Dimensions of Modernity and Globalization

This chapter of The Consequences of Modernity discusses the “Institutional Dimensions of Modernity.” There are four institutions defined in this chapter such as Capitalism, Industrialism, Surveillance, and Military Power. Giddens definitions of these four institutions are: Capitalism: “Capital accumulation in the context of competitive labor and product markets.”(59). Industrialism: “Transformations of nature: development of the ‘created environment’.”(59). Surveillance: “Control of information and social supervision.”(59). Military Power: “Control of the mans of violence in the context of the industrialization of war.”(59). According to Giddens these are the four basic dimensions of modernity. He then goes on to describe how all the institutions are interrelated. For example, the use of surveillance with military power, surveillance is used to stop and solve crimes, also to supervise and control a nation-states people. There are also connections between industrialism and military power, as time has gone on industrialism has increased military technology, which intern has increased military power. Surveillance also impacts Industrialism; it allows people to monitor the work being done in factories and workshops, which increases productivity. When people are productive tasks get accomplished, goals are reached, and money is made. After reading this chapter it is evident that every dimension mentioned by Giddens all affect each other, and depend on each other for success.

In the next part of the chapter Giddens uses globalization to expand on Surveillance, Capitalism, Industrialism, and Military Power. Giddens defines globalization as “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away” (64). The relationship between Industrialism and Globalization illustrate how improvements in technology foster globalization. The increase in technology makes communication faster and easier which make our massive world seem smaller than it is. “The conceptual framework of time-space distanciation directs our attention to the complex relations between the local involvements and interactions across distance.” (64). Things like e-mail, social media, and television have made distances shorter, and has made it easier so share information globally. Military Power, and Surveillance have also played in increasing globalization. Surveillance has a positive affect on globalization this is shown by the use of recon drones to gather news, or in times of war. Additionally, the American army aiding its allies in their times of need, and serving as the world’s police illustrates how Military Power and Surveillance affect globalization. After reading the chapter it is very apparent that globalization is strongly affected Surveillance, Capitalism, Industrialism, and Military Power.

3 thoughts on “Dimensions of Modernity and Globalization

  1. I found your take on the relationship between industrialization, and the technology that comes from industrialization, and globalization to be very similar to my thoughts on the topic. For example when you said, “The increase in technology makes communication faster and easier which make our massive world seem smaller than it is.” Nowadays with the use of smartphones and the Internet, you can find out something that happened on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. As Gidden states, “Thus whoever studies cities today, in any part of the world, is aware that what happens in a local neighborhood is likely to be influenced by factors-such as world money and commodity markets operating at an indefinite distance away from the neighborhood itself” (pg. 64). Local cities are being affected by phenomenon that isn’t even related to them. So something to consider is what are the negative effects of this seemingly “smaller world”?



  2. I really liked your breakdown of the four dimensions and what they all mean. As it has been brought up many times in class, Giddens often goes into so much detail that it can be hard to dig out the true facts. I distinctly remember reading this passage and being confused with how verbose it was, so thanks for dissecting it!

    I wonder, however, if Giddens ever thought of the negative impacts of these four key components. When you said, “Surveillance also impacts Industrialism; it allows people to monitor the work being done in factories and workshops, which increases productivity,” I found myself thinking of the harm surveillance also causes. While we benefit immensely from the government’s secret screenings of private information—like email—to stop horrible events from happening, the majority of people aren’t plotting such evils. At what point, especially in this modern world, does surveillance become a breach of privacy? I would love to hear Giddens’ take on that.



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