Much of social and political thought over the last three centuries has been concerned with transgression and change, with progress and a focus on creating something ’better’ than we have now. But when many of these ideas are put into practice the result has been violence, turmoil and human misery. This, we might say, has been the result of grand ideals taking precedence over the interests of ordinary people. This book presents an alternative view: the antimodern condition. This involves the rejection of change and progress and instead seeks to promote certainty, permanence and settlement. The antimodern condition is where we are in place and settled. It is where we are part of the world around us and not at war with it. It is where we accept our place: we are with those who we care for, and so we are theirs. The antimodern condition is where we recognise that we dwell within traditions, which may evolve and change, but which keep us within the bounds of what is known and what works. This book takes a cross-disciplinary approach, integrating ideas from politics, philosophy, social theory and architecture to present an alternative to progress and other modern conceits.
Peter King is Reader in Social Thought at De Montfort University. He is the author of more than 15 books including In Dwelling (Ashgate, 2008). His work focuses on conservative social thought and its impact on social and public policy.
’The Antimodern Condition is a most thoughtful, lucid and provocative work that challenges the basic tenets of modernist thinking. In focusing on the concept of progress Peter King brings to the fore important questions about the values and suppositions that underpin contemporary politics.’ Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania, Australia ’A truly original work, combining well-known and less-known philosophers with film directors and even scenes on British buses in a devastating critique of modernity. This book establishes antimodernism alongside postmodernism as a key for understanding our age, and deserves to become a classic.’ Mark Sedgwick, Aarhus University, Denmark