Another Modernity: A Different Rationality
August 1999, Wiley-Blackwell
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Alongside the Enlightenment has emerged another modernity. This second modernity has - in opposition to the Enlightenment rationality of progress, order, homogeneity and cognition - initiated a different rationality of uncertainty, transience, experiment, and the unknowable. This second, this other modernity, is present in notions of 'difference' and 'reflexivity' so central to the contemporary world-view. The logic, however, of such notions can, itself, lead to the same unhappy abstraction of the first modernity. What is forgotten, Scott Lash argues, is the dimension of the ground. This book consists of explorations into this ground: as place, community, belonging, sociality, tradition, life-world; as symbol, sensation, in the tactile character of the sign. The book addresses the other modernity's forgotten ground.
The first and second modernities co-existed in a state of irresolvable tension along the history of western industrial capitalism. This is thrown into crisis, Lash argues, with the turn of the twenty-first century emergence of the global information culture. What are the implications of this explosion of first and second modernities into today's technological culture? When the previously existing third space of difference is exploded into the general indifference of information and communication flows? How might we lead our lives in an age in which difference - and indeed the ground itself - become primarily a matter for memory, for mourning?