The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change

The Condition of Postmodernity An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change A great deal has been written on what has variously been described as the postmodern condition and on postmodern culture architecture art and society In this new book David Harvey seeks to determin

  • Title: The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change
  • Author: David Harvey
  • ISBN: 9780631162940
  • Page: 415
  • Format: Paperback
  • A great deal has been written on what has variously been described as the postmodern condition and on postmodern culture, architecture, art and society In this new book, David Harvey seeks to determine what is meant by the term in its different contexts and to identify how accurate and useful it is as a description of contemporary experience.But the book is much thanA great deal has been written on what has variously been described as the postmodern condition and on postmodern culture, architecture, art and society In this new book, David Harvey seeks to determine what is meant by the term in its different contexts and to identify how accurate and useful it is as a description of contemporary experience.But the book is much than this in the course of his investigation the author provides a social and semantic history from the Enlightenment to the present of modernism and its expression in political and social ideas and movements, as well as in art, literature and architecture He considers in particular how meaning and perception of time and space themselves vary over time and space, and shows that this variance affects individual values and social processes of the most fundamental kind.This book will be widely welcomed, not only for its clear and critical account of the arguments surrounding the propositions of modernity and postmodernity, but as an incisive contribution to the history of ideas and their relation to social and political change.

    482 Comment

    • Chris says:

      Deepest book you've ever read. I read Harvey's 'Enigma of Capital' and was astonished by the depth of knowledge he commands, so I knew this book couldn't be terrible, and wow, it was intense. So, onto the review having established that the man knows his Capital, he perhaps has more detail and logical/rational arguments to expound on the relation between economics and culture than his more literary counterparts-- like Jameson in 'Postmodernism, or the logic of late capitalism.' I've read some of [...]

    • Bethany says:

      In the past, I have tried to talk about capitalism – with friends, family members, acquaintances and all kinds of people who are more or less unfamiliar with comparative politics – as a totality, without explicitly saying that, “We must view capitalism as an all-encompassing system, and not merely a few trade policies, laws, and practices.” Any time one broaches the topic of capitalism (unintentionally invoking a sticky web of other words ending in –ism, like socialism, communism, sexi [...]

    • Chelsea Szendi says:

      The question is: if Ernest Mandel defined "late capitalism" as the result of technological changes that occurred in 1945, and Fredric Jameson sees the "cultural logic of late capitalism" - postmodernity - emerging in the 1970s, what explains the lag? Harvey offers a discussion of the recession of 1973, the crisis of overaccumulation that faced Fordism, and the birth of a new regime of "flexible accumulation."Good historical materialism that puts the economy first. For a political take on the que [...]

    • sologdin says:

      Part of the subgenre wherein surly marxist subjects postmodernism to critique, as does Callinicos inAgainst Postmodernism or Habermas inThe Philosophical Discourse of Modernity or Jameson inPostmodernism, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Focus here however is on how transformations in the material base determine superstructures such as ‘postmodern’ practices and doctrines. The breakdown of fordist-keynesian relations of production is the key for Harvey, who finds a compression in time [...]

    • Jared Colley says:

      I thought to add this book after briefly reviewing Peter Gay's book on Modernism. The word 'Postmodernism' has become an empty signifier. It is a misused and abused term that more often serves the purposes of academic rhetoric than that of informative description of certain historical states of affairs. I mean how many times do we hear this word used to modify various things? This book does a good job crystalizing the term and making clear what this word 'refers' to in history. Part of the reaso [...]

    • Mark Bowles says:

      A. Synopsis: The argument here is that there has been a sea change in cultural, political and economic practices since 1972. There is a relationship between the rise of (1) postmodernist cultural forms, (2) the emergence of flexible modes of capital accumulation, and (3) the new ways in which we experience space-time (Simultaneity and space-time compression). But these three changes, when set against the basic rules of capitalism appear more as shifts in surface appearance than signs of the emer [...]

    • Amy says:

      Brilliant book.I've only read a few select chapters but this book is brilliant and an easily digestible academic text.Harvey discusses the city in relation to postmodernity a lot and I think this will be very useful for one of my modules next semester so will be returning soon.

