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Visions of postmodernity: discourses and theoretical perspectives

Although sociology was born as a "narrative about modernity" (Rita Felski), the contemporary world experiences social, cultural and political changes that require further analyses and new perspectives. This paper discusses current approaches and discourses on postmodernity within sociology and the contemporary social theory, identifying some of the key issues. Among other things, many discourses present metaphors of "degeneration" or social deterioration associated with notions such as "contamination of the public by the private" or, on the contrary, "the private by the public." There is much concern about a potential loss of social ties due to the deconstruction of the standardized forms of relationship (Bauman), or a loss of the dialogical possibilities because of the spreading of social and cultural identities (Habermas). Given these perspectives, and Giddens' more "optimistic" view (through his notion of the reflexivity of "post-traditional society"), this study proposes an appreciation of the works of authors such as Andreas Huyssen and the feminist and post-colonial theorists, who point to trends of postmodernity, some of them contradictory, that contribute to the development of practical and theoretical new ways.

Postmodernity; Contemporary sociological theory; Zygmunt Bauman; Public and private

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