Modernity: Clarified

The Consequences of Modernity defines the term modernity as the modes of social life or organization, which emerged in Europe from about the 17th century onwards and subsequently, became more or less worldwide in their influence (Giddens 1). Giddens goes on to attempt to convince his audience, informed members of society, that we do not stand in the an era of “post-modernity” as many readers may be convinced. Gidden’s main purpose is to change readers’ thinking by explaining the true nature of modernity itself to give the topic the clarification that it deserves. To further elucidate the idea of modernity for his readers, Giddens takes a different standpoint to change the mind of readers who believe that we are in the era of “post-modernity.” Giddens believes that these people are “caught up in a universe of events we do not fully understand, and which seems in large part outside of our control” (Giddens 2). In this sense Giddens is critiquing the term “post-modernity” itself. To further, Giddens explains, “we are moving into one [period] in which the consequences of modernity are becoming more radicalised and universalized than before” (Giddens 3). At this point, Giddens coins the term “post-modern” and goes on to differentiate it from “post-modernity.” Another important term that Giddens discusses is the “discontinuities” of modernity. He discusses the pace of change, the scope of change, and the nature of modern institutions (Giddens 6). He uses these to clarify how modern social institutions are different from the traditional social orders. In turn, this reinforces his main “project” to help his audience understand modernity. At this point, Giddens introduces two main themes that become extremely important to his writing: security versus danger and trust versus risk (Giddens 7). These themes are extremely important because Giddens uses these ideas to transition into his discussion about sociology and modernity (Giddens 10). From this point he discusses time and space, along with disembedding, which becomes key themes in his explanation of modernity (Giddens 21). Within the first twenty-nine pages, Giddens clarifies modernity extremely well. His organized frame helps readers to better understand a somewhat confusing topic. Personally, I think that the structure of the novel helps me to better understand modernity, as it is proved through many different concepts. I believe that it would have been beneficial to many if Giddens had included the ways that modernity affects our daily lives, as it would relate to people on a more personal level. As mentioned in class, one can get a good sense of an academic text from the introduction, and I believe that Giddens started out strong.

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