Bauman, Beck, Giddens and our understanding of politics in late modernity

Dawson, M. (2010) Bauman, Beck, Giddens and our understanding of politics in late modernity. Journal of Power, 3(2), pp. 189-207. (doi: 10.1080/17540291.2010.493698)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This article considers the political sociology of three prominent thinkers who describe a phase of ‘late modernity’: Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens. It is argued in the case of Giddens and Beck that these ideas are faulty since they do not provide full conceptual space for agency, which they argue in their sociological work is central to understanding late modernity. Bauman's work does not suffer this problem. Nevertheless, his political framework is incomplete due, most notably, to his wish not to legislate. It is suggested that one common problem for all three is an inadequate or incomplete conception of power. This article also suggests problems with favouring a ‘disembedded’ over an ‘embedded’ definition of individualization for theories of late modernity.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dawson, Dr Matt
Authors: Dawson, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Power
ISSN (Online):1754-0305
Published Online:05 July 2010

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record