Why do you think critics have such a difficult time defining postmodernism? How does the merging of national boundaries play into this difficulty, and where do you see the merging of national boundaries in the texts you have read?

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One of the challenges in defining postmodernism lies in an inherent assumption in such a project. There are countless writers and thinkers whose work can be classified as postmodernist in that they reject some or all of the basic tenets of modernism. However, a common analytical error is to treat postmodernist trends as if they represent an “ism” such as Fascism or Communism that is based on a coherent set of principles or tenets. Instead, postmodernist thinking is a response to the destruction or failure of such coherence, as evidenced by the global destabilization that began in, or contributed to causing, World War Two. For some, postmodernism is most potently symbolized by the Atomic Age, especially its birth through the immoral acts of dropping atomic bombs. Such literal destruction may be conceptually linked to the fragmentation of holistic models of culture and identity.

The relationship of postmodern trends to weakened national boundaries is generally observed as a facet of globalization. Consumer culture is portrayed as an ever-stronger component of both economy and politics in nations that exhibit otherwise diverse characteristics. In this scenario, nationalist impulses decrease as identification with inter- or supranational entities increases. In the 2000s, the logic of this approach has increasingly been called into question. The tightening of borders throughout the European Union, as increasing numbers of African migrants arrived in Europe, is one such contradictory situation. Another ongoing case is the relationship between Britain and the European Union, in the “Brexit” phenomenon.

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