Sociology 250

December 2, 1999

Notes on Postmodern Perspectives

See Wallace and Wolf, pp. 401-412 for a general, although incomplete discussion.

A. Introduction

The postmodern approach represents a relatively recent and a new type of approach to the study of society and sociological theory. As a new perspective in the study of the social world, postmodern writers address many of the same issues as earlier sociologists, but attempt to provide new insights. These new approaches develop partly out of the dissatisfaction with earlier sociological theory, with its claims to be universal but with an inability to explain all aspects of the social world. Postmodern perspectives also developed as a result of changes in society in the last half of the twentieth century. Wallace and Wolf (p. 402) note that sociology as a major discipline in North America developed as functionalism, and was concerned with large scale organizations and with social reform. Beginning in the 1960s, it became apparent that social change did not conform to the sociological theories of that period. As a result, sociology began to use and develop new ideas and approaches and over the last thirty years there has been a great variety of new approaches to sociology. In addition, sociology as a discipline is not cumulative in the development of knowledge, as are some of the natural sciences. This has meant that sociology is more open to alternative perspectives.

The structural approaches tend to argue that people can be studied as rational beings with many common characteristics, thus making sociology a universal study of these rational individuals in social settings. Within, or as a result of the structures, individual identities are determined, or at least strongly affected, by norms, collective representations, social class, ideology, or social status. In this approach, these structures are internalized by individuals, affect how these individuals think, play a major role in how individuals act and interact and tend to be relatively fixed and unchangeable over time. This can be seen in the worker and capitalist of Marx, the bureaucrat of Weber or the husband-father in Parsons' family.

One form of critique of the structural approach comes from microsociology. These perspectives focus on the individual and how the individual interprets, acts, undertakes activities, interacts with others, attributes meaning to everyday situations and develops an individual personality. Some feminist perspectives also also develop alternative ways of examining the social world, using the experiences and situation of women and the relationship between men and women as a way of understanding human action and interaction. While feminist perspectives focus on male-female difference and interaction, and on issues related to sexuality and bodies, their analyses of difference, power, and humanity provides sociology with a new set of tools to assist in the study of other aspects of the social world.

A different, although sometimes overlapping, set of approaches has been developed by writers who are called poststructuralists or postmodernists. These writers focus on individual and collective identity, formation of identity, and implications of this for social analysis. For the postmodernists, identity is unstable, changing and decentred. An individual may be identifiable as having a certain age, class, region, ethnicity, or gender but none of these can be regarded singly as determining individual identity. At one time, one or more of these may be primary in affecting individual identity, at other times and in other situations some different aspect may be key.

The focus on shifting identities certainly contrasts with structural sociology, and even with some of the microsociological approaches. From the enlightenment, it was assumed that individuals were well centred, with a mind and self that was relatively fixed and unchanging, at least when one became an adult. Weber and Simmel, with their emphasis on meaning, interpretation, and interaction begin to cast some doubt on this approach. Theorists in the symbolic interaction tradition also began to devote more attention to the issue of the development of the self and individual identity. Ethnomethodologists emphasized the importance of situations, and this leads in the postmodern direction. But none of the theorists studied so far in this class really questioned the existence of a relatively stable identity associated with the individual. In that sense, postmodernists develop a new approach; while particular individuals may have relatively stable identities, these identities differ greatly among individuals, they differ across place and time, and different situations and experiences may be more important to analyze than are common features affecting everyone.

In postmodern approaches, identity shifts and is not stable over time. In addition, it is mainly local circumstances rather than larger structural conditions that are important in shaping these identities. This means that people may not share similar circumstances or there may not be common situations that create social class, ethnic groups, or status groups in the way that classical sociologists considered these to develop. Shared and common identities give way to shifting and localized identities that may or may not be shaped by the individual. For some postmodernists, this makes it difficult to imagine collective action, social movements and social change toward some specific goal. For extreme postmodernists, there may be no goals or plans that people should attempt to achieve or strive for.

