The Rise of Modern Society: Aspects of the Social and Political Development of the West, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1988, pp. 338.
By Krishan Kumar
What is the sociological theory of industrialism, and how far do the actual histories and practices of industrial societies match up to this theory? The studies in this volume examine many of the economic, social, political and cultural changes which the industrialization of society has caused, looking at continuities and discontinuities through pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial societies before considering particular aspects, for example, the shortcomings of the Marxest theory of class are shown up by application to nineteenth-century English society; the theory of revolution is examined for its relevance to the conditions of advanced industrial societies; the changing meanings and changing practices of work and employment are traced; and the current problems of Britain are used to point the way to the future of other societies. These incisive essays by one of Britain's most admired social theorists will be of lasting value for all concerned with the history and future of modern society.
'To measure the balance of gains and loses in modernity, and to increase the former against the latte, require forms of social accounting and social engineering which have so far defied the efforts of social science and government. But in practice this does not matter. No one can wait for that problem to be solved, if it ever can be. To modernize is to take everything, the bad with the good. Not to modernize is to play no part in the life of contemporary humanity. One of the unusual, and historically unprecedented, aspects of modernization is that it leaves no choice in the matter.'