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What is meant by a post-modern world and a post-modern sociology? Is post-modern theory really offering a new direction for sociology? Or is it just a passing fashion?

This programme provides a lively, accessible and balanced introduction to this controversial area. It is divided into five linked, but self-standing, sections.

1: Modernity and Sociology

Sociology: From Modernity to Post-Modernity

We begin by asking what sociologists mean by modernity and illustrate how sociology is still part of this 'modern way of thinking'. But why do some theorists argue that modernity is dissolving and we are moving into a different type of society? What's changed?

2: From Modernity to Post-Modernity?

This section addresses the idea that modernity is giving way to a new post-modern condition. It uses mainly lay interviews and documentary material to compare growing up in the 60's with the present day, and identifies a contemporary world of greater personal choice, more fragmented identities and increasing uncertainty. The aim here is to make these issues more accessible by placing them into the context of students' everyday lives.

3: Post-Modernity and Sociology

Sociology: From Modernity to Post-Modernity

This section focuses on the post-modern view of the media saturation of contemporary societies and the 'post-modern' idea that as the societies become increasingly fragmented and diverse, sociological generalisations become increasingly difficult to sustain.

4: Case Study

The issues raised in the previous section are illustrated by comparing ‘modernist’ views of gender and gender differences with the postmodernist view fragmenting gender identities, blurring boundaries and a multitude of femininities and masculinities.

5: Post-Modernity and the Enlightenment

Sociology: From Modernity to Post-Modernity

In the final section we return to the theme of modernity and sociology, look at the post-modern critique of sociology and identify some contradictions in the postmodern position. However perhaps the greatest benefit of postmodern theory is to show just how quickly the world is changing and that sociology has to keep pace with these changes, even if that means abandoning or modifying some of its favourite concepts.
Teacher Booklet (PDF Document 575.48 KB.)

From Modernity to Post-Modernity

Running time 40 minutes.

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“The third video in this series is another must for any sociology teacher.”

Pat Smith, Social Science Teacher