Modernities: A Geohistorical Interpretation

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9780816633951: Modernities: A Geohistorical Interpretation
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A thoroughly readable, far-reaching analysis of "modernity" and "the modern, " this book focuses on the specific periods and places where ideas and practices of being modern are created and challenged. Peter J. Taylor contends that modernity is a multiple phenomenon: that is, different modern times and different modern spaces exist in a world of multiple modernities. He argues that three "prime modernities" have been defined by the development of the modern world -- from mercantile modernity to British-led industrial modernity to today's American-led consumer modernity -- and illustrates the cultural expression of these modernities as "acts of the ordinary, " such as paintings, the home, and the suburbs.In a masterly analysis of politics and the state in terms of the modern, Taylor shows how each political organization of a particular modernity creates an appropriate political reaction -- for instance, the socialism prompted by British modernity and the environmentalism called forth by American modernity. In noting the tendency of states to create spaces and eschew places, he draws an intriguing parallel between nation states and home-households. Taylor describes the project of Americanization as a new form of modernity and also suggests an end to American hegemony.

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From the Back Cover:

"Modern", "modernity", "modernism", "modernization": these notions convey an important cluster of ideas which aim to describe the world in which we live. But the premises underlying these ideas are becoming outdated. They tend to assume a link between modernity and industrialism which can no longer be sustained. The author moves beyond these limitations by proposing a world of multiple modernities of which industrial modernity is but one.

Taylor develops a geohistorical argument which focuses on the periods and places of modernities, offering a grounded analysis of what it is to be modern. He identifies three "prime modernities" which have defined the development of our modern world: today's consumer modernity preceded by the industrial modernity of the nineteenth century which was itself preceded by mercantile modernity. In each case one particular country is implicated in the creation of the new modernity, first the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, followed by the British industrial revolution, and finally Americanization in our times, sometimes known as the consumer revolution. Using this geohistorical framework of multiple modernities, old conundrums seem much less difficult: the rapid demise of the USSR, the growth of suburbia, the erosion of the state, the rise of environmentalism, the ambiguity of home life, the emergency of McWorld, and the threat of globalization are all brought into new focus. But one critical question remains. Is the Earth big enough for the creation of a modern global society to satisfy us all?

This concise and wide-ranging book will be essential reading for students of human geography, historical geography, sociology and social theory, and it will be of interest to anyone concerned with the debate about modernity and postmodernity.

About the Author:

Peter Taylor is Professor of Geography at Loughborough University.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780816633968: Modernities: A Geohistorical Interpretation

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ISBN 10:  0816633967 ISBN 13:  9780816633968
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 1999
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9780745621302: Modernities. A geohistorical interpretation

POLITY..., 1999
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9780745621296: Modernities: A Geohistorical Interpretation

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