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Click on image to Zoom. Average Rating 62 Customers. Description This lucid and insightful study of a crucial area of current debate covers the three theories of contemporary change: the information society, post-Fordism and postmodernity.
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Nayi Sadi Mein Sapno Krishan Kumar Rattu. Choori Bazar Me Ladk Krishan Kumar. New Book Releases. Contact Us. Monday to Saturday 9. E-Gift Coupon , click here. Insights Insights, Account, Orders. About SapnaOnline. Block's analysis carries forward the focus of prior postindustrial theory on social structure, yet gives scant attention to the role of codified theoretical knowledge, the university and professional groups. Instead, Block looks at key aspects of the changing postindustrial economy of the United States in an effort to develop alternative possibilities for the future.
He notes that a postindustrial economy utilizing advanced technology, and having a substantial service sector, would be most productive if it kept some distance from the dictates of classical economic theory.
Specifically, productivity is likely enhanced by: 1 relatively low levels of marketness, allowing for greater predictability and more accurate information; 2 labor relations emphasizing cooperation between labor and management, since skilled labor in technologically sophisticated industries and the professions has substantial knowledge and is expensive to replace; 3 treating capital not merely as a physical asset, but as part of a productive process that includes the organization of persons working with capital; 4 developing measures of economic well-being that incorporate positive and negative utilities currently excluded from measures like gross national product e.
Block's work provides a useful extension of postindustrial theory into the more traditional economic domains of labor, capital, and measured economic output. The book may represent a revival of analyses of postindustrial society, perhaps under the alternative concept of postmodern society. However, before considering the notion of postmodern society, some criticisms of the concept of postindustrial society need to be mentioned.
Chapter 4. Society and Modern Life – Introduction to Sociology – 2nd Canadian Edition
Much of the critical literature focuses on Bell's work, since it is viewed as one of the best expressions of postindustrial theory. One criticism of postindustrial theory is that it overemphasizes the role of theoretical knowledge in decision making. Although critics acknowledge that formal knowledge is more important than ever before, they contend that technical experts and scientific knowledge have not come to play the central role in decision making in government or corporations that postindustrial theorists said they would. Within government, political dynamics of the industrial era persist, and within the corporation "the expert and his knowledge are, for the most part, embedded in the corporate bureaucracy" Cohen and Zysman , p.
Also, critics point out that while there may be more scientists, more persons with advanced education, and more money spent on research and development, these may be only tenuously related to increases in the amount and effective use of theoretical knowledge Kumar Critics also question the attention given by postindustrial theorists to the service sector, and to white-collar and professional work. As with theoretical knowledge, critics agree the service sector has grown, yet question the focus of postindustrial theorists. Critics remind us that the service sector has always been a major segment of preindustrial and industrial society Hartwell , that most service employment is in low-skilled, low-paid work, and that increases in white-collar and professional employment are a consequence of dynamics embedded in industrial society.
Relatedly, most of the increases in white-collar and professional employment are in clerical positions and jobs like teaching and nursing, jobs that carry less autonomy and income than traditional professional occupations.
Perhaps most important, critics argue that a focus on the service sector fails to adequately acknowledge the key role that manufacturing would play in a postindustrial economy, including the dependence of the service sector on a dynamic manufacturing sector Cohen and Zysman One response to these and other criticisms e. Postindustrial theory merely chose to focus on other developments that may hold insights into the future of advanced industrial society.
A related response to criticisms is to point out that critics have frequently acknowledged the validity of postindustrial claims of an increasing role for formal and theoretical knowledge, the increasing importance of technical developments in information processing, and the rise of a service sector with a good number of white-collar and professional workers. The points of contention between postindustrial theory and its critics appear to center on the general portrait of society provided by postindustrial theorists: Is this society best seen as a new type of society, or as a logical extension of advancing industrialization Kumar ; ; ; Ritzer ; Giddens ?
Also, what are the implications of this image of society, not only for describing the present and future, but for shaping both? Recent discussions of the character and future of advanced industrial societies have been framed within the concept of postmodern society. Although the variety of work dealing with postmodern society makes a clear definition difficult Smart ; Kumar , it seems reasonable to say postmodern society differs from postindustrial society in having the more nebulous reference point of a type of society coming after "modern" society.
Whereas studies of postindustrial society understandably give substantial attention to technical and economic factors, studies of postmodern society broaden the focus to bring political and especially cultural phenomenon more to the center of analysis Kumar This shift in focus helps explain why analyses of the cultural dynamics of postindustrial society are frequently considered in terms of the dynamics of postmodern society e. For many authors, postmodernism is the culture of a postindustrial society e.
Analyses of postmodern society may differ from postindustrial analyses not only in substantive focus, but also in basic presuppositions regarding the nature of social reality. While studies of postmodern society can reflect a standard social science framework, what has come to be called postmodern theory often includes a critique of science that undermines traditional social scientific inquiry Turner ; Bogard Although the central tenants of postmodern theory are still unclear Smart ; Ritzer ; Rosenau , it is possible to note some major themes.
Reflecting the influence of literary criticism, postmodern theory often views "social and cultural reality, and the social sciences themselves [as] linguistic constructions" Brown , p. Authoritative images of what is real are seen to emerge through rhetorical processes in which "people establish repertoires of categories by which certain aspects of what is to be the case are fixed, focused, or forbidden" Brown , p.
Postmodern theory critiques the notion that signs and symbols adequately capture reality, and posits that signs and symbols are the only reality we truly know Brown The reality of the social world described by social scientists is viewed as inseparable from the discourse through which social scientists come to signify some descriptions of the world as more legitimate than others Lemert The traditional hierarchy in which reality occupies a privileged status separate from the symbols used to describe it is broken down, or deconstructed.
