The promise of postmodernism

The opening to “The End of Sociological Theory” by Steven Seidman begins:

Postmodernism carries no promise of liberation-of a society free of domination. Postmodernism gives up the modernist idol of human emancipation in favor of deconstructing false closure, prying open present and future social possibilities, detecting fluidity and porousness in forms of life where hegemonic discourses posit closure and a frozen order. The hope of a great transformation is replaced by the more modest aspiration of a relentless defense of immediate, local pleasures and struggles for justice. Postmodernism offers the possibility of a socialĀ  analysis that takes seriously the history of cruelty and constraint in Western modernity without surrendering to the retreat from criticalness that characterizes much current conservative and liberal social thought.

First published Jan 28, 2012