Modernli̇k Söylemi̇: Endi̇şeli̇ Bakışlarda Modern Bi̇rey

Talu, Nilüfer
Modernity and modern life met with critique starting from the last quarter of the nineteenth century and continuing to the present through countless texts including classical theoretical writings, images, cultural objects, architectural practices, works of art, literary works, scientific and unscientific articles, reviews, movies, letters, lectures, etc. Regardless of whether they are discursive or not, these texts construct a point of view and a particular meaning concerning the mental health of the modern individual. In other words, the general domain of all these texts has produced a 'discourse' that says that the conditions of modern life and of the metropolis/megalopolis return to the modern individual as negative dialectics between 'the subject and the object', 'the self and the other', 'freedom and security', 'standardization and individualization' and 'individual and social'. This study aims to analyse modernity as a discourse focusing on its modern individual. Discourse is here meant the notion that takes central part in Michel Foucault's (1926-1984) fundamental theoretical argument. In the Foucauldian sense, discourse means an identifiable group of statements that is comprised of all utterances, actions, practices and texts which have meaning and which have some effect in the real world that consider the 'modern individual as standardized, individualized, alienated, homeless, etc.' In order to illustrate the general domain of all statements, the study emphasizes classical theoretical texts of modernity clarifying social changes that played important roles in the rationalization and standardization of the modern individual as 'utterances or written/spoken things'. The study claims that these discursive utterances/texts that are produced than in the rules and structures which produce particular utterances and texts. Here, art works as 'invisible things' are produced by the classical theoretical texts. These heterogeneous kinds of art works (visual texts), which make up not only an individualizable group of statements but also constitute -discursive formation of modernity- the particular structure of this discourse, are regulated with the titles as 'subject-object, 'place-homeland-home', 'standardization-individuality-freedom' referring to the classical theoretical (written) texts -Baudelaire's, Simmel's, Benjamin's, Berman'S, Sennet's- in intertextual relationships. The aim of this analysis is not only to clarify the visions along with the statements through various written texts (utterances) directed/produced for modern individul from the capitalist modernity to the global capitalist modernity of today but also illustrates these all abstract through art works that are accepted as images, visual texts (invisible things) knowing that visions are important source of imagery. The texts as utterances or invisible things, are considered as visions along with themes and statements rather than reality or truth. So this study does not try to proof a reality, tries to display a perception that has power to convince society bombarded with the utterances and images. Critical writings of modernity render modern individual in the images of rationalization, alienation, isolation, standardization, individualization, and homelessness. So, beside the writings of modernity, the argument is presented through discursive art objects/things taken as the texts that have the power to visualize anxious visions on/of modern individual embodying not only rhetorical metaphors, tropes and motifs concerning modernity. And lastly, this study rightly observes and claims dominance of an anxious gaze that could transform into a single utterance: 'modern individual is unhappy / traumatic'. In other words, one may identify the characteristics of a discourse of a 'modern' culture in a single utterance.


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Citation Formats
N. Talu, “Modernli̇k Söylemi̇: Endi̇şeli̇ Bakışlarda Modern Bi̇rey,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 141–171, 2010, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: