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We are all changing, and our society changes with us – Why have so many people lost the will to vote? – Why have our attitudes to work changed so radically? – Why did people so suddenly stop respecting the police, the church and other authority figures? – When and why did parents start to dress and behave like their children, rather than the other way round? – Why was the radicalism of 1968 abandoned so quickly? – Why do advertisements from even 10 years ago seem so ridiculous now? This compelling insight into the lives of ordinary people is the culmination of 60 years’ research into what we believe; what we fear; how we love; what we like; who we are; how we are changing the world – and what we are going to do next. Towards the Third Modernity is the most riveting kind of contemporary history. Drawing on a mass of interviews, field research, life histories, surveys and social observation conducted across Western Europe and North America, the author plots the passage of what he calls the First and Second Modernities from 1950 to the present. Reading it, pieces of the social jigsaw drop into place and trends and changes that that we have all seen in our lifetimes are spotlighted, named and explained in the most satisfactory way. In the final chapters, the author asks what the Third Modernity has in store for us. He examines the trends that are just now being detected by social observers around the world. What do they herald for the next decade? Chaos or world government? Increasing social harmony or increasing fragmentation, isolation and despair? It is a mark of the extraordinary breadth and scope of this book that the original French edition was seized upon by academics, social commentators, business leaders, historians, politicians, planners, teachers, social anthropologists and the ‘ordinary people’ of the title alike.

Towards the Third Modernity: How Ordinary People Are Transforming the World

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