These include an economy based on the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services n exchange for money, the abolition of fixed social hierarchies but instead the formations of new classes after labor is split by an Industrial Revolution, a secular form of political power; essentially a nation-state, and finally, the decline of religion alongside the rise of science, and with it, a secular, rationalist and empirical view towards society (Hall, 1995 1:6). However, this view of modernity can be criticized based on the fact that these assumptions of modernity are based around how Western civilizations developed. Chicaneries et al, 2002). Any other view of modernity from a different society may be valid; for example, a choice to defend tradition, or a contemporary adaptation to what already exists may be conceived as modern in some cultures (Cassowaries, 2005). The view of Western modernity can also not be applicable to other cultures where certain features of modernization are apparent but with no sign of change for other more traditional aspects of society. Culturally speaking, the Enlightenment led us to developments in art, literature, printing, music, science and religion.
According to Hall, ‘in its implies sense the Enlightenment was the creation of a new framework of ideas about man, society and nature, which challenged existing conceptions rooted in a traditional world view, dominated by Christianity. ‘ (Hall 2005, 2:24). The main theme of this modernization is the shift from religion to science, where rational thought and empirical based knowledge wins over religious or superstitious views, for example the theory of Creationism being replaced by alternative theories.
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This shift became increasingly relevant, with things like the developments in our understanding of the anatomy, and the coverer of other far distant countries, as well as discoveries from leading intellectuals such as Copernicus and Keeper replacing concepts of the universe that religion had traditionally put in place (Hall, 2005 2:30). The discovery of different cultures in particular allows a society to compare itself to others, which during this time in Europe, saw itself as ‘modern’ and every”here else as a form of the past, which they identified as an older version of themselves.
Religious decline also becomes a factor of modernity in Britain as the Protestant Reformation takes place. During this time Britain tore away from the Catholic Church and hence the authority of the Pope was abolished. As the middle class population grew, and their stake in the economy became greater and greater, their resentment grew over little political rights they had in society. In other countries such as France and America revolutions occurred, with the French in particular putting emphasis on a move away from the ‘divine right of kings’ to the ‘right of the people. The result was a secular, nation state working in a set boundary (Hall, 2005, 2:81 and 87). This, according to Bancroft (1996, 1), ‘led to a democracy and the privileging of the individual. ‘ Socially speaking it is argued that the rise of a middle class bourgeoisie is apparent in a modern society. The Industrial Revolution forced people to sell their labor, creating a clear division in classes. This makes a change from the pre-modern social hierarchies, which particularly in France were ‘based upon the ownership of land and landed property… And] were represented as three “Estates”- Clergy, Nobility and the “Third Estate”, which compromised everyone else,’ (Hall, 2005, 2:33). Men were removed more and more from the household and women start to work, increasing their ‘buying power, all adding to consumerism (Neal 2007). Another sign of modernity is modernization itself, which Bancroft (1996) refers to as the specific technological advances that were parallel to the time of the Industrial Revolution.
Science again plays an important role here where inventions such as the steam engine and agricultural advances that change the way people live and work: this causes arbitration as people head to the cities to work in factories and mills as their labored jobs on the and become redundant. The final formation off modern society according to Hall (2005 pa) is a ‘notarized economy based on the large-scale production and consumption of commodities for the market. ‘ There was a move away from self-sufficiency and agriculture, being replaced by industry and commerce, where people sell their labor in order to buy the things they need (Neal 2007).
With the expansion of markets, new employment opportunities, and the growth of material wealth, consumerism was greatly increased as Porter (cited in Hall, 2005, 3: 132) describes some of the modesties seen in the 1 8th century: ‘it was the age of Georgian silver cutlery, buckles, buttons, new fabrics, high wigs, new breeds of animals and new species of plant’ These characteristics are common of the changes that took place in the shift from traditional agrarian societies to modern industrial societies in Western civilization.
However, there is debate to be had about whether this definition of modernity is valid universally. Graininess and Wagner (2007) argue that Western ideas of modernity have led us to believe that this model is the framework for all societies to strike for, and that modernity would eventually replace tradition and, in doing so, would have the same affects across the globe’ (Bending, 1 967, 324-5, cited in Graininess and Wagner, 2007, 3:62). However as Barker (2005) suggests, this view can be incredibly Recounting and disregards the histories of other societies and people.
Chicaneries et al (2002) refers to ‘multiple modernists’, where he States that many different modernists are created based on the fact that different societies are ‘shaped by distinct cultural heritages and socio-political conditions’ (1 : 1). He claims that although modernity has spread throughout he world, no one society has adopted the same principles or stuck to the same institutional pattern by simply imitating the West, but rather finding their own path to modernity.
For example China, who claims to have reached modernity not through economic or social means as the Industrial Revolution in Europe did, but by political leadership, into socialism (Chicaneries, 9:157). Another point Chicaneries makes is that throughout history there have been numerous accounts of resistance to modernity or perhaps Westernizes rather, and so anti-modernists have arisen. If modernity is scribed as ‘a break with tradition’, then modernity occurs so often that it becomes tradition in itself; thus making anti-modernists a feature of modernity (3:71).
There is also a debate to be had about what constitutes modernity within our time frame. Some would argue that modernity was an intellectual process which the West went through during the Enlightenment as well as a structural development that took place during the time of the Industrial Revolution. Others would now argue that globalization is simply a more recent ongoing factor of modernity. Chicaneries et al (2002, 3:75 ) ascribes how globalization expands on what modernity set in motion: ‘arbitration expands in the form of megabits…
Fashion and consumerism are more omnipresent. Women assume greater prominence. The computer opens up the public sphere, and promises greater democracy everywhere. ‘ In conclusion, it is generally agreed that historically modernity was seen as a break in time or tradition, where society began to follow a set number of processes that would lead us to a more rational-minded, secular, capitalist society with the invention of classes and consumerism, around the time of he Enlightenment, the French and American political Revolutions, and the Industrial Revolution (Hall, 2005, 6).
As Hall describes, the changes that took place were in reference to the social, political, economical and cultural aspects Of society. This view of modernity however can be criticized as it refers to a modernity that was specific to a certain time in a certain place: Europe from the 18th to the 20th century. The idea that this meaning of modernity is universal and it set the frameworks for all other societies to follow can be criticized based on Chambermaid’s (2002) claims that said all eternities arise through different factors, and are all influenced by their own individual traditions and cultures.
The end result therefore, is never likely to be the same as modernity was shown to be in Europe. It can also be argued whether modernity was a process that we went through in the past, or whether it is in fact still going on now. As demonstrated by Chicaneries again, globalization, in the recent sense, seems to carry and expand many of the same features that modernity claimed to have done. It is therefore debatable whether we are even now going through what is simply a later Stage Of modernity.