Modernity vs Modernism
Modern refers to all things new and in present as opposed to old and antiquated things and practices. Anything modern is what is in vogue and in fashion such as modern music, modern painting and modern apparels. We talk of modern history that relates to recent times, modern lifestyle, modern technology and modern way of thinking. However, there are two words related to this word modern that seem to be confusing. These are modernism and modernity. Many people think of these two words as same or synonymous. However, it is not so and there are differences between modernity and modernism that will be talked about in this article.
Modernity is a broad term encompassing several concepts, but in particular it refers to a historical period that saw the evolution of capitalism and industrialization. The time period that is known for rational and secular thinking is the one that is characterized as modernity. Though modernity is close in meaning to modernism and all things modern, but it is talked mainly in terms of a specific time period that is said to have started in the 15th century and continues till date. Modernity has nothing to do with philosophy, and it restricts itself to social relations, mainly between the capitalists and the working class. The rise and fall of communism, Marxism, and all other related intellectual movements are embraced by the concept of modernity. For the purpose of analysis and deep study, the period called modernity is divided into three distinct phases referred to as early modernity (from 1453 to 1789), classical modernity (from 1789 to 1900), and finally late modernity that is said to have started in 1900 and lasted till 1989.
In general, a person who can be considered as modern has attributes that reflect modernism. Modernism is reflected in behavior, thought, and action. However, the term modernism arose mainly in reference to all the artistic and cultural movements that arose primarily in response to wide scale changes in the society on account of industrialization in 19th and 20th centuries. The development of cities with mighty industrial empires and migration from rural areas to urban areas characterizes the concept of modernism. The wars in Europe and the two world wars shaped the world and hastened the emergence of a modern world. Modernism gave birth to self consciousness and realization that is reflected in the works of prominent artists of the times. Their path breaking works that inspired generations were labeled as avant-garde till the concept of modernism arrived.
What is the difference between Modernity and Modernism?
• Modernity and modernism, though ostensibly related concepts, have subtle differences and at time modernism expresses itself against modernity. It is not just a knee jerk reaction of the society to all movements emerging from modernity.
• Modernity is in particular a time period that is divided into three distinct phases, to describe the emergence of capitalism, industrialization, and finally the modern world that shaped because of division of labor.
• Modernism is reflected in the development and acceptance of new technologies to have a qualitative difference in the life.
• Self realization and self consciousness is at the heart of modernity.
• Modernity is a time period whereas modernism refers to the trends in art, culture and social relations that are characterized by development of a modern world.