    • Eric Aguirre says:

      La teoría del posmodernismo en este libro esta apoyada principalmente en el funcionamiento del capitalismo. Para mí esto es distinto, porque anteriormente había leído a Jean Lyotard y a Fredric Jameson, los cuales enfocaban el posmodernismo en otras formas. El libro empieza hablando de la modernidad para después dar una explicación, que a mi parecer, es una de las más lúcidas que he leído sobre la posmodernidad. Existe un antes y un después. Primero estaba la modernidad con sus utopía [...]

    • Billie Pritchett says:

      David Harvey's The Condition of Postmodernity is a difficult book and by no means a perfect book. Still, for its ability to explain so much, it is a great book. Harvey explains what postmodernism means and why it makes sense to talk about the current epoch as the postmodern age.Harvey takes up Fredric Jameson's definition of postmodernism as "the cultural logic of late capitalism" and spends the rest of the book explaining what that would mean. Late capitalism is the Marxist designation for the [...]

    • Vern Glaser says:

      this is a very intriguing book that explores the nature of the changes in culture and society that we are currently experiencing from different perspectives - from art, architecture, economics, etc. His basic idea is that technological advances cause the world to become compressed in the dimensions of space and time, and that this compression fundamentally changes the nature of social relationships, power structures, etc. Is worth reading, although if you don't have a business/economics backgrou [...]

    • Joel says:

      there is a certain kind of rigid tedium to harvey's argument, reflected in the tripartite structure (modernity to postmodernity in contemporary culture, political economy, experience of space and time), though plenty of interesting material within each partcond-edition addendum to one chapter saying 'postmodern feminists' didnt get it - okay then?i dont want to say 'ay yo dre, stick to producing' but i like it better when he just talks about capital!

    • Brandon Held says:

      Although Harvey's cultural depictions of "Postmodern" (and I am always skeptical of classifying anything as "post" something) art and cinema seem a bit dated now in 2014, Harvey's temporal/spatial understandings in a globalized hyper-capitalist society ring true. One of great neo-Marxists of the 20th/21st century.

    • Parenthetical Grin says:

      This is a go-to book for anyone wanting to understand the political and economic shifts circa 1973-74: the shift away from Fordism (Keynesianism) and the rise of neoliberalism (or, in Harvey's terms, the shift toward the regime of flexible accumulation).

    • Grant says:

      Seriously great.

    • нєνєℓ¢ανα says:

      Good work!

    • Jay Dee says:

      David Harvey’s theme in this work is a critique of postmodernisms inability to go beyond the Metanarratives. Postmodernism failed to give an alternate way of life as it relied on superficial elements of experience originating from modernism. Modernity with its totalizing themes and Metanarratives destroyed and constructed cultural artifacts. Harvey gives a detailed review of the postmodern aesthetics which is rooted in the currents of capitalism. Harvey concludes that postmodernism is just an [...]

    • Patrick says:

      An important argument made in this book. A little dated at this point. I like his history of neoliberalism better.

    • Drew says:

      The book was gifted to me on the day of my graduation by my professor after Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism was central to my senior thesis. Its probably an appropriate stepping stone from my studies as an undergraduate and my possible future as a graduate student. The finishing of the book is the culmination of a year and a half of inconsistent reading and a broadened perspective.It is my academic introduction to historical materialism, which I've only seen previously from afar. Its c [...]

    • GB says:

      The first quarter presents an objective historical and theoretical context packed with concise references. From the emergence of the Market we see an ending of Realism as Modernism emerges: industrial functionality replaces the agricultural dependency upon the whims of nature. Intellectual rationalisation replaces superstition whilst a collective secular mythology brings hope and engenders meaning within the new modern world. But through the capitalistic nature of accumulation and over-accumulat [...]

    • Leanna says:

      Ok, so I just read the chapters relevant to my interests (there's a lot of stuff about architecture and econimics that I skipped), but I basically picked up this book because darn it, I'm sick of only having the vaguest ideas of what "modernism" and "postmodernism" mean in terms of literature. I went back to my college Norton's anthologies the other day, looking for explanations for these movements, and discovered that I never took a class, at least with Norton, that went past, oh, 1915! So I gu [...]

