Postmodernism & Postmodernity: Various Meaning of Both

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The terms "postmodernism" and "postmodernity" have emerged as buzz words in recent years and are often used interchangeably.While they are related in certain ways, it is important to understand each term's contextual implications.In this essay, we will explore the various meanings of both postmodernism and postmodernity, specifically in reference to Don DeLillo's novel White Noise, which is in many ways emblematic of both phenomena.Thus, while beginning with a delineation between postmodernism and postmodernity, I intend to show how the two concepts unite within the course of White Noise, a postmodernist novel encompassing the postmodern condition.
Postmodernity can be thought of as a social or historical condition, whereas postmodernism is meant to refer to a period in art, culture, and philosophy that follows upon the heels of modernism.Postmodernity, or "the postmodern condition," as it is often called, is often used synonymously with "late capitalism" to describe the era we have been in since the Cold War.Jean-Francois Lyotard, one of the leading theorists of postmodernity, has characterized the era as being synonymous with the dissolution of master narratives. 1Postmodernity simultaneously charts the problem of mediation in history.History comes down to us in narrative form, which is essentially a form of mediation with cultural and ideological interests at stake.Thus, while history has traditionally represented an objective truth, postmodern theorists have been keen to point out that history is actually a biased interpretation of events.The question then becomes whether it is even possible for us to get back to the unmediated referents of history – that is, whether we can discover the "truth" in history, or if such a thing even exists.
Frederic Jameson was one of the chief theorists to chart the evolution of postmodernism from modernis…