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Record Type: Review   ID: 872


Smart, Barry

 New Zealand sociologist Barry Smart attempts to set forth exactly what postmodernism is and how it differs from modernity. Although it is directed at students, the ideas he presents are quite complex, so the work is somewhat demanding, but nonetheless worthwhile. His main aim is to consider the contribution of postmodernity "to our understanding of contemporary sociology and the analysis of social life; the characteristics of modernity and its consequences; contemporary political conditions and opportunities; the persistence or regeneration of religious belief; and finally the complex and confusing forms of articulation between, on the one hand, global processes and associated interdependences and on the other hand the inescapabilities and particularities of local forms and identities" (p. 39). Of relevance to this website is his observation that "the resurrection of the 'sacred' as a sphere of experiences pertinent to modern forms of life, as a counter to the nihilism of the modern world . . . certainly constitutes a part of . . . the postmodern condition" (p. 89). Smart cites the rise of fundamentalism and the resurgence of religious belief, but perhaps more central to the postmodern condition is the upsurge of transcendental or exceptional human experiences, which may presage a return of the sacred in the midst of secular life.
Publisher Information:London: Routledge, 1993. 169p. Bibl: 154-165; Name Index: 166-167; Subject Index: 168-169
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