Fundamentalism & Modernity

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  • Fundamentalism & Modernity
    • Modernity
      • Davie (2013) argues, fundamentalism occurs where those who hold traditional beliefs & values are threatened by modernity & feel the need to defend themselves against it
        • Fundamentalists are themselves products of modernity, as they are born out of a clash between modernity & traditional cultures
      • Giddens (1999) argues 'fundamentalism is a product & reaction to globalisation, which undermines traditional social norms concerning the nuclear family, gender & sexuality
        • In todays 'late modern' society, individual's are constantly faced with choice, uncertainty & risks
        • The attraction of fundamentalism & its rigid beliefs is that it promises certainty in an uncertain world
    • Cosmopolitanism
      • Cosmopolitanism is a way of thinking that embraces modernity & is in keeping with today's globalising world
      • Giddens compares fundamentalism with this
      • Cosmopolitanism is tolerant of other views & open to new ideas, constantly reflecting on & modifying beliefs in the light on new information
      • Require people to justify their views by use of rational arguments & evidence rather than appealing to scared texts
      • One's lifestyle is seen as personal choice
      • Emphasises pursuit of personal meaning & self-improvement rather than submission to authority
    • Responses to Postmodernity
      • Bauman (1992) sees fundamentalism as response to living in postmodernity
        • Postmodernity brings freedom of choice, uncertainty & heightened awareness of risk - undermining tradition
      • Castells (2010) distinguishes between 2 responses to postmodernity
        • Resistance identity - defensive reaction of those who feel threatened & retreat into fundamentalists communities
        • Project identity - responses of those who are forward-looking & engage with social movements
    • Criticisms
      • Beckford (2011) criticises on several grounds
        • They distinguish too sharply, ignoring 'hybrid' movements
        • Ignore other important developments (e.g. affects of globalisation)
        • Giddens lumps all types of fundamentalism together, ignoring differences between them
      • Jeff Haynes (1998) argues we shouldn't focus narrowly on idea that Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction against globalisation


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