Reflexivity and social change: a critical discussion of reflexive modernization and individualization theses
Portuguese Journal of Social Science
The concept of reflexivity has become increasingly important in sociology, in close articulation with the analysis of social change. Scholars such as Beck, Giddens and Lash are key references in this regard, as they place the increase of reflexive processes at the heart of social transformation. This connection between social change and reflexivity has been evoked frequently in the sociological literature of the last decades, especially by authors studying reflexive modernization and individualization. The aim of this article is to discuss these approaches and their main implications for the study of personal reflexivity. It is argued that although the mentioned authors assign an important role to reflexivity, they lack the theoretical and operational grounds necessary to take the different dimensions of the concept into account. The tendency to simplify the past; the overlap between reflexivity and social change; the weak importance given to structure; the ambiguous nature of agenty dynamics; and the absence of a solid empirical grounding are discussed as factors that weaken their contributions.
Agency; Individualization; Reflexive modernization; Reflexivity; Social change
Classificação Fields of Science and Technology
- Outras Ciências Sociais - Ciências Sociais