کتاب پیامدهای مدرنیت

اثر آنتونی گیدنز از انتشارات مرکز - مترجم: محسن ثلاثی-ادبیات دهه 1990

چندان نمی توان حوزه مشخصی را به عنوان مساله اصلی گیدنز در این کتاب تعریف کرد، اما موضوع بررسی اش تعمق در مدرنیته و واکنش به اصطلاح های نوین پسامدرن است. او به دنبال شناخت دوباره مدرنیته است و اینکه پیش از گذار به پست مدرنیسم و اعلام پایان گرفتن حالت پیشین و بی رمق شدن "روایت بزرگ" باید سرشت مدرنیته را شناخت و هنوز این اتفاق نیفتاده است. او خود را متولی این پروژه می داند.
اهمیت این کتاب در ارائه تحلیلی نهادمند و چند بعدی از مدرنیته است که به دام تقلیل گرایی رایج در علوم اجتماعی نمی افتد. تصویری که گیدنز از مدرنیته ارائه می دهد، تصویر یک "گردونه بی مهار" است و همین تصویر او را به جهت گیری ضد دترمینیستیک می کشاند. گیدنز با اتکا به چنین تحلیلی به بررسی مخاطرات مدرنیته می پردازد و راه حل اساسی خود را بر مبنای "رئالیسم تخیلی" ارائه می دهد.
نکته دیگر این کتاب در تلاشی است که گیدنز برای مقابله با پست مدرنیست ها به کار می برد. استدلال او آن است که ما در دوران تشدید مدرنیته به سر می بریم و تنها قادریم بارقه هایی از آنچه که سامان پست مدرن گفته می شود را مشاهده کنیم.


خرید کتاب پیامدهای مدرنیت
جستجوی کتاب پیامدهای مدرنیت در گودریدز

معرفی کتاب پیامدهای مدرنیت از نگاه کاربران
گیدنز ویژگی های مدرنیته، مخاطرات و پیامدهای آن و نیز راه حل هایی را که به عقیده او برای فائق آمدن بر این مخاطرات می توان اتخاذ کرد را مورد بحث و بررسی قرار داده است.

یکی از مهم ترین خصوصیات مدرنیته دو لبه بودن آن است. به عقیده گیدنز باید هر دو روی پرخطر و پرامکانات مدرنیته را مطالعه کرد. مدرنیته در همان حال که برای انسان ها امنیتی به ارمغان آورده که در گذشته میسر نبود، خطراتی نیز به وجود آورده که در طول تاریخ حتی تصور آن نیز محال بود. مارکس، وبر و دورکیم به جنبه های پرخطر مدرنیته همچون محیط زیست، استبداد، صنعتی شدن جنگ هاو.. اساسا بی توجه بوده اند.
جامعه شناسان کلاسیک در تفسیر ماهیت مدرنیته، محرک دگرگونی واحدی را در نظر داشته اند مثل سرمایه داری، عقلانیت، صنعتگرایی و... در حالیکه به نظر گیدنز مدرنیته پدیده ای چند بعدی است.

گیدنز دو لبه بودن مدرنیته را بدین شکل خاطر نشان می سازد که دو جهان در پیش رو داریم. در روی مثبت، چهار بعد نهادی مدرنیته به شکل سازمان اقتصادی اجتماعی شده، نظام مراقبت از سیاره زمین، فراتر رفتن از جنگ، و سازمان جهانی هماهنگ درخواهد آمد. در روی منفی آن نیز سقوط مکانیزم های رشد اقتصادی، مصیبت بوم شناختی، جنگ هسته ای، و رشد قدرت توتالیتر وجود دارد. در این راستا آنچه بسیار برای آینده جهان مضر است، ایدئولوژی های فرجام شناسانه است. به نظر گیدنز تفکرات فرجام شناسانه چه از نوع مذهبی یا غیر مذهبی آن، ما را از درگیری ریشه ای برای ساختن جهانی که در روی مثبت توصیف آن رفت، باز می دارد. بنابراین نه کسی قرار است بیاید تا ما را نجات دهد و نه تاریخ به خودی خود به سود بشریت پایان می یابد...


مشاهده لینک اصلی
قبل از این‌که قرن هفده بشود و سرعت رشد صنعت بترکاند و مدرنیسم شروع شود، «سرنوشت» داشتیم. ولی در دوره‌ی مدرن، «ریسک» داریم؛ حالتی که منافع و ضررهای احتمالی را در نظر می‌گیریم و بر مبنای این اعتماد، نهایتا خودمان را ملامت می‌کنیم. یعنی انسان مدرن پذیرفته است که «بیشتر احتمال‌هایی که بر فعالیت بشری تاثیر می‌گذارند زاییده‌ی انسان‌اند و نه خدا یا طبیعت.»

