An Age of Limits: Social Theory for the 21st Century by R. Schroeder

By R. Schroeder

An Age of Limits outlines a brand new social thought for figuring out modern society. supplying an research of why political, monetary and cultural powers face constraints around the international North and past, this daring booklet argues that forces which tackle present demanding situations needs to confront the bounds of the interaction among dominant institutions.

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Extra info for An Age of Limits: Social Theory for the 21st Century

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This tension or conflict rests on the fact that the mechanisms of power and control are not a single phenomenon within a single dominant institution (as for example ‘power’ is for analyses of ‘capitalism’) – but the mechanisms and institutions are also not infinitely complex as applied to the current condition of social development in relation to different environments: the domination over the natural world pulls in one direction, the drive for economic growth in another, and how states exercise plural authority and provide rights to groups of citizens is constrained in yet another manner.

In any event, this terminology allows me to avoid more general questions about social evolution and power throughout history, and also to use ‘orders’ in what follows as a kind of placeholder – since it is the three dominant institutions themselves that count (and institutions become differentiated substantively, as macro-social orders, which simply indicate separate parts of the social world, cannot). We will need to pin down the substantive patterns of social change of dominant institutions in what follows.

Or, to take a different example, why is it that the state cannot easily impose constraints on potentially unsustainable consumption or on the technoscientific transformation of nature? The answers will have to wait until the different dynamics of the three orders have been elaborated. The main pattern of social change in the modern period can thus for our purposes be broken down into a few main episodes: the long 19th century, dominated by the British empire (says Osterhammel [2009]; Mann [1993] agrees with British dominance, but focuses on the rise of nation-states and classes); the world wars as a period of extremes; a Golden Age of the North which overlapped with a global Cold War – between two further ‘extremes’ – which outlasted it until 1989–91; and after these an Age of Limits from the 1970s–80s onwards affecting the transformation of nature, economic growth and political options.

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