Shock and Awe: A History of the Postmodern World

Does Postmodernism Illuminate or Obscure Historical Understanding?

The linguistic turn is also known as a discursive term and the same has started affecting the writing of history from the mid-1960s. Literary criticism which was accompanied by a theoretical band had been a major factor of the influence of linguistic turn upon historical writing. Epistemological aspects related to historiography are treated as a symbolic system. According to the constructive epistemology aspect, any discursive, aesthetic, or linguistic turn puts forward the entire arena of history in the form of a constructivist enterprise which is usually based upon the textual conception (Bentley, 2015). This constructivist approach is usually a relationship between history and reality. The main idea behind the text is that whatever has happened in reality is constituted by representation and not through imagination or thought. Some various historians and theorists have referred to the fact that language does not refer to reality but it merely constructs or reshapes reality.

When the approach of language is applied to the historical aspect, it can be seen that the implication of constructive epistemological assumptions are usually made upon the idea of objectivity in the research of history which is not possible in the real world because it is important to understand that there is no object of history (James, 2014). In other words, it can be said that historian can be categorized as a prisoner of the entire globe. This prisoner usually perceives the thoughts and the idea of history through various languages under which the prisoner operates. Historical relativity is directly proportional to language as it can be seen as a reason for historical relativity. Language is used by the theorist to describe or constituted the earlier events as possible as objects of understanding and explanation of the reality in the past. However, there are various critiques regarding the application of language because the nature of the text can be ambiguous considering the meaning of the text.

So far as the implication and revolution brought by the linguistic term in the effects upon the study of history are concerned, the linguistic turn has put reliance upon the role of politics of history, roles of rhetoric, as well as the topics of narratives and representation (Kelley, 2013). It is important to understand that historical studies are primarily based upon various written sources which can be categorized as a product of portrayal which is verbal and is based upon human communication. Therefore, the same can be deemed as a linguistic document with a direct consequence upon the historical sources. Here comes the role of the semiotics of text representation and production. It refers to the fact as to how meaning is derived from a text and how any reader understands the meanings of the text according to the linguistic orientations of the historians through the documents.

This is the reason as to why the attention of various historians has been shifted from the referents research of history. This shift now extends to the product of historical research under which the historians speak and write text to present their findings to the world. There is a major shift that can be observed with the linguistic turn. The linguistic turn has associated various historians to create a framework for the practice of history under which the language will be considered as a major event of reality. Under this, the linguistic turn dreams to be a language system that becomes a major and baseline unit for the historical investigation. The production, use, diffusion of language has moved the centre to the concern of various historians. This is the reason why major historians tend to rethink their traditional ideas after the emergence of linguistic turn regarding the function and nature of language as a whole. After the revolution brought by the linguistic term, the relationship between the historical representation and language and the relationship between the author and the text is clearer.

Apart from this, the linguistic turn can also be deemed as a methodological alternative from the essentialist and traditionalism positivist approach of historiography which is considered as a mode of writing history (Khalick, 2014). Linguistic turn aims to replace this to maintain a more adequate understanding of the history and society by a more refined approach and methodology. The linguistic turn has opposed the essentialist assumptions various historians have affiliated the aim of linguistic turn by stating that it illustrates the construction of history through the cultural method as well as the linguistic method. Previous movies of historical writing work based upon social explanations and material list approach which was contradicted through the linguistic turn to gain attention onto more quantifiable explanations by answering the questions of social constructions that were not present earlier.

Therefore, it can be considered that the linguistic turn has ultimately turned out to become an entirely different approach to the conception of history where various historians from different schools like positivist and traditionalists have started considering the approach of linguistic turn as the novel. In other words, the synonym of the historical linguistic turn in history can also be known as a narrative approach that provides this society and approach and guides for understanding, reading, and interpreting the text rather than only focusing upon how to write the history (Evans, 2015). Therefore, it can be concluded that there are various methods of writing history and the same has been greatly expanded since the inception of the academic discipline of history. Historiography has turned out to be more pluralistic in approach than ever.

In today's era, the history which is learned by society is usually categorized under various multidiscipline of versions that are competing in the society for gaining the attention of the readers. Then gradually burials historians had incorporated linguistic turn but the vital role played by the discursive turn has its implications regarding historical writing. Various historians had explored the relevance of innumerable theories of literature for reading and writing the historical narratives and this is the reason why historians have started initiated the linguistic turn to change the modes of representation (Evans, 2015). Various medieval historians had criticized the problems associated with language and head contended the fact that interpretivism and strategies of the history remain implicit under the traditional approach which is not present under the language.

What Role Has Neo-Liberalism Played in Shaping the Conditions of Postmodernity?

The influence of neoliberalism begins with the heavy ideologies which can be traced in late 1970. This was the starting of defining the approach of postmodernity. The new realm of individualism and various other principles has created an impact on the economic policies of the country as well as the political policies. The new who expects has also helped to save the cultural aspects of the postmodern period. There are numerous failures that we perceive in the modern social state along with the emergence of postmodern concepts that are perceived to add the adoption of various principles that were new liberal in nature (Stedman, 2012). It is an undeniable fact that neoliberalism has been widely accepted throughout the globe especially from the capitalist Western Nations like the International monetary fund.

