Images of Postmodern Society by Norman K Denzin (1991)

tn16About This Book 

By using a series of studies of contemporary mainstream Hollywood movies – Blue Velvet, Wall Street, Crimes and Misdemeanors, When Harry Met Sally, sex lies and videotape, Do the Right Thing – Norman K Denzin explores the tension between ideas of the postmodern, and traditional ways of analyzing society. The discussion moves between two forms of text: social theory and cinematic representations of contemporary life.Denzin analyzes the ideas of society embedded in poststructuralism, postmodernism, feminism, cultural studies and Marxism through the ideas of key theorists (Mills, Baudrillard, Barthes, Habermas, Jameson, Bourdieu, Derrida and others). He relates these ideas to the problematic of the postmodern self as exposed in cinema centering on the decisive performance of race, gender and class.

`Denzin is quick to point out how `postmodernism’ is a contradiction in terms, but he is clearer than most writers as to what, in its many forms, it actually is. Resistant to definition, Denzin offers several views of postmodernism from different fields, the very variety being a suitable image for the uncertainty of the notion. Denzin does not state it in so many words, but he offers us a Dadaist version of today…. There is really nothing new here philosophically, except to upset those critics who view some of the films reviewed as icons of revolt. Given the generally hopeless picture Denzin portrays of modern Western society, it is hard to go along with his upbeat conclusion where he seeks the reclamation of the self from the postmodern quagmire…. a book well worth reading as its expose of postmodernism has a clarity others would do well to imitate’ – NATFHE Journal

`The book begins with one of the clearest and most interesting introductions to the postmodern terrain that I have yet seen, followed by his analysis of `postmodern social theory’… Denzin offers the reader an interesting and illuminating treatment of movies and, by showing how postmodern social theory has failed to make the social world accessible to women, an insightful critique of the work of Baudrillard, Lyotard and Jameson‘ – Discourse & Society


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Table of Contents


Defining the Postmodern Terrain
Postmodern Social Theory
Takes on the Postmodern
Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Jameson
Learning from Mills
Wild About Lynch
Blue Velvet
Nouveau Capitalists on Wall Street
Crimes and Misdemeanors in Manhattan
The Postmodern Sexual Order
Sex, Lies, and Yuppie Love
Do the Right Thing
Race in the USA
Paris, Texas
Mills and Baudrillard in America
In Conclusion
The Eye of the Postmodern


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Other Books by the Author 

Other books by this author:

Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies (2008)

Strategies of Qualitative Enquiry, Third Edition (2008)

Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, Third Edition (2008)

The Landscape of Qualitiative Research, Third Edition (2008)

The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Third Edition (2005)

Performance Ethnography: Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture (2003)

The Qualitative Inquiry Reader, (2002)

Interpretive Interactionism, Second Edition (2001)

The American Tradition in Qualitative Research, Four-Volume Set (2001)

Interpretive Ethnography: Ethnographiuc Practices for the 21st Century(1997)

Cinematic Society: The Voyeur’s Gaze (1995)

Interprative Biograpahy (1989)

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