Trials of the Postmodern

John Fiske, Kevin Glynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The criminal courtroom is an important institutional site where a modernist epistemology works hard to keep the postmodern disturbance of such concepts as ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ at bay. Nevertheless, some popular television programs exploit the imagistic conditions of postmodernity in order to volatilize the truths certified as final ones by criminal courts. Similarly, in the first trial of the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, the prosecution team exploited the instability of truth in a mediatized society in order to resignify events whose meanings had previously been configured quite differently. This essay examines these events as manifestations of cultural and political contestation in an image-saturated society where the modernist ‘reality principle’ has dissolved and been replaced by a mediatizing process of resimulation and resignification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-521
Number of pages17
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes


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