In this regard, while the postmodernists like Lyotard and Foucault are critical about the science of metanarratives, modernists like Marx and Weber have left no stone unturned to establish the scientific nature of their theory.
Weber, however, realized that the rationality of the modern era was an “iron cage.” Through this essay, I shall argue how the views of the modernists and the postmodernists differ on the aspects of knowledge and power.
In the process, this essay shall bring out what various postmodernists thinkers have to say on the idea of knowledge and power, and compare the same with the rationalist, scientific thinking of thinkers like Weber and Marx of the modern era.
In the debate, I locate Marx and Weber in the realm of science and Lyotard and Foucault on the side of anti-science.
Moving further, we shall understand thinkers like Lyotard and Foucault who have written extensively on knowledge and power and have presented a vehement critique of the science and rationality of the era of modernity.
Essays Postmodernism Knowledge Power
We have already located the postmodernists on the side on anti-science in the debate.Rather than rooting knowledge on first principles, like in science, Foucault argues that there exists no external position of certainty which is beyond the realm of historicization of social conditions. Knowledge, for Foucault, is the key to power and manipulation in the postmodern world and not a mere subject to the command of rationality as in the era of modernity.Science, for Foucault, is the art of manipulation by which the subject of the study in the contemporary world is segregated from his/her self and objectified through the process of division and classification.Now, I shall make an exposition of what the postmodernists have to say on knowledge and power in order to justify my claims.Lyotard argues that modernity grounds science and knowledge in metanarratives which were seductively designed for social repression and political domination of the people.Knowledge itself is a mode of instinctive desires and libidinal intensities of one language game to dominate the other.However, while criticizing the metanarratives, Lyotard must realize that the end which the metanarratives seek are same most of the times although their means might differ.Ultimately it is the interplay of language games which decides the dominant language game of an era.Knowledge, therefore, is that language game which has faced odds against all language games and established itself.For him, incredulity towards metanarratives is the characteristic feature of postmodernism.Knowledge, as he defines it, is nothing but a conceptualized game of languages.