The Institute for Emancipatory Constructionism @
The Postisms
An Explanation of the Term & Links by Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.

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Postism is a designation sometimes utilized as a shorthand for a variety of contemporary antifoundationalist movements and thinking styles (or at least those not as foundationalist as their predecessors). It is commonly, though not exclusively, associated with continental (rather than analytic) philosophy, sociology, literary criticism, etc. and includes:

  1. postmodernism
  2. poststructuralism
  3. critical poststructuralism (Ben Agger, Cultural Studies As Critical Theory, 1992)
  4. neopragmatism and critical pragmatism
  5. the new historicism (in literary criticism)
  6. postcolonialism
  7. postpositivism (postempiricism)
  8. queer theory
  9. post-Marxism
  10. postfeminism (third-wave feminism)
  11. Postculturalism
  12. critical pedagogy
  13. the postenlightenment
  14. postanarchism
  15. narrative psychology
  16. standpoint epistemologies
  17. discourse theory
  18. postcritical theologies (in scriptural reasoning)
  19. post-Zionism
  20. postliberalism (Yale school/narrative theology)
  21. postevangelicalism
  22. the emerging church and movement
  23. post-new age
  24. postchristianity
  25. post-existentialism
  26. postphenomenology
  27. polydoxy (Dr. Alvin J. Reines)
  28. social model of disability
  29. open Judaism (Dan Cohn-Sherbok)

Some important figures are:

  1. Michel Foucault
  2. Jacques Derrida
  3. Richard Rorty
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche
  5. Ludwig Wittgenstein
  6. Jean-François Lyotard
  7. Thomas Kuhn
  8. Aleister Crowley
  9. Stephen Greenblatt
  10. Ben Agger
  11. Sandra Harding
  12. Robert Heiner

The principal advantage of employing the terms postism and postist lies in avoiding the common, yet substantially inaccurate, practice of universalizing postmodernism into a rubric for the other postisms.

For sites focusing on the postisms, and other subjects, see the Categories of Links to Related Sites page. Here are some relevant quotations:

  • We use "postism" here to combine various skeptical and revisionist movements, including postpositivism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, post-enlightenment, etc.
    Across the Great (and Small) Divides, by Stephan Fuchs/Douglas A. Marshall

  • In cultural and science studies, especially their "postist" wings, there has been much excitement lately about breaking down modernist barriers, collapsing metaphysical distinctions, inverting and subverting rationalist hierarchies, narrowing the gaps between opposite ontological poles, and deconstructing Western Enlightenment metaphysics. With great drama and fanfare, the "end of the modern age" is being announced, usually without a good sense of what will or should take its place, or what exactly the "postist" changes are that make the present or imminent future so radically different from the classical modern age.
    In the larger culture, "postism" is a construct of cultural workers who specialize in the manipulation of symbols, texts, and the commodification of signs....
    ... Postism has a tendency to infer arbitrariness from contingency....
    The postist attitude or mentality is that of a remote and detached observer, ironicizing from a distance what appears only natural and valid elsewhere....
    In academia, postism expresses a vague and generalized skepticism toward foundations and truth, supported by multicultural politics and the ascriptive entitlements of standpoint epistemologies. This skepticism extends from the "crisis of representation" to the "illusions of presentism," from the "end of logocentrism" to the "Death of the Author" .... What runs through these motifs are rather idle doubts about the possibility of objective knowledge per se....
    ... In addition, postism is prominent whenever traditional methods become unworkable or unrewarding, such as in anthropology, where the tribal societies are disappearing together with the classical realist ethnography....
    ... The most famous postist approach in science studies is actor-network philosophy. In the footsteps of poststructuralist semiotics, Bruno Latour and his followers in the very influential "actor-network" network have set up their own favorite target for collapsing and inverting.
    Across the Great (and Small) Divides, by Stephan Fuchs/Douglas A. Marshall

  • Now, Marxists and the various “postism” this and “postism” that adherents in the academic left, will recoil at the notion that neo-Hegelian (or neo-idealist) philosophical ideas lie at the heart of the system of corporate power.
    Australian Corporate Power, Company Tax and Anarcho-Syndicalism

  • Marxism and the Trinity of Postism:
    Postmodernism-Poststructuralism-Postcolonialism [with emphases on emerging and changing dialogues/contacts/conflicts between Marxism(s) and various versions of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and postcolonialism]
    Marxism 2 Listserv, Hans Ehrbar

  • As [Keith] Jenkins [Postmodern History Reader, New York: Routledge, 1997] recognizes, postmodern theories, in all their “‘postist’ formulations (post- structuralism, post-feminism, post-colonialism, post-Marxism, neo-pragmatism . . . )” (4), has “proper” historians shuddering atop their own artfully constructed professorial pedestals. They needn’t be so very afraid; postmodernism’s continued existence is dependent, as its name reveals, upon the continued existence of modernism. For, though postism is, like that of our ‘proper’ historians, an artfully crafted thesis, it is also (if not predominately) an anti-thesis. What postmodernism needs, then, is its very own identity independent of its reflective “other,” a name which may animate a renewed awareness that recording history, like other forms of creative expression, cannot always be only post- nor anti-works of art.
    Charlie Lawing (retrieved from Google's cache of a now-defunct website)