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Monograph that presents a critique of the notion of postmodernism. Includes references and a select bibliography on postmodernism. The author is professor of. John Frow. Clarendon `What Was Postmodernism?’ analyses the structured anxiety about the commodification of culture that is called `postmodern theory’. Buy What was postmodernism? by John Frow (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.

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Book titles are important, albeit troubling things.

Time and Commodity Culture

I have a particular ineptitude in proposing titles for my own books, in deciding on a word, a phrase or a clause that both captures the core contention of the book and also happens to be catchy and accessible to that frightening, intangible, crucial Other of writing practice, the reader.

For a more specialist, academic writer, the task seems somewhat easier: The Practice of Value: His book Genrefor example, has been widely taught at universities. Nor does this view of Frow deploy postmodernism and poststructuralism as straw men to exaggerate the effects of the absence of a Marxian dimension in his writing. I do not wish to catalogue the well-known contentions and conflicts between incorrigible Marxists and the panegyrists of postmodernity. In one of the many engaging essays in The Practice of ValueFrow provides an openly Foucauldian analysis of the philosophy of a prison built in Port Arthur in the mid-nineteenth century: So it seems that Frow is indeed continuing to read and postmodwrnism a great deal of poststructuralism, and perhaps not enough Marxism.

I would have expected that a book titled The Practice of Value — written by the author of a book titled Wha and Literary History — would contain a good deal more Marxism to elucidate what seems an undeniable contingency: Frow is not, at least in this recent publication, a strict devotee of the postmodernist preoccupation with frod all and sundry for the sake of it.


The particular determinacy and indeterminacy of a judgment is a nohn of the regime of value that constitutes its condition of possibility. By regime of value I mean the set of institutional and semiotic conditions that permit the construction and regulation of value equivalence and evaluative regulations for particular ends and within a framework of shared understandings. Value, according to Frow, emerges when two or more of these regimes, with their differing criteria and temporalities, coincide often, it seems, through the writings of an exceedingly learned, cross-disciplinary scholar such as Frow himself.

For Frow, the term value does not mean benefit or worthas such.

It instead indicates a certain social or public currency or significance or, at the very least, an intelligibility which, once granted to the work, makes the work eligible for inclusion in the spheres of study and criticism. Many other essays collected in The Practice of Value also propose an evaluative or critical framework which is produced by the tensions and commonalities of different regimes of reading at the moment these regimes intersect.

What Was Postmodernism? | John Frow –

This examination provides a provocative commentary on, among other bizarre things — including a morbid, erotic letter written by a woman to the singer a year after his death — the phenomenon of Elvis impersonators. It refutes simplistic postmodern paeans to the kitsch and the ironic.

According to Frow, the performance of the impersonators. But these levels, again, are not hierarchical and do not describe an ascending order.


I wonder if any theory of value — from whatever theoretical or professional discipline — can be entirely effective without tackling the ideological.

I am more than happy to describe this and many other actions and inactions of the Howard Government as shameful. As such, even clearly progressive acts such as the production of the Report and the enactment of its recommendations wws example, an apology to the members of the Stolen Generations by the Australian Government could be viewed as ideological.

What Was Postmodernism? or, The Last of the Angels

Indeed, a more political and less postmodernissm view of the Report might regard it as a text structured by the discourse of human rights: To this end, I would like to evoke the final section of the final essay collected in this volume.

It would be impossible for a Marxist to imagine such an eradication of antagonism for as long as we live under the aegis of capitalism.

Louis Althusser, Froww Ideology Verso, Sign me up for the newsletter! Please leave this field empty. The Sydney Review of Books is an initiative of the Writing and Society Research Centre Our work is made possible through the support of the following organizations.

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