Home  > Readings > Book

Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition, and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order


Title: Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition, and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order


Author: Ulrick Beck, Anthony Giddens, translated by Zhao Wenshu


Publisher: The Commercial Press


Pub Date:  2001


Brief Introduction: Reflexivity is an important issue in modern social theories. In this book, three renowned sociologists discuss in-depth the connotations of reflexive modernization in today’s social theories and cultural theories, touching upon the politics, traditions, and aesthetics of the contemporary society. From the perspective of his “risk society” Beck revisits his basic views towards reflexive modernization, Giddens examines the “institutional reflexivity” and de-traditionalization of modern society and demonstrates global social development, and Lash proposes reflexive modernization in terms of aesthetics and cultural interpretation. At the end of the book, each of the three authors gives critical evaluations about the view points of the others, thus forming a comprehensive conclusion.


The theme of reflexivity has come to be central to social analysis. In this book three prominent social thinkers discuss the implications of "reflexive modernization" for social and cultural theory today.

Ulrich Beck's vision of the "risk society" has already become extraordinarily influential. Beck offers a new elaboration of his basic ideas, connecting reflexive modernization with new issues to do with the state and political organization.

Giddens offers an in-depth examination of the connections between "institutional reflexivity" and the de-traditionalizing of the modern world. We are entering, he argues, a phase of the development of a global society. A "global society" is not a world society, but one with universalizing tendencies.

Lash develops the theme of reflexive modernization in relation the aesthetics and the interpretation of culture. In this domain, he suggests, we need to look again at the conventional theories of postmodernism; "aesthetic modernization" has distinctive qualities that need to be uncovered and analyzed.

In the concluding sections of the book, the three authors offer critical appraisals of each other's viewpoints, providing a synthetic conclusion to the work as a whole.



Copyright © 2014,China Center for Modernization Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Add: 33 Beisihuan West Road, ZhongGuanCun, 100190 Beijing, P.R. China
Tel: 8610-62539103    Fax: 8610-62539103  Email: