The postmodernist of modernity trio
Modernity’s main interpreters were Marx, Durkheim and Weber. This “trio” observed the change process and emergence of new modes of production, division of labour, new social and organizational structures and the rise of rationality, and then referred all these as “a progress” but also define the negative consequences of this progress as alienation, anomie and disenchantment (iron cage). I think Weber’s approach was the most postmodernist one among these modernist narratives, although I do not know if I’m saying something new, in my opinion Weber’s postmodernism is in his non-assertive manner. He clearly sets what he observes and does not put any clear cut conclusions like “Organic solidarity or socialism will be the salvation of societies!” Plus, in an era that everyone worships rationality, he sees the iron cage that is created with “rationality” and I think criticizing modernity through the “rationality” concept is likely to be the first step in postmodernist response to modernism.
I think it is clear that modernity has failed to keep its promise to the humanity. The process of enlightenment and emancipation cannot be consisted of world wars, holocausts, two atomic bombs, plus high levels of authority and control. The emancipation should have been something against authority, but it has created its own authorities, experts, consulters etc. Therefore, the postmodern discourse is ironically more rational than this so called rationality that is only a consciousness attached to efficiency in modernity, and also it is more fun and so has human sense. The most haunting consequence of modernity is treating human like it is a servant of rationality and fixing every single thing by measuring, explaining and generalizing it. Postmodernism, on the other hand, is against normalization and appreciates diversity. Therefore, unlike modernism, postmodernism provides a room for “other.” Other voices, other cries, other laughing find themselves room in postmodernism and in my opinion “others” will be the “subject” in postmodernist emancipation. So, in my opinion, that is why Alain Touraine answers the question “who are waiting to be a subject?” as “youth and women” because in a very basic sense, especially women are excluded by modernity and they are continuously struggling for recognition. Modernity built its rationality mostly on male experience, not human experience. Therefore I believe that the struggle of females could find its arena in postmodernism with postmodernist approach and the real enlightenment could only be exercised by the emancipation of all individuals of society.
In his study, Bauman (2000) demonstrates the consequences of modernity under the name of “liquid modernity” and exemplifies how societies become societies of consumers by showing that every activity of an individual has become “a shopping activity”. While discussing compulsive and addictive shopping, Bauman quotes T.H. Marshall’s two questions: “What are they running after?” and “What are they running from?” then he concludes that the individuals are running from the agony of insecurity, they want to be free, confident, trusting, they have a great fear and they try to get rid off these feelings by shopping. So all of the individuals become consumers and there is no such thing called individualism, it turned out to be consumerism. The hitting metaphor of “aircraft with full of fearful passengers that do not know where are they going because there is no pilot” is a sad reality and again an emphasis on the absence of a subject, “an agent” what Bauman calls. The worse thing is that even supposing that the world found its agent, it is not clear what to do to move the world a bright forward. I do not know if there is a better option, I should read and observe more and more, but if there will be an agent of this new world, I think it will born and find the way with the help of postmodernist thought.