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  1. 1. Modernity, Late Modernity and Postmodernity What is it all about?
  2. 2. The Key Debate Sociologists all agree there is something called Modernity and Post Modernity – where they differ is which one they think society currently is.
  3. 3. Classical Theorists and Modernity Classical Sociologists (aka people writing over a hundred years ago) also discussed modernity. The ones we will concentrate on are: Marx, Durkheim and Weber
  4. 4. Classical Theory and Modernity - Durkheim Modernity is defined by organic solidarity and the weakening of the collective conscience. Modernity has advantages such as more freedom but disadvantages such as weakening morals causing people to suffer from anomie.
  5. 5. Classical Theory and Modernity - Marx For Marx modernity is defined by capitalism Marx recognises that society has advanced and improved but is very critical of capitalism due to issues such as exploitation, alienation etc
  6. 6. Classical Theory and Modernity - Weber Weber sees modernity as having the problem of the “iron cage of rationality”. This is where rational thought stops humans expressing their natural characteristics. Weber recognises modernity as being an improvement on previous systems – but is still concerned about rationality.
  7. 7. Giddens and Late Modernity Giddens defines late modernity as: 1. Capitalism 2. Industrialism 3. Surveillance capacity 4. Military power This links to Giddens Structuration theory and reflexivity is important – the idea that actions are examined, reflected on and changed.
  8. 8. Giddens and Risk In modernity there are global risks e.g. Nuclear war can kill us all. People are more aware of risks and religion and culture is less important and doesn’t provide as much stability for people. Giddens describes these risks “juggernaut of modernity” where people feel insecure and unstable.
  9. 9. Late Modernity: Beck and “Risk” Beck claims that science helps create risk. As people experience risk they become experts on the areas that concern them, collecting data and reflecting on those risks. Beck claims that politics attempts to deal with these risks not just governments but other groups. As a result modernity generates risks and attempts to tackle risk.
  10. 10. PostModernity Postmodernists argue that we have moved beyond modernity into a new kind of society. Postmodernists include: Baudrillard, Lyotard
  11. 11. Baudrillard and Postmodernity Modernity has “ruptured” and become a new type of society Baudrillard rejects metanarratives in sociology e.g. Marxism/Feminism – as Marxism has been defeated by capitalism it discredits grand theories.
  12. 12. Baudrillard cont... Society is now dominated by media, computing industry and entertainment. Hyperreality – people can’t distinguish between reality and fiction e.g writing to characters on soaps Simulacra – people don’t live in the real world TV has become part of life and life has become part of TV (e.g. Reality TV)
  13. 13. Lyotard and Postmodernity Lyotard rejects the whole of society. He defines postmodernity as a series of “smallish” and localised truths.
  14. 14. Evaluation of Postmodernity 1. Postmodern ideas are often vaugue and abstract so it is difficult to apply them to the social world. 2. Postmodern sociologists critique society but make no positive suggestions about what society should be 3. Feminists criticise the way that Postmodenrity rejects the idea of gender oppression and denies what they see as their truth.
  15. 15. Evaluation of Baudrillard People are able to distinguish between reality and fiction and do live in the real world. Has capitalism really defeated Marxist thinking? In a time of global economic crisis and recession there are serious debates about the sustainability and type of capitalism that can and should exists.
  16. 16. Evaluation of Lyotard Lyotard criticises metanarratives but is in a sense replacing the metanarratives he claims are not needed with a new metanarrative!