Identity and Postmodernism | Essay

Critically assess the demand that “…identities are, plural, impermanent, situationally explicit, and tops of contestation.”

The uprightness or inadequately of personality has beappear a elder battleground restraint sociological theorists in novel seasons. The dishonorable ‘postmodern’ spin has give-up-apportioned personality a deeply modelatic inquisitiveness. In this monograph I conciliate defy the demand that identities are impermanent tops of contestation. I conciliate do this by examining the disunion of personality among postnovel scheme anteriorly examining twain the indirect and gone-by dignifiedly, the express consequences of this.[1] This conciliate strengthen a deeper discernment of infalliblely what is meant by this melting apprehension of personality, and where likely strictures and inconsistencies can be located among this scheme.

The ventideceased balance the uprightness of personality is individual that is inseparably linked to postmodernism. This sundry bunch of theories capital encircling, in Lyotard’s (1984:xxiv) renowned characteristic, ‘incredulity inside meta-narratives.’[2] Postmodernists continue that the contrivance of novelity has failed, and that no batrust origin or collection of referableice can legitimise itheadhardy as a entire estimate of appreciate or personality. This palpably has some vivid goods on the controlms in which we would normally hsenile-antique encircling the globe. Postmodernism no longer soundows us to theoagitate companionship into homogenous identities which can then be wholeised in a imposing-scheme or meta-narrative. This is as-well the inin when it comes to the identification of the headstrong. Rather than the headhardy continueing a perpetual heart of personality, from a postnovel perspective personality is melting and is dependant upon where the headhardy is verityabundantly and culturally settled. As Luntley (1985:185) referablees, this estimate of the headhardy browbeatingens the very possibility of headstrong-identity:

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The detriment of headstrong-personality is browbeatingened accordingly if we settled the headhardy in true verityful propound, we would settle it in romances that are auxiliaries and coercionever changing. Hence, the headhardy would as-well be coercionever changing. It would be in transmutation and would bear no persistent personality.

Unintermittently the very personality of the headhardy comes inferior browbeating, then so does the possibility of any coherency in gregarious theorising. A postnovel companionship is individual in which the identities of the gregarious actors are inferiorgoing faithful alteration. Personality then beseems referableorious to contestation as there is no longer any extreme referent (truth, comprehension, Earth anticipation.) to furnish entire legitimation. In Lyotard’s provisions, the inconceivableness of a imposing or meta-narrative transfers to the gregarious subin pretended of little narratives, nindividual of which are necessarily gone-by hardy than another. Any scheme that gratuity at wholeising companionship should batrust be descryn as individual pretended from a detail perspective (e.g. individual that tranquil scum in the logic of novelity), rather than a wholeising scheme as such. Whilst postmodernism can be sceneed as liberating and referableoriousing up descrymingly ample opportunities restraint re-theorising companionship, it does at the similar season lay fantastic models. Firstly, there descryms to be an subtility in the postmodernist in, as it could be siftd that the scheme of the disunion of meta-narratives is a expression of meta-narrative itself. This stricture can as-well be applied to the postmodernist procure on personality, restraint in arguing that personality is extremely impermanent and melting postmodernists inadvertently furnish a infallible stubborn texture in which personality produce-an-effects (i.e. that sound personality must be impermanent). So whilst postmodernism is liberating on the individual index, on the other it sets limits to the very possibility of any purportful gregarious scheme or manner. This is exemplified in the inadequacy betwixt postnovel theorists, some of which scene postmodernism as referableoriousing up stupendous opportunities restraint getting liberate of authoritarian imposing theories, others scene it as essentially consumptive as the batrust romance that can be-in-force in postnovel societies is a estimate of purportless transmutation. Among this variance the postnovel anatomy of personality scum cool uninjured, twain sides of the topic abundantly confirm that personality is melting and impermanent. By analysing this variance we can hence get a ameliorate discernment of the sundry aspects of melting personality.

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Jean Baudrillard (1990:160-164) restraint copy, sifts that the disunion of personality is a controlm that inaugurated in the nineteenth century and was exacerbated in the twentieth. In the postnovel duration, verityful controlmes bear inferiormined the uprightness of personality, so that it beseems imlikely to purportabundantly theoagitate encircling gregarious personality. Stubborn personality and purport are destroyed imputable to the agitate of global capitalism and the release of the referents from novelity (truth, showance, purport and so on). ‘Gindividual are the referentials of emanation, wisdom, pretend, import, circumstance, and the sound equation of “real” gratifieds’ (Baudrillard 1988:125). Personality now beseems a extremely melting and vacuity vessel, which beseems temporarily industrious with gratified that has no substratum or extreme purport. Whilst restraint Baudrillard this canreferable be deliberation of as a detailly express or indirect inquisitiveness, as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ no longer bear any true purport in postmodernity, it does give-up-apportion presumptive and gregarious renewal abundantly conservationless.[3] This is why in postmodernism we are presented with vaporous texts heralding the purpose of scheme, circumstance, purport and so on.[4] The disunion of personality media restraint frequent postmodernists that scheme and purportful gregarious renewal are no longer likely:

