• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This accessible and comprehensive overview of the main issues on the modernity-postmodernity controversy is the first clear-sighted book on the subject. It surveys modern social theory, from Kant to Weber with economy and masterly precision. And evaluates the work of the Frankfurt School, Arendy, Strauss, Luhmann, Habermas, Heller, Castoriadis and Touraine, before moving on to consider the approaches of the leading writers on postmodenrity: Lyotard, Vattimo, Derrida, Foucault and Jameson. The result is a new way of conceptualizing the modernity-postmodernity debate, and an exciting new approach to the roots of contemporary social theory.

The Discourses of Modernity: Enlightenment, Modernism and Fin-de-Siècle Sociology
The discourses of modernity: Enlightenment, modernism and fin-de-siècle sociology

In this chapter my aim is to outline some of the classical discourses of modernity in order to provide a foundation for the subsequent chapters, where the focus is more on the debates of the second half of the twentieth century when ‘organized modernity’ – the Enlightenment construction of modernity – entered into its final phase of crisis.1 Taking the central themes identified in the Introduction – knowledge, power and the self – I begin by looking at the rise of the discourse of modernity in the early modern period, with particular reference to Kant and the idea of enlightenment. Second, I look at the theme of the ...

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