Confusion reigns in sociological accounts of the current condition of modernity: from the end of the subject to a new individualism; from the dissolution of society to the re-emergence of civil society; from the end of modernity to an other modernity to neo-modernization. This book offers a sociology of modernity in terms of an historical account of social transformations over the past two centuries, focusing on Western Europe but also looking at the USA and at Soviet socialism as distinct variants of modernity. A fundamental ambivalence of modernity is captured by the double notion of liberty and discipline in its three major dimensions: the relations between individual liberty and political community; between agency and structure; and between locally-situated human lives and widely extended social institutions. Two major historical transformations of modernity are distinguished, the first one beginning in the late 19th century and leading to a social formation that can be called organized modernity; and the second being the one that dissolves organized modernity.
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