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By Peter Wagner

Confusion reigns in sociological debts of the curent situation of modernity. The story-lines from the 'end of the topic' to 'a new individualism', from the 'dissolution of society' to the re-emergence of 'civil society', from the 'end of modernity' to an 'other modernoity' to 'neo-modernization'. This publication deals a sociology of modernity in phrases of a ancient account of social changes over the last centuries, targeting Western Europe but additionally taking a look at the united states and at Soviet socialism as designated versions of modernity. A primary ambivalence of modernity is captured via the double suggestion of liberty and self-discipline in its 3 significant dimensions: the family among person liberty and political neighborhood , betwen corporation and constitution, and among in the community located human lives and extensively prolonged social associations. significant old adjustments of modernity are distinctive, the 1st one starting within the overdue 19th century and resulting in a social formation that may be referred to as equipped modernity, and the second one being the person who dissolves geared up modernity. it truly is this present transformation which revives a few key matters of the 'modern project', principles of liberty, plurality and person autonomy. however it imperils others, specifically the construction of social identities as ties among humans that permit significant and socially possible improvement of person autonomy, and the potential for politics as communicative interplay and collaborative deliberation approximately what humans have in universal.

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The development of the world-market, again, is the prime example. The range of applications of a homogeneous set of social rules is steadily extending, and more and more social practices are guided by these rules. Scope and depth of inclusion increase constantly. Such a globalization of the very few characteristically modern conventions is then seen to entail the dissolution of the historical, locally specific modes of boundary-setting and of rule-making, at least with regard to key sets of social practices.

Rather, they mark the space over which the modern condition may be historically traced. In this sense, a delineation of key modes of habitualized social practices at different historical points, and especially of the transformations of these practices, is a means of locating the specific condition of modernity inside this space. The general classification of practices is based on the assumption that the major characteristics of the social formations of modernity can thus be identified as historically varying constellations of those institutions of modernity.

Some intellectual doubts notwithstanding, the double imaginary signification of modernity— autonomy and rational mastery—seems widely untouched and fully intact. An optimistic interpreter of present changes may want to term this new phase extended liberal modernity. Under conditions of the full inclusion of all members of society, the organizing and disciplining institutions are dismantled and respective practices relaxed. Difference and plurality, sociality and solidarity could be the key words of the future, as some argue.

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