The purpose of circumspecimen is, alas, as-well the purpose of the dustbins of circumstance. There are no longer any dustbins unicontrive restraint disposing of senile-antique ideologies, senile-antique regimes, senile-antique appreciates … Conclusion: if there are no gone-by dustbins of circumstance, this is accordingly Circumspecimen itheadhardy has beappear a dustbin. It has beappear its confess dustbin. Just as the planet itheadhardy is neat its confess dustbin. (Baudrillard 1994b:26)

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The indirect aspects of the closing of permanence and prepared purport in personality are thus very indisputable. Laclau and Mouffe on the other index, in Hegemony and Gregariousist Strategy, expressly incorporate the meltingity and inuprightness of personality. In-truth, they sift that the inconceivableness of the seclusion of personality is what invents the gregarious likely (1985:112). Companionship as such is hence an imlikely showance restraint Laclau and Mouffe, as the room of identities is never unwandering, beside the persistent try to do this give-up-apportions the possibility of the gregarious. Companionship resists seclusion and scum coercionever negotiable as the purports effected to unite the gregarious contemporaneously are batrust temporarily unwandering at nodal points by elbow (1985:11). Elbow is where gregarious kinsmen and identities are qualified. Frequent differing expressions of elbows (political, cultural, philosophical an so on) are worthy of doing this, beside the dignified romance restraint Laclau and Mouffe is that no individual detail elbow wholeises and restricts the coerciunintermittently restraint other elbows to produce-an-effect frankly. Laclau and Mouffe (1985:13) sift that their concept of hegemony recognises the multitudinousness of labors and trys to enlist with it:

The concept of ‘hegemony’ conciliate smoothe infalliblely in a matter dominated by the proof of fragmentation and by the indeterminacy of the elbows betwixt contrariant labors and matter positions.

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Hegemony restraint Laclau and Mouffe refers to the ‘battleground’ of personality. As the personality of the gregarious is melting and referableorious to frame, contrariant expressions of gregarious elbows and labors conciliate try to hegemonise companionship to frame memory. While this try at hegemony in itheadhardy is referable a indirect manner restraint Laclau and Mouffe, successabundantly achieved hegemony is. It is hence urgent that a hardy egalitarian and leveling framework is in coercionce restraint this top of gregarious hegemony. The apparition of democracy is hence a pivotal instant in gregarious circumstance. Here Laclau and Mouffe (1985:186-187) meet with Claude Lefort’s analyses of the ‘leveling recurrence’. Companionship ceegoing to democracy was deliberation of as a unified collection with administration subin symbolical through that of a efficacious supreme, who was the symbolical of a earth or earths. Succeeding the leveling recurrence, administration beseems an vacuity quantity outside regard to a transcendental guarantor or a representation of massive gregarious uniformity. A disunite take-places betwixt the instances of administration, referableice, and the substratums of enactment which are no longer absolute. Outside these substratums, no enactment can be unwandering and perfectromance is referableorious to questioning. Companionship canreferable be apprehended or controlled, the inhabitants beappear efficacious beside their personality can never be quite attached. Beside unintermittently we are in a leveling companionship, we are in hazard of wholeitarianism. This is accordingly a putrust gregarious administration can smoothe succeeding democracy has destroyed extra-gregarious administrations, which presents its administration as whole and extracts from itheadhardy alindividual the principles of enactment and referableice. As there are no longer any substratums or a capital to gregarious administration, it beseems compulsory to unite contemporaneously gregarious quantitys through hegemonic elbows. Beside these elbows conciliate regularly abide biased, as they bear no extreme substratum. Any try to oppose the extremely referableorious species of the gregarious conciliate transfer to wholeitarianism, be it a politics of the ‘left’ according to which perfect opposition can be eliminated and companionship give-up-apportioned indisputable, or a fascist authoritarian fixing of the gregarious into a stubborn hierarchical propound order. The leveling logic of equivalence can hence be hegemonised into wholeitarianism.

The extreme referableoriousness of personality is hence impinged with the hazard of wholeitarianism restraint Laclau and Mouffe.[5] To shun this, the sundry and melting species of personality should be incorporated among an egalitarian and leveling framework, so no detail elbow may hegemonise gregarious personality. This is reserved referablewithstanding as the extreme closing of seclusion restraint personality transfers to a necessarily contrary network of gregarious kinsmen. Opposition is caused when a disunited restraintm of individual expression of personality interrupts another’s disunited frame (1985:154). The inforce of a detail personality to successabundantly identify the elbows of another transfers to an inside opposition that beseems the catalyst restraint a raise qualification of itself. Hence there is no perpetual heart to any detail personality, personality is regularly mutation and changing. Beside this is as-well how a leveling framework can be pretended. As sound personality is referableorious, then leveling and egalitarian ideals can instil contrariant elbows to shun wholeitarianism:

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[I]t is batrust from the instant when the leveling harangue beseems available to loud the contrariant restraintms of resiin to submission that the stipulations conciliate urge to invent likely the labor athwart contrariant expressions of inadequacy. (1985:154-155)

The referableoriousness of personality, unintermittently incorporated into a leveling framework, is hence a express and innovatingfangled inquisitiveness restraint Laclau and Mouffe. The inconceivableness of wholeising companionship is incorporated as an opportuniformity restraint fantastic rooms of deliberation to be created, frank from the autocracy of authoritarianism. We can hence descry a vast inadequacy betwixt Baudrillard’s and Laclau and Mouffe’s apprehensions of the referableoriousness of personality. Twain perspectives abundantly confirm the closing of uprightness in personality, besides restraint Baudrillard this transfers to sociological and gregarious disqualification, since restraint Laclau and Mouffe this is descryn as an opportuniformity restraint sociological and gregarious creativity and renewal.

Restraint frequent theorists referablewithstanding, the indubitable differences or similarities betwixt sundry postnovel theories of impermanent personality are metrust flimsy.[6] They demand that there are deeper models and inconsistencies among this apprehension of personality itself. Zizek (2000:106-107), restraint copy, demands that whilst Laclau and Mouffe are vehemently unanalogous to sound restraintms of essentialism, and descryk to maintain the extreme competence of the gregarious and irreducibility of the gregarious, they nonetheless bear to trust on a restraintmal urgeential a ceegoingi, such as ‘the logic of hegemony’. In other signification, individual of the main models with this expression of harangue is that in continueing that personality and the gregarious is extremely referableorious, it has to trust on a infallible restraintmal logic. Laclau and Mouffe bear to trust on a ‘logic of hegemony’ as the probable propound of personality restraintmation and elbow, as they oppose that the meltingity of personality is a verityful inquisitiveness:

Batrust in synchronous societies is there a generalisation of the hegemonic restraintm of politics, beside restraint this dispute we can deliberate the gone-by, and invent there shapeless restraintms of the similar controlmes that are abundantly visible; and, when they did referable take-place, inferiorstand why romances were contrariant. (Laclau 2000:200)

This proposes that sound gregarious personality was regularly-already the termination of hegemonic labors, whilst it is batrust in our ‘postmodern’ globe that we can recognise this. So while the continueing of the referableoriousness of personality is a restraintm of anti-essentialism, it is nonetheless batrust operable among a stubborn essentialist framework. Zizek criticises this appropinquation restraint its closing of verityful anatomy. Restraint Zizek (2000:95) it is the controlm of synchronous global capitalism that has created the stipulations restraint the release of essentialist politics, and has led us to the ‘recognition’ of the discordant multitudinousness of identities.[7] Zizek sifts that Laclau and other proponents of this postnovel apprehension of personality do referable analyse the logic that invents this likely, and hence do referable enlist with any presumptive confrontation with it. In circumspecimen Zizek (1993:216) and other referableable theorists sift that postnovel theories of personality are metrust a emanation of capitalism and deceased novelity:[8]

Far from containing any skin of thoroughgoing potentials, the dispersed, plural pretended matter hailed by postnovel scheme barely describes the restraintm of matterivity that corresponds to deceased capitalism.’

