Post-Modernism in Today’s Modern World

Within the fieldwork of post-modernism theory states that the individual’s own experience can never be replicated, also-known-as the crisis of replicability. Take for instance the image featured above of the blind men who are feeling each a different part of the elephant. Each man feels, smells, hears something different the person next to him. This same premise is done within field research, each and every person has the own unique understandings of the world around them. When conducting fieldwork, it is important to think about the voice of the individual(s) represented. In order to provide a good and accurate fieldwork, one has to triangulate, which is when you receive descriptions and explanations from all different viewpoints. In today’s society, you can produce triangulation just by going into social media platforms and read the comments from all different walks of life.

Take for instance the following the controversial post of Woods Cross High School, Utah student, Keziah Daum. Keziah posted on Twitter her prom dress which was a traditional Chinese dress even though she is not of Chinese descent. The vast amount of responses to this twitter post demonstrate how each and every person has their own unique viewpoints. One post supported Keziah’s dress and said that it is “cultural appreciation” (Chen). Another person said that their culture is not Keziah’s dress. These posts are examples of how one can triangulate through the use of social media. Thousands of comments can be made on just one image, one post, one song, and each comment is just one view of the content of which is happening.

As an anthropologist, you need to embrace the contradictions and controversial points of view in order to get a better and fuller understanding of the world around you. Not only can this be done by physically doing this in person but also through written documentation, such as history and news, but also in more recent times such as social media comments.

By Kate Grabowski

Works Cited

Chen, Stacy. “Teen Defends Chinese Prom Dress That Sparked Cultural Appropriation Debate: ‘I Would Wear It Again’.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!, 2 May 2018,–abc-news-fashion-and-beauty.html.

4 thoughts on “Post-Modernism in Today’s Modern World

  1. I believe this is absolutely true. People have so many different life experiences. These different experiences cause people to think differently and have different viewpoints. It is extremely important to listen to everyone, to all sides of the story. You’ll never get the right idea of something or someone or even to begin to get the right idea without listening to what people to say. And experiencing their ways of life. Even if people have negative or controversial viewpoints, it is important to embrace everyone and listen to their stories.

  2. Taking a snapshot of a picture of blind people in their perspective of an elephant. I have a unique perspective on this view point. When I first became blind I went into a room and the way it was laid out in my mind one aspect was there is no way it could be laid out this way. The other aspect was it was much bigger than I thought. The more I learned the layout of the room the more I realized that my original perspective was correct and my second one was incorrect. The realization that education you have the more you fill in the missing gaps. So, by learning from different people this will help you to know the world even better.

  3. I’m not sure “Cultural Appropriation” is really a thing. Especially in today’s global market and internet sharing, nothing belongs to just one people anymore. People can be downright nasty about this subject. When I saw what you wrote about that high school student’s dress, it reminded me of I Tumblr post I read once. There was a little girl who wanted to have a Japanese tea party with her friends, so her mother set everything up (including a kimono) and when she posted a picture people got mean. My favorite part of the post though was the last reply.

    1. Ha, I remember that kerfuffle and I loved that final comment. Now, let’s deepen the discussion on the girl wearing a ‘Chinese’ dress to her prom when she’s not Chinese. Newsflash – that particular style of dress is a modern style originating in 1920s Shanghai. It was designed specifically by the fashion industry to capture the newly rich elite market of Chinese folks who wanted to go out to nightclubs and fancy dinners. It was a sign of modernity. It was so associated with the bourgeoisie that the Chinese Communist Party banned the cheong same when they took control of the government. In Hong Kong, on the other hand, it became the standard, ‘traditional,’ form of dress for formal occasions (and rich ladies).
      In short – tradition, yeah, right … It’s kind of like those ‘traditional Scottish kilts, a quite consciously created sign of identity that is validated in part by being claimed as traditional.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: