Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences
- Ulrich Beck - University of Munich, Germany
- Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim - F.A.-University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany
Cultural Theory | Political Sociology | Social Theory
Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim argue that it is vital to distinguish between the neo-liberal idea of the free-market individual and the concept of individualization. The result is the most complete discussion of individualization currently available, showing how individualization relates to basic social rights and also paid employment; and concluding that in as much as basic rights are internalized and everyone wants to or must be economically active, the spiral of individualization destroys the given foundations of social co-existence.
`Ulrich Beck's Risk Society, and indeed the theory of "reflexive modernization" is characterized by two theses: an environmental thesis and individualization thesis.... In Anglo-Saxon sociology the risk thesis has been enormously influential. The individualization thesis, for its part, has passed virtually ignored. That is the shortcoming that this book Individualization addressess.... In this single volume this thesis receives the exclusive attention of Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim. This book represents the other half of Beck's work. And this half today may be the most important half' - Scott Lash, from the Foreword