Into the Labyrinth of Postmodernism

18 Nov

postmodernismWhat constitutes knowledge? What constitutes reality? How do we come to know what we know?  Research is usually the tool that we use to describe and explain our reality but that is assuming that there is a reality to explain.

The social construction of reality and the role of language in creating this reality is what the postmodernist movement explores. Thinkers adhering to this paradigm question the existence of a reality and the notion of an ultimate ‘truth’ stating that whether we are talking about reality or truth, these are concepts that are prone to shifts and redefinitions based on circumstances and time.

Whereas positivists believed that an external objective world existed and attempted to explain it with ‘what’, ‘when’, or ‘how much’ questions, and interpretivist/constructivist researchers emphasized the subjective interpretive component of this world, asking ‘why, ‘How does’, and ‘what meaning’ questions, postmodernists question the scientific method itself stating that it is a tool of a specific time and culture and may therefore not be valid for today’s reality and truth. Postmodernist theorists call our attention to expose hidden values and assumptions underlying our questions and demand that we ask questions about our questions, to really look at the world through critical eyes as we engage in new ways of thinking, doing, and being.

Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known ~ C. Palahnuik

Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known ~ C. Palahnuik

Postmodernism is a concept that I have yet to fully grasp. As far as research is concerned, I appreciate the claims that postmodernism makes. Its call for us to question and be uncertain about absolute ‘truth’ and binary concepts such as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ , ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is healthy in that it provides space for critical consciousness to operate and allows for different perspectives. If nothing else, postmodernism warrants us to re-imagine the grounds upon which we make judgment about what is progress, and provides us with an opportunity to be reflexive in our contributions.

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