Andrew Doyle is a playwright, journalist, and political satirist from Northern Ireland, who has written for the fictional character Jonathan Pie, and who created the Twitter character ‘Titania McGrath’.
Postmodernism, a movement that emerged in the mid-20th century.
One primary concern is the issue of relativism and the lack of objective truth. Postmodernists typically reject the notion of objective truth, arguing instead that realities are socially constructed and subjective. If there are no objective truths or standards, it becomes challenging to condemn harmful acts or beliefs. Furthermore, the denial of objective truth can undermine scientific research and empirical knowledge, as it implies that these forms of understanding are no more valid than any other perspective.
Another criticism revolves around obscurantism. Critics often (correctly) accuse postmodernism of being overly complex and abstract to the point of inaccessibility. The language used by postmodern theorists is often difficult to understand, and this obscurity can limit the usefulness of their ideas to a broader audience. It can also inadvertently create an intellectual elite that monopolises knowledge and understanding.
Cultural relativism also poses a problem. Postmodernism’s emphasis on the equal validity of all cultural narratives can sometimes lead to a form of cultural relativism that inhibits criticism of harmful cultural practices.
A further critique of postmodernism is its inability to provide solutions.
Neglect of individual agency is another criticism levelled against postmodernism. Postmodernism often emphasises structural factors and societal constructs at the expense of individual agency.
Finally, by viewing all grand narratives or ideologies with scepticism, including those of progress and liberation, postmodernism can inadvertently undermine efforts for social change. If all ideologies are seen as equally flawed or oppressive, then the motivation to strive for positive change can be diminished.