Catalogue

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The unraveling of the West : the rise of postmodernism and the decline of democracy /
Donald N. Wood.
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2003.
description
xvi, 266 p.
ISBN
0275981045 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2003.
isbn
0275981045 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5068371
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Donald N. Wood is Professor Emeritus, Media Studies, California State University, Northbridge.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-09-01:
Media studies scholar Wood (California State Univ., Northridge; Post-intellectualism and the Decline of Democracy, CH, Apr'97) documents all of the postmodern forces that have combined to defeat modernism and rationalism and provides a set of solutions. After defining what he calls the "analytic thinking pattern" (basically a problem solving sequence), Wood goes on to show how postmodernism undermines or misappropriates features of this system. Characterizing postmodernism as the "deliberate rejection of reason and structure," "chaos and relativity [being] the passwords of the era," Wood sets up three intellectual periods (that are, in effect, premodern, modern, and postmodern), each contrasted according to characteristic modes of society and cultural organization; science, technology and religion; governance and economics; and art and education. The postmodern period is defined by two contrasting tendencies. The first is a return to the tribalism of the premodern period as found, for example, in New Age mysticism. Its opposite is "hyperintellectualism," characterized by technological determinism and capitalistic exploitation, among other conditions. Wood's program of reform calls for a search for values, educational restructuring, environmental restoration, economic reform, and global transformation. Intended for general readers, this is an interesting, if somewhat morose, book. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. S. A. Tyler Rice University
Reviews
Review Quotes
'œWood's program of reform calls for a search for values, educational restructuring, environmental restoration, economic reform, and global transformation. Intended for general readers, this is an interesting, if somewhat morose, book. Recommended. All levels/libraries.'' Choice
"Wood's program of reform calls for a search for values, educational restructuring, environmental restoration, economic reform, and global transformation. Intended for general readers, this is an interesting, if somewhat morose, book. Recommended. All levels/libraries."- Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2004
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Modernism is collapsing as postmodern ideals eat away at the twin pillars of reason & responsibility. Wood argues for a return to our intellectual heritage, including the reclaiming of the liberal arts, environmental restoration, economic restructuring & worldwide political reform.
Long Description
The West is declining, and Wood blames it on the self-implosion of our intellectual cultural heritage. Modernism is collapsing under its own weight, as postmodern ideals eat away at the West's twin pillars of reason and responsibility. Our media-fueled, image-driven, non-linear recasting of the good life has led to the rejection of reason, the enshrinement of greed, ecological debasement, retribalization, and the erosion of democratic mores. Wood thoughtfully explains the origins of our current cultural malaise, and argues that western culture literally becomes more unreasonable as we abandon our Enlightenment heritage and become an anti-intellectual society. There are steps we can take to reclaim our intellectual heritage. We need a sense of balance, and affirmation of the best qualities of modernism and postmodernism. Although science and religion must be championed, there is much value in passion and spontaneity, for religion and existential faith, for tradition and for community. Some remedies Wood considers include a return to the liberal arts, environmental restoration, economic restructuring and equity, and worldwide political reform.
Table of Contents
Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
The Problem: Trying to Define What's Wrongp. 1
A Culture in Disarrayp. 3
Modernism: Defining the Intellectual Rootsp. 11
Intellectualism: Defining the Twin Pillarsp. 21
Exploring Postmodernismp. 31
Exploring Post-Intellectualismp. 41
Three Periods of Intellectual Evolutionp. 51
Two Faces of Post-Intellectualismp. 61
The Causes: How Things Got Out of Controlp. 71
Inherent Contradictions of Intellectualismp. 73
Three Underlying Determinantsp. 81
The Transition to Post-Intellectualismp. 91
The Real Story of the Sixtiesp. 101
Living in a Mediated Realityp. 109
The Effects: Six Crises of the Twenty-First Centuryp. 119
Discarding Individualismp. 121
Swapping Materialism for Moralityp. 129
Rejecting Reasonp. 137
Courting Ecological Disasterp. 147
Embracing Tribalism and Religious Fundamentalismp. 157
Giving Up on Democracyp. 167
Solutions: Several Outlandish Proposalsp. 177
The Search for Valuesp. 179
Educational Restructuringp. 187
Environmental Restorationp. 197
Economic Reformp. 205
Global Transformationp. 213
Notesp. 223
Selected Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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