The era of modernity is defined socially by industrialization and the division of labor and philosophically by “the loss of confidence and the recognition that certainty can never be confirmed, once and for all” (Delanty 2007). With new social and philosophical circumstances arose fundamental new challenges. Various 19th-century academics, from Auguste Comte to Karl Marx to Sigmund Freud, ventured to offer scientific and political ideologies in the wake of secularization. Modernity may be defined as the “age of ideology.” (Calinescu 1987, 2006). For Marx, what stood the basis of modernity was the rise of capitalism and the revolutionary bourgeoisie, that led to an unprecedented development of productive forces and to the creation of the world market. Durkheim undertook modernity from an another angle by following the ideas of Saint-Simon about the industrial system. Although the starting point is the same as Marx, feudal society, Durkheim emphasizes far less the rising of the bourgeoisie as a new revolutionary class and very seldom refers to capitalism as the new mode of production implemented by it. The fundamental impulse to modernity is rather an industrialism accompanied by the new scientific forces electrical supply.
In the work of Max Weber, modernity is closely associated with the processes of rationalization and disenchantment of the world. Critical philosophers such as Theodor Adorno and Zygmunt Bauman propose that modernity or industrialization signifies a departure from the primary tenets of the Enlightenment and towards wicked processes of alienation, such as commodity fetishism and the Holocaust (Adorno 1973; Bauman 1989). Contemporary sociological explanatory theory presents the notion of “rationalization” in even more negative terms than those Weber initially defined. Processes of rationalization—as progress for the sake of progress—may in many cases have what critical theory says is a negative and dehumanizing effect on modern society.What provokes so many observers to speak of the ‘end of history,’ of post-modernity, ‘second modernity’ and ‘our modernity’, or otherwise to articulate the intuition of a radical change in the arrangement of human cohabitation. And in social conditions under which life-politics is nowadays managed, is the fact that the long effort to accelerate the speed of movement has presently reached its ‘natural limit’. Power can move with the rate of the electronic signal – and so the time needed for the action of its fundamental ingredients has been decreased to instantaneity. For all practical purposes, power has grown truly exterritorial, no longer restricted, or even reduced down, by the opposition of space (the advent of cellular telephones may well serve as a symbolic ‘last blow’ delivered to the dependence on space. even the access to a phone market is irrelevant for a command to be communicated and seen into its effect.