What is modernity? What does it entail? How is it impacting our society? Anthony Giddens’ book “The Consequences of Modernity”, answers these questions from a sociological standpoint. This book elaborates some of older ideas combined with new observations. This essay will explore his work to gain a better understanding of modernity.
Modernity is a social class model that emerged in the seventeenth century in Europe. This period observed the rise of the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism. This society was considered modern as it broke free from the expectations of the past societal constructs and gave way to a new approach of thinking. It was seen as a win for a common man much like today as the Internet is considered a win for the general public. He further divided modernity into three categories which are; set of attitudes, the complex of the economic constitution and mass democracy. He described modernity as a “Juggernaut” which could be controlled to some extent but would eventually get out of control. Resistance to modernity is futile as it will keep on spreading until it engulfs the entire world. Modernity is complex and can be divided into four institutions; capitalism, industrialization, surveillance capacities and military power; each representing a different sector of society. Modernity is dynamic as it transforms with time and social practices (Giddens, 2013).
Technological advancements helped shaped this modern society that slowly propelled more innovations, accessibilities and conveniences. Through modernity a new class system rose; the middle class which lived in relative luxury. Modernity served as a foundation for today’s societies and technological advancements. It is the most pervasive global phenomenon that has an everlasting impact on societies, as it not only impacts our lives but also social, cultural, and religious traditions and institutions around the world. Anthony Giddens’ work provides us with an understanding of modernity and its history; making his work important for sociologists today.
Giddens, A. (2013). The Consequences of Modernity. John Wiley & Sons.