Driving the Modern Dream: Contemporary Japanese Modernity in Theoretical Perspective
University of Sheffield - School of East Asian Studies; Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
January 6, 2012
Journal of Law and Politics, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 103-150, 2001
Modernity is as much a state of mind as it is a material condition. As such its quality can most clearly be described as a transformative ethic that has as its engine pushing it forwards and outwards the positivist and economist rationalism that is capitalism. That is to say, with capitalism as its mechanism and its fuel, modernity seeks a progressive and linear transformation of the human experience into a rationally and reflexively ordered life-scape that can be pro-actively controlled and manipulated for the purposes of providing an ever more comfortable, fulfilling, liberating, challenging, and complex life for its human architects. Mediating the mental and the material aspects of modernity are the institutions and organizations which individuals and groups construct in order that they might express their consciousness through the process of creative adaptation. In other words, institutions and organizations are the social mechanisms by which people not only create their environment out of the mental images they have developed but also are the method by which people accommodate themselves to the circumstances of their lives. For at the heart of modernity is the individual's moral responsibility to discover his or her authentic inner consciousness and substantiate it in lived experience.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: sociological theory, modernity, varieties of capitalism
JEL Classification: N00, Z10, O10
Date posted: January 6, 2012 ; Last revised: March 9, 2014
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