Transitions to Modernity

  • John Gillis


Modernity is notoriously difficult to pin down. What we can say is that it is not so much a thing but an orientation to things. The beginnings of modernity have been assigned to various periods and places, but it is generally agreed that it became a central force on a global scale only in the nineteenth century. Today it is imperative that we speak of modernities, for it is now clear that it has taken many different forms, not only across the world, but also within western societies themselves, always inflected by class, gender, race and ethnicity (Qvortrup et al., 1994; Stearns, 2006). Everywhere, however, modernity is associated with radically new orientations towards time and space.


Nineteenth Century Childhood Study Natal Home Family Time Fall Birth Rate 
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© John Gillis 2009

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  • John Gillis

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