Various pieces of evidence can be traced regarding the influence of neoliberal culture in the development and globalization of socio-cultural identity. Therefore, it can be said that neoliberalism plays the major factor in shaping the ideologies of preconceived postmodernity. According to the Keynesian economic approach, has to be a balance between various governing factors of the country like labour, capital, and government of the country to achieve and promote growth and stability (Giroux, 2011). It can be seen that the balance was lacking in the early twenties because of the modern concept of rationality which was highly applied through the various international level. Gradually the International monetary fund had started fixing the exchange rates to facilitate the cash flow in the country. The approach was derived with the idea of maintaining a balance between labour and the amount of capital in the country to stabilize the international relations between various States.

The fact cannot be denied that there are structural differences that are present between various States. The changes were made to strike the embedded liberalism to maintain a balance between the market factors and peace within the states. The Keynesian economic approach has helped the nation to promote prosperity by regulating various principles in the market and apart from this the interventions were also made in various industrial policies for setting up appropriate remedies for the workers. During 1970, a review of unemployment was experienced. The unemployment had mainly triggered due to the pressures of inflation and limited opportunity in the country and this led to the criticism of liberalism and all the base theory is associated with it. Gradually people started understanding the importance of liberalism to ensure peace and economic stability in the country. Globalization has turned out to be a major characteristic of postmodernity which is widely accepted. Technological development is a major driving force of globalization and can be closely associated due to the spread of neoliberalism policies in the world to make the globe a single economy. there are various underlying theories behind globalization but the ideologies of new liberal policies are like free market and deregulation of government is widely accepted which states that the government cannot provide the remedy to all the problems of the society.

Therefore, the individual market must come into the picture to solve the problems of the economy. Various examples show how the new liberal theories define postmodernity like the Washington consensus of enhancing the developing states of the world during the Bretton Wood conference. Apart from this, various Structural Adjustment Policies had also worked to dismantle the earlier approaches and had adopted the new liberal programs of state-owned industries (Chandra, 2010). It can be said that new liberalism has become a major factor to replace the modernist concepts of embedded liberalism as the same was experience during the election of Margaret Thatcher in the year 1979. The major approach of neoliberalism was based upon the statement of gaining freedom. The neoliberals open that if the country can operate under a free market then under the same manner the labour must also be provided freedom (Giroux, 2011). During the time of Thatcher, the improvement of neoliberal policies can be seen. The neoliberal policies are turning out to become the hegemonic ideologies of ultimate postmodernity which was started incorporating in the society with a common consensus (Glynn, 2012).

The liberalization of the various market in the countries and the era of privatization was not only limited to various policies of finance and industries but this liberalization has been extended to various social policy is like education and health. The approach of Margaret Thatcher was based upon pushing the neoliberal free-market approach for addressing urban issues. It was seen that during the year 1979 more than 25% of the total population in Britain were living under shared housing (Harvey, 2007). To combat this issue, Margaret Thatcher had worked for removing the investment from the control of the government and had worked to shift the modernist in faces through deregulation and creation of various opportunities for private markets. This scheme will help the tenants to purchase a decent housing with no payment of a deposit at a comparatively lower amount.

Therefore, it can be said that the influence of belief under the blanket of neoliberalism and the free market was the popular movement initiated by the Margaret Thatcher privatization policies. The popularity of this scheme had turned out to be the acceptance of new liberal ideologies in the public.

Therefore, it can be said that neoliberalism has turned out to be a defining approach of postmodernity ideologies. The economic principle of the Keynesian approach was smoothly dismantled. In late 1970 and was replaced by the neoliberal policies which aim to limit the intervention of Government and promote the free markets and concept of individualism in the society (Siddiqui, 2012). It can be seen that the values provided by the new liberalism policies have not only created an impact upon the economic and political process but has also intervened in the social and cultural aspects by capturing the characteristics of postmodernity like globalization. New liberalism has successfully become dominant and had acquired the fundamental concepts that had deeply rooted under the common sense of the people in the society. Therefore, it can be concluded that new liberalism had defined the aspects of postmodernity.

References for Shock and Awe: A History of the Postmodern World

Chandra, S. (2010). From fictional capital to capital as fiction: Globalization and the intellectual convergence of business and humanities. Cultural Critique, 7(6), 49-73.

Evans, R. (2015). Educational ideologies and the teaching of history. In G. Leinhardt, I. Beck, and C. Stainton (Eds.), Teaching and Learning in History. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Giroux, H. (2011). Neoliberalism and the Death of the Social State: Remembering Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History. Social Identities 1(7), 587-601.

Glynn, S. (2012). You Can’t Demolish Your Way Out of a Housing Crisis.’ City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,1(6), 656-671.

Harvey, D. (2007). Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 6(1), 22-44.

James, V. (2014), 'Who's afraid of the linguistic turn? The politics of social history and its discontents', Social History, 19(1), 81–97.

Kelley, D. (2013). Fortunes of History. Historical Inquiry from Herder to Huizinga. New Haven, CT: Yale University.

Khalick, F. (2014). Developing and acting upon one's conception of the nature of science: A follow-p study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(6), 563-581.

Bentley (2015). Victorian politics and the linguistic turn, The Historical Journal, 42, 3, 883–902.

Siddiqui, K. (2012). Developing Countries Experience with Neoliberalism and Globalisation.’ Research in Applied Economics 4(2), 12-37.

Stedman, J. (2012). Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

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