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The problem of modernity Essay


Modernity refers to the era after medieval times and is distinguished by the shift from agrarianism to free enterprise, industrialization and related constituent establishments. It may as well relate to the trends in intellectual mores, especially the trends entwined with secularization like Communism and the formal founding of social science.

A number of researchers have written a lot on this subject and Anthony Giddens is among them. He is a British social scientist who is famous for his theory of structuration and his holistic scrutiny of contemporary civilizations. He is regarded to be among the most high up present-day contributors in social science (Gauntlett, 2011).

He has at any rate 34 books to his name, writing at least a book each year. As recent as of 2007, Giddens was ranked as the fifth most referenced writer of books touching on social matters.

The most up to date works of Giddens touch a lot on modernity, globalization and political views, particularly the effect of modernity on social and individual life. This author’s aim is both to remodel societal hypothesis and to re-look at our take of the progress and path of modernity.

How modernity radically changes structurations and time-space distanciation

The presumption of structuration by Giddens dwells on issue of if it is human beings or societal dynamics that form our social realism. He steers clears of extreme positions, saying that even though humans are not totally open to decide their own deeds, and their understanding is inadequate, they nevertheless are the outfit which replicates the societal set up that leads to communal transformation (Allan, 2011, p. 131).

He asserts that the link involving structure and act is a vital building block of social theory, structure and agency are a twofold that cannot be thought of away from each other and his major line of reasoning is in his famed phrase duality of structure. At a basic stage, it implies that individuals make society, and are at the same instant held back by it.


The latest work(s) by Giddens centers on what is typical of societal establishments in different spots of history. He is of the same opinion that there exist very particular alterations that mark our present times, but states that it is not an era after modernity. It is basically a radicalized modernity stage which is has been brought about by the expansion of the same social dynamics that formed the preceding era.

He however, makes distinctions between pre-modern, modern and late modern civilizations and agrees with the significant changes that have taken place and takes an impartial position in regards to those changes (Gauntlett, 2011). He notes that this presents both unparalleled chances and unmatched risks. He as well emphasizes that humanity has actually not gone further than modernity.

The most significant factor that produces the dynamism of modernity according to Giddens is that humanity is disembedded from time and space. In pre-modern civilizations, space referred to the vicinity in which an individual moved, and time was the feel one had as he or she was moving.

On the other hand, in modern civilizations the societal room is not limited by the border lines set by the room in which one moves. An individual is now able to make up what other spaces look like, even though he or she has never been there. In this theory, the author dwells on practical space and practical time. An additional characteristic attribute of modernity lies in the field of knowledge.

The next factor is improved reflexivity, equally at the rank of people and at the rank of establishments. The second calls for a clarification: in modern establishments there is at all times a part which studies the establishments themselves for the reason of augmenting its helpfulness. This augmented reflexivity was facilitated as language turned out to be all the time more conceptual with the change from pre-modern to modern civilizations, becoming committed into universities.

Globalization is another factor that comes into play in matters modernity and is the explanation that Giddens gives as to why constructive science is by no means likely in the social sciences. Each time a researcher goes out to make out underlying sequences of action, the actors can alter their further line of action (Giddens, 1999, 48). The setback is, though, that contradictory standpoints in societal science end up in a lackadaisical attitude of the people.

Disembedding mechanisms are as well captured by Giddens and this can be clearly illustrated by comparing the pre-modern and modern civilizations. In the former, it was elders who usually held the knowledge. They were determinable in time and space. On the other hand, in modern civilizations humanity has got to depend on professional or skilled systems.

These are not there in time and space, but humanity has got to have confidence in them. Even though humanity believes in them, deep in them they reckon that one thing or another could go wrong. As a result, there exist each time a sharp sense of doubt in modern civilizations.


With the insights given by Giddens which touch both on gone civilizations and those existent in the modern times, humanity is able to have a better understanding of the causes and outcomes of its actions. We are in a position to get whatever kind of information that we require. What needs to be in our minds always is the realization that enhanced freedom can be equally beneficial and upsetting.

Reference List

Allan, K. (2011). “Contemporary Social and Sociological Theory Visualizing Social Worlds.” 2nd edition, pp 131.

Gauntlett, D. (2011). “Information and resources about Anthony Giddens.” Web.

Giddens, A. (1999). “Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives.” London: Profile. pp 48.

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