Title page for ETD etd-03262010-175241

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Winczewski, Marianna Jadwiga
Email niuwin@webonline.bit
URN etd-03262010-175241
Document Title Consumption, pastiche and identity in postmodern visual culture
Degree Master of Arts
Department Visual Arts
Advisor Name Title
Dr N Louw Co-Supervisor
Prof E Dreyer Supervisor
  • pastiche
  • society
  • Marxism
  • schizophrenia
  • random borrowings
  • saturation
  • dystopia
  • lifted imagery
  • appropriation art
  • mass media
  • popular culture
  • identity
  • fragmentation
  • postmodernism
  • capitalism
Date 2009-04-29
Availability unrestricted

In this mini-dissertation the ongoing battle between the self and late-capitalist society is explored as a theoretical response to the notion of the fragmented subject in relation to postmodernism.

Frederic Jameson links the schizophrenic subject and postmodern culture explicitly to societal changes in Western economies: this author's tradition outlines a main part of my theoretical stance within this mini-dissertation. Jameson, decisive in his criticism of current popular culture that has formed as a result of postmodernism, conveys a key dystopic viewpoint in his association of schizophrenia with postmodernism and late-capitalism. This sentiment is echoed in this mini-dissertation, as it is my belief that capitalist consumption habits and pastiche are interrelated in current popular visual culture, simulating a schizoid experience which consumers in turn mirror when formulating a sense of self.

An essentially fragmented (postmodern) viewpoint with regard to postmodern visual culture is argued, and is aligned with Jameson's perspective on how subjects form identities within late capitalism, with pastiche and consumption labelled as the main causes of the contemporary societal problem of fragmentation.

The main contention of the study is thus that contemporary consumption practices, through the stylistic acceptance of pastiche, are the current causes of fragmentation within the self. This naturalisation of postmodern montage and pastiche, in my opinion, effectively disorientates consumers, as similar techniques that are adopted in consumer culture are applied to identity formation, thus contributing to a sense of egolessness, a key characteristic of schizophrenia. Focus is placed on visual examples that highlight postmodern techniques of nostalgic image recycling, aligned to similar postmodern identity models, with parallels drawn between the fragmenting individual and the consuming individual.

As exceedingly discontinuous processes of change occur through capitalist consumption habits that are emblematic characteristics of the postmodern condition, it is thus my belief that current postmodern visual culture contributes to an overall fragmented experience of the individual, where consumer practices are negatively affecting identity construction, and thus spurring on further cultural fragmentation and social disintegration.

Copyright 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Winczewski, MJ 2008, Consumption, pastiche and identity in postmodern visual culture, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03262010-175241/ >

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