The term postmodern
appears in a range of contexts, from the academic
world to clothing advertisements
in the New York Times
. Its meaning differs
with context to such an extent that it seems to not express a value as much as it holds open a space for that which transcends explanation or expression.
Obviously, beyond this myriad of uses, another problem arises in defining postmodern because of its dependance on the definition of modern. Becuase postmodern clearly refers to a time period after the modern, the definition of the modern is a key factor in forming a postmodern definition. If modernity is construed to mean that which follows the medieval (Renaissance culture and its sequels), postmodern refers to a revolutionary shift in the system of values and practices that have been broadly codified in European life over several centuries. This revolutionary shift calls into question the stablity of the structures that we have come to take for granted and, therefore, has a clearly transformative power, if given enough momentum.