The Reinvention of Politics

The Reinvention of Politics : Rethinking Modernity in the Global Social Order

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Those who advocate ideas about "postmodernity" and "post-industrialism" offer radical critiques of existing social and political institutions. But they provide very little in place of those institutions. It is all very well to criticize the limitations of social democracy, the welfare state, trade unionism, and social classes as agents of change, but once these have been thrown into crisis what other institutions do we have to depend on? The Reinvention of Politics, suggests we should think again about forging a new model of politics for our times. An active, devolved civil society, Beck argues, can sustain the claim that modernity is inherently democratic. For many issues now - for example, those involving technology, environment protest, the family, or gender relations - belong to the domain of what the author calls "subpolitics". The postmodern critique of modernity, in Beck's view, is based on mistaken generalizations about a transitional phase in the evolution of modern society. What is needed, he argues, is the reinvention of politics, corresponding to th new demands of a society which remains modern, but which has progressed beyond the earlier form of industrial society. This book will be essential reading for second-year undergraduates and above in the fields of social and political theory, sociology and political science.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • 9780745694276

Review quote

'This is an extremely important book by one of the foremost social scientists of our time. Beck's work more than any other has brought social theory into the public domain of political debate and environmental policy. In The Reinvention of Politics he charts the terrain of [a] radical ecological politics. Against a global background of rising fundamentalist tendencies he shows the potential for a remoralization of science and industrialism and a citizen politics beyond left and right, East and West. Powerful arguments and brilliant analyses make this book a must for academics and practitioners alike.' Barbara Adam, University of Wales, Cardiff 'A book that makes a dramatic difference to our understanding of modernity. Beck delivers sociological insight of startling originality with his central image of politics oscillating between modern institutions and counter-modern repudiations. His accounts of the destructive symbiosis between Enlightenment ideals and Romantic shibboleths should inspire fundamental changes in social and political thought.' Ira Cohen, Rutgers University 'Insightful overview of the changing face of modern politics.' The Sociological Review
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Table of contents

Introduction. 1. The Age of Side Effects: On the Politicization of Modernity. 2. The Construction of the Other Side of Modernity: Counter-modernization. 3. Subpolitics - The Individual Returns to Society. 4. Ways to Alternative Modernities. 5. The Reinvention of Politics. 6. The Art of Doubt. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
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About Ulrich Beck

Ulrich Beck is Professor of Sociology at the University of Munich.
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