Rethinking the Epochs of Western Modernity
Sociology has been much too dependent on the grand theories of its founding fathers to be able to make sense of such a transformation. Habermas had without doubt the same ambition as did Parsons a generation. Habermas criticises Marx in a manner similar to Durkheim. Castells gives perhaps more significance to culture and social identity than did Marx, but the non-technological and non-economical parts of the information age are clearly the dependent rather than the independent variable in his work. Wagner is not a Habermasian. His sociology is not neo-classic. Rather, he is a good example of someone who has learned from both camps of the modernist-postmodernist debate. The recognition of this fact leads a theory of modernity in the direction of sociology and history. Wagner’s point of departure can explain how we at the same time can have a general concept of modernity and talk about different epochs within modernity.