What does it mean to live in an era of ‘posts’? At a time when ‘post-truth’ is on everyone’s lips, this volume seeks to uncover the logic of post-constructions – postmodernism, post-secularism, postfeminism, post-colonialism, post-capitalism, post-structuralism, post-humanism, post-tradition, post-Christian, post-Keynesian and post-ideology – across a wide array of contexts. It shows that ‘post’ does not simply mean ‘after.’ Although post-prefixes sometimes denote a particular periodization, especially in the case of mid-twentieth-century post-concepts, they more often convey critical dissociation from their root concept. In some cases, they even indicate a continuation of the root concept in an altered form. By surveying the range of meanings that post-prefixes convey, as well as how these meanings have changed over time and across multiple and shifting contexts, this volume sheds new light on how post-constructions work and on what purposes they serve. Moreover, by tracing them across the humanities and social sciences, the volume uncovers sometimes unexpected parallels and transfers between fields usually studied in isolation from each other.
Post-Electronic, Post-Technological, Post-Christian, Post-Freudian, Post-Affluent’
were gaining popularity as labels for the present age. 14 Indeed, already by 1968, sociologist John Porter signalled that
post-industrial, post-capitalist and post-bourgeois had ‘been in currency for some
time’ – although Porter’s apologies for adding yet another neologism
(postmodern) to the list shows that post-concepts had not yet become common parlance. 15
On the one hand, these observations show that concepts like post-capitalism
, Autobiography of a German Pastor , trans.
Geraint V. Jones (London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1943), p. 111; Brakelmann,
Hans Ehrenberg , vol. 1, pp. 23, 26–9, 42.
Historicist influences can also be detected in a follow-up article
in which Ehrenberg declared that he used ‘post-Christian’ and
‘post-totalitarian’ in much the same way that words like
‘post-capitalism’ and ‘post-Marxism’ had entered political
discourse in the 1930s. ‘It is not implied that Capitalism, Marxism