“One of the greatest ironies in
geographical scholarship is that good criticism remains an exceedingly scarce
resource.” -Michael Dear (1995)

 

INTRODUCTION: 
This part of present paper will identify
and evaluate the general character of the post-modernism.

 Dear and Flusty’s key
argument is that most 20th-century urban analyses have been predicated on the
Chicago School’s model of concentric rings. By synthesizing recent studies on
the contemporary form of Southern California urbanism, they aim to develop a
new concept, called postmodern urbanism, under the banner of the Los Angeles
School of centre less “keno” capitalism. The fundamental features of the Los
Angeles model include a global-local connection, a ubiquitous social
polarization, and a re-territorialization of the urban process in which the
hinterland organizes the center.

COMPARISION AND ANALYSIS OF THE MAIN CONCEPT OF
POST-MODENISM:  This part will focus on
post-modern concepts with Flusy and Dear”s vision and the lenses through which
others see and understand.

The
most serious problem of the postmodern urbanism thesis is that the argument is
premised on the dubious assumption that our society has been transformed and
has moved from a modern epoch to a postmodern epoch—an unproven argument that
has been hotly contested among social scientists, as the authors acknowledge in
their first footnote. Following this assumption, the authors present only those
studies that seem to support their argument. For example, that the Los Angeles
School has emerged and replaced the Chicago School of urban studies. One can
get the impression that there has been a huge vacuum in urban research between
the development of the Chicago School in the 1920s and the Los Angeles School
in the 1990s but I believe that no meaningful or significant urban studies were
conducted in the intermediate years. I believe that this characterization of
the urban literature is neither fair nor accurate. Ironically, the three
pillars used by the authors to construct their postmodern urbanism—the
world-city hypothesis, the dual-city theory, and the edge-city model—are
concepts that emerged in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

As
another example, the global-local connection thesis is built on what economist
Paul Krugman has called pop internationalism (Krugman, 1997). New trade
theories based on increasing returns (rather than comparative advantages) have
clarified many of the misperceptions of the globalization process—for example,
recent research findings revealing that globalization has minimal impact on
local employment (Krugman, 1998). No wonder Krugman refers to many of the
global-local connection arguments based on pop internationalism as “globaloney”
(Krugman, 1998). Yet another example is Joel Garreau’s edge-city model, which
Dear and Flusty employ to support their idea of centerless keno capitalism.
Although Garreau captured some interesting characteristics of urban development
in the United States, his journalist’s intuition and speculation have not stood
up to scholarly scrutiny. Garreau’s ideas have been discredited by most urban
scholars. According to Beauregard (1995), the edge-city thesis is a fatally
flawed rhetorical move to mitigate the urban sting of society’s contradictions.
Abbott (1993) regarded edge-city as an updated version of suburban mythmaking.
The fatal flaw of looking at urban development via the edge-city lens is that
it tends to lead us WHY POSTMODERN URBANISM IS A DEAD END 405 to “take the
shell for the whole oyster.” Even Melvin Webber, one of the earliest urban
scholars to speculate about the emergence of a post-city age (Webber, 1963,
1968), has admitted that cities are tenacious and that his previous
speculations have not obtained strong empirical support because of the
persisting power of propinquity (Rusk, 1995; Webber, 1996). If Dear and Flusty
had paid attention to numerous studies of recent trends in the gentrification
of American cities (Smith, 1996), they would not have proclaimed the argument
that the hinterland organizes the center in a centerless keno capitalism. How
does the hinterland organize the center that does not exist? And if the center
does not exist, do Dear and Flusty mean to imply that gentrification is a myth?

DETERMINATION – IS THE RESULTS OR SOLUTIONS TO THE
SPECIFIC PROBLEM LOGICALLY FOLLOW FROM THE PREMISES AND CONCEPTS OF POST-MODERNISM
AS ADVOCATED BY DEAR AND FLUSTY:

In this part determination of problematic area and their probable
solutions by critique of Post-modernism theory will be focused.

None
of the so-called achievements of postmodern geography documented by Dear
(1994a) will survive a reality check. Most of the postmodernists’ writings are
largely wrong (although sometimes for the right reasons); most frequently, we
cannot even tell whether they are right or wrong since we are told that
everything is socially constructed. Truth is irrelevant to postmodernists. Not
surprisingly, postmodern geography has increasingly become irrelevant both
socially and intellectually. It is time to extricate ourselves from the
postmodern web by undertaking a course of intellectual self-defense. The best
weapons we have for intellectual self-defense against postmodernism are
rationality, reason, and science (Sokal and Bricmont, 1996). This self-defense
is motivated not only by love of our discipline but also, perhaps more
importantly, by the search for truth that is intellectually stimulating and
socially relevant. Since most postmodernists refuse to invoke any validation
procedures to test their argument, what they are practicing is cultism, not
scholarship. It is time for us to get back to Enlightenment ideals, to seek
re-enchantment with the world, not the word. Geographers should join the
mainstream of the scientific community to disrobe postmodernism to reveal the
fundamental emptiness in its ontology, epistemology, methodology, and sloppy
ethics (Gross and Levitt, 1994; Koertge, 1997). Only then can we dismantle the
postmodern illusions and superstitions that are so detrimental to our intellectual
endeavor. Only then can we accomplish a geographic consilience (Wilson, 1998)
to better understand the fabric of reality in its whole (Deutsch, 1997).