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Modernity as experience refers to the physical, psychological or emotional encounters of modernity in any aspect of life of an individual. This paper discusses modernity as experience in the trends in work. Work and its role in the society as evolved throughout human civilization (SOC, 2016). In the pre modern era using the ancient Greek and ancient Rome as examples, work was perceived negatively. Those who had to work to earn a living were considered to lack freedom and were not part of the society (Beck, 2000). According to Karoly and Panis (2004), work was undifferentiated in the society and was religiously based. The main aim of work was to attain substantial family needs to sustain life categorized by Durkheim as familial division of labor rooted in the “collective conscious” paradiagm (SOC, 2016). During the industrial era, the position of work in the society changed. It transformed from familial to the social level. In our modern day, the work is highly differentiated. Its role in the society has also undergone dramatic changes and regulated at the state, market and at the civil society levels (SOC, 2016).

Modernity continues to shape work in the 21st century where work is highly differentiated and meticulously integrated in the society (Karoly and Panis, 2004). In our day and age, work has been individualized so that through it individuals shape the society. The type of work one does highly define their socio_economic status. A physician for instance, holds high social status compared to a teacher. Although we often strive to set aside what we do as an occupation from who or what we are, it is still common place to categorize someone’s social status to what they do for a living (SOC, 2016). Our modern society encourages people to do what they love in order to maximize their production. Unfortunately, a lot of people for one reason or another are employed in industries where they have no interest at all. This rampant situation slows production and the development of the society (Schluchter, 1985).

Modernization in the work place, has tremendously changed the mode and means of production in the society. The subsistence production as well as the surplus production of the traditional and the industrial eras have been phased out by information technology (Beck. 2000). The advent of the information industry saw the birth of new job trends and the growth of trade in this sector (SOC, 2016). Information technology also accelerated the other sectors of production, especially the service sector due to the availability of efficient means of communication postulates Karoly and Panis (2004) Ideologies like rationisation by Max Weber has also influenced production in the workplace in the modernization process through social and systemic integration (Schluchter, 1985). Together with capitalism, rationalization, has made the production process more efficient and more predictable. With increased predictability, a higher number of risks are undertaken because the outcome can be foretold. It has also seen the upcoming of new business ventures of high efficiency like the Kentucky Fried Chicken which optimize on profit (Karoly and Panis, 2004).

The cutting edge technology of the 21st century is central to work and employment across all sectors. Science and technology have introduced new jobs and employment opportunities for those with the knowledge and skills of the technology in question (SOC, 2016). It has also introduced a wide gap in terms of the salaries of various workers in a given firm depending on their knowledge on the technology. On the other hand, technological advancement has eliminated the need of some employees whose skills are outdated hence creating unemployment in the workplace (Beck, 2000). Technology has increased the production scale significantly due to the heavy computerized machinery employed in the production process. The information sector is an example of a new and ever booming industry, worth millions of dollars (Karoly and Panis, 2004). In factories, for example, the jobs initially done by humans have been replaced with heavy machinery which are way more efficacious and cheaper to maintain compared to the many people who were required to deliver the same result at a higher cost and low efficiency (SOC, 2016). This is an example of how modernization of the workplace has caused unemployment.

Trends of work and employment are greatly influenced by modernity. The organisaiton of work, as well as its role in shaping the society is directly proportional to advancement in technology (Schluchter, 1985). The social status of an individual in our modern society is determined by the type of work they are doing. The desire to achieve high socioeconomic status in the society motivates individuals in the society to work towards securing a good job in the reputable industries (Beck, 2000). Technology has created new jobs as well as eliminated some jobs previously done by human labor by substituting them with automated machinery (SOC, 2016). This technological effects and a desire for high socioeconomic status in the society has resulted in a conflict between work and family (Schluchter, 1985). Individuals work for longer hours and barely have family time. Due to the advent of information technology, globalization has set in resulting in fierce completion at the workplace and an ever increasing demand from the employers (Karoly and Panis, 2004). This situation has led to an unsettling dilemma among those who are employed in that being laid off in case of incompetence is a reality. Modernity as experience is therefore well depicted by the trends in the workplace as well as employment in our current society.


Beck, U., 2000. The brave new world of work (pp. 143-5). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Karoly, L.A. and Panis, C.S., 2004. The Future at Work: Trends and Implications.

Schluchter, W., 1985. The rise of Western rationalism: Max Weber’s developmental history. Univ of California Press.

Second Year Sociology Course., 2016. SOC 295 – Work and Employment (Power point presentation lecture)