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Tempo Social

Print version ISSN 0103-2070On-line version ISSN 1809-4554


COSTA, Sérgio. The sociology of reflexive modernization and its limits. Tempo Soc. [online]. 2004, vol.16, n.2, pp.73-100. ISSN 0103-2070.

Received in the 90s as an important renewal of the social sciences, reflexive modernity sociology, developed specially by A. Giddens and U. Beck, already shows evident signs of weakness. From a theoretical point of view, this approach is unable to avoid the evolutionism found within the first modernization sociology. If in the later it were the institutions and social structures of the North Atlantic societies that represented History's end of the line, yet to be achieved by all the other societies, reflexive modernization theory establishes reflexive subjectivity as a reference to its teleology. On the other hand, the conception of a "third way", beyond the left and right wings, is upheld by an idealized view of politics, which puts this sphere above power relations and interests. Therefore, reflexive modernization is deprived of any analytical resource capable of favoring a critical understanding of the recent developments in world politics.

Keywords : Reflexive modernization; Cosmopolitization; Anthony Giddens; Ulrich Beck.

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