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Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse[1][2] characterized by skepticism toward the "grand narratives" of modernism; rejection of epistemic (scientific) certainty or the stability of meaning; and sensitivity to the role of ideology in maintaining political power.[3][4] Claims to objectivity are dismissed as naïve realism,[5] with attention drawn to the conditional nature of knowledge claims within particular historical, political, and cultural discourses.[4] The postmodern outlook is characterized by self-referentiality, epistemological relativism, moral relativism, pluralism, irony, irreverence, and eclecticism;[4] it rejects the "universal validity" of binary oppositions, stable identity, hierarchy, and categorization.[6][7]

Initially emerging from a mode of literary criticism, postmodernism developed in the mid-twentieth century as a rejection of modernism,[8][9][10] and has been observed across many disciplines.[11][12] Postmodernism is associated with the disciplines deconstruction and post-structuralism.[4] Various authors have criticized postmodernism as promoting obscurantism, as abandoning Enlightenment rationalism and scientific rigor, and as adding nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge.[13]