2.3. The Two Faces of Postmodernity

16 June 2021

Postmodernity is a coin with two sides. One of those sides looks sceptically at objective truth and questions the validity of all structures that support those truths that are in place in society and culture. The sceptical questions have unearthed the modernist compulsions of hegemonic institutions. The questioning has revealed the subtle erosion of corruptive forces of power that have been enforced in politics and religion in non-equal humanitarian exploitation of labour and favouring to support patriarchal white privilege to govern over the many. On the other side of the coin, postmodernism is it is own worst enemy. In its sceptical fashion, postmodernism facilitates a malleable space due to the subjectivity of what the truth is, which Derrida describe as Every interpretation of a subject is in the hands of the observer (Spivak & Derrida, 1998). This implies that truth is objective for everyone, and because of this, it is only within the conflict that one can win out over the other if they cannot coexist that one truth becomes valid and the other void. 

As early as Plato’s ideal city of the Republic, it is possible to see the paradox of subjective truth and the dangers to be found. Plato saw the danger in the wrong type of poetry, which in those days can be imagined as the equivalent of social media today. He saw the significant influence that poetry had on society, and for that reason, banned the wrong type of poetry. The banning of the wrong type of poetry evokes a bigger question: who deems what poetry is the right sort of poetry? This is the type of question for ethics and moral philosophy, which would consider the vast ideas on dealing with the fickle nature of truth. Many have tried to give their best logical reasoning or empathetic heartfelt pray. However, what remains still is a difference; surely one is also allowed to have an opinion?

Nevertheless, what is evident is, if these multiple objective truths cannot coexist, then inevitably, that would not be postmodernism. It would be modernism. That would suggest that postmodern and modern ideologies shift between each other timelessly and that historically they can be seen to have originated at a time in history but are timeless human traits that create tensions between self-developing and a sense towards collective responsibility. I argue that subcultures are the means for humans to find a way to cope with the anxiety of the hegemonic modernist world that enforces and narrows truth onto its society to benefit those leading the imposed political, social and cultural hegemonic structure. What postmodernism does say is the truth is in the hands of the observer, which is founded on the sensitivity and awareness of the moment and the experience of one's own life. By considering the methods — sensitivity and awareness — as techniques in becoming postmodern, what is the outcome, socially and culturally? In the next chapter, I intend to address these questions by locating the influential conditions in the history of ‘House music', which evolved to be ‘Rave’ in the UK in the late 1980s. 

3. (A Part of) - The History of ‘House Music’