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Postmodernism

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Society has now entered a new postmodern age and we need new theories to understand it, assess this view (33 marks)

Most meta-narrative theories such as Functionalism and Marxism can be described as 'modernist' theories in that they explain the workings of 'modern society'. Modern society first emerged in Western Europe from about the late 18th century following the industrial revolution and the mass industrialisation of the western world. Modern can be distinguished from previous traditional societies in a number of ways. Firstly, the nation-state is the key political unit in modern society, we tend to think of the modern world as made up of a series of separate societies, each with its own state. In contrast to the small traditional feudal society where one had to look after themselves, modern nation states have created large administrative bureaucracies and educational, welfare and legal institutions to regulate their citizens lives. The nation state is also an important source of identity for citizens, who identify with its symbols such as the flag. Modern societies run off a capitalist economy. Capitalism brought about the industrialisation of modern society and with it the massive wealth modern nation-states now possess. However the wealth distribution within modern societies is unequal, resulting in class conflict according to the Marxist theology. The nation-state is important in regulating capitalism resulting in something Lash and Urry call 'organised capitalism'. A further feature of modern society is the domination of rational, secular and scientific ways
of thinking correlating with a decline in the influence of magico-religious explanations of the world. Technically efficient forms of organisation, such as bureaucracies and factories, dominate social and economic life. Science becomes increasingly important in industry,...

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