Journal: Academic Medicine Author: Ellaway R Publication Date: Jun 2020 Volume Number: 95 Issue: 6 Page Numbers: 856
Description: Abstract
Postmodernism emerged in the mid-20th century in the context of postwar Europe where philosophers and artists were taking increasingly skeptical and critical positions on modernist thinking and practice. Postmodernism is not a single organized and coherent perspective; it is a collection of related philosophies, techniques, models, and perspectives that take a skeptical and critical perspective on thinking and practice. Ontologically, postmodernism is predicated on the belief that power and its underlying meanings, manipulations, and ideologies shape our ability to act in and think about the world. Epistemologically, postmodernism seeks to explore and understand underlying meanings, structures, and intents in the world and to consider alternative explanations and interpretations for them. Axiologically, postmodernism can be used to analyze value in the context of inequity, oppression, and hegemony within social systems and structures. Due to the lack of coherence within postmodernist thought, there is no one definitive methodological stance. However, there are many postmodernism-informed methodological stances, which vary both in terms of what is examined and how it is examined. As an approach within medical education, postmodernist perspectives can help to expose and analyze the political and ideological positioning of much of what is done, particularly in the interests of addressing systemic problems of justice and equity. It is somewhat paradoxical that postmodernism allows researchers to challenge the nature and expression of truth, and it allows them to problematize and deconstruct the ideologies and agendas of those who are themselves challenging the nature and expression of truth.
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