بخش عمده‌ی کتاب، صرف تشریح ترس انسان از مخاطرات دنیای مدرن، و اعتماد او به این ابزارهای نو شده است.

کتاب بقدری «کلی» بحث می‌کرد که چیز زیادی دستم را نگرفت.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Anthony Giddens is one of the most important and influential current sociologists (perhaps behind Habermas). As the godfather of the Third Way, an extremely influential ideology which brought Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to the fore, Giddens place as a public intellectual and political adviser alongside was cemented. Whilst this once celebrated ideology was loved by the mainstream press and prematurely pronounced the new it thing, it destroyed the Middle East, crashed the banking system, destroyed the bourgeois and nonradical political Left in the U.K., and even disgraced the face of the Third Way Tony Blair, making him a political football and embarrassment to everyone except for Alastair Campbell, who I can only assume missed the memo in his drunken stupor.

Nevertheless, this book, acts as Giddens theoretical and sociological focus, prior to his disastrous political engagement, yet after he firmly asserted his position as a serious and major sociologist, writing and helping canonise the Sociological trio of Marx Weber and Durkheim (which conveniently leaves out the equally important thinkers like De Tocqueville, Aristotle, Kropotkin etc but alas). Giddens here is grappling with this canon, and focusing on how sociological theory can address and explain the phenomena of modernity, with its globalised systems, growth of symbolic modes of exchange, and risk of mutual annihilation.
What Giddens does is respond to the sociological canon, in a way which is very similar to postmodernism. He reacts to the fall of the USSR, the rise of technology, the use of fiat currencies and the failure of macro sociology to create a coherent totalised system, and responds, engaging critically with these theoretical lenses by blending them all together in an extremely abstract manner, to address each problem, but show that there is not a denial of meta-narratives, but a whole new meta-narrative, which is not wholly macro or micro, but addresses both, dialectically.
Giddens result is that we are in a risk society. This means that we live in a society which takes economic development as a driving force, but one that also has overarching functions that link us, as a social organism. But that this, shouldnt ignore the day to day ontological issues, and symbolic exchanges that occur between people on an individual level, such as the trust we have in the mutuality of experience.
For Giddens our society is based on constant risk and trust. We need abstract trust systems between us and big corporations, as well as between governments, to protect us from problems like global warming, exploitation and man made disasters, like Chernobyl. Rather than modernity being simply about Western hegemony, what arises is a new strange world with time and space distanciation, which creates relationships between the world, but also allows identity to sprout up in the form of nationalism, an insight that Giddens claims sociologists such as Immanuel Wallerstein ignore. Instead, calculated risk and trust between people, and institutions constantly goes on, with people lacking faith (or fortuna) in old systems. They instead put their trust into forms of authority and other people, based on the risk incurred.

Now, Giddens makes some great points in this book. But my problem with this book is that it is overly abstract, and makes ridiculous and pompous claims in its attempt to be both an all encompassing sociology, and in its attempt to receive academic kudos. As a sociologist, why Giddens needlessly cites folks like Nietzsche and Heidegger, only to then miscategorise them is beyond me. Likewise, he explains symbolic interactions in a way which obscure than point, rather than elucidate and materialise them from the abstraction. The high points of Giddens system are only on the merits of those who he borrows from. He sees a good idea, and takes it, instituting it where it seems to fit. But the problem is, when you do this with such a disparate amount of theories it becomes needlessly reference-based and overly abstract, as well as tying you to extremely contrary positions. Everyone from Erik Erikson, Horkheimer, Garfinkel and Bauman are referenced for no other point than a pat on the back for Giddens. This work then becomes, not a heterodox approach to sociology, but a confused mish-mash of theory, which is difficult to hone and apply to the material world. This task isnt beyond Giddens, who had spent the decades prior to the publication of this book, defending sociology on the grounds that it would enlighten us towards understanding social phenomena. Im not sure why he lapses into this abstract corner he has set up, perhaps it makes him more popular with the elite he evidently would like to become a part of. Either way, Giddens work here is a well read pile of confusion laded concoction.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This relatively short book, based on a series of lectures Giddens gave over twenty years ago, still contains fresh insights - although I think it may be difficult to use this an introduction to his thinking, since it rehearses some ideas as well as a theory of modernity that he outlined in greater detail in earlier works, especially his book The Nation State and Violence, which might be my favorite of his writings because its grounded in history as much as history. Still I liked his discussion here of symbolic tokens and trust and risk (arguments that I think owe a lot to Niklas Luhmann), as well as his multdimensional reading of modern society as formed through a conjunction of overlapping forces - in particular, industrialism, capitalism, militarism, and democracy. Its still a vision of modern society that deserves to be revisited periodically.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This books greatest contribution (likely what causes it to be cited with such regularity) is in some ways also its biggest drawback. Giddens is doing such high level theorizing that his examples, themselves, are also largely grounded in theory. This makes for a fully understandable and (especially at the time it was published in 1990) a relevant intervention into theories of modernity and postmodernity; nonetheless, it also makes for an argument that is less grounded in specific empirics than it might be. This seems especially relevant as Giddens is most interested in society-level critiques, which both (necessarily) define and situate modernism and modernity as they relate to specific social processes and functions (rather than aesthetics or taste). Giddens is honest about this, and his role as a sociologist certainly justifies the centrality of his critique. However, it is difficult to know how much could be abstracted beyond the large-scale social domains that he defines and describes.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Some parts of my review for the class (yes, I cheat the reading challenge).

Giddens’ The Consequences of Modernity gives an interesting take on how we should scrutinize from modernity. He elaborates the reasons behind the dynamism of modernity; the reorganization and/or the separation of time and space, the disembeddedness, and the reflexivity of modernity (p. 53). Rather than jump into the debate whether the situation that we have now is post-modern(ism), thus implies the break from “modernity”, Giddens focuses on the more fruitful discussion on the consequences of modernity, whether they are intended or not. These consequences also signify how knowledge plays role in the process of transition to modernity, until the modernity itself creates those unintended and intended effects. “the circulation of social knowledge… that alters the circumstances to which the knowledge originally referred” (p. 54). In our discussion, I would like to focus on Giddens’ explanation on risk and would like to connect to his historical investigation.

Giddens writes that the most classical thinkers “did not see how extensive the darker side of modernity would turn out to be” (p.7), implying that no one had predicted the “negative” side of modernity. I would like to dig the question to what extend we should do this risk calculation? What gave birth to the risk speculations that fuel our modern need to rigorously calculate risk and danger; using statistics, mega planning, high-modernist development, overcoming existential crisis, etc. And why should we? What systemic benefit that ones could gain by keep predicting the unstable world – especially when the modern knowledge (this means the statistics, modern urban planning, heavy industrialization) contributes to this instability (p.45)? The reason we have risks calculated in certain manners, because we already plan something ahead in a grandiose universal manner. Rather than answering the question, Giddens justifies the spectrums of risk, that we all now have, which are closely tied to modernity. In pre-modern era, risk was already available, but more to “natural causes”, i.e., earthquake or “natural” disasters (p. 102, p. 110) and how it did not evolve to more structured manner, for example systemic risk – a scapegoat that was to blame for the 2008 economic crisis by the British economists.

How was the spectrum of risk different in pre-modern/traditional time? Especially when the tradition, according to Giddens, never really fades away and even co-exists with the modernity (p…). Trust in the abstract system and confidence in risk calculation, for example, have become the replacement of fate/fortuna (p. 111). Giddens says that the risk in modernity tends to have more future-oriented rather than the past. Although it is convincing enough if we look at the current system from Wall Street to Chicago Climate Exchange, it does not really explain the once-existing future-oriented behavior in traditional society, especially in the concept of survivability, e.g., inheritance, food storing, the expectations from offerings for the elder and dead people. Giddens’ take on this, for me, is quite high-modernistic. Although it is true that risk is not just about “danger and peril” (Hacking, p. 199) and more about “probability, eventuality” (ibid), it is still unclear for me what brings to more sophisticated risk management (like insurance).

In the most “acultural” (or material-based) sense, we might investigate this emergence of modern risk through the scale of the constituted risk, or the problem of accumulation – whether it is in the system of capitalism (Weber and Marx) or industrialism (Durkheim). Growth–be it personal (overcoming the existential crisis/ontological security), economic, or cultural (globalization)—has been a key feature in modernity. Growth can mean anything that gradually or not expands, but to put in the definition, growth is an enlarged accumulation (Levebfre, 1981). Although Giddens did not explain anything specific about growth (I assume it is both in the darker and brighter side of modernity), the idea that we need to expand for better or worse (as unintended consequences?) contribute to the modern management of risk. In the spectrum of capitalism, risk is critical in sustaining the system.

In the 2008 financial crash, a lot of economists explained that housing bubble in China and the market crash occurred due to the “systemic risk” – a risk that is in-built within a system that is highly speculative like financial and stock markets. If imaginary investments are the fuel for this systemic risk, that what would it be for general modern spectrums of risk? We did not have this systemic and complicated system to handle risk in pre-modern society because the idea of growth was still rudimentary; a peasant dared not to imagine being a successful merchant whose wealth was as many as the Dutch King, for example—let alone in the colonial society during the colonialization.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This guy has been loitering in a series of other books I’ve been reading over the last few years. I’ve been meaning to read him, and now I have. Most notably, he has quite a role in Beck’s Risk Society – which is fairly obvious why, when you have read both books.

