Modernity as Experience and Interpretation

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9780745642185: Modernity as Experience and Interpretation
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We are all modern today. But modernity today is not what it used to be. Over the past few decades, modernity has been radically changed by globalization, individualization, new inequalities, and fundamentalism. A novel way of analysing contemporary societies is needed. This book proposes such an analysis.

Every society seeks answers to certain basic questions: how to order life in common; how to satisfy human needs; how to establish knowledge. Sociology long assumed that the answers had been found once and for all: a liberal-democratic state, a market economy, and free scientific institutions. This trinity used to be called 'modern society'.

By contrast, this book is based on the idea that, under conditions of modernity, there are no stable and certain answers to these questions. There is a plurality of possible answers, every proposed answer can be criticized and contested, and every society needs to find its answer on its own.

This new sociology of modernity proposes two key instruments through which to understand the answers given to those questions: the experiences human beings have of their own modernity and the interpretations they give to those experiences. It reviews the history of 'Western' modernity in this light and then focuses on the specific answers that were and are being developed in Europe.

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About the Author:

Peter Wagner is ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona.

Review:

Already established as the master analyst of modernity, Peter Wagner now brings us to new levels of understanding of the idea.  After reading this splendid volume, I stopped cursing the day that the concept of modernity was invented.  Wagner effectively addresses its embarrassments, snarls, paradoxes, and complexities.  He brings us far toward a new comparative grasp of the variations and vicissitudes of its intertwined political, economic, and scientific-philosophical dimensions.  It is not too much to say that he has brought modernity up to date.
Neil Smelser, University of California Berkeley

Peter Wagner's analysis is unfailingly intelligent and judicious, and often brilliant. This is twenty-first century social and political theory at its very best.
William Outhwaite, University of Newcastle

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Book Description Polity Press, United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We are all modern today. But modernity today is not what it used to be. Over the past few decades, modernity has been radically changed by globalization, individualization, new inequalities, and fundamentalism. A novel way of analysing contemporary societies is needed. This book proposes such an analysis. Every society seeks answers to certain basic questions: how to order life in common; how to satisfy human needs; how to establish knowledge. Sociology long assumed that the answers had been found once and for all: a liberal-democratic state, a market economy, and free scientific institutions. This trinity used to be called modern society . By contrast, this book is based on the idea that, under conditions of modernity, there are no stable and certain answers to these questions. There is a plurality of possible answers, every proposed answer can be criticized and contested, and every society needs to find its answer on its own. This new sociology of modernity proposes two key instruments through which to understand the answers given to those questions: the experiences human beings have of their own modernity and the interpretations they give to those experiences. It reviews the history of Western modernity in this light and then focuses on the specific answers that were and are being developed in Europe. Seller Inventory # AAH9780745642185

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Book Description Polity Press, United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We are all modern today. But modernity today is not what it used to be. Over the past few decades, modernity has been radically changed by globalization, individualization, new inequalities, and fundamentalism. A novel way of analysing contemporary societies is needed. This book proposes such an analysis. Every society seeks answers to certain basic questions: how to order life in common; how to satisfy human needs; how to establish knowledge. Sociology long assumed that the answers had been found once and for all: a liberal-democratic state, a market economy, and free scientific institutions. This trinity used to be called modern society . By contrast, this book is based on the idea that, under conditions of modernity, there are no stable and certain answers to these questions. There is a plurality of possible answers, every proposed answer can be criticized and contested, and every society needs to find its answer on its own. This new sociology of modernity proposes two key instruments through which to understand the answers given to those questions: the experiences human beings have of their own modernity and the interpretations they give to those experiences. It reviews the history of Western modernity in this light and then focuses on the specific answers that were and are being developed in Europe. Seller Inventory # AAH9780745642185

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