At the start of the twentieth century, when Germany, among other nations, was undergoing industrialization, Max Weber famously characterized modern life in words that have often been translated as "iron cage." During the industrial era, that image caught on and was often used by scholars to express concerns about the extent to which the actual character of modern life contradicted its emancipatory promise. But we are living in a different time now, when the conditions under which we live seem to be quite different from the ones that pertained in Weber's day. It is a time when, in some respects at least, life seems to be freer and more conducive to experimentation, which has led some people to conclude that our societies have escaped from Weber's "cage." But is that really true? This book challenges that notion, considering the consequences for our way of life of the triumph of neoliberalism as a political force.
"In his book, R. Bruce Douglass takes on the major issues of today: democracy in retreat; the rise of populism; and the challenges to liberalism. He brings new insights to each of these topics based on carefully laid out deliberations and profound understanding of our time. A must read."
Amitai Etzioni, author of Happiness is the Wrong Metric: A Liberal Communitarian Response to Populism.
1. The Meaning of the Cage Imagery 2. The Point of the Imagery: Irrational Rationalism 3. A "Post-Bureaucratic" Age? 4. Post Materialist (or Neoliberal)? 5. The Democratic Prospect