Reflexive modernisation, existential anxiety and sense of identity: an exploration of 'perceived' identity in crisis

Grattan, Alan (2008) Reflexive modernisation, existential anxiety and sense of identity: an exploration of 'perceived' identity in crisis. International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 7, (4), 93-102.


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For many nations and communities when undergoing either gradual or 'eruptive' political, social and economic
change, the result is often seen as a process of 'reflexive modernisation'. This process often brings with it the creation of
societal or communal uncertainty following the decline or erosion of hitherto 'institutional'and 'cultural' certainties. In the
midst and aftermath of this process there is often at one level or another an attempt to re-establish or recreate a sense of
order and stability. Often a potentially negative social response is what may be referred to as 'counter modernisation'; a
response often based upon nationalism, xenophobia, ethnocentrism and violence. Hier (2003) and Sennett (1974) agree
that one of the central characteristics of a 'counter modernisation'social response by a society or community is often based
upon 'emotion'. Indeed, Sennett (1974) argues 'emotion' is a crucial ingredient in relation to the defence and maintenance
of identity and community. It is the contention of this paper that, for some communities and societies, a further and integral
consequence of 'reflexive modernisation' often results in mass 'existential anxiety' and 'emotional' uncertainty in relation
to their 'perceived' identity. This can have political, social and cultural consequences. This paper is based on on-going
theoretical and empirical research.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1447-9532 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: reflexive modernisation, counter modernisation, mass ‘existential anxiety’, sense of identity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 63559
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:48

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