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Satisfaction Not GuaranteedDilemmas of Progress in Modern Society$
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Peter N. Stearns

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783627

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783627.001.0001

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False Starts and Surprises

False Starts and Surprises

Making Modernity More Difficult

(p.69) 5 False Starts and Surprises
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Peter N. Stearns

NYU Press

This chapter explores the more subtle issues of modernity in contrast to the previous chapter, especially four certain aspects of modernity—gender, sexuality, aging, and eating—that incorporate immensely promising changes away from traditional patterns. All four areas have registered changes that many people today would clearly regard as desirable, even actively conducive to happiness. But all four areas turned out to involve deeply rooted cultural assumptions that were at some variance with modernity and proved hard to change; many of these assumptions indeed initially intensified in response to the magnitude of modernity's transformations. All of the changes in these areas, as well, involved some immediate problems and opportunities that could distract from objective or longer-range assessment.

Keywords:   gender, sexuality, longevity, eating, aging, happiness, cultural assumptions