Several postmodernisms

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Postmodern advertising, transgressing boundaries

Postmodern advertising, affirming boundaries, ironically -- then, the two ads together, a complex mix of irony, play, commodification, and the refusal to be confined to any one of those categories

The word "postmodern" has little clear meaning these days, but to give it some use, we might distinguish the following aspects:

  1. the modern, taken as the attempt to arrive at total transparent unities and self-conscious processes (in nature, in society, in individuals, in conceptual systems, in texts)
  2. the postmodern as multiplying those unities, often ironically -- multiple readings of texts, multiple identities, etc.
  3. the postmodern as destroying those unities by dissolving them within a non-systematic flow (of signifiers, of capital, of power, and so on -- many of the critiques of contemporary places employ this strategy)
  4. the postmodern as living with those unities within contexts they don't control, as unities that exist precisely by not being as total and firm as they claim to be -- inhabiting unities while encouraging boundary crossing, maintaining flow and movement, with locality and residence as porous, multiple and intersecting