The Real You: Paddington Markets and the Postmodern Search for the Self

Sally Coleman


Paddington Markets, located on the grounds of the Paddington Uniting Church every Saturday, are defined by their emphasis on the ‘Natural’, the ‘Original’, the ‘Organic’ and the ‘Vintage’, all designed to appeal to our sense of authenticity in regards to our own identity.  However, in an era of conflicting modern and postmodern ideas about the nature of reality and representation, identity is fast becoming a victim of uncertainty. So what does it mean to be an individual in today’s society?  Is it ever possible to ‘be yourself’?  Today, the struggle to find a unique identity is becoming increasingly pressing yet increasingly difficult.  Paddington Markets embodies the way in which the search for identity is undertaken through consumerism, through its emphasis on the ‘authentic’ qualities of its products. This article will examine the way in which modernism and postmodernism have shaped the way we conceptualise reality, representation, the subject and identity, and the ways in which consumerism has adapted to suit the changing ideas of these two traditions.  Through the theories of Baudrillard, Lyotard, Hall, Marx and with a little bit of help from Bon Jovi, the question of what identity means in a consumer society is explored through Paddington Markets.

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