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If all new relationships become obsolete before they can ossify, how can solidarity, fraternity and mutual aid be kept alive? A communist government might try to dam the flood by imposing radical restrictions, not merely on economic activity and enterprise every socialist government has done this, along with every capitalist welfare state , but on personal, cultural and political expression. It is easy to imagine how a society committed to the free development of each and all might develop its own distinctive varieties of nihilism.

It is presented with great literary skill and verve. It unites a generous political stance with a warm intellectual enthusiasm for its subject: the notions of both the modern and the revolutionary, it might be said, emerge morally redeemed in his pages. Indeed modern ism is profoundly revolutionary, by definition, for Berman. Note the three adjectives: constant, uninterrupted, everlasting.

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They denote a homogeneous historical time, in which each moment is perpetually different from every other by virtue of being next, but—by the same token—is eternally the same as an interchangeable unit in a process of infinite recurrence. For our purposes, however, the relevant point is that the idea of modernization involves a conception of fundamentally planar development—a continuous-flow process in which there is no real differentiation of one conjuncture or epoch from another save in terms of the mere chronological succession of old and new, earlier and later, categories themselves subject to unceasing permutation of positions in one direction, as time goes by and the later becomes earlier, the newer older.

Such is, of course, an accurate account of the temporality of the market and of the commodities that circulate across it.


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The one significant exception is a fine discussion of the extent to which the bourgeoisie has always failed to conform to the free-trade absolutism postulated by Marx in the Manifesto but this has few repercussions in the architecture of his book as a whole, in which there is very little between economy on the hand and psychology on the other, save for the culture of modernism that links the two.

Society as such is effectively missing. Rather, the trajectory of the bourgeois order is curvilinear. It traces, not a straight line ploughing endlessly forward, or a circle expanding infinitely outwards, but a marked parabola. Bourgeois society knows an ascent, a stabilization and a descent. The concept of modernization occludes the very possibility of that. Although this post-dates modernization, in the sense that it signals the arrival of a coherent vocabulary for an experience of modernity that preceded it, once in place modernism too knows no internal principle of variation.

It simply keeps on reproducing itself. It is very significant that Berman has to claim that the art of modernism has flourished, is flourishing, as never before in the 20th century—even while protesting at the trends of thought which prevent us adequately incorporating this art into our lives. There are a number of obvious difficulties with such a position. The first is that modernism, as a specific set of aesthetic forms, is generally dated precisely from the 20th century, is indeed typically construed by way of contrast with realist and other classical forms of the 19th, 18th or earlier centuries.

Virtually all of the actual literary texts analysed so well by Berman—whether by Goethe or Baudelaire, Pushkin or Dostoevsky—precede modernism proper, in this usual sense of the word: the only exceptions are fictions by Bely and Mandelstam, which precisely are 20th-century artefacts.

In other words, by more conventional criteria, modernism too needs to be framed within some more differential conception of historical time.

ModernityCharacteristics

A second, and related, point is that once it is treated in this way, it is striking how uneven its distribution actually is, geographically. Even within the European or Western world generally, there are major areas that scarcely generated any modernist momentum at all. My own country England, the pioneer of capitalist industrialization and master of the world market for a century, is a major case in point: beachhead for Eliot or Pound, offshore to Joyce, it produced no virtually significant native movement of a modernist type in the first decades of this century—unlike Germany or Italy, France or Russia, Holland or America.

The space of modernism too is thus differential. But in fact it is the protean variety of relations to capitalist modernity that is most striking in the broad grouping of movements typically assembled under the common rubric of modernism. The antithetical nature of the doctrines and practices peculiar to these would suffice in itself, one would have thought, to preclude the possibility that there could have been any one characteristic Stimmung defining the classical modernist bearing towards modernity.

Much of the art produced from within this range of positions already contained the makings of those very polarities decried by Berman in contemporary or subsequent theorizations of modern culture as a whole. German expressionism and Italian futurism, in their respectively contrasted, tonalities, form a stark instance. Here indeed time divides in his argument, in a significant way: something like a decline has occurred, intellectually, which his book seeks to reverse with a return to the classical spirit of modernism as a whole, informing art and thought alike.

