Moderni, jälkimoderni ja jälkitraditionaalinen yhteiskunta. Sosiologin reaktio postmodernisuuskeskusteluun

Modern, postmodern and posttraditional society. Sociological reaction to the postmodernity debate

To sociologists, modernisation means differentiation, where we may either emphasise fragmentation, where we may either emphasise fragmentation (Weber, Luhmann) or the need for integration (Durkheim, Parsons, Habermas). The debate on postmodernism which began with Lyotard's pamphlet, La condition postmoderne, was a challenge to sociology, because Lyotard put forth an opposite thesis – in the field of culture – of the modern as a world that closes under the terror of the enlightenment and can only open again in the state of the postmodern. Later sociological theories of modernisation (Beck, Giddens) have reacted to the challenge by producing the "hypothesis of two stages". According to this hypothesis, the first stage of modernisation means the institutional differentiation of society and a simultaneous closing of culture. The second stage means an increasing institutional differentiation combined with a cultural opening. In spite of its advantages, the new distinction is problematic in at least two ways. Firstly, the nature of the transfer into the different stages can be specified in several mutually conflicting ways. Secondly, there is the danger that it will become one evolutionary narrative among other meta-narratives of the enlightenment. As such, instead of contextualising and fertilising empirical research, it would only replace it as a new canon.

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