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One cheer for postmodernism

September 2nd, 2002

Ken Parish has a fascinating piece on the very limited impact of postmodernism on judicial decisions in Australia and the US. Economics is similar, in that postmodernism has had almost zero impact. I did a literature search for Foucault, Derrida etc a while back, and, outside some peripheral fields like marketing, there was absolutely nothing. This is surprising , since a lot of postmodernism rests on economic claims about modernity, globalisation and so on. Ken dismisses postmodernism as useless, but I can think of at least three good uses
(i) Therapy for recovering Stalinists
(ii) A harmless target on which right-wing pundits can vent their rage
(iii) Some theoretical content for degrees in “communications”
I’m particularly keen on (iii), for the reasons set out by Deirdre Macken in the weekend Fin (subscription required). As a columnist, it’s hard enough hanging on to my space against the usual competitors. Imagine if all those communications graduates had actually been taught how to write a coherent argument,.

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