But that decline remains unintelligible within his schema, once modernization is itself conceived as a linear process of prolongation and expansion, which necessarily carries with it a constant renewal of the sources of modernist art. An alternative way to understand the origins and adventures of modernism is to look more closely at the differential historical temporality in which it was inscribed.

There is one famous way of doing this, within the Marxist tradition. Therewith it enters into a phase of ideological decadence, whose initial aesthetic expression is predominantly naturalist, but then eventually issues into early 20th-century modernism. This schema is widely decried on the left today. Such an explanation would involve the intersection of different historical temporalities, to compose a typically overdetermined configuration.

What were these temporalities? The first of these is something Berman perhaps hints at in one passage, but situates too far back in time, failing to capture it with sufficient precision. The second coordinate is then a logical complement of the first: that is, the still incipient, hence essentially novel, emergence within these societies of the key technologies or inventions of the second industrial revolution: telephone, radio, automobile, aircraft and so on.

Mass consumption industries based on the new technologies had not yet been implanted anywhere in Europe, where clothing, food and furniture remained overwhelmingly the largest final-goods sectors in employment and turnover down to The third coordinate of the modernist conjuncture, I would argue, was the imaginative proximity of social revolution.

In no European state was bourgeois democracy completed as a form, or the labour movement integrated or coopted as a force. The possible revolutionary outcomes of a downfall of the old order were thus still profoundly ambiguous. Would a new order be more unalloyedly and radically capitalist, or would it be socialist?

The Russian Revolution of ——which focused the attention of all Europe—was emblematic of this ambiguity, an upheaval at once and inseparably bourgeois and proletarian. What was the contribution of each of these coordinates to the emergence of the field of force defining modernism?

Without the common adversary of official academicism, the wide span of new aesthetic practices have little or no unity: their tension with the established or consecrated canons in front of them is constitutive of their definition as such. At the same time, however, the old order, precisely in its still partially aristocratic colouration, afforded a set of available codes and resources from which the ravages of the market as an organizing principle of culture and society—uniformly detested by every species of modernism—could also be resisted. The classical stocks of high culture still preserved—even if deformed and deadened—in late 19th-century academicism, could be redeemed and released against it, as also against the commercial spirit of the age as many of these movements saw it.

The relationship of imagists like Pound to Edwardian conventions or Roman lyric poetry alike, of the later Eliot to Dante or the metaphysicals, is typical of one side of this situation: the ironic proximity of Proust or Musil to the French or Austrian aristocracies of the other. The condition of this interest, however, was the abstraction of techniques and artefacts from the social relations of production that were generating them.

But such extrapolation was precisely rendered possible by the sheer incipience of the still unforeseeable socio-economic pattern that was later to consolidate so inexorably around them. It was not obvious where the new devices and inventions were going to lead. Hence the—so to speak—ambidextrous celebration of them from Right and Left alike—Marinetti or Mayakovsky. Finally, the haze of social revolution drifting across the horizon of this epoch gave it much of its apocalyptic light for those currents of modernism most unremittingly and violently radical in their rejection of the social order as a whole, of which the most significant was certainly German expressionism.

European modernism in the first years of this century thus flowered in the space between a still usable classical past, a still indeterminate technical present, and a still unpredictable political future. Or, put another way, it arose at the intersection between a semi-aristocratic ruling order, a semi-industrialized capitalist economy, and a semi-emergent, or -insurgent, labour movement.

The First World War, when it came, altered all of these coordinates. But it did not eliminate any of them. For another twenty years, they lived on in a kind of hectic after-life. Politically, of course, the dynastic states of Eastern and Central Europe disappeared. But the junker class retained great power in post-war Germany; the agrarian-based Radical Party continued to dominate the Third Republic in France, without much break in tone; in Britain the more aristocratic of the two traditional parties, the Conservatives, virtually wiped out their more bourgeois rivals, the Liberals, and went on to dominate the whole inter-war epoch.

This was the last true leisure-class in metro-politan history. Europe was still over a generation behind America in the structure of its civilian industry and pattern of consumption, on the eve of the Second World War. Finally, the prospect of revolution was now more proximate and tangible than it had ever been—a prospect that had triumphantly materialized in Russia, touched Hungary, Italy and Germany with its wing just after the First World War, and was to take on a new and dramatic immediacy in Spain at the end of this period.

