HPAS/Allied Mains 2022 Answer Writing Challenge Day 297: Model Answer
Question: Explain the concept of Modernity. Also discuss the key features of Modern Societies. (8 marks/120 words)
The term modernity refers to a set of political, economic, social, and cultural processes usually traced back to forms of knowledge and practice that emerged in Europe around the 16th through the 18th centuries, a period often termed the Enlightenment.
Modernity involves the rise of modern society (secularised societies with an institutional separation of the state from civil society, a much greater degree of social and technical division of labour, and the formation of nation-states uniting cultural and political borders), a rationalistic epistemology, and an individualistic and objectivistic ontology”.
Some of the key features of modern societies are:
- Economic production is industrial and capitalist, with social class as the main form of social division. Social classes are based on people’s social and economic position. Marx’s view for instance, was that industrial society people were divided into two main classes, those who owned businesses and those who sold their labour to them.
- The growth of cities, or urbanisation. During the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries thousands of people moved to cities to find work and make their homes.
- A powerful central government and administration, known as a bureaucratic state. Local and central government have played an ever-increasing part in our lives, the development of compulsory education, public housing and the welfare state for example.
- People’s knowledge is derived from scientific and rational thinking rather than religious faith, magic or superstition. During this period people have looked to science and logical thinking to explain the world. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, for example, have tended to be explained scientifically rather than as an “act of god”.
- A widely held faith in scientifically based progress. An associated view has been that the more we trust in science and technological progress, the better our society will be.