    • Perez Malone says:

      David Harvey holds your hand as you explore the complexities of Postmodernism, a term that is getting used more and more frequently. While this book is too old to explore the postmodern qualities of Hanna Montana (a subject I overheard being discussed at a party once), it does seem remarkably fresh. I especially enjoyed how Harvey seems to predict the future when he discusses the financial collapse of 1987 and relatively small impact it had: "re-scheduling the crisi-tendencies of capitalism into [...]

    • Tim says:

      David Harvey holds your hand as you explore the complexities of Postmodernism, a term that is getting used more and more frequently. While this book is too old to explore the postmodern qualities of Hanna Montana (a subject I overheard being discussed at a party once), it does seem remarkably fresh. I especially enjoyed how Harvey seems to predict the future when he discusses the financial collapse of 1987 and relatively small impact it had: "re-scheduling the crisi-tendencies of capitalism into [...]

    • Alexander Craghead says:

      This overview of Modernism and Post-Modernism was a useful overarching view of what these movements stood for in an ideological perspective. The chapters on architecture and later on space were useful in thinking about built form and style, however, this book focuses largely on economics and large-scale political and ideological movements. Overall, I wonder if it is biased too much to a Eurocentric viewpoint. It rests much of Modernism on the European revolutions of the late 1840s, a period with [...]

    • Steve says:

      I don't know. I had a difficult time deciding between three stars and four stars. I hate economics, and David Harvey is all about postmodern economics in this book. Still, there is some good stuff in it, like time-space compression, which is not near as Star Trekkie as it sounds.What bumped the rating down to three stars for me was chapter 18: "Time and Space in the Postmodern Cinema." The chapter just seemed stuck on to the end of Part III. Plus, Benjamin Walter does such a better job with same [...]

    • Mehdi says:

      An amazing study of the post-modernist cultural turn in terms of Marxist historical materialism, that is to say in relation to the evolution of the capitalist mode of accumulation that occurred in the 1970s.David Harvey shows very clearly that post-modernism isn't a radical and progressive turn due a reaction to the imperfection modernism, but the cultural form induced by capitalist flexible accumulation.While progressive in a few ways, post-modernist views are just the logical sequels of the un [...]

    • Phillip says:

      I was tempted to rate this book higher, but finally I had to go with 3.5. The first portion is a really excellent summary of Modernism and Postmodernism as basic philosophic, aesthetic, literary, and cultural principles, but then the next two sections (the majority of the book) focus on the economic and spatio-temporal shifts that have defined Modernity, and less so on the shifts that have defined Postmodernity. He does talk about the latter stage, but one of his unresolved questions in the book [...]

    • Matěj Bregant says:

      Harvey's book is a tough nut - it takes into account art, architecture, economy, and even literature here and there. It is a enthralling book and save for a large part of Part III, which deals with the concepts of time and space and gets rather heavy handed with all the philosophy, it is a great ride. It is unapologetically marxist and Harvey's constant fanboying over Capital is somethimes tiring but he makes some great points. His chapters on the Reagan administration and his economic programme [...]

    • Stephan says:

      David Harvey's intellect is vast and wide-ranging, his book anthropological, architectural, literary and historical, and ultimately incredibly thought-provoking. I like even more that it's well-written, and that Harvey both is careful with his prose and aware of those moments when other theorists are not.If you've ever thought the term "post-modern" was too vague, or it could mean anything, go to Harvey's book for a great exploration of its meaning. You'll leave with a far greater understanding [...]

    • Tohru Iokibe says:

      This was one of the biggest breakthroughs in my life. The concept of "heterotopia" (as opposed to "utopia" which implies there is only one "Truth")was something I was looking for. Deconstructionism, post-structralism, whatever you want to call it is well covered in this book. These concepts help me control my thought process and allows me to have an objective view of the situation. I am able to "map" the facts so that I can objectify the subject(s) in front of me. I miss those days back in Grad [...]

    • Jlawrence says:

      Even though I don't completely agree with the absolute emphasis Harvey gives to economics determining cultural events, on the way to laying down the groundwork of his thesis he ends up giving an incredibly clear and coherent survey of both modernism and post-modernism across a wide spectrum of fields -- architecture, literature, visual arts, city planning, finance. It ends up being a fantastic and illuminating overview of 20th century culture, with Harvey making sense of many seemingly chaotic t [...]

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