Political Science 310
Professor James Chamberlain
February 6, 2013
Midterm Paper: What Characterizes Life in Modernity?
On the surface, the term 'modernity' is seemingly harmonized by positive connotations, pronouncing its implied associations with ideas like globalization and technological progress. Modernity outlines the means in which a society's predominant vicissitudes affect the everyday experience and role of an individual. Karl Marx explained the developments of modernity as byproducts of capitalism and industrialism, which directly transformed self-consciousness and sense of social duty on an individual level. The modern sociologist Tony Bilton, in the second chapter of his text Introductory Sociology, on the other hand, examines numerous social theories, eventually concluding that modernity is not only a product of Marx's idea of industrial capital, but it is also a focus of increased rationalization, the rise of the nation-state, and the ever-expanding gap between public and private spheres (Bilton (et al.), 27).
Although a depiction of advancement, Marx and Bilton both argue that modernity is the compromising source of the basic fluidities of society, forcing individuals into the unforgiving voids of anonymity through social division and inequalities (Marx, Capital Vol. 1, 233).
The idea of modernity, on a broader landscape, is encapsulated in an industrial capitalist-driven structure that is becomes the basis for the foundations of population growth and movement (colonization, slave-trade, and urbanization) following the Great Transformation (Bilton (et al.), 25). New life in the scientific and natural worlds conquered traditional values with the Enlightenment introducing liberating philosophical and technology advancements (Giddens, 17-21). Marx and Bilton, however, characterize life in modernity as a transition into the depths of individual alienation and interdependence. Both theorists investigate the role of alienation and interdependence separately, but the broader implications of life in modernity allow both characteristics to complement and support one another. Inevitably,