Theory, Culture and Society 16 (3):1-30 (1999)

In contrast to other approaches, `modernity' in this article is not dealt with as a historical concept but as a normative-aesthetic term and as a mythical narrative in the sense of Nietzsche's `eternal recurrence of the same'. Paradoxically, there still exists a semantic shift between different historical concepts of modernity beginning in late antiquity and the Middle Ages up to the present confusions about `postmodernity'. However, the aesthetical bias of the discourse of modernity prevents any serious interpretation which is able to refer these semantic shifts directly to some clear and incontestable socio-structural facts and developments. In its contemporary sociological form this discourse overlaps on the contrary with some main trends in aesthetic theory and practice: the exchangeability between `old' and `new' and the permanent suspension of the boundaries between `art' and `life'. Consequently, aesthetics as well as sociology are describing modernity as a cultural system which is `playing' with its own fundamental differentiations between `in' and `out' or self-reference and other-reference
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DOI 10.1177/02632769922050601
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Modernity and Ambivalence.Zygmunt Bauman - 1990 - Theory, Culture and Society 7 (2-3):143-169.
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism.Monroe C. Beardsley - 1976 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 35 (2):229-231.

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