Individualization and the aporias of modernity
Ulrich Beck’s musings on individualization have been described as a theory that provides a convincing explanation of what is happening in society, but has it seemed convincing because of its superior explanatory power or because it says what those who have been convinced wanted to hear anyway? This paper argues that, far from explaining more or better, the theory is haunted by intractable contradictions and paradoxes and that, at the root of these problems, is the sociological imagination itself, which insists on treating modernity as an empirical reality. This paper’s contention, by contrast, is that there is no such thing as modernity in society and history. It is an empty signifier, a phantom or, to use Beck’s own colourful terminology, a ‘zombie category’.
Argyrou, V. (2014). Individualization and the aporias of modernity. International Political Anthropology, 7(2), 3-18
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Deposit Date||Jan 25, 2017|
|Publicly Available Date||Jan 25, 2017|
|Journal||International political anthropology|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Keywords||Aporias, Autonomy, Beck, Individualization, Modernity, Sociological imagination|
|Additional Information||This is a copy of an open access article published in International Political Anthropology, 2014, v.7 issue 2. The journal is accessible by registering an individual account at http://international.politicalanthropology.org/.|
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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