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Working paper

Compensation-Theory in the Context of Classical and Contemporary Conception of Modernization Process: Dualistic Model of Modernity, Proposed by Odo Marquard and Hermann Lübbe

Rumyantzeva M.
Regardless of all attempts to declare the end of modernity, contemporary political researchers still take its classical conception into account and attempt to redefine it with respect to present-day challenges. Nevertheless, it seems that there is little agreement on the definition of “modernity”. Consequently, a wide range of theories, devoted to modernity, have developed. One of the most popular is “multiple modernities” proposed by Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt. According to this conception, modern societies can be defined and institutionally organized in a variety of ways. The reason for this diversity concerns the tradition and history of a particular society. For instance, intellectual and political elites in non-Western countries can produce their own understanding of modernity, combining elements of traditional politics with some elements of the classical modern program. Therefore, the role of tradition in the contemporary world is ambivalent. In modern society, tradition does not continually determine all spheres of life, including politics. On the other hand, tradition still influences the way in which modern institutions are organized.  However, it is not clear to what extent tradition can vary the origin-program of modernity. To explore this question, we examine the alternative conception of modernity, known as compensation theory, proposed by Joachim Ritter, Hermann Lübbe and Odo Marquard. We employ a comparative analysis and demonstrate the differences between compensation theory and the conception of multiple modernities with regard to the role of tradition in modern society.The findings of this research illustrate the reasons behind the fact that tradition can influence the original program of modernity. It also contributes fruitfully to the discussion about modernization and modernity.