2 February 2017

From this idea, Giddens moves on to look at the relationship between modernity and reflexivity.

He argues that ‘all human beings routinely ‘keep in touch’ with the grounds of what they do as an integral element of doing it’ (Giddens, 1991, p. g. 36). This he terms as the ‘reflexive monitoring of action’ and he illustrates this point in his work through a comparison of traditional cultures and modernity. Giddens starts this comparison by arguing that ‘in traditional cultures, the past is honoured and symbols are valued because they contain and perpetuate the experience of generations.Tradition is the mode of integrating the reflexive monitoring of action with the time-space organisation’ (Giddens, 1991, p. g.

Modernisation Essay Example

37). However, in an era of modernity, ‘the routinization of daily life has no intrinsic connections with the past at all’ (Giddens, 1991, p. g. 38). It is fundamentally based on new incoming knowledge and on claims of reason instead of tradition. Whereas in all cultures, social practices tend to consistently change due to continuing discoveries, in modernity, the process of amendment of custom has been radicalised.Building from this argument, according to Giddens, the concept of reflexive modernisation emerges as the stage of modernity where the ‘reflexivity of modernity actually subverts reason’ (Giddens, 1991, p.

g. 39). Thus, he proposes that ‘we are abroad in a world which is thoroughly constituted through reflexively applied knowledge, but where at the same time we can never be sure that any given element of knowledge will not be revised’ (Giddens, 1991, p. g. 39).This is because the modern world lacks certainty, whereas science provided greater assurance to the industrial modern era compared to the previous system of belief which was bound to tradition. Modernity itself has transformed by ‘moving beyond the institutions of modernity’ (Giddens, 1991, p.

g. 150). Hence Giddens claims in this new condition of modernity, that is, reflexive modernity, agents have turned a critical eye to the institutionalized system of belief (based on science and reason) that enabled them to become critical in the first place.

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