DOING MODERNITY: THE BLOG

With every action, we make the world.  With every action, we potentially make the world better or worse.  Our ordinary activities count.  For it is through these everyday behaviors that the social world is ongoing constituted as an orderly event.

In 2008 I created a blog entitled “Doing Modernity”.  That blog covered a wide range of interests, but was centrally concerned with how we “do modernity”–that is, I hoped to examine a few of the concrete practices social actors employ in everyday life to produce and reproduce our society. I began this blog to supplement a class in Social Psychology I regularly at Antioch University Santa Barbara, and to illustrate an auto-ethnographic approach to examining everyday life, particularly concrete instances of social activity.

This class forged a "Critical Interactionist" approach to studying social psychology in everyday social life.  Theoretically, I drew upon critical social theories to examine power and domination in concrete moments of social life.  I also drew upon ethnomethodology, conversation analysis symbolic interactionism , cultural studies and urban sociology and the sociology of Erving Goffman.  Methodologically, I drew upon a wide range of qualitative research methodologies, including participant observation / ethnography, auto-ethnography, discourse analysis, textual analysis.

I sought to promote studies of the everyday world as it happens.

Initially, the blog only had materials related to this class.  Over time it became an archive for Critical Interactionist thought.  At some point it became a place to share any of my publications.

The title "Doing modernity" seeks to emphasize our human agency--our ability to act.    While we can “reproduce” the structure of society by doing what we have previously done so many times before, there is no guarantee that we will. The possibility of change is inherent in every single act. People are always able to act differently that they do.    

Think of it.  Another world is possible.  We are now more aware than ever before that we can, and perhaps must, construct a different way of social life for the future survival of our species and our planet.  That we are conscious of other imaginal worlds, and conscious that our actions will create a different world, are particularly “modern” phenomenon.  We know that the world will change and that those changes will be the result of changes in our actions.  In earlier times in human history, people thought of the world as just being “the way it is”, and did not regard it as connected in any signficant way to their personal behavior.  The world was seen to exist “out there”, constraining personal action, but not really created by it.

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