POSTMODERNISM, POLITICS AND POPULAR CULTURE
The intersection of postmodernism with popular culture, which some have dismissed as trivialising serious political debate, is profoundly political—if by ‘political’ it is meant an engagement with the ‘politics of everyday life’. The terrain of popular culture articulated in a range of cultural forms and expressed in a range of cultural styles is fundamentally about such a politics. As McRobbie comments,
This landscape of the present, with its embracing of pastiche, its small defiant pleasure in being dressed up or ‘casual’, its exploration of fragmented subjectivity—all of this articulates more precisely with the wider conditions of present ‘reality’: with unemployment, with education, with the ‘aestheticization of culture’ and with the coming into being of those whose voices were historically drowned out by the (modernist) metanarratives of mastery which were in turn both patriarchal and imperialist.
It is in this sense that McRobbie (1986:2) describes the meaning of living ‘along the fault-lines of the postmodern condition’ as ‘engaging with questions, dilemmas and difference which were on the surface and no longer “hidden from history” (Rowbotham, 1973)’. The shift of emphasis within cultural criticism has been articulated as a move away from ‘the search for meaning in the text towards the sociological play between images and between different cultural forms and institutions’ (McRobbie 1986:3-4).