The Analysis of Modernity

On the very first of page of Anthony Giddens’ novel “The Consequences of Modernity”, he refers to modernity as modes of social life or organization which emerged in Europe in the seventeenth century and subsequently became more or less worldwide in its influence. Giddens believes that today modernity has shifted from its original concern with manufacturing material goods to more of a concern for “central information”. He makes his point extremely comprehensible, and that is to analyze modernity as a whole, both in a cultural and an epistemology sense. The author argues that we are not quite yet living in a post-modern world, however, we are in fact moving towards a period of “high-modernity”, in which the consequences would be more radicalized and universalized than ever before. Giddens’ main  purpose is to express clarification to his audience that we currently are not in an era of post-modernity, which a majority of the readers believe. The audience in which Giddens wishes to reach out to is mainly sociologists, however the overall audience may just be anybody who is interested in learning more about the topic of modernity. In order to change the beliefs of the readers who think that we are in a post-modern era, he takes a different approach to “post-modernity”. Giddens states that life is a “grand-narrative”, meaning that there is a definite past as well as a predictable future. The author responsible for popularizing post-modernity, Jean-Francois Lyotard, claims that “generalisable knowledge about social life + patterns of social development can be achieved”. Giddens believes otherwise however, he argues that the feeling that systematic knowledge of social organisation cannot be obtained results from the sense that we have been caught up in a universe of events that we do not fully understand. He also concentrates a great deal on security versus danger and trust versus risk, which appear to be his two main themes. Giddens describes his set of views on modern social development as a “discontinuist”  interpretation. He believes that changes as a whole are responsible for evolution. Giddens also discusses “dissembedding”, which refers to the social relationships in pre-modern societies. He admires the way that socializing was back then, it would generally be based around an individuals immediate surroundings. Nowadays, socializing is no longer confined to a local context, making us more of a “dissembedded” society. Giddens wishes for socializing to be more embedded as it used to be. On page 6, he discusses the pace of change as well as the scope of change to express the difference between both modern and traditional social structures. In the beginning of the novel, Giddens definitely gets his point across concerning modernity. The frame he provides is extremely useful, he provides great clarification of the topic of modernity which is a rather perplexing topic. Personally, the first 29 pages of this novel provided an immense sense of clarification for my thoughts on this topic of modernity and sociology. Giddens has a very simple style of writing, however it still greatly conveys his point and feelings on the topic of modernity.

3 thoughts on “The Analysis of Modernity

  1. Connor:
    You present a helpful discussion of both culture and epistemology, in other words, how widespread the effects of modernity are. For your next post, you’ll want to break up your good ideas into digestible pieces (paragraphs). For this post, though, I wonder if there’s an important distinction to be made between socializing and socialization (though both are important)?

    DM

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  2. The idea present is established that the idea of postness in a sociological context can be inherently an illusion, the world does not undo its changes, the world is sweater that is spun the unraveling of it is unfeasible. However you could have gone into the dynamics more and explained other examples, Giddens does not break new ground, civilization is already built on such principles and so is the past beyond modernity.

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  3. Giddens states his thoughts on the matter of modernity clearly, but he also states the thoughts of other scholars he doesn’t completely agree with as well. Giddens always acknowledges those who wrote on the subject matter before him before arguing his own ideas. This means that Giddens believes that everyone’s argument is partially right and understandable. Giddens states, “Rather than entering a period of post-modernity, we are moving into one in which the consequences of modernity are becoming more radicalized and universalized than before” (3). Here Giddens states his own argument as a modification of the one made before. He thinks that modernity has unexpected consequences that we did not see coming as we believed that modernity would enter post-modernity when life always getting better started to come to an end.

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