Edited by Paul Heelas , Edited by Paul Morris , Edited by Scott Lash


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The modernity and postmodernity debates of recent years have tended to direct attention towards frameworks of periodization, and away from the social and cultural processes currently at work in the world. This volume reverses the emphasis, to focus on modes of authority and identity, and to examine the roles which existing and new traditions may play in our epoch. It announces a new agenda for contemporary social theory, moving beyond current debates over (post)modernity. The contributors include Mark Poster, Richard Sennett, Ulrich Beck, Margaret Archer, Mary Douglas and Thomas Luckmann.

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  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 32mm | 580.6g
  • 30 Jan 1996
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Oxford
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1557865558
  • 9781557865557
  • 1,489,445

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Author Information

Paul Heelas, Scott Lash and Paul Morris are the authors and editors of many books and have also worked within the Centre for the Study of Cultural Values at the University of Lancaster. This book is a sequel to Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman's influential reader, Modernity and Identity, published by Blackwell in 1992.

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Review quote

"Essential reading for any scholar interested in what it means to be modern today." David Ingram, Loyola University of Chicago

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Back cover copy

This collective volume contributes to a growing debate concerning the extent to which we are now living in a "post-traditional" world. One standard account - most forcefully maintained by post-modernists - is that time has moved on to a point where we are now beyond the injunctions of the past. Yet such claims are increasingly being subjected to scrutiny. Have traditions, and all they stand for, really been left behind? And if not, what is their role in contemporary society? While some contributors to "Detraditionalization" continue to state the case for the collapse of traditional certainties, somewhat surprisingly, most argue that the sustained voices of authority, which reinforce the pre-estabilshed order of things over the self, have by no means lost their significance. They argue that culture has not become lost in a disordered, contingent miasma of post-modernity. They argue for a coexistence thesis: detraditionalizing processes are operating, but so are those to do with retraditionalization, tradition-maintenance and tradition-construction. Finally, there are those contributors who argue that attempts to identify the "traditional" and the "detraditional" at all are mistaken. This exciting and dynamic collection of essays draws together some of the world's leading commentators on these issues and provides valuable insights into the complexities of the role of the past and present during a time of considerable uncertainty.

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