There are many different types of postmodernists, with some arguing that identities and localized situations are all that we should be concerned with; others argue that political action can still be a useful means of improving society. Some may not take a particular point of view on important social questions, arguing that all identities, statements and texts are equally valid, and while these can be interpreted, no judgments on the validity or invalidity of these is possible or desirable.

Some postmodernists reject grand theoretical approaches or "metanarratives" entirely. Rather than searching for a theoretical approach that explains all aspects of society, postmodernism is more concerned with examining the variety of experiences of individuals and groups and it emphasizes differences over similarities and common experiences. In the view of many postmodernists, the modern world is "fragmented, disrupted, disordered, interrupted" and unstable and may not be understandable on a large scale. (Rosenau, p. 170). A large part of this approach is to critique the grand theoretical approaches and "deconstruct texts" (Ritzer, pp. 632-636). This requires the reader to interpret texts, but not impose on others the reader's interpretation of texts. (Rosenau, p. 170).

The postmodern approach originally came from the humanities where "subjectivity and speculation" (Rosenau, p. 168) are interesting and insightful. The postmodern approach may consider all forms of culture to be of equal validity, and this can sometimes be a useful corrective to the exclusivity and elevation of certain types of culture. On the other hand, it can lead to trivializing culture and making it difficult to make positive statements about cultural developments. For the social sciences, the applications may be more limited.

The philosophic origins of the postmodern approach are usually traced to Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. Among the writers who are often classified as postmodernist are Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Roland Barthes, Frederic Jameson, Jacques Derrida, Felix Guattari, Gilles Deleuze, Paul Virilio, and Arthur Kroker. The approaches of these writers are sometimes sociological, but may be more oriented towards other disciplines. Part of the appeal of postmodern approaches is that they attempt to break down barriers among disciplines, times, and traditions and attempt to analyze each of these. This can lead to valuable interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches. At the same time, these approaches question the notion of human progress and constitute a thoroughgoing attack on the legacy of the Enlightenment, on positive sociology, historical progress, science and the scientific method and political struggles and social movements.

Postmodernism can refer to some of the characteristics of contemporary society, and also to a theoretical approach that is a critique of the classical or modernist approaches. In order to distinguish these two, the former is often referred to as postmodernity and the latter as postmodernism. That is, for those who take this approach, the current period can be referred to as the period of postmodernity, with the theorical analysis being referred to as postmodernism.

B. Postmodernity

In Europe, the premodern period generally refers to the period through the end of the middle ages, with the modern period beginning with the development of capitalist industrialism and the Enlightenment. In the contemporary world, some developing nations are only now emerging from the premodern period and attempting to modernize, at the same time that the richer countries are entering a postmodern phase. The modern period is characterized by the development of science, the possibility of human progress, the development and expansion of industry, improvements in conditions of life and health, urbanization, continued improvements in technology, the establishment of the nation state, liberal forms of democracy, bureaucracy, humanism and social reforms all of these stand out as accomplishments of modern forms of social, economic and political organization. In terms of modernist theories, liberalism, rationality, individualism, science, classic and more recent sociological theories, egalitarianism and tolerance, socialism and communism all stand out as major perspectives that lead to a method of understanding, interpreting and improving society.

Postmodern theories question all of these approaches, arguing that the nature of the world and societal developments have changed. Some writers have argued that we are in a postindustrial world. Industrialization has been so successful that the problems of production have all been solved and agriculture and industry are now capable of producing more than will ever be needed. Such a society shifts its emphasis away from the production of goods to the production of services. For writers such as Daniel Bell, associated with this is a shift in the nature of work, with more meaningful and creative jobs, and perhaps the end of the division of labour into mental and manual tasks. Accompanying this have been new forms of technology: automated production, robots, and computerization. In addition, there may be new forms of organization of the economy, with scientific management, cooperation between labour and management and "people's capitalism" through widespread ownership of corporate stock. The positive view of such developments leads the proponents of such development to argue that class structures are irrelevant, that there is no conflict between capital and labour and that we need merely adapt to the new global developments.

