Kosmopoliittinen perspektiivi – toisen modernin sosiologiasta

The Cosmopolitan Perspective – on the Sociology of the Second Age of Modernity

In the face of a widening cosmopolitan perspective, the social sciences and Social Theory find themselves embracing contrary views and starting points. The nation state paradigm is the dominant societal paradigm, but a new paradigm, that of the world society, or of the cosmopolitan perspective, is emerging. In this article these opposing paradigms are developed and discussed using a distinction between the first and the second age of modernity. By this distinction the author distances himself from the theoretical schemes of postmodernism (the emphasis here is not on the destructuring and end of modernity, but on what is beginning and on new social science categories), challenges theories which suggest that the unfolding of modernity at the end of this millenium should be seen as a linear process of differentiation, and intends to clarify misunderstandings which have emerged in the debate on reflexive modernisation – there is a structural and epochal break, a paradigm shift, and not merely a gradual increase in the significance of knowledge and reflection. Theory and sociology of the second age of modernity elaborate, therefore, the basic assumption that towards the end of the 20th century the conditio humana opens up anew – with fundamentally ambivalent contingencies and risks which, conceptually and empirically, still have to be uncovered and understood. A new kind of capitalism, a new kind of economy, a new kind of global order, a new kind of politics and law, a new kind of society and personal life are in the making which are clearly distinct from earlier phases of social evolution. Consequently a paradigm shift in both the social sciences and in politics is required. This article, however, investigates only one aspect of this shift, namely: which social science categories make the cosmopolitan perspective possible?

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