Telling stories and making history: John Berger and the politics of postmodernism

  • Roger Rajeeve Mehta

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The above named thesis is an inter-disciplinary study which considers John Berger’s multi-media storytelling project, located in the margins of Europe! the postmetropolis/ the canon, in the ‘global’ context of Euro-American postmodernism. This thesis is concerned with the question of how useful ‘theory’ and/or postmodernism might be in the understanding of Berger’s position, and with how Berger’s position might be used to re-locate ‘theory’, and to tell a radical story of postmodernism. The thesis focuses on Berger’s work from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, because it was only after Berger emigrated, in 1974, that he declared himself to be a storyteller. And secondly, because the date of Berger’s emigration coincides with the period when the transition from a modern to a postmodern condition began to be felt. The thesis also focuses on Berger’s relation to Walter Benjamin and his writings about the dead, messianism, and storytelling. The argument advanced is that Benjamin’s - and Berger’s - writings about the dead should be read as emerging from and speaking to a specific historical conjuncture, or constellation; one in which the dominant, (post)metropolitan story of unilinear time and progress is coming to an end
Date of Award1999
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorP Brooker (Supervisor)

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