In the first chapter of Anthony Giddens’ Consequences of Modernity, Giddens is trying to establish the fact that we are not yet in a post-modern environment yet, despite many advances, which have separated us from our ancestors 3 centuries ago. To understand what he is trying to say, one must know what the term post-modern actually means. Postmodern is the terms used to describe the economic or cultural state or condition of society which existed after modernity. Modernity is the time period after medieval times, when humans started to move away from feudalism, into capitalism and industrialism. Many historically famous authors like Karl Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, all had concerns for society with the shifting world from modern to post-modern, some had to do with the existence of capitalism, and others had to do with the growth of industrialism during their time. They felt that we as humans weren’t ready to transition into a post modern world.
One leap to help us get into the post modern world according to Giddens, is “To understand the intimate connections between modernity and the transformation of time and space…”(Giddens 17). Time on a clock is purely a human invention; if we were to fully understand space-time then we may be able to make the leap into the post-modern world. The tracking of time pre dates modern society, and goes all the way back to the pre-modern cultures. They all had some way of calculating time, but it had to do with their location. With the uniform calendar now set in place, we have started the transition into the post-modern society. We have started to separate space and time, and look at them as two separate entities. Giddens’ intended readers are probably college students, and people wanting to further their knowledge of modernity. The content in this book is complex, yet intriguing, and readers need to fully read, and maybe reread what is written to comprehend what is trying to be said.
The phrases evolution, modern, space, and time are the key words in this reading. Evolution is used frequently, because Giddens is trying to say that the human race hasn’t fully evolved into creatures able to live in the post-modern society. Modern is of course a key term because Giddens main message is although some may believe that we live in a post-modern society, we are still living in a modern society, just with advancements that separate us from those who lived in the 17th century. Space and time are key phrases because Giddens discusses that we need to separate these two terms from each other to advance. The frame provided by Giddens is useful, because it helped me to fully understand what the terms modern and post-modern society meant. I had no idea about these two terms before reading the excerpt.