Quite apart from the literary masterpieces published in these years but essentially nurtured in earlier ones, Brechtian theatre was one memorable product purely of the inter-war conjuncture, in Germany. Another was the first real emergence of architectural modernism as a movement, with the Bauhaus. A third was the appearance of what was in fact to prove the last of the great doctrines of the European avant-garde—surrealism, in France. It was the Second World War—not the First—which destroyed all three of the historical coordinates I have discussed, and therewith cut off the vitality of modernism.

After , the old semi-aristocratic or agrarian order and its appurtenances was finished, in every country. Bourgeois democracy was finally universalized. With that, certain critical links with a pre-capitalist past were snapped. At the same time, Fordism arrived in force. Mass production and consumption transformed the West European economies along North American lines. There could no longer be the smallest doubt as to what kind of society this technology would consolidate: an oppressively stable, monolithically industrial, capitalist civilization was now in place. This is to say, that the human origins of the products of this period—their relationship to the work from which they issued—have not yet been fully concealed; in their production they still show traces of an artisanal organization of labour while their distribution is still assured by a network of small shopkeepers.

What prepares these products to receive the investment of psychic energy characteristic of their use by Surrealism is precisely the half-sketched, uneffaced mark of human labour; they are still frozen gesture, not yet completely separated from subjectivity, and remain therefore potentially as mysterious and as expressive as the human body itself. Henceforth, in what we may call post-industrial capitalism, the products with which we are furnished are utterly without depth: their plastic content is totally incapable of serving as a conductor of psychic energy.

Finally, the image or hope of revolution faded away in the West. The onset of the Cold War, and the Sovietization of Eastern Europe, cancelled any realistic prospect of a socialist overthrow of advanced capitalism, for a whole historical period. The ambiguity of aristocracy, the absurdity of academicism, the gaiety of the first cars or movies, the palpability of a socialist alternative, were all now gone.

In their place, there now reigned a routinized, bureaucratized economy of universal commodity production, in which mass consumption and mass culture had become virtually interchangeable terms. The post-war avant-gardes were to be essentially defined against this quite new backdrop. Within a few years European literature gave its utmost and seemed on the verge of opening new and boundless horizons: instead it died.

A few isolated icebergs, and many imitators; but nothing comparable to the past. Individual writers or painters, architects or musicians, of course produced significant work after the Second World War. But not only were the heights of the first two or three decades of the century rarely or never reached again. No new aesthetic movements of collective importance, operative across more than one art form, emerged either, after surrealism. It was now, however, when all that had created the classical art of the early 20th century was dead, that the ideology and cult of modern ism was born.

The conception itself is scarcely older than the s, as a widespread currency. The few exceptions of the period suggest the power of the rule. Orwin and Tarcov , chapt. A second phase of modernist political thinking begins with Rousseau, who questioned the natural rationality and sociality of humanity and proposed that human nature was much more malleable than had been previously thought.

By this logic, what makes a good political system or a good man is completely dependent upon the chance path a whole people has taken over history.


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  8. This thought influenced the political and aesthetic thinking of Immanuel Kant , Edmund Burke and others and led to a critical review of modernist politics. On the conservative side, Burke argued that this understanding encouraged caution and avoidance of radical change. However more ambitious movements also developed from this insight into human culture , initially Romanticism and Historicism , and eventually both the Communism of Karl Marx , and the modern forms of nationalism inspired by the French Revolution , including, in one extreme, the German Nazi movement Orwin and Tarcov , chapt.

    On the other hand, the notion of modernity has been contested also due to its Euro-centric underpinnings. This is further aggravated by the re-emergence of non-Western powers. Yet, the contestations about modernity are also linked with Western notions of democracy, social discipline, and development Regilme , In sociology , a discipline that arose in direct response to the social problems of "modernity" Harriss , , the term most generally refers to the social conditions, processes, and discourses consequent to the Age of Enlightenment.

    In the most basic terms, Anthony Giddens describes modernity as. Portrayed in more detail, it is associated with 1 a certain set of attitudes towards the world, the idea of the world as open to transformation, by human intervention; 2 a complex of economic institutions, especially industrial production and a market economy; 3 a certain range of political institutions, including the nation-state and mass democracy.

