Alain Touraine on Modernism - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 271
Modernism/Touraine/West: Touraine, like Habermas, emphasizes the reflexive, self-critical
potential of modernity. Although human beings have always made history, they have previously
done so only unconsciously. This is because in premodern societies, society's 'self-production'
was restricted and obscured by 'meta-social guarantees' - metaphysical and religious systems
that represented certain values as absolute limits on social action and development.
Society: Modernity has eroded these limits and so enhanced society's 'historicity', which refers to society's 'capacity to produce its own social and cultural field, its own historical environment' (Touraine, 1977(1): 16). For Touraine the ultimate bearer of this potential is social movements: 'Men make their own history: social life is produced by cultural achievement and social conflicts, and at the heart of society burns the fire of social movements' (1981(2): l).
Technology/Technocracy: But modernity's promise of autonomy and social creativity is, once again, threatened by the increasing pervasiveness of technical knowledge and bureaucratic structures of management within what Touraine calls 'postindustrial' or 'programmed' societies. >Postindustrial Society/Touraine.
1. Touraine, Alain (1977) The Self-Production of Society, trans. D. Coltman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2. Touraine, Alain (1981) The Voice and the Eye: An Analysis of Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
West, David 2004. „New Social Movements“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004