How shocking the polar opposite views of modernity are. It seems to be contrasting and in the end, ironic. Modernity is regarded by some to look forward to, as it is linked with various aspects like urbanization and liberation, but once that term is enforced on a diverse society, it can disregard a whole group of people. I found this week’s topic of modernity and all that it entails to be a heavily packed one.
In the conversation video of Modernity and Modernization in Mexico, Professor Alec Dawson explains what modernity is. He mentions a couple of elements that generally affect the concept of which modernity is regarded.
-emancipation; increasing freedom and rights (2)
-innovation; improving and creating (1)
-secularization; organizations focusing on inclusiveness (3)
-universalism; sharing values once discovered(4)
After mentioning these points, I realized that the particular aspects that I wrote down during the lecture I saw beforehand, modeled the ones Alec Dawson mentioned.
In this week’s lecture, Professor Beasley-Murray asked us to note any examples under the dominant, residual, or emergent categories. I had written down some examples that dealt with the past under a negative light, in a way that it accepts the errors that were made and creates an inclusive present, and more so for the future. Whether that has to do with the reconciliation with Canadian Indigenous across Canada or creating a safe environment for marginalized groups within the university. A second light that I viewed is that some groups take pride in their past, and therefore don’t necessarily want to change anything, or use it for motivation to continue their success. In the nit-picky details that I wrote down, I saw the core values that Professor Dawson had mentioned. (especially realizing how secularism has radically impacted inclusiveness)
Anyways, from an academic standpoint, I felt conflicted about this as a result from the contrasting point of views that I mentioned in the beginning.
Here’s why: I am certain that MY views of across the board equality, inclusiveness, and opportunity are what gives the greatest amount of freedom to people. So for me and many others, modernity would have to represent this. But for others, it can be completely different.
Example: I believe that women have the right to study and work, and a “modern” society would model that. Another lady could think that women must solely occupy herself with taking care of the home, and so her view of “modernity” would be a different version of emancipation.
In anthropology class we have been learning over the past seven weeks that just because we think something is correct or normal, does not mean that another person’s different way of life is inherently wrong. And I think that is where the second view of modernity comes in. Because like said before, modernity is something that is aspired to, but how dare we impose our standard of modernity, when it is only modern to us? In fact, is it even possible to create a definition that describes the aspects of what modernity is, without defaming another person’s life? Because I know that if I did, I would most certainly be insulting others.
Discussion Question: Is it possible to create one definition that describes modernity while being all around inclusive?
October 20, 2020 — 5:01 am
I think that modernity primarily has been defined in the West as a transition from the traditional into capitalism and mass consumption, which has been associated with emancipation and forsaking injustice and discrimination. As if capitalism would inherently provide freedom and development. Furthermore, as discussed in lecture, modernity brings new ways of thinking and being, as you described how you’d like to see women having rights to study and work in the future. However, I am not sure if modernity in itself could be a question of opinion. Clearly all haven’t been equally benefitted by modernization, and many people still carry traditional values in modern societies, but modernity remains the same – a capitalistic, productive society. However, if capitalism had never become the dominant system and countries being turned into consumers and produces for the First World market system, then I believe that modernity could look quite different in different places. So the bottom line of this is that I don’t think modernity needs to be inclusive or that people should even agree upon it, since it has been unequal to begin with.
October 21, 2020 — 5:09 am
I think it is difficult to come up with one definition considering how it difficult it is to be inclusive all around. Something may be right where we live but absolutely wrong on the other side of the world. Maybe one can say modernity is the viewpoint that a nation is able to partake in an equal society with a unified way of life. But that itself is a bit contradicting.
October 21, 2020 — 8:28 pm
Hi! I also think it is difficult to come up with one definition. I agree with Emilia in that modernity in the West is typically thought of as a transition from the traditional into capitalism and mass consumption, and I believe this is generally seen as a positive thing. But what about in other places where money isn’t the driving force and end goal? For them the concept of modernity would be quite different. To me it seems that there is no way of defining it while being 100% inclusive because it can mean something different for everyone.