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The deconstruction project of postmodern theory not only critiques the separation of reality from symbols describing it, but also critiques other hierarchies, such as those separating expert knowledge from common knowledge, and high culture from low. The project even moves to deconstruct the very possibility of a generalizing social science, and the idea of a social world Foucault ; Baudrillard In such bold forms a postmodern sociology becomes a contradiction in terms, undermining its own basis for existence J. Turner ; B. Turner ; Smart ; Bauman However, although a postmodern sociology may be difficult to establish, a sociology of postmodernism that examines postmodern society, and draws from postmodern theory, is possible.
Attempts to characterize postmodern society reflect the contributions of postmodern theory, as well as more conventional sociological approaches. From postmodern theory comes a view of postmodern society as a technologically sophisticated high-speed society, with access to vast amounts of information, and fascinated by consumer goods and media images. Mass consumption of goods and information is seen as facilitating a breakdown of hierarchies of taste, and development of an explicit populism. Technology and speed blur lines separating reality from simulation, as television, videos, movies, advertising, and computer models provide simulations of reality more real than real.
People may realize this hyperreality is simulation, yet be fascinated by it, and come to make it part of their lives, thus transforming much of reality into simulation Baudrillard Under such conditions history comes to have little meaning, and the fast-paced present becomes increasingly important. People may attempt to come to grips with such a world, but the world comes to undermine major assumptions, or grand narratives, of rationality and progress, thus generating a sense of exhaustion Lyotard An acute sense of self-consciousness and unease may develop, as "the current age stumbles upon the very transvaluation of Western values and vocabularies that Nietche urged more than a century ago" Baker , p.
Views of postmodern society from more conventional social science frameworks echo some of these themes. For example, both Daniel Bell and Christopher Lasch point to the development of cultural themes in postindustrial society emphasizing consumption and personal gratification at the expense of themes emphasizing self-restraint, work, commitment, and a sense of historical connection and continuity. In a Marxist analysis, Fredric Jameson points to the loss of a sense of historical connection in the consumer-oriented world of late capitalism.
One productive approach to postmodern society starts from the assumption that a central process defining modern society is differentiation. Thus, the type of society coming after modern society is viewed as reversing this process. The process of de-differentiation is illustrated in the cultural arena in the conflation of high and popular culture noted above, as well as the general deconstruction project of postmodernist theory see also Lash Within the economic arena de-differentiation appears in the reversal of the processes of bureaucratization and the division of labor characteristic of the assembly line Clegg Such trends have been viewed as part of the changing character of production in the world economy since , and have been examined under such terms as the second industrial divide Piore and Sable , or the emergence of disorganized capitalism Lash and Urry The changes frequently include a shift to smaller organizations or subunits of organizations, a less formalized and more flexible division of labor, increased variation in the character of products, more decentralized managerial structures, and the use of computers.
Such organizations are engaged in services, information processing, or production using computer controlled flexible production techniques Burris ; Heyderbrand ; Clegg The postbureaucratic character of these organizations is made possible by computers that do routine tasks, as well as by the need to respond flexibly to diverse clientele and markets, and the sophisticated capabilities of employees that operate complex manufacturing equipment and provide professional services.
Although postmodern production techniques and organizations are becoming more prominent and important in advanced industrial societies, they may express themselves in different ways and do not eclipse other forms of production and organization. Low-skilled tasks in manufacturing and services will likely compose a substantial segment of the workforce far into the future, creating the possibility of increased variation in skill and income in postmodern society. Also, postmodern organizations can vary substantially among themselves.
For example, Clegg argues that Japan and Sweden stand as alternative expressions of postmodernist futures. Sweden provides the more optimistic democratic scenario with fairly broad representational rights of workers in organizations. Japan represents a less optimistic view with an enclave of privileged workers formed on exclusive principles of social identity, such as gender, ethnicity, and age.
Much as critics of the concept of postindustrial society pointed out that postindustrial trends were best seen as the logical extension of major characteristics of industrial society, so Anthony Giddens has questioned the notion that postmodern trends actually represent a break with modern society. Giddens acknowledges current trends of complexity and widespread change accompanied by lack of a clear sense of progress, and would also likely admit to trends of de-differentiation in some organizations. However, Giddens does not see this as constituting postmodernity.
Instead he refers to such trends as characterizing radically modern societies, for these societies represent the logical extension of three essential characteristics of modernity. The first characteristic is an increase in complexity, as the major processes of industrialization, class formation, and rationalization proceed apace and shape one another. The second key element of modernity is the separation of much of what humans experience as social reality from concrete instances of time and space. Thus, money represents an element of social reality that designates a mechanism of exchange not bound to any specific instance of exchange.
Even more abstractly, experts and expert systems represent specialized knowledge that may be called upon for a variety of purposes at a number of times and places. Science is one of the clearer expressions of such knowledge, with its esoteric and changing images of the character of the natural and physical universe. As societies become more modern, humans are viewed as increasingly experiencing the world through such abstract, or "disembedded," categories as money, expertise, and science.
Realization of the disembedded nature of social life helps facilitate development of the third characteristic of modernity, its reflexivity. As noted earlier, reflexivity refers to the fact that efforts and information used to understand social reality become part of reality, and thus help shape the present and the future. According to Giddens, awareness of reflexivity is not confined to social scientists, but is embedded in the nature of modernity.
Modern societies generate theories of what they are, which become important constitutive elements that shape society, including the future character of theories.