Since the advent of industrial society we have witnessed an ongoing debate into the nature of the relationship between technological and economic developments on the one hand, and societal changes or transformations on the other. We ask the question whether it is more important for society to comply with the exigencies of techno-economic developments, as implied by determinist techno-economic ways of thinking; or whether society, as an organised political system, has opportunities for choice when confronted by major impacts resulting from the reorganisation of production systems and international markets.
Fate or Choice?
Jan Berting and Christiane Villain-Gandossi
Barbara Schmitter Heisler
The presence of sizable foreign-born populations (which include citizens
and non-citizens) in advanced industrial societies is the result of
national policies on immigration, refugees, and labor migration. The
consequences of these policies, however, are most visible at the local
level, where newcomers work, settle, and raise their families. While
not all immigrants live in cities, they have been particularly concentrated
in urban environments. Thus, it is hardly surprising that many
of the socioeconomic, cultural, and political issues and problems
associated with immigration and the process of immigrant settlement
are played out and magnified in cities.
Epifanio San Juan Jr.
After the excesses of fascism in World War II and inter-ethnic conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and the former Yugoslavia, it became axiomatic for postmodernist thinkers to condemn the nation and its corollary terms, ‘nationalism’ and ‘nation-state,’ as the classic evils of modern industrial society. The nation-state, its reality if not its concept, has become a kind of malignant paradox if not a sinister conundrum. It is often linked to violence and the terror of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Nonetheless, the U.N. and the interstate system of nation-states still function as seemingly viable institutions of everyday life.1 How do we explain these seemingly paradoxical trends?
This article discusses the timing and character of women's philanthropy in Carniola, now part of Slovenia, in the period from 1848 to 1914. Based on primary research, it explores the beginnings of women's work for the poor; the impact of religion, especially Catholicism, on women's involvement in charity; and finally the rise of women's secular social care. I argue that in Carniola, Catholic women's organizations largely filled the space that opened up for women's philanthropic initiatives. By the late nineteenth century, a re-Catholicization of modern industrial society took place, which particularly focused on women, as seen in the phenomenon of the feminization of the Catholic religion. Catholic women's associations started to proliferate; some of these associations were charity associations that introduced new principles to charity work.
It is hard to predict how future historians will characterise our era. Perhaps the end of the Cold War will be mentioned, although negative labels (such as also those of ‘post-modernism’ or ‘post-industrial society’) are not very conducive to understanding. ‘Globalisation’ might also be considered something typical for our epoch – even if it is mysterious how this term, which is so overloaded with diverse meanings, could ever capture the minds of the contemporaries so thoroughly. A more plausible characterisation of the changes in the status of global society which took place in the fourth quarter of the twentieth century appears to be the reference to the triumphant transition to liberal democracy. This regime form has become the ‘normal’ form of government. In 1974, scarcely 30 per cent of the existing states could qualify as democracies; today these comprise more than 60 per cent.
Sylvie and Reina Rutlinger-Reiner
In post-industrial societies, the individualization of the family process, which puts the individual at the center of the family, is changing this institution beyond recognition. As part of this evolution, individuals and their human rights, together with their obligations and responsibilities, become the basis for the family institution and for its legitimization. Consequently, family frameworks, whose roles and legitimate boundaries were established in the past in ways that served the interests of society and ensured its biological and cultural continuity, are becoming frameworks in which the individual is at the center. At the same time, thanks to ethical and political changes and the achievements of medical technology, for the first time in human history an individual can separate marriage, fertility, parenthood, and the establishment of a household to the extent that the socio-cultural climate allows.
This article presents a long-term study of German waste management policies and technologies as they developed during the second half of the twentieth century. The postwar "waste avalanche" called for quick and crude political decisions. Unexpected environmental side effects prompted new governance and leads through six different stages of policies based on scientific models and advanced technologies—all of them controversial. The case exemplifies a typical condition of a knowledge society. Politics demands a reliable knowledge base for rational decision making. Science, however, supplies open-ended research and increases uncertainties. Turning the dilemma into an operational perspective, I suggest speaking of processes of real-world experimentation with waste. The transformation of waste from something to be ignored and disregarded into an epistemic object of concern is bound to experimenting with existing and newly designed waste sites as well as with socio-technical management systems. The study focuses on the development in Germany. Its general features, however, are characteristic for comparable industrial societies.
Konrad H. Jarausch
Perhaps two generations after the modest beginning, the FRG's successes and failures have become amenable to a more balanced evaluation. From the vantage point of the "Berlin Republic," the key question has shifted from whether the second German democracy would survive at all, to the reasons for its relatively positive course and to the extent of its lingering problems. This chapter first delves into the emergence of popular myths that characterized the Federal Republic's difficult search for identity. Secondly, it takes a look at some of the West's actual accomplishments in problem-solving, because such a comparison helps explain the eventual collapse of the East. Finally, it scrutinizes several of the competing explanations so as to reveal their political agendas and discuss their analytical limitations. Instead of presenting a simple success story, this reflection therefore strives for a critical appreciation. The paper concludes that at sixty, the FRG has entered a comfortable middle age, leaving be hind some of its earlier drama, but exuding a sense of competent normalcy. The mythical challenges of postwar reconstruction and recovery of international respectability have receded, followed instead by everyday concerns that are much less exhilarating. There are still plenty of problems, ranging from an aging population to a lack of full-day childcare, but they are shared by other advanced industrial societies. Moreover, after a century of first arrogant and then dejected difference, the German Sonderweg has finally come to an end. As a result of the meltdown of the Anglo-American version of unrestrained capitalism, the German model of a socially responsive market economy has even regained some of its prior luster. Hence, the postwar record of cautious incrementalism inspires some confidence that the Germans will also manage to meet the unforeseen political and economic challenges of the future.