The last few years have seen an emphasis on computerization, information technologies, virtual reality and new forms of extremely rapid communication. The latter create more flexible forms of production, instant communication around the world, a greater degree of globalization of the economy, and more rapid change overall. Other features that must be noted are the effects of these features in parts of the world that were regarded as third world skipping over the modern period, uneven development in different areas of the world (stagnation or backward movement in Africa and parts of Eastern Europe and rapid industrialization in some Asian countries), population movements, and new forms of identity politics. In North America and Europe, the structures of populations have changed, with their being more immigrants who are visible minorities, leading to changes in structures of culture, politics, and population.

The ending of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe also means that there is no counter to capitalism, as there was for most of the century. Some characterize the current era as one with a global economic system that adopts much the same approach everywhere. This is taken by postmodernists as an indication that the nature of the world has changed dramatically. At the same time there are those who consider these recent developments are not really new, but just different forms that have become apparent in late capitalism. For these analysts, the same forms of social and class structure and class struggle that characterized early and modern capitalism still exist or are even exacerbated by these new developments. In their view, work has become more contingent and less meaningful, uncertainty about the future has become greater and the division between the haves and the have-nots has widened on a national and international scale. Other critics point out the serious environmental problems created by modernism, with global sustainability and even the existence of human life being threatened.

Regardless of which approach is taken, it is clear that new forms of technology and communication have become more important in affecting the contemporary social world, that a greater degree of globalization has occurred, that the quality and certainties of life have are being threatened and that the pace of change has quickened. Whether these changes call for a new set of theories is also debated. Those who are adherents of the theories that can be traced back to the Enlightenment may argue that these theories need revision, but that the models developed earlier are still applicable.

Postmodern theorists argue that in theoretical terms, in order to understand the nature of these developments, it is necessary to critique and abandon some of the grand theoretical schemes that were developed over the last two hundred years, and develop new modes of thought and understanding. Rosenau notes that:

Modernity entered history as a progressive force promising to liberate humankind from ignorance and irrationality, but one can readily wonder whether that promise has been sustained. As we in the West approach the end of the twentieth century, the "modern" record world wars, the rise of Nazism, concentration camps (in both East and West), genocide, worldwide depression, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Persian Gulf, and a widening gap between rich and poor ... makes any belief in the idea of progress or faith in the future seem questionable. ... The post-modernists conclude that there is reason to distrust modernity's moral claims, traditional institutions and "deep interpretations." They argue that modernity is no longer a force for liberation; it is rather a source of subjugation, oppression, and repression. (Rosenau, pp. 5-6).

There seems to be little doubt that there are aspects of society that have changed, and some of the new forces of capitalism, technology, and communication are having an effect on politics and society, and affect the lives of people. Whether these constitute a break in the sense that earlier theoretical perspectives are no longer useful in questionable. There seems to be no doubt thought that earlier perspectives need revision, and some of the ideas of postmodern writers should certainly be considered and integrated into sociological analysis.


C. Postmodern Theories or Approaches

While there are many different postmodern approaches, a few general characteristics of postmodern approaches can be noted as follows.

1. Critique of Grand and Universal Theoretical Approaches

Modernity was associated with the development of philosophical, political, economic, and sociological approaches that were often considered to have universal validity. Theorists in the nineteenth century through the middle to late twentieth century thought that people across time and space were essentially similar, so that theories of the social, economic, and political world could be applied without restraint to situations and structures everywhere. In contrast,

Post-modernism challenges global, all-encompassing world views, be they political, religious, or social. It reduces Marxism, Christianity, Fascism, Stalinism, capitalism, liberal democracy, secular humanism, feminism, Islam, and modern science to the same order and dismisses them all as logocentric, transcendental totalizing meta-narratives that anticipate all questions and provide predetermined answers. (Rosenau, p. 6).

