Beyond the Adversarial Model?
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Beyond the Adversarial Model? book
The post-political perspective that this book intends to challenge finds its sociological bearings in a picture of the world first elaborated by a variety of theorists who in the early 1960s announced the coming of a ‘post-industrial society’ and celebrated ‘the end of ideology’. This tendency went later out of fashion but it has been revived in a new guise by sociologists such as Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens who argue that the model of politics structured around collective identities has become hopelessly outdated, owing to the growth of individualism, and that it needs to be relinquished. According to them we are now in a second stage of modernity which they call ‘reflexive modernity’. Our societies have become ‘post-traditional’ and this calls for a drastic rethinking of the nature and aims of politics. Widely diffused in the media, those ideas are fast becoming the ‘common sense’ which informs the mainstream perception of our social reality. They have been influential in political circles and, as we will see, they have played a role in the evolution of several social democratic parties. Since they provide several central tenets of the current Zeitgeist, the objective of this chapter is to examine them closely and to scrutinize their consequences for democratic politics.