Sociology consists of a myriad of frequently confusing concepts. Key Concepts in Sociology provides a comprehensive, lively and clearly-written guide to the most important concepts in the subject. It includes both what might be regarded as ‘classic’ sociological concepts, such as ‘class’, ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘community’, as well as subjects that have become increasingly prominent in recent times, such as ‘celebrity’, ‘risk’ and ‘the body’.

Each of the thirty-eight substantive entries: Defines the concept; provides a clear and compelling narrative; clarifies the main debates, perspectives and disagreements; gives advice on further reading

Key Concepts in Sociology should be the first choice for sociology students at all levels of learning.

Modernity and Postmodernity

Modernity and postmodernity


According to Williams, the word ‘modern’ began to appear in English in the late sixteenth century, when it was used more or less as a synonym for ‘now’ to demarcate the present from both medieval and ancient times. Williams noted that prior to the nineteenth century, most uses of ‘modern’, ‘modernism’ and ‘modernist’ were wary or disparaging of what was new, while the uses of ‘modernise’ were rather apologetic (Williams, 1976: 208; 1987; Hall, 1992: 14). Following the French and American revolutions in the late eighteenth century, modernity began to be understood to mean ‘other and better than what had gone before’ (Osborne, 1996: 348). However, only in the nineteenth century (influenced by theories of evolution, the ‘civilizing mission’ of ...

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