Wallace and Wolf even note that postmodernists challenge "whether the scientific model is appropriate to the study of society" (p. 405). This challenge sometimes extends even to the appropriateness of the traditional scientific model in the natural sciences themselves. In this view, scientists may be regarded as operating with certain cultural or social assumptions, and scientists are part of the world that they study so the work and findings of science may have a cultural component to it. While some postmodernists would not take this extreme position with respect to natural science, postmodernists generally would likely agree with Wallace and Wolf concerning the social sciences, rejecting the idea that "there can be a single coherent rationality of that reality has a unitary nature that can be definitively observed or understood" (p. 406).

For postmodernists, earlier universal theories rest on questionable assumptions and make unsupportable generalizations. For the postmodernist, the truth and objectivity which would make such approaches meaningful and useful are not possible. Rather, the different situations of "everyday life" and the "mini-narratives" (Rosenau, p. 85) that are provided by people in "folk wisdom, myth, popular 'stories,' legends" (Rosenau, p. 84) may have "error, inconsistency, and relativism" (Rosenau, p. 84) but it is these narratives and stories that present the situations of ordinary and of marginal peoples. These mini-narratives may provide a "common story that unifies people and promotes a social bond among individuals in their everyday life." (Rosenau, p. 84).

This rejection of grand narratives provides a useful counter to some of the inflated claims of those who argue that their theoretical understanding represents the truth and can be universally applied. At the same time, the postmodern approach may reject aspects of these theories which can provide a useful understanding of societies. In addition, note that the claim that there can be no grand theory is itself a grand theoretical claim.

2. Past, Present and History

Classical sociologists and other theorists that wrote in the

enlightenment tradition consider history to be associated with progress. This is evident in the writings of all the major sociologists and is translated into everyday use with ideas such as primitive and modern, progress, advancement, modernization, and rationality.

For the postmodernist, the present may not be an improvement on the past, there may be no such thing as historical progress and some argue that we are in a posthistorical period, or we have reached the end of history. One meaning of this is that the experiences and situations of earlier societies, people in different societies and at different places within any society may all be equally valid. The experiences and understandings of the rural and the tribal, the sacred and spiritual are just as valid as the modern and urban or the secular. In terms of the future, the past may not provide much of a guide, because of the new conditions of postmodernity and because of the difficulty of making general conclusions about the past.

3. No Disciplinary Boundaries

Postmodernists feel free to draw on many disciplines and approaches. These may be across various academic disciplines, the arts (see Kroker and Harvey - they include visual arts, film, music, etc. in their analysis), the natural and social sciences and they may also include emotions, spirituality and mysticism. The postmodern approach did not emerge from the social sciences, although it now has had a major effect on the social sciences. These approaches came from dissatisfaction with traditional approaches in philosophy, politics, linguistics and literary and artistic criticism.

4. Styles of Discourse

The postmodern approach often uses unconventional and provocative means of presenting its arguments. Sometimes the style is deliberately difficult and postmodern writers may invent new words and use words in a new manner. The aim is to shock and startle readers and to get them to re-examine every aspect of their views and the manner in which they approach the study of society. Or their approach may be to take the language of the marginal and rejected elements in society and use this language.

A quick glance through the books of Canadian postmodernist Arthur Kroker demonstrates this. Kroker titles one book The Possessed Individual, presumably to force the reader to re-examine the assumptions about the nature of the individual that are prevalent in classical sociological theory. In liberalism and other theories that emerged from the Enlightenment, the individual has often been call a possessive individual, an individual with rationality, self-interest and autonomy, and who can own property. Kroker turns the modern possessive individual into the postmodern possessed individual. In his writings, Kroker refers to postmodern culture as crash culture and suggests that panic is the key psychological mood. These are ordinary words, but used in an unconventional manner. Some postmodernists invent new words. Panic Encyclopedia pictures Elvis on the cover and deals with a wide range of topics. The Hysterical Male contains pornographic images. While these unconventional images and use of language make Kroker's writings difficult to read, the French postmodernists are even more difficult to understand.