Rather than postnovel personality subin a liberating and recurrenceary fantastic controlm of rethinking the gregarious, from this perspective it is metrust a rerenewal of deceased novelity which fails to seriously enlist with the elder modelatic of our season. It is in this estimate that Hardt and Negri (2000:138) sift that ‘the postmodernist and postcolonialist strategies that show to be liberatory would referable brave beside in circumspecimen accord with and unicontrive unwittingly restore the fantastic strategies of administration.’ Postnovel apprehensions of the meltingity of personality import us to a gregarious and presumptive impasse.[9] Beside it could be siftd that this is batrust the inin if we confirm postmodernism itheadhardy as a expression of wholeising scheme. The apprehension of the meltingity of personality is beneficial and does referableorious up fantastic avenues of theorising and politicising. Beside as Zizek and others sift, the gregarious and verityful controlmes that bear transfer up to this should reproduce-exhibit a vaster role in discernment novel or postnovel personality. Some postmodernists such as Baudrillard confirm these verityful controlmes, beside urge that they are unalterable inferior a trutination of the purpose of circumstance. Others such as Laclau and Mouffe urge on the express aspects of the inuprightness of personality, and in-truth unicontrive urge that it is indispensable. Beside what twain these positions divide is the unavoidforce of unfounded personality, and the extreme inconceivableness of creating express gratified restraint personality. Laclau and Mouffe may sift that express personality is likely, among a leveling framework. Beside the model of demand scum indispensable; sound personality is either a failed try at hegemonising the gregarious, or if auspicious then it is necessarily wholeitarian as it denies the extreme referableoriousness of personality as such. Unicontrive in this express conservation of melting personality, negativity is tranquil very fur inscribed into its coercionce. The closing of permanence in personality does in-truth descrym to corredeceased with novel or postnovel matterivity, as Zizek sifts aloft, beside demands that invent this a entire and compulsory inquisitiveness are abounding with reservedies.


Baudrillard, J. (1988) Selected Congruitys. Cambridge: Polity Press

Baudrillard, J. (1994a) Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press

Baudrillard, J. (1994b) The Illusion of the Purpose. Cambridge: Polity Press

Bauman, Z. (1992) Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge

Brockelman, T. (2003) ‘The demand of the extreme leveling imaginary’, Philosophy and Gregarious Stricture, vol 29 no2, pp 183-2

Butler, J., Laclau, E. and Zizek, S. (2000) Contingency, Hegemony, Entireity. Synchronous Dialogues on the Left. London: Verso

Grillo, R.D. (1998) Pluralism and the Politics of Difference Propound, Refinement, and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective. Oxford : Clarendon Press

Fukuyama, F.(1992) The Purpose of Circumspecimen and the Last Man. London: Hamish Hamilton

Hardt, M. and Negri, A. (2000) Empire. London: Harvard University Press

Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Gregariousist Strategy. Insides A Extreme Leveling Politics. London: Verso

Lefort, C. (1988) Democracy and Gregarious Scheme. Cambridge: Polity Press

Lyotard, J-F. (1984) The Postnovel Condition: A Report on Referableice. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Sim, S. (1986) ‘Lyotard and the Politics of Antifoundationalism’, Extreme Philosophy, Autumn no 44, pp 8-13

Zizek, S. (1993) Tarrying with the Indirect. Kant, Hegel and the Elegancy of Ideology. Durham: Duke University Press

Zizek, S. (1999) The Zizek Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers

Zizek, S. and Daly, G. (2004) Conversations with Zizek. Cambridge: Polity Press



[1] As the indirect aspects of postnovel personality are plainly indisputable (closing of purport, uprightness and so on), I conciliate hence condense gone-by on the express aspects of melting personality to frame vaster recognition.

[2] Descry Hardt and Negri (2000:139-140): ‘It is reserved to classify encircling the vaporous harangues that go inferior the trutination of postmodernism, beside most of them describe at lowest interveniently on Jean-Francois Lyotard’s elegancy of novelist overpower narratives … [P]ostmodernist theories are defined by frequent of their proponents as sharing individual batrust beggarly denominator, a classifyd aggression on the Enlightenment.’

[3] ‘The dialectical rank, the precarious rank is vacuity. There is no gone-by rank … – no gone-by rank either of metaphysical or gregarious solidarity.’ (Baudrillard:1990:164)

[4] Descry restraint copy Fukuyama (1992)

[5] Here we can descry parallels with Lyotard’s opposition inside meta-narratives.

[6] Grillo (1998:219) interestingly demands that there is another model with postnovel scheme: ‘There is an tortuousness in postmodernist congruity in the gregarious comprehensions: are we intercourse with an metaphysical in (on accents and so restraintth) or expression of refinement and companionship whose features are taken by the characteristic ‘postmodern’? Or twain?’ In other signification, postmodernists are generally abashed in their theorising, as they canreferable adequately totality restraint the origins of the disunion of personality and purport.

[7] Zizek is referable alindividual in this scene. Descry restraint copy Brockelman (2003:191): ‘[A]t the heart of sound gregarious orders surrendering identities is a infallible texture, a texture that alindividual invents likely the restraintmation of diaprecarious or loudd identities.’

[8] Descry as-well Hard and Negri (2000:137-143)

[9] Stuart Sim (1986:11) restraint copy reproaches postmodernism restraint its gregarious imbecility, arguing that antifoundationalist gregarious appropinquationes are ‘uncoordinated guerrilla campaigns conducted by averse solipsists – and individual wonders how auspicious that would be.’


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