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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 The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 7, (4), pp. 93-102.

Record type: Article


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.

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Published date: 2008
Keywords: reflexive modernisation, counter modernisation, mass ‘existential anxiety’, sense of identity


Local EPrints ID: 63559
ISSN: 1447-9532
PURE UUID: be06f82e-f7e6-4c72-a6b5-a274211e7058

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Date deposited: 20 Oct 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:16

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Author: Alan Grattan

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