Posts Tagged ‘modernity’

Simulacra and Hyperreality

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

sim_coverI’ve called this a “Lesson Outline” (rather than Plan) because it’s designed to introduce and to some extent explain the related concepts of simulacra and hyperreality using practical examples to illustrate the processes.

What the Outline does is treat Baudrillard’s concepts of simulacra and hyperreality in much greater depth than is usually the case with most Sociology A-Level textbooks; this isn’t a criticism of these books, but rather an observation that there’s rarely enough space available in textbooks to treat the concepts with the depth I think they deserve (trust me, I know this from bitter experience).

In this respect the Outline details 1st, 2nd and 3rd order simulacra and, in relation to the latter, hyperreality. Although it’s quite theoretical for A-level I’ve tried to include quite a bit of “practical stuff” you can use to illustrate the ideas. Alternatively, if you don’t want to go into too much depth you can just pick-and-choose (now, there’s an idea…) the bits you want to use.

Whether or not you go with the practical stuff is really up to you – it’s indicative rather than prescriptive – and there are no fancy timings or whatever to restrict your use of the materials.

I’ve also included a short (3 minute) video resource  you can use alongside the printed resource – again, nothing too fancy or prescriptive, just 6 short (around 30 seconds) clips you can integrate into your lesson if you so choose.

Modernity and Sociological Theory

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

modernity_coverThis is the first part of a two-part series looking at the relationship between modernity, postmodernity and the development of sociological theory.

This set of Notes focuses on:

  1. Identifying the basic economic, political and cultural characteristics of modernity
  2. Relating these characteristics to the development of Consensus and Conflict Structuralism.

Download pdf version of Modernity and Sociological Theory


Sociology ShortCuts: Reflexive Modernisation

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

In this ShortCut Professor Brian Wynne (Lancaster University) extends his introduction to Beck’s concept of Risk Society by developing the idea of reflexive modernisation.

While this film will be a bit more “difficult” for a-level students the ideas Wynne discusses can be made more-accessible by relating them to various contemporary real-world examples – these range from examples of environmentalist activism and protest, through the recent referendum on Britain’s EU membership (“Brexit”) to the Donald Trump presidential campaign in America.


Amoral Panics: Part 3

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

While the two previous posts looked at moral panics from two different perspectives (“from below” in the case of interpretivist approaches and “from above” in the case of hegemonic neo-Marxist positions) a different way of looking at the concept, developed by Waiton (2008), is to consider contemporary forms of panic in the context of a changing moral order; one where the “moral certainties” of modern society is replaced by the “moral uncertainties” of late/postmodern society.

Amoral Panics

Waiton argues, in this respect, that late/postmodern societies are characterised by amoral panics. Moral panics are increasingly rare because there is no-longer a clear and coherent sense of moral order to protect – something he attributes to “a collapse in the ‘faiths’ of the right and left, that cohered society in the past”. If there is no clear sense of a moral order, just a number of competing moral interpretations, there can be no sense of moral panics being engineered.

This doesn’t mean panics no-longer occur, merely that their quality is amoral “a form of moralising without any wider system of meaning”. In other words, while panics have a moral dimension – they involve ideas about what is good or bad for society – they are not specifically related to any sense of an overriding moral order. (more…)

Modernity and Postmodernity

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Don’t know your Foundationalism from your anti-essentialism, your agile corporation from your Post-Fordist or, indeed your simulacra from your elbow?

If reality causes you confusion (but you’ve got a sneaking suspicion that “the Truth” is out there, somewhere) then this free book chapter (taken from A2 Sociology for AQA), is probably just what you need to start bluffing your way through the highways and the byways of PoMo with the best of them…

Using Analogies in A-level Sociology

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Analogies are a useful teaching tool in sociology for a number of reasons:

  1. They can help students to understand something complex and unfamiliar by using ideas that are relatively simple and familiar.
  2. They can be used to engage students in collaborative work, the outcome of which is an expansion of their knowledge and understanding through the connections they are able to make.
  3. They encourage students to generate their own ideas, arguments and understanding in a relatively gentle and supportive context.
  4. The role of the teacher changes from simple didacticism to one of questioning, guidance, engagement and synthesis.

For these reasons analogies can be used as both collaborative classroom exercises and for flipped teaching (students prepare their work outside the classroom and enter the classroom prepared to discuss their understanding).



Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Ritzer’s concept of McDonaldisation is a well-known phenomenon characteristic of modernity and modern societies.

However, a contemporary example (and more besides) wouldn’t go amiss and once again Amazon supplies the evidence…