    Largely as a result of these characteristics, modernity is vastly more dynamic than any previous type of social order. It is a society—more technically, a complex of institutions —which, unlike any preceding culture, lives in the future, rather than the past Giddens , Other writers have criticized such definitions as just being a listing of factors. They argue that modernity, contingently understood as marked by an ontological formation in dominance, needs to be defined much more fundamentally in terms of different ways of being.

    The modern is thus defined by the way in which prior valences of social life The word 'reconstituted' here explicitly does not mean replaced. James , 51— This means that modernity overlays earlier formations of traditional and customary life without necessarily replacing them.

    Modernity and Revolution

    The era of modernity is characterised socially by industrialisation and the division of labour and philosophically by "the loss of certainty, and the realization that certainty can never be established, once and for all" Delanty With new social and philosophical conditions arose fundamental new challenges.

    Modernity may be described as the "age of ideology. For Marx, what was the basis of modernity was the emergence of capitalism and the revolutionary bourgeoisie, which led to an unprecedented expansion of productive forces and to the creation of the world market. Durkheim tackled modernity from a different angle by following the ideas of Saint-Simon about the industrial system. Although the starting point is the same as Marx, feudal society, Durkheim emphasizes far less the rising of the bourgeoisie as a new revolutionary class and very seldom refers to capitalism as the new mode of production implemented by it.

    The fundamental impulse to modernity is rather industrialism accompanied by the new scientific forces. In the work of Max Weber , modernity is closely associated with the processes of rationalization and disenchantment of the world. Contemporary sociological critical theory presents the concept of " rationalization " in even more negative terms than those Weber originally defined. Processes of rationalization—as progress for the sake of progress—may in many cases have what critical theory says is a negative and dehumanising effect on modern society.

    Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth radiates under the sign of disaster triumphant. Adorno , What prompts so many commentators to speak of the 'end of history', of post-modernity, 'second modernity' and 'surmodernity', or otherwise to articulate the intuition of a radical change in the arrangement of human cohabitation and in social conditions under which life-politics is nowadays conducted, is the fact that the long effort to accelerate the speed of movement has presently reached its 'natural limit'.

    Power can move with the speed of the electronic signal — and so the time required for the movement of its essential ingredients has been reduced to instantaneity. For all practical purposes, power has become truly exterritorial, no longer bound, or even slowed down, by the resistance of space the advent of cellular telephones may well serve as a symbolic 'last blow' delivered to the dependency on space: even the access to a telephone market is unnecessary for a command to be given and seen through to its effect. Bauman , Consequent to debate about economic globalization , the comparative analysis of civilizations, and the post-colonial perspective of "alternative modernities," Shmuel Eisenstadt introduced the concept of "multiple modernities" Eisenstadt ; see also Delanty Modernity as a "plural condition" is the central concept of this sociologic approach and perspective, which broadens the definition of "modernity" from exclusively denoting Western European culture to a culturally relativistic definition, thereby: "Modernity is not Westernization, and its key processes and dynamics can be found in all societies" Delanty Modernity, or the Modern Age, is typically defined as a post- traditional , [ citation needed ] and post- medieval historical period Heidegger , 66—67, 66— Central to modernity is emancipation from religion , specifically the hegemony of Christianity , and the consequent secularization.

    Theologians have tried to cope with their worry that Western modernism has brought the world to no longer being well-disposed towards Christianity Kilby , , ; Davies , , ; Cassirer , 13—14 13— In the 16th and 17th centuries, Copernicus , Kepler , Galileo and others developed a new approach to physics and astronomy which changed the way people came to think about many things. Copernicus presented new models of the solar system which no longer placed humanity's home, on Earth , in the centre. Kepler used mathematics to discuss physics and described regularities of nature this way.

    Galileo actually made his famous proof of uniform acceleration in freefall using mathematics Kennington , chapt. Francis Bacon , especially in his Novum Organum , argued for a new methodological approach. It was an experimental based approach to science, which sought no knowledge of formal or final causes. But he also added a theme that science should seek to control nature for the sake of humanity, and not seek to understand it just for the sake of understanding.

