Cultural Logic of Cultural Logics

Metamodernism, the Cultural Logic of Cultural Logics according to Brendan Graham Dempsey

Glossary of Metamodern Terms

The field devoted to comparing and synthesising different metatheories in search of finding consilience among various big picture frameworks See Archdisciplinary Research Center

A complex pattern of behaviour towards which complex systems tend

The point at which a complex system faces either breakdown or breakthrough to a lower or higher complexity

Achieving a higher state entirely by means of existing resources

Intertwining different strands (e.g. modern and postmodern); Dember’s term for how Metamodernism can negotiate different epistemes and sensibilities

A field of science devoted to examining the behaviour of complex systems by means of interdisciplinary tools from fields like non-equilibrium thermodynamics, information theory, cybernetics, chaos theory etc

Dumitrescu’s term for bridging multiple different maps and perspectives into an integrative, fertile dialogue

Disembedding from a given perspective in order to take that perspective as an object from a higher perspective

Vermuelen’s term for metamodernism’s simulation or performance of depth after postmodernism’s contrived depthlessness

A process by which opposing modes are progressively reconciled by means of a higher-order mode; an approach to philosophy systematically developed by Hegel; often summarised by the series “thesis,” “antithesis,” “synthesisis”

The process by which interpretations of culture feed back into culture, thus affecting cultural analysis

A structure of knowing; a systemic configuration permitting the thinking of some ideas and not others (coined by Foucault)

Relating to questions of knowledge, how we can know things, what it means to know, etc.

The pattern by which levels become progressively nested within levels

A hierarchically nested sequence in which each further nesting denotes a deeper subset of the whole

Storm’s approach to meaning production and interpretation that roots hermeneutics in the dynamics of agents acting in the material world

Dember’s term for the way metamodern art extends postmodern self-reflexivity in a manner that highlights interior, felt experience

Making gains relative to a receding goal (also called “xenonian” progress, after Zeno’s paradoxes of motion)

Vermeulen and van den Akker’s description of metamodern art that exhibits a sense of unjaded innocence within/despite a broader context of reflective awareness

Vermeulen and van den Akker’s description of metamodern art that expresses earnest sentiments by means of pretence, dissembling, or contrivance

An image used by Dumitrescu for the different levels that metamodernism would integrate

Henrique’s term for for a network of claims that serve to justify the behaviour of people in culture

Freinacht’s term for a networked constellation of conceptual memes all operating at the same level of hierarchical complexity

A cultural discourse moving beyond the postmodern by means of the postmodern

The epoch of the metamodern; Andersen uses it to distinguish between metamodernism (a regime in the arts) and a broader cultural situation

An overarching account of reality that serves to ground and contextualise knowledge (Lyotard famously argued that the postmodern condition could be defined by an ‘incredulity’ towards any such accounts)

Storm’s term for admitting of a plurality of possible realities which minimally represent ‘the world.’

Storm’s approach to relativising the ‘real’ as a contrastive or modal term, opening up a domain of different forms of ‘real.’

Religion about religion(ing), such as one sees in metamodern mythopoeia or other self-aware efforts to consciously reconstruct religion-like practices within a naturalistic, post-postmodern context

A neo-Piagetian framework for assessing behavioural/informational complexity; employed by Freinacht to assess the relative complexity of metamemes

Andersen’s term for the way the metamodern cultural code integrates the various layers of other cultural codes

A cosmological framework positing the existence of a multitude of other universes

In Hegelian dialectics, the means by which the ‘antithesis’ is itself countered in such a way that one does not simply return to the ‘thesis,’ but productively advances by means of the ‘antithesis’

Relating to standards, norms, or ‘thoughts’ of behaviour

Relating to questions of what is, what’s real, what exists, etc.

Shuffling back and forth between poles (e.g. between modern and postmodern); Vermeulen and van den Akker’s term for understanding the dynamic that produces the metamodern sensibility

An established mode of thought and set of grounding assumptions which serve to orient scientific research (Kuhn)

Eshelman’s term fro the trend in post-postmodern/metamodern art for simulating transcendence and ‘frame breaking’

The process by which a series of linear changes produce a sudden, qualitative restructuring of a system

Azarian’s metatheory about the recursive emergence of multi-scalar, substrate-independent patterns operant in nature

A cultural discourse coming after and critiquing modernism

Vermeulen and van den Akker’s description of metamodern art that exhibits aspirational belief in progress as a self-aware strategy against nihilism and apathy

Storm’s term for categories produced by social beings (e.g. art, religion) best understood through a non-essentialism, process lens; different forms called ‘natural kinds,’ which are (hypothetically amenable to definition by essence (e.g. elements)

A term used by Freinacht to distinguish the modern notion of utopia (an ideal world) from the metamodern notion of a relatively better world

A term used by Freinacht to emphasise the provisional nature of all dialectical advances

Efforts in a generative or positive vein that come after and presume postmodern deconstruction

Azarian’s term for the process giving rise to new levels of reality through informational loopings

The product of ‘going meta’ on something, referring to itself from a higher vantage

A concept created and accepted by people in a society

The ultimate end, goal, or purpose of something

Moving between different perspectives of differing degrees of reflection

The level of interpretation that takes into account the ‘double hermeneutic’

Henrique’s metamodern, metanarratological framing of reality and human knowledge

Storm’s approach to knowledge generation, which doubts doubt to affirm the humble, provisional form of knowledge

Glossary Reference List

Andersen, R. L. (2019). Metamodernity: Meaning and hope in a complex world. Nordic Bildung.

Azarian, B. (2022). The Romance of Reality: How the Universe Organizes Itself to Create Life, Consciousness, and Cosmic Complexity. BenBella Books.

Dember (2018) After Postmodernism: Eleven Metamodern Methods in the Arts

Dempsey, B. G. (2023). Metamodernism: Or, The Cultural Logic of Cultural Logics. Archdisciplinary Research Center.

Dumitrescu, A. (2016) What is Metamodernism and Why Bother? Meditations on Metamodernism as a Period Term and as a Mode.  Retrieved 14 Nov 2023, from

Eshelman, R. (2008). Performatism, or, the End of Postmodernism. The Davies Group.

Freinacht, H. (2017). The Listening Society. Metamoderna.

Henriques, G. (2022). A New Synthesis for Solving the Problem of Psychology: Addressing the Enlightenment Gap. Springer.

Storm, J. A. J. (2021). Metamodernism: the Future of Theory. University of Chicago Press.

Vermeulen, T. (2015) The New “Depthiness”

Vermeulen, T. & van den Akker, R (2010) Notes on metamodernism, Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 2:1,DOI: 10.3402/jac.v2i0.5677

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