ABSTRACT

Eschatological interests have flourished at the end of centuries before now, and the imminent end of the twentieth century is no exception. It might be that the current interest among a number of social observers in endings and our proclivity toward transformations and beginnings is an effect of some vast cosmic season. On the other hand, the passing of industrialism simply coincides with the passing of the century. What comes after does not begin neatly on a date in our conventional measure of time. The old decays unevenly. It is sometimes repaired and revived and sometimes destroyed and discarded. The new is generated by both the living and the dead. Like Weber still, we do not know what social life beyond industrialism will be like. Without the certainties and hopes of modern thought our readings of this juncture are only modest and reasonable offerings for thinking about the present and the future. And hence I prefer to retain the limited concept of “post-industrial” to describe the changes in modem industrial society we can readily see around us. Post-industrial society provides a way of thinking about these changes as we seek new categories for theorizing a new social formation after industrialism. It is an interim term for an interim condition.