    In both these things he was influenced by Machiavelli's earlier criticism of medieval Scholasticism , and his proposal that leaders should aim to control their own fortune Kennington , chapt. He also argued openly that human beings themselves could be understood as complex machines Kennington , chapt.

    After modernist political thinking had already become widely known in France, Rousseau 's re-examination of human nature led to a new criticism of the value of reasoning itself which in turn led to a new understanding of less rationalistic human activities, especially the arts.

    The initial influence was upon the movements known as German Idealism and Romanticism in the 18th and 19th century. Modern art therefore belongs only to the later phases of modernity Orwinand Tarcov , chapt. For this reason art history keeps the term "modernity" distinct from the terms Modern Age and Modernism — as a discrete "term applied to the cultural condition in which the seemingly absolute necessity of innovation becomes a primary fact of life, work, and thought". And modernity in art "is more than merely the state of being modern, or the opposition between old and new" Smith In the essay "The Painter of Modern Life" , Charles Baudelaire gives a literary definition: "By modernity I mean the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent" Baudelaire , Advancing technological innovation, affecting artistic technique and the means of manufacture, changed rapidly the possibilities of art and its status in a rapidly changing society.

    Photography challenged the place of the painter and painting. Architecture was transformed by the availability of steel for structures. From theologian Thomas C. Oden 's perspective, "modernity" is marked by "four fundamental values" Hall :. Modernity rejects anything "old" and makes "novelty Pope Pius X further elaborated on the characteristics and consequences of Modernism, from his perspective, in an encyclical entitled " Pascendi dominici gregis " Feeding the Lord's Flock on September 8, Pius X Pascendi Dominici Gregis states that the principles of Modernism, taken to a logical conclusion, lead to atheism.

    The Roman Catholic Church was serious enough about the threat of Modernism that it required all Roman Catholic clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors and seminary professors to swear an Oath Against Modernism Pius X from until this directive was rescinded in Of the available conceptual definitions in sociology , modernity is "marked and defined by an obsession with ' evidence '," visual culture , and personal visibility Leppert , Generally, the large-scale social integration constituting modernity, involves [ citation needed ] the:.

    But there does seem to be a necessary conflict between modern thought and the Biblical belief in revelation. All claims of revelation, modern science and philosophy seem agreed, must be repudiated, as mere relics of superstitious ages. When, with the beginning of modern times, religious belief was becoming more and more externalized as a lifeless convention, men of intellect were lifted by a new belief, their great belief in an autonomous philosophy and science.

    The essence of modernity can be seen in humanity's freeing itself from the bonds of Middle Ages Certainly the modern age has, as a consequence of the liberation of humanity, introduced subjectivism and indivisualism. For up to Descartes The claim [of a self-supported, unshakable foundation of truth, in the sense of certainty] originates in that emancipation of man in which he frees himself from obligation to Christian revelational truth and Church doctrine to a legislating for himself that takes its stand upon itself.

    Both men [Rahner and Balthasar] were deeply concerned with apologetics, with the question of how to present Christianity in a world which is no longer well-disposed towards it. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the French film, see Modern Life film. For the British film production company, see Modern Life?

    Age of the human race Recorded history. Earliest records Protohistory Proto-writing. Bronze age Iron age. Early antiquity Axial antiquity Late antiquity. Africa North America South America. Oceania East Asia South Asia. Southeast Asia West Asia. Africa Americas. Oceania East Asia.

    South Asia. Early modern Late modern. Modernity Futurology. Main article: Secularity. Main article: Modern science. Main article: Modern art. Adorno, Theodor W. Negative Dialectics , translated by E. Originally published as Negative Dialektik , Frankfurt a.

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    Schwab and Walter. Alexander, Franz. Journal of the American Medical Association 96, no. Reprinted in Mental Hygiene 16 : 63— New York: Basic Books, Bacon, Francis.

    London: J. Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage. Baudelaire , Charles. London: Phaidon Press. Bauman, Zygmunt. Modernity and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Polity Press. Berman, Marshall. New York: Simon and Schuster. London: Verso. Paperback reprint New York: Viking Penguin, London and Brooklyn: Verso. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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