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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Post-postmodernism is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, postmodernism. In American culture, the movement that is loosely called “New Sincerity” displays salient features of post-postmodernism in its opposition to postmodern irony and in its attempt to promote good feeling, resulting from post-September 11 sentiments.


Scholars agree that modernism began in the late 19th century and continued on as the dominant cultural force well into the mid-twentieth century. Like all epochs, modernism encompasses many competing individual directions and is impossible to define as a discrete unity or totality. However, its chief general characteristics are often thought to include an emphasis on radical aesthetic innovation, the search for authenticity in human relations, a tendency towards abstraction in art, and utopian striving. These characteristics are normally lacking in postmodernism or are treated as objects of irony.

Postmodernism arose after World War II as a reaction to the perceived failings of modernism, whose radical artistic projects had come to be associated with totalitarianism or had been assimilated into mainstream culture. The basic features of what we now call postmodernism can be found as early as the 1940s, most notably in the work of Jorge Luis Borges. However, most scholars today would agree that postmodernism began to compete with modernism in the late 1950s and gained ascendancy over it in the 1960s. Since then, postmodernism has been a dominant, though not undisputed, force in art, literature, film, music, drama, architecture and philosophy. Salient features of postmodernism are normally thought to include the ironic play with styles, citations and narrative levels, a metaphysical skepticism towards the “grand narratives” of Western culture, a preference for the virtual at the expense of the real, and a “waning of affect” on the part of the subject, who is caught up in the free interplay of virtual, endlessly reproducible signs inducing a state of consciousness similar to schizophrenia.

Since the late 1990s there has been a widespread feeling both in popular culture and in academia that postmodernism "has gone out of fashion." However, there have been few formal attempts to define and name the epoch succeeding postmodernism, and none of the proposed designations has yet become part of mainstream usage.


Consensus on what makes up an epoch can hardly be achieved while that epoch is still in its early stages. However, a common positive theme of existing attempts to define post-postmodernism is that faith, trust, dialogue, performance or sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony. The following definitions, which vary widely in depth, focus and scope, are listed in the chronological order of their appearance.

In 1995 Turner published City as Landscape: A Post Post-modern View of Design and Planning, a book-length call for a post-postmodern turn in urban planning.

In Russian Postmodernism. New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture his 1999 book on Russian postmodernism the Russian-American Slavist Mikhail Epstein suggested that postmodernism “is […] part of a much larger historical formation,” which he calls “postmodernity.” Epstein believes that postmodernist aesthetics will eventually become entirely conventional and provide the foundation for a new, non-ironic kind of poetry.

The term “post-millennialism” was introduced in 2000 by the American cultural theorist Eric Gans to describe the epoch after postmodernism in ethical and socio-political terms.

A systematic attempt to define post-postmodernism in aesthetic terms has been undertaken by the German-American Slavist Raoul Eshelman in his book Performatism, or the End of Postmodernism he coined the term “performatism” in 2000. Examples of performatist works cited by Eshelman include Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, the movie American Beauty, Sir Norman Foster’s renovation of the Berlin Reichstag, the philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion and Vanessa Beecroft’s performances.

In popular culture, the movement that is loosely called “New Sincerity” displays salient features of post-postmodernism in its opposition to postmodern irony and in its attempt to promote good feeling.

In 2006 the British scholar Alan Kirby formulated an entirely pessimistic socio-cultural assessment of post-postmodernism that he calls “pseudo-modernism.” Kirby associates pseudo-modernism with the triteness and shallowness resulting from the instantaneous, direct, and superficial participation in culture made possible by the internet, mobile phones, interactive television and similar means

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Post-postmodernism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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