Decent Society: Utopian Horizon or ‘the Way Is the Goal’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article explores whether the notion of the decent society as a normative concept is applicable under late modern conditions of normative pluralization and individualization. My argument is that the strength of the concept does not primarily lie in its descriptive value. It is rather a ‘utopian horizon’ against which aspects of societies can be analysed. This analytical value can tell us something about the state of various facets of social life. Having to cope with pluralization, individuals are increasingly required to negotiate ambiguous and contradictory norms. It is this negotiation process that defines to a large extent various aspects of contemporary individualization. However, the fact that an individualized negotiation process occurs neither means that this process is characterized by decency nor produces by default a decent society nor a genuine sense of social integration. Thus, I argue that the concept ‘decency’ can make a qualitative addition to normative negotiation processes and thus in terms of social integration.

LanguageEnglish
Pages72-80
Number of pages9
JournalThesis Eleven
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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individualization
social integration
pluralism
Values
Society
Utopian
society
Social Integration
Individualization
Pluralization
Decency
Social Life
Descriptive
Contradictory

Cite this

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Decent Society : Utopian Horizon or ‘the Way Is the Goal’. / Ebert, Norbert.

In: Thesis Eleven, Vol. 101, No. 1, 2010, p. 72-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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