5. Text

For postmodernists, the text becomes an extremely important concept. While written works are texts, the idea of a text includes artistic works and spoken statements. For some postmodernists the notion of the text is extended even more to include as texts all phenomena or all events. In examining texts, these postmodernists

seek to "locate" meaning rather than "discover" it. They avoid judgment ... they offer "readings" not "observations," "interpretations" not "findings." ... They never test because testing requires "evidence," a meaningless concept within a post-modern frame of reference. (Rosenau, p. 8).

These postmodernists aim to "offer indeterminacy rather than determinism, diversity rather than unity, difference rather than synthesis, complexity rather than simplification." (Rosenau, p. 8).

In doing this, the postmodernists speak of the disappearance of the subject or the abandonment of the subject. The author of the text and the intentions of the author become irrelevant. The context within which the text was written or created are also irrelevant. Rather, the postmodernist can read the text, and interpret it without considering the context. If the text is the actions of a person or the interactions of a group of people, the subjects may be irrelevant for the postmodernist.

The postmodernist may regard the subject as a creation of "language and systems of meaning and power." (Best and Kellner, p. 24). This seems partly the result of the importance of language in postmodernist thinking, and the subject may just be a matter of linguistic convention. Giddens notes that

Just as the meaning of 'tree' is not the object tree, so the meaning of the terms that refer to human subjectivity, most particularly 'I' of the thinking or acting subject, cannot be states of consciousness of that subject. Like any other term in a language, 'I' is only constituted as a sign by virtue of its difference from 'you', 'we', 'they', etc. (Giddens, p. 206).

Another aspect of this is disagreement with the "spontaneous, rational, autonomous subject developed by Enlightenment thinkers." (Best and Kellner, p. 24). For the postmodernist, these are ideological assumptions about the subject, with the theories and conclusions emerging from these assumptions serving the purpose of particular ruling groups in society and furthering domination through the use of these forms of knowledge. In contrast, the postmodernist may not consider the individual to be a coherent and unified subject, especially in the postmodern period.

6. Difference

Postmodernists have made sociology more aware of difference. In this perspective, the universal, rational form of individual is a product of a particular set of circumstances (Western Europe in the eighteenth through twentieth century). Postmodernists question the notion of reason and rationality, at least in the way that they have been interpreted by sociologists. The postmodern approach has made sociologists more aware of the great variety of social structures, ways of thinking and acting, and different ways in which social interaction can take place. The practical significance of this is that sociologists must pay more attention to the study of particular people and situations, rather than developing a grand, theoretical structure which can be considered universally applicable.

D. Arthur Kroker - A Canadian Postmodernist

Arthur Kroker (1945- , Canada), from Northern Ontario, originally intended to be a priest. Kroker is currently a professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal. He is a postmodern theorist who examines culture and technology in the contemporary world. He has written several books, has produced a disc of sampled and electronic sounds, presents lectures and performance art and has toured with a band Sex without Secretions. In several of these works, his wife Marilouise Kroker has also made major contributions.

1. Technology and the Canadian Mind

Kroker's first book Technology and the Canadian Mind examined the theories of technology and communication of Harold Innis, George Grant and Marshall McLuhan. In that book, Kroker argued that Canada stands between the United States, as the future the technological imperative, and Europe, representing the culture of the modern world. He argues

The essence of the Canadian intellectual condition is this: it is our fate by virtue of historical circumstance and geographical accident to be forever marginal to the "present-mindedness" of American culture ... and to be incapable of being more than ambivalent on the cultural legacy of our European past. At work in the Canadian mind is, in fact, a great a dynamic polarity between technology and culture, between economy and landscape. (Technology, pp. 8-9)

This quote shows the influence of Innis and McLuhan and the position of Canada as a margin relative to the two centres of Europe and the United States. Kroker argues that the latter may create an advantage for Canada, and it may create the possibility of working out the relationship between technology and culture in contemporary society.

