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The Condition of Postmodernity
by David Harvey
ISBN 0631162941 / 9780631162940 / 0-631-16294-1
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The Condition of Postmodernity is David Harvey's seminal history of this, our most equivocal of eras. What does postmodernism mean? Where did it come from? Harvey, a Professor of Geography, and a key mover behind extending the scope and influence of the discipline of geography itself, does a thorough job here delineating the passage through to postmodernity and the economic, social and political changes that underscored and accompanied it. As he clearly states, the rise in postmodernist cultural forms is related to a new intensity in what Harvey terms "time-space compression" but this new intensity is a qualitive and not a quantitive change in social organisation and does not point to a era beyond capitalism as "the basic rules of capitalistic accumulation" remain unchanged. Unlike Fredric Jameson (whose equally rewarding Postmodernism stands as the twin pillar to Harvey's critique), who explicitly relies on Ernest Mandel's periodisation of Late Capitalism, Harvey eschews a narrowly economic focus, the limits and contradictions of production that have led to the rise in the service sector, and takes a more multidisciplinary approach to his history: as comfortable discussing Manet as he is labour markets. Harvey is an excellent writer and The Condition of Postmodernity is an exceptionally informative and enjoyable read. Mark Thwaite [via]