• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Modernity - a philosophical disposition

Extracts from this document...


Modernity is a philosophical disposition which addresses society as a rational object of analysis. Modernity assumes, that through rational analysis of our society, rational solutions can be derived and implemented in the name of progress. However, progress is a loaded word and one man's progress is another man's nightmare. The Film N!ai portrays a community which becomes victim to theories of modernity and the implementation, or modernization, thereof. The community depicted in N!ai, the "!Kung", is affected by forced relocation, the shift to a cash-based economy from a subsistence-based one, and the circumscription and subsequent bureaucratization of social life under the South African state within a managed reservation. While the "!Kung" people are represented by white managers and soldiers as the 'beneficiaries' of this transformation, the film tells a different narrative; one that offers a critique of the effects of modern state politics upon small scale societies. By exploring Durkheim's theory of 'anomie and mechanical/organic transitions through the division of labor; Marx's theory of class conflict and commodity fetishism; and Freud's theory of repression and displaced aggression, it can be understood why the theories of modernity and the modernization thereof ultimately failed to progress the peoples depicted in the film N!ai. ...read more.


Marx asserted that cultural difference is produced through social practice. Marx feared that the difference between values embedded in culture are not insurmountable and will diminish into global culture that will supersede all those differences. Marx concluded that culture is an essentialized form of thinking used to separate people. Culture therefore, masks over the fact that certain individuals dominate over others and serves as the creator of a dominant ideology. The !Kung tribe existed within a classes society; food was gathered collectively and distributed evenly throughout the peoples. There was no concept of material things nor their worth. Eventually, white managers and soldiers placed the !Kung peoples upon a reservation and inserted them at the bottom of a class based economy. Hunting was banned, and the !Kung were forced to eat mealy meal. The values which once defined the !Kung culture were no longer were effective means survival and were erased. The !Kung were placed at the bottom of a capitalist society, the dominant ideology of modernity, and this lead to the abolishment of the !Kung culture and created asymmetrical encounters between the dominant culture and the individual. As the class economy took shape among the !Kung, commodity fetishism and further conflict was created. ...read more.


While the "!Kung" people are represented by white managers and soldiers as the 'beneficiaries' of this transformation, the film tells a different narrative; one that offers a critique of the effects of modern state politics upon small scale societies. The theories of Durkheim, Marx and Freud when reviewed lend themselves to the understanding of why this might be true. Durkheim asserts that the rapid transition of labor from a mechanical to an organic based society will result in feelings of 'anomie'. Marx argues that certain individuals dominate others. In N!ai, the dominant South Africans or 'white man' asserted their dominance over the !Kung tribe and placed them within a class based society. The class based economy effectively created commodity fetishism within the !Kung and the consequently created conflict. Last, Freud explained that the strict order demanded by the societal structure which the !Kung were placed within created feelings of repression. The repression of feelings of anxiety and confusion, or as described by Durkheim 'anomie', eventually led to displaced aggression of the !Kung peoples unto themselves. By examining the film N!ai according to the theories of Durkheim, Marx and Freud, it is clearly understood that theories of modernity and the modernization thereof, are sometimes unable to progress the peoples which it intends. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Critically assess the concepts used by Emile Durkheim in his analysis of the social ...

    He sees the social solidarity in pre-industrial society as a mechanical unity based on the similarities of individuals. His view is that 'The force of these social links is such as to discourage individual autonomy, and the social whole envelops the individual so completely that there is no distinction between the individual conscience and the collective conscience.'

  2. Determining the Elite within Politics and the Judiciary.

    elites has been the growth of specialisation, occurring as a result of the increased size of organisations in general. Consequently, the demands made on those at the top of big institutions - demands of time, skill and commitment - have increased (Moran 1989 p174).

  1. Clientelism, Tribalism, and Ethnic Conflict in Africa are Not the Result of Tradition and ...

    I advocate for instance that it is impossible to separate out clientelism from tribalism, and that ethnic conflict is closely related to both of these. Due to this in order to justify and construct my argument I must separate out clientelism, tribalism and ethnic conflict and study them individually.

  2. Ethnographies of Gender, Modernity, and Postcolonialism.

    After the war ended, several missionary groups visited the island resulting in mixed religious practices, but more importantly the postwar years included more government interference as census taking and tax collecting were introduced to the island (70). Islanders have successfully resisted colonial interference which today remains minimal (71).

  1. Comparison of Repression.

    He repressed his own feelings about telling the truth about the mule. This in turn gets him into more trouble. He appears to be childish to others and does not prove that he is an adult. "The Story of An Hour" portrays mental oppression through a woman who is married to an overbearing husband.

  2. Explain and discuss the significance of Mill's work for philosophical considerations of freedom.

    Instead Mill bases his argument on what is best for mankind and in doing so suggests that his arguments will show the individual and social benefits of human liberty. Mill was a strong believer of Utilitarianism in ethics, holding the view that we should each act so as to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work