In some ways this book probably should be called ‘The Consequences of Post-Modernity’ – except that people have connotations about what post-modern means and these connotations would distract from what the author is really trying to do. This guy isn’t really a post-modernist – you know, if that term is taken to mean post-structuralist – but he does think we live in a time that is after the modern, in that the Enlightenment project needs to be abandoned if by that we think we can understand and control society.

One of the things I often do in these reviews is explain people’s views with reference to Marx. In this case, this guy does much the same, so I feel more justified. Marx basically said that Capitalism was trouble. He said this for many of the reasons that Capitalism has ended up being trouble – crisis prone, unequal, savage to the poor, those sorts of things. But Marx believed in a kind of teleology, that if you got rid of the bad bits of Capitalism you could have a pretty nice society. Socialism – Communism – something directed at human needs, anyway – you know, Marx was never terribly specific about any of this. The point was that overthrowing Capitalism was meant to bring about good times. The point of this book is to look at ideas like risk and mistrust, not as categories that are by-products of the evils of Capitalism, but as products of post-modernity. That risks and issues of trust are not really by-products of Capitalism that can be wished away with the glorious victory of Socialism – but that they are fundamental to the modern condition and not likely to go away under any conceivable set of circumstances.

A lot of this book looks at the problem of trust. The simplest things in our society require a remarkable amount of trust. The example given is flying to LA. There are lots of things we need to know to get to LA on a plane – I would need to know what an airline ticket was, have my passport, how to get to the airport, what is appropriate to wear (you know, no t-shirts with God is Great written on them) or to say to the customs people – but what I wouldn’t need to know even the first thing about is how to fly the plane. I wouldn’t even need to know how the plane flies. There are other people that we call experts that can worry about those sorts of things. But this isn’t quite the same as ‘faith’. Obviously, there is a kind of faith involved, however, in the case of the plane at least, that faith doesn’t really amount to the same sort of thing as believing in the virgin birth, say.

Or does it? We like to think that if we wanted we could go off and learn enough physics to understand how a plane flies and then learn how to fly one. But we certainly couldn’t really do all of that – learn how to make a plane and so on - eventually we come back to having to have trust in someone. And the way science is taught it is generally presented as a series of givens – it is transmitted as a series of truths that must be accepted whole. It is only towards the end of a science degree that the first glimmers of the limits of what we know start to become clear. Faith is a necessary companion of trust, I guess. But trust is difficult to sustain in a post-modern world.

Take global warming, the example given in the book is nuclear war, but for some daft reason we seem to imagine this risk has disappeared. Global warming is hardly a ‘side-effect’ of Capitalism. If Capitalism is inconceivable without constant growth, it is hard to see how global warming isn’t then also a necessary consequence of Capitalism. And if, rather than our hopes that the rise in temperatures will be at the bottom end of predictions, it ends up at the top end – what then? I’ve read estimates that the world will only be able to sustain a population of about half a billion people. Given there is over seven billion here now, that means an over supply of about six and a half billion people. This is truly nightmare stuff. Clearly there is some level of risk that this might happen – but it is in the future and it is a relatively small risk as far as we humans as individuals are able to assess such things. So, we either ignore these risks as much as we can or we make ourselves sick in worrying about things we have no power to fix.

And here is one of the fundamental conditions of late modernity. There are all of these risks and they call into question our trust in those around us, but we can do virtually nothing to address that lack of trust. You know, if you catch your husband in bed with another woman, there is something you can do. Your trust is probably shattered, and so you can leave him. Okay, but you can’t really leave society if you lose trust in it. Where would you go? As he points out brilliantly here – the opposite of trust isn’t really mistrust, that is far too gentle a term – the opposite of trust is anxiety.

Think about that for a while. Think of all of the people who spend so much time in some form of therapy or have some sort of anxiety disorder – how much can that be blamed to a fundamental lack of trust and one we can do literally nothing to avoid?

He makes the point that society isn’t really a car we have control over, but rather a juggernaut. We can sometimes guide where it goes, but it is always on the verge of careening off course or crashing to bits. We want to believe that with a few more modification the whole thing will come under our control – that society is essentially a product of the individual actions of humans and so all that is required is an exercise of our will or free agency and all will be well. But the problem is that society is literally bigger than all of us – even all of us added together.

There is much more to this book than I’ve covered here. I really can recommend this book as well worth reading and thinking about.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
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