Chapter

Postmodernism and the People without History

Kerwin Lee Klein

in From History to Theory

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268814
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948297 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268814.003.0005
Postmodernism and the People without History

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This chapter clarifies the claims of certain strains of postmodern or post-structural discourse to engage global history without falling back into the sort of universal history that had been practiced by Hegel or Marx. It states that decolonization forced academics to recognize that the increasing economic integration of the globe had not produced a homogenous global culture. It then explains that something like a new, sceptical philosophy of history emerged, in which a variety of new words and phrases—master narrative and metanarrative among them—created narrative forms and political labels for a radical but post-Marxist mode of discourse. However, it expounds that new stories and terms drew far more heavily on the old universal history than many had hoped, breathing new life into the bad, old idea of peoples without history. It clarifies that in the event, both skeptics and speculators converged on a shared narrative in which modernization generated anti-modern social forces.

Keywords: postmodernism; Marx; master narrative; metanarrative; skeptics; modernization; anti-modern social forces; Hegel

Chapter.  10268 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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