9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Old and New Individualisms I Building II, C4.06

Demassification in contemporary modernity


How can the process of demassification be defined? As the most disturbing social event to characterise the post-modern period? What is the inevitable consequence of the crisis of mass society?
There can be several causes, not all of which can be put down to political or economic reasons. Regardless of which angle to consider it from, demassification represents a social change of incredibly vast proportions involving culture, politics, economics, behaviour and the very existence of each individual. The process of subjectivisation or individualisation which stems from the early twentieth century as a reaction to the emergence of an aggressive and uncontrollable mass and which established itself during the control of the masses within totalitarian regimes, ended up causing a split in the compact front of society, favouring an exasperated rarefaction, characterised by fragmentation, by separatism, solitude, personal benefit, by the defence of private interests, in what Bauman defined ?individualised society?. The third phase of massification, the consumer phase, began to show signs of weakening at the end of the sixties, in concurrence with the working class and student protests, which contested the equilibrium of the middle class well being and highlighted the political contradictions. This continued into the seventies with the emergence of alternative movements that questioned the life style imposed on consumerism. They were against savage industrialisation (the post-Ford production method and also exploitation of natural resources thanks to the emergence of ecology awareness), and sought alternative ways of political participation: they were heading towards ?biopolitics? (Foucault), closer to human needs.