Winner of the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Book Award in 2012, Chandra Mukerji offers with this remarkable new book an explanation of the birth and subsequent proliferation of the many strands in the braid of modernity. The journey she takes us on is dedicated to teasing those strands apart, using forms of cultural analysis from the social sciences to approach history with fresh eyes. Faced with the problem of trying to understand what is hardest to see: the familiar, she gains analytic distance and clarity by juxtaposing cultural analysis with history, asking how modernity began and how people conjured into existence the world we now recognize as modern.
Part I describes the genesis of key modern social forms: the modern self, communities of strangers, the modern state, and the industrial world economy. Part II focuses on modern social types: races, genders, and childhood. Part III focuses on some of the cultural artifacts and activities of the contemporary world that people have invented and used to cope with the burdens of self-making and to react against the broken promises of modern discourse and the silent injuries of material modernism.
Beautifully illustrated with over 100 color photographs in its 10 chapters, MODERNITY REIMAGINED is not just an explanation, an analysis of how modern life came to be, it is also a model for how to do cultural thinking about today’s world.