

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719071287.003.0002

This chapter outlines some of the characteristics of the ‘postmodern condition’ as defined by Jean-François Lyotard. The cultural condition of postmodernity, which emerges with late capitalism, has led to a dislocation of our accepted political reality. Instead of the universal discourses and ‘metanarratives’ of the past, which were founded on the rational certainties of the Enlightenment, there is a severing of the social bond and a general sense of fragmentation in the fields of knowledge, culture, and social relations. This chapter examines the two main responses to the decline of the metanarrative: the ‘foundationalist’ approach, exemplified by Jürgen Habermas, and the anti-foundationalist or broadly termed ‘poststructuralist’ strategy, which seeks to question these foundations. It also examines nihilism, poststructuralism, universality and the role it plays in radical politics.

Keywords:   Jean-François Lyotard, nihilism, poststructuralism, universality, radical politics, Enlightenment, Jürgen Habermas, metanarratives, postmodernity, foundationalist approach

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