Stanley Aronwitz and Henry A. Giroux, Postmodern Education: Politics, Culture and Social Criticism, p. 58: Postmodern criticism is also important because it offers the promise of deterritorializing modernism and redrawing its political, social, and cultural boundaries, while simultaneously affirming a politics of racial, gender, and ethnic difference. Moreover, postmodern criticism does not merely challenge dominant Western cultural models with their attendant notion of universally valid knowledge; it also situates us within a world that bears little resemblance to the one that inspired the great narratives of Marx and Freud. In effect, postmodern criticism calls attention to the shifting boundaries related to the increasing influence of the electronic mass media and information technology, the changing nature of class and social formations in postindustrialized capitalist societies, and the growing transgression of boundaries between life and art, high and popular culture, and image and reality.
p.64: On an ideological level, the deterritorialization and remapping characteristic of the postmodern condition can be seen in the effort by many theorists and critics to challenge and rewrite in oppositional terms the modernist ideals of rationality, totality, certainty, and progress along with its "globalizing, integrative vision of the individual's place in history and society" (Richard, 1987/88, 6). But the struggle against the ideals of modernity is not limited to the rewriting of its major texts and assumptions. For example, such a struggle cannot be seen exclusively as a matter of challenging a privileged modernist aesthetic, which calls into question the oppressive organization of space and experience that characterizes institutions such as schools, museums, and the workplace; nor can the struggle against modernity be read simply as a call to open up texts to the heterogeneity of meanings they embody and mediate. These sites of struggle and contestation are important, but the postmodern condition is also rooted in those fundamental political and technological shifts that undermine the central modernist notion that there exists "a legitimate center --a unique and superior position from which to establish control and to determine hierarchies" (Richards, 1987/88, 6). This center refers to the privileging of Western patriarchal culture, with its representations of domination rooted in a Eurocentric conception of the world, and to the technological, political, economic, and military resources that once were almost exclusively dominated by the Western industrial countries. In effect, the basic elements of the postmodern condition have been created by major changes in the global redistribution of political power in the West, the transformations in the nature of the forces of production, and the emergence of new forms of cultural criticism.
p. 116: postmodernism presents itself as a critique of all
forms of representations and meanings that claim transcendental
and transhistorical status. It rejects universal reason as a foundation
for human affairs, and poses as alternatives forms of knowing
that are partical, historical, and social. In addition, postmodernism
points to a world in which the production of meaning has become
as important as the production of labor in shaping the boundaries
of human existence. In this view, how we are constituted in language
is no less important than how we are constructed as subjects within
relations of production. The political economy of the sign does
not displace political economy; it simply assumes its rightful
place as a primary category for understanding how identities are
forged within particular relations of privilege, oppression, and
struggle. Similarly, postmodernism serves to deterritorialize
the map of dominant cultural understanding. That is, it rejects
the European tradition as the exclusive referent for judging what
constitutes historical, cultural, and political truth. There is
no tradition or story that can speak with authority and certainty
for all of humanity. A postmodernism of resistance argues that
traditions should be valued for their attempts to name the partial,
the particular, and the specific; in this view, traditions demonstrate
the importance of constituting history as a dialogue among a variety
of voices as they struggle within assymetrical relations of power.
Traditions are not valued for their claims to truth or authority,
but for the ways in which they serve to liberate and enlarge human
possibilities. Tradition does not represent an all-embracing view
of life: instead, it serves to place people self-consciously in
their histories by making them aware of the memories constituted
in difference, struggle, and hope. Tradition, in postmodern terms,
is a form of counter-memory that points to the fluid and complex
identities that constitute the social and political construction
of public life.
...a postmodernism of resistance challenges the liberal humanist notion of the unified, rational subject as the bearer of history, In this view, the subject is not unified, nor can such a subject's action be guaranteed in metaphysical or transhistorical terms. Postmodernism views the subject as contradictory and multilayered, and rejects the notion that individual consciousness and reason are the most important determinants in shaping human history. It posits instead a faith in forms of soical transformation that understand the historical, structural, and ideological limits that shape the possibility for self-reflection and action. Postmodernism points to solidarity, community, and compassion as essential aspects of how we develop and understand the capacities we have for experiencing the world and ourselves in a meaningful way. More specifically, postmodernism offers a series of referents for rethinking how we are constituted as subjects within a rapidly changing set of political, social, and cultural conditions.