Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?
James K.A. Smith
Baker Academic, 2006. 156 pp.
Is the Devil from Paris? This is James K.A. Smith's opening question in his new book, Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? Smith sets out to challenge the common perception that postmodernism, an intellectual movement credited to twentieth-century French philosophers, is a force working against the institutions of Christianity and the Church. He parses the mantras of Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault, the fathers of postmodernism, and finds that their insights are not so much vituperative threats as constructive comments affording important points for theologians to consider. He shirks 'bumper-sticker understandings' of this triumvirate of thinkers and encourages the dissection of their ideas as one way to improve church life. Though some of his arguments are better than others, they make good sense of the problems postmodernism raises and addresses. Smith uses contemporary film to illustrate many of his examples, ranging from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as an example of Foucault's conception of power roles to The Little Mermaid to help readers understand Derrida in a whimsical way. Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? also reads in a pleasantly colloquial vernacular, avoiding the bogs of technical language.
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|Title Annotation:||BOOKS IN BRIEF|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2006|
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