By Stjepan Mestrovic
Anthony Giddens is arguably the world's best sociologist. during this arguable contribution to the Giddens debate, Stjepan Mestrovic takes up and criticizes the main topics of his paintings - relatively the concept that of 'high modernity' in place of 'postmodernity' and his tried building of a 'synthetic' culture in keeping with human corporation and constitution. trying out Giddens' theories opposed to what's taking place within the actual global from genocide in Africa to close secession in Quebec, Mestrovic discerns within the development of man-made traditions now not the promise of freedom held out via Giddens yet relatively the ominous power for brand new kinds of totalitarian keep watch over.
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Extra info for Anthony Giddens: The Last Modernist
If the present-day version of the Enlightenment project as rational is not bankrupt, can it really continue on its existing path of glorifying rationality while eschewing emotions, or is a new synthesis of reason and emotion needed? Can society exist and persist without culture? Does postmodernity refer to a real rupture with modernity? Is the human agent as free and skilled as Giddens purports? And so on. GIDDENS AND THE END OF SOCIOLOGY But in making clear that I will be using Durkheim and other classical social theorists as foils with which to judge Giddens as well as those who accept his work uncritically, I encounter immediately Giddens’s assumptions that Durkheim and other founders of the social sciences are mostly irrelevant to the present; that sociology is the study of modern societies; and that modernity represents a dramatic discontinuity with pre-modern or traditional modes of social relations.
Let me be specific about which aspects of Giddens’s theory I intend to criticize. In The New Rules of Sociological Method, Giddens lists three concerns as “vital” to his “project as a whole”: One is to develop a critical approach to the development of nineteenth-century social theory, and its subsequent incorporation as the institutionalized and professionalized “disciplines” of “sociology,” “anthropology” and “political science” in the course of the twentieth century. Another is to trace out some of the main themes in nineteenth-century social thought which became built into theories of the formation of the advanced societies and subject these to a critique.
Giddens’s modernism is most apparent in his neglect of the concept of culture and in his neglect of the most important cultural theorist from the previous fin de siècle, Georg Simmel. To repeat, Giddens mirrors Parsons’s neglect of Simmel in this regard. Neither Parsons nor Giddens could incorporate Simmel seriously into their abstract theories because Simmel ( 1986) was self-consciously ANTHONY GIDDENS: THE LAST MODERNIST 37 concerned with “life” (as a mean between Schopenhauer’s “will to life” and Nietzsche’s “will to power”) as it works through culture.