Modernity is a crucial concept in contemporary discourse. It is oen vaguely described as a set o cultural and political preoccupations that aroseduring the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Tese involved the natureo moral autonomy, tolerance, the character o progress, and the meaningo humanity. Modernity justied itsel through scientic rationality and anethical view o the good lie that rested on universal values and the dem-ocratic exercise o common sense. Civil liberties and the tolerance associ-ated with a ree public sphere were logically implied by these secular liberalnotions, along with ideas concerning the rule o law and citizenship. All o this was part o an assault on powerul religious institutions and aristocraticprivileges in the name o a liberal “watchman state” coupled with a ree mar-ket. Te rising bourgeoisie introduced a new economic production processthat rested on the division o labor, standardization, bureaucratic hierarchy,and the prot-driven values o the commodity orm. Te use o mathemati-cal or instrumental rationality by this class tended to dene reality in such away that qualitative dierences were transormed into merely quantitativedierences. Tose who worked to create commodities were treated as a costo production, or an appendage o the machine, while the accumulation o capital served to inspire all activity. Te living subject (workers) that pro-duced and reproduced society thereby appeared as an object, whereas thedead object o its activity (capital) appeared as a subject. Te result was whatrst G. W. F. Hegel and then Karl Marx termed the “inverted world”—aworld o modernity shaped by alienation and reication.Modernism was the response to this world. Te assault was launched by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Te Social Contract
The Modernist Impulse
SUBJECTiviTY, RESiSTANCE, FREEDOM