In the past months, through twitter Anthropologies and other virtual encounters I have found myself using the concepts of Altermodernity set up by Nicolas Bourriaud. Altermoderity is a theoretical concept to define the scope of the answer to the question. What is after postmodernity?

Altermodernity, or what comes after postmodernity, builds up through a genesis of cultural journeys of diasporas, of which, online and virtual communities, mixing, mashing, twitting and other styles of online production of cultural and social knowledge are part of it. Although I do not use the concept in the Bourriaud strict sense (or rather developing it from there) the concept of openeness, along with other ideas such as, heterocronia, exiles, docu-fiction, borders, and the concept of the altermodern itself are within the scope of these discussions online.

My partner and I have been using this concept in several conferences and has attracted much attention, and it is generating qute interesting theoretical discussions; there is already a blog and other associations through the Tate website. I do not know if it is too soon to create a group, but I would be more than happy if anyone would like to generate some discussion on it with me and any others on this.

I believe, though, what we started with Keith on twitter, and then the discussion on his blog and later the creation of this co-operative is part of an altermodern anthropology.

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Comment by Keith Hart on June 2, 2009 at 11:40am
I very much welcome this discussion which I would be happy to see on the blog for now, rather than let it get buried among 40 discussion groups. I decided to be polemical (even more than usual).

Like Max, I like the content of the discussion, but not the label. Its poetry has echoes of altermondialisation, but the killer component is 'modern', implying a historical sequence: that break with the past calling itself modernity, the postmodern phase (which I prefer to think of in Hegelian terms as one of negative dialectic) and now altermodernity. The implied linearity is unfortunate, since modernity was not as big break with the past as its protagonists claimed; it was not clear how postmodernity differed in principle from high modernity (apart from the timing, greater confusion and a resemblance to the relationship between cubism and surrealism); and placing our historical moment in some sort of sequence is really problematic, after W and Co did their best to reinvent world society as the Old Regime (George III and the East India Company).

If the 80s saw 'deconstruction' emerge as a metaphor for the unwinding of the Cold War, the idea of the 90s and after was definitely 'globalisation' which has in turn taken a big dent as a result of the economic crisis of 2008-9. It may be that 'altermodernity' has a claim to capture some of that; and it may not be conceived of as being historically grounded in any strong way. But there is an inexorable logic of before and after that has to be addressed. We all know the theorists who constructed history as a sequence of stages divided by revolutionary breaks. There are others for whom social possibility is conceived of in universal, but variable terms, such as Hegel, Mauss, Polanyi and, if he would not be embarrassed by the juxtaposition, David Graeber. In these cases, all human possibility coexists at any time and place. Our task is not to break with the past in a radical way, but to take the forms around us and give them a more progressive combination and emphasis.

I am not sure where Steven's elliptical comment was heading, but I could use it to suggest that terms like postmodernity and altermodernity serve mainly to establish an academic trend from which some avantgardists can derive temporary benefit. Their main effect is to help define what is new, when a more explicitly historicized framework might serve the cause of social progress better.
Comment by Steven Devijver on June 1, 2009 at 4:10pm
So altermodernism is the condition which was created when everybody in the postmodern world could publish at will?

Steven

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