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Modernity Essay

1671 words - 7 pages

Sociology Term EssayQ4. What does sociology contribute to an analysis of the culture of modernity ?To understand what sociology brings to a study of our modern culture we must understand how humanity has got to where it is today .We must ask why the way that humans live day to day has changed so dramatically over the past couple of hundred years .We get some of the answers from sociologists who observed and questioned these developments .The study of Sociology itself arrived as a product of modernity.The term modernity is "designed to encapsulate the distinctiveness, complexity and dynamism of social processes unleashed during the 18th and 19th centuries" , which make a distinct break from the traditional way of living .It has been called the "Great Transformation" .Sociology tells us what happened and why , it highlights greatly the difference between living 300 years ago.It can be seen as a combination of a number of new developments in production coinciding with some new theories and ideas.An example of one of these developments that can explain the arrival of modernity was the dramatic improvement in the transport system and other forms of communication .This greatly accelerated contact across distances and required the synchronization of activity using clocks and calendars .Anthony Giddens a modern day sociologist believed that this was typified by the railway timetable ,which he described as a "time space ordering device" , in other words something that helped to coordinate in different areas and time zones.In his book "Introductory Sociology" , Tony Bilton tells how modernity had a huge effect in such basic things as peoples diet .He highlights 18th Century England as an example of this how people of all classes daily intake consisted of produce from all over the globe .To show the extent of this he quotes Walvin (1992 ), "Tea from China , sugar and coffee from the West Indies , tobacco from Virginia , chocolate from Africa and America , rum from the Carribean: all were consumed at an increasingly large scale" .This I believe shows effectively how modernity had changed peoples culture, their eyes were opened to the life beyond their own shores. This again illustrated how commerce and global communication had gone from strength to strength in this new age of modernity.There is a common belief that modernity by its nature will only bring us forward , that everything that is new is better than what is old. But sociologists have always argued both cases , telling us that modernity is a mixed blessing with both positives and negatives .I believe Karl Marx is a good example of this , although he recognized the advances brought about by the transition from earlier societies .He mainly concentrated on what he saw as a negative side , the modern economic system and its resultant deformities ( alienation , exploitation and so on ).Marx believed that a society could be judged on how it organized the production of goods and services .He strongly...

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