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The Consequences of Modernity

In The Consequences of Modernity, British sociologist Anthony Giddens argues that modernity has meant a separation of time and space (among other things). However, unlike postmodern theorists, he is not suggesting we no longer live in a modern world. Rather, modernity has simply (or, rather, complicatedly) become more intense. Ponder the following questions as you move though the reading.


1. Giddens begins by outlining some institutional dimensions of modernity. Pick two of these dimensions and describe how they have changed in the transition from traditionalism to modernity.

2. Giddens points out how globalization has produced an increased awareness of risk, whether it is nuclear weapons, computer viruses, or terrorist attacks. Does Giddens think such risks are unavoidable?

3. Giddens suggests that we are able to live in a modern world because we have trust in abstract systems. He gives the examples of withdrawing money from an ATM or boarding a plane. Pick another example of trust in an abstract system that is required for your own modern life. Has this trust ever been broken?

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