Kroker's own work has been that of a critic of technology, but not a critic who is a detached academic observer; instead he is a critic who lives in contemporary culture. He has become deeply involved in the new forms of technology, attempting to understand them by absorbing himself in them and developing a hyper-fascination with them. In doing this, his aim is to retain some distance or perspective on these technologies so that he can develop a critique of contemporary culture and technology. Kroker argues that there are many creative possibilities in the new technologies, and it is these that people have to develop. For him, there are no inevitabilities in history and people have the will to resist and develop their own ways of using these technologies. In order to do this though, it is necessary to resist the business oriented methods being employed by the virtual class.

Kroker has written about many aspects of culture and technology. He and his wife have edited a volume on feminist perspectives, The Hysterical Male. In The Possessed Individual, Kroker examines some of the French postmodernist writers. The title of the book represents one of the key ideas that is part of postmodernism and which is part of Kroker's analysis and critique of postmodern society.

2. The Possessed Individual

One of the arguments of postmodernists is that the subject has become irrelevant or has disappeared. The subject of classical liberal and sociological thought was a rational, autonomous individual who had particular desires or preferences that were met within societal constraints such as norms, status groups and classes. This individual was sometimes called the possessive individual, and this individual formed the basis for economic models, liberal forms of democracy and most of the sociological approaches. For the postmodernist, this individual was largely a theoretical and ideological construct of the Enlightenment thinkers. If this was an apt description of the individual as the basis for society in modern times, it is no longer the case for the postmodern period.

The contemporary situation is no longer that of possessive individualism with rights to private property and use value. Rather it is "possessed individualism under the sign of abuse value." (Possessed, p. 5).

"Possessed individualism" is subjectivity to a point of aesthetic excess that the self no longer has any real existence, only a perspectival appearance as a site where all the referents converge and implode. Subjectivity, therefore, which is created out of the ruins of abuse value, a designer self which emerges from cancellation of all the signs. An apparent self whose memories can be fantastic reveries of a past which never really existed, because it occupies purely virtual space. ... No longer a private subject in a public space, but a public self in a private imaginary time. (Possessed, p. 5).

In the modern world, it was possible to think of people as rational individuals with a set of preferences or desires, and capitalism was driven by the production of use values. Now the individual becomes the object of capitalism, and the subject is consumed by the laws of abuse value, seduced in an indifferent game of chance and probability. This is the postmodern consumption machine of designer capitalism. (Possessed, p. 6).

3. The Virtual Class

The following notes, giving Kroker's description of the virtual class, come from a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Sunday Morning broadcast of July 23, 1995. For Kroker, the virtual class is the new technological class. It came or is coming to power on the back of cyberspace or the internet. This is the class that expresses the dominant interest of information technology. Representatives of this class may claim that it is time for real austerity budget. But this means bludgeoning the working and the middle class and shifting the economic pie so that more money goes into high tech industries, and there is no discussion of the consequences of this. For example, what happens when there is no work for much of the population? Virtualization means moving to a society that requires less labour and more and more people become surplus. More people become a surplus class and today there are some countries which could be considered to be surplus countries.

Alvin Toffler is a representative of the virtual class. Toffler proclaims a third wave, after the first wave of the Industrial Revolution and the second wave of capitalist industrial expansion following the Second World War and continuing through the 1970s. Toffler argues that those in the third wave have common interests and should cooperate, promoting cyberspace. In contrast, Kroker argues that the virtual class may speak the language of democracy but their real purpose is to have an ideology of facilitation (come on board info highway with global access and global communication) and this feeds on the view that technology can created utopias and humanism. But by the mid1990s, the time for the age of net utopia is over and now corporations such as Disney and Time-Warner claim that we need to make money on the internet. This will stop our relation as users and turn us into passive consumers.

