postmodernism

local/global

The "local" is a politically contested concept. Is it a site of resistance to globalization and the hegemonic ideological systems that go under the names of the West, McWorld, and EMPIRE? Is the local the only viable link to tradition, or is it a source of fascisms, of ethnic atavisms, of all the raging cultural fundamentalisms and defensively defined communities that Benjamin Barber calls jihad ? 

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public/private

According to the liberal tradition, the modern individual, at home in its private spaces, regards the public as its outside. The outside is the place proper to politics, where the action of the individual is exposed in the presence of others and there seeks recognition. (This is the notion of the political elaborated by Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition, which she calls the space of public appearance 
Public space is civic space. It is the space of civil society, shared by citizens -- individuals who have aquired a public voice and understand themselves to be part of a wider community. 

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simulacrum

In "The Structuralist Activity," of 1960, Roland Barthes defines structure as a simulacrum of the object in which something new occurs: the simulacrum is "intellect added to the object," making something appear which remained invisible, or if one prefers, unintelligible. For Barthes, "Structural man takes the real, decomposes it, then recomposes it." 

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simulation

"Simulation of any system implies a mapping from observable aspects of the system to corresponding symbolic elements of the simulation." (H. H. Pattee, "Simulations, Realizations, and Theories of Life", in Artificial Life) For Pattee, realizations are functional replacements. They are judged primarily by how well they function as implementations of design specifications. (Thus a building would be the implementation of a blueprint) 

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surface/depth

In "The Mass Ornament", Siegfried Kracauer claims that "An analysis of the simple surface manifestations of an epoch can contribute more to determining its place in the historical process than judgements of the epoch about itself," and that "the very unconscious nature of surface manifestations allows for direct access to an understanding of these conditions." 

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