Second modernity

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Second modernity is a phrase coined by the German sociologist Ulrich Beck, and is his word for the period after modernity.Re-modernity is a renaissance of modernity through realization that not all risks can be controlled. Family, politics, science, and religion were all institutions that promised protection from risks—both natural risks (earthquakes, floods, pandemics, environmental issues) and social risks (unemployment, divorce).

In second modernity these systems become part of the problem, not the solution, since they cannot offer the same social integration as they did prior to the 1960s. Finally realising that this is the case, people can reassess the situation and try to come up with new solutions that better reflect the changes brought by this reflexive modernization.

The "solution" according to Ulrich Beck, though, is a "cosmopolitan realpolitik" in which the dilemma that national interests can no longer be promoted nationally is recognised (Beck 2006, 173).

See also


  • Beck, Ulrich. 2006. The Cosmopolitan Vision, translated by Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press. ISBN 0745633986 (cloth); ISBN 0745633994 (pbk).

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