Kroker says that we cannot escape technology and we must get involved in it. If we express fascination for the techno-utopian model, the mind shuts down. Rather than fascination, Kroker himself is hyper-fascinated. His method is to always try to move into things intensely, and this means intense involvement in the new technologies. At the same time he adopts a critical perspective on these technologies, retains a distance from them and not does become a promoter of the virtual class. Kroker is critical of the later McLuhan, arguing that McLuhan's critical edge disappeared as he became a spokesperson for the new forms of media. Further, Kroker does not consider himself to be an abstracted intellectual but argues that we must live within the culture.

Kroker notes that there is a grim consolidation currently underway, but also a rebellion against the techno-hype of Silicon Valley. Kroker argues that we should develop a critical perspective on these new technologies but embrace their creative possibilities. For Kroker, there are no inevitabilities in human history and there is a human will to resist. Kroker is trying to develop a language for the new digital world of the 21st century, a language that portrays the will to resist.

Two of the other terms that Kroker makes considerable use of are recline and crash culture. A note of the meaning of these is contained in the glossary items from Data Trash:

Crash Culture. Contemporary society as it undergoes a simultaneous fatal acceleration and terminal shutdown. No longer Spengler's Decline of the West, but Recline of the West at the end of the twentieth century. Culture is already a field of dead power. Crash occurs after the exhaustion of all the master signifiers. Post-modern society is post-Crash society, where everything always speeds up to a standstill.

Recline. In recline, contemporary society gives up to the intimidating power or Technology and Culture, and submit, with fitful rebellions, to the process of virtualization. Safety and the "petty conveniences" are the master values of reclining life -- a reaction-formation against the underlying death-wish -- the wish to be replaced by technology.

E. Conclusion

There are many postmodern approaches, with varying degrees of skepticism concerning the possibility of knowing and understanding the world, and with varying degrees of political and social involvement being possible or desirable. What is common to each of these approaches is an attack on many of the principles that have guided sociological discussion. In the coming years, the implications of many of postmodern ideas and approaches will have to be considered by sociologists. From the critiques of postmodernists, feminists and other critical perspectives, a new approach to sociological theory and the study of society may emerge.


Best, Steven and Douglas Kellner, Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations, New York, The Guilford Press, 1991.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Sunday Morning, July 23, 1995. Story on and interview with Arthur Kroker.

Giddens, Anthony, "Structuralism, Post-structuralism and the Production of Culture," in Anthony Giddens and Jonathan H. Turner, editors, Social Theory Today, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1987.

Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change, Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell, 1989.

Hollinger, Robert, Postmodernism and the Social Sciences: A Thematic Approach, Thousand Oaks, Ca., Sage Publications, 1994.

Kroker, Arthur, Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis/McLuhan/Grant, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1984. CB 478 K76 1984.

Kroker, Arthur, Marilouise Kroker and David Cook, Panic Encyclopedia: the Definitive Guide to the Postmodern Scene, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1989. E 169.12 K72 1989b

Kroker, Arthur and Marilouse Kroker, editors, The Hysterical Male: New Feminist Theory, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1991. HQ 1206 H97 1991.

Kroker, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, editors, Ideology and Power in the Age of Lenin in Ruins, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1991. JC 330 I34 1991.

Kroker, Arthur, The Possessed Individual: Technology and the French Postmodern, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1992. HM 221 K74 1992.

Kroker, Arthur and Michael A. Weinstein, Data Trash: the Theory of the Virtual Class, Montreal, New World Perspectives, 1994. HM 21 K735

Larrain, Jorge, Ideology and Cultural Identity: Modernity and the Third World Presence, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1994.

Rosenau, Pauline Marie, Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences: Insights, Inroads and Intrusions, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1992.


Internet References for "Digital Technology: E-theory" by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker. for Global Algorith 1.4: The Theory of the Virtual Class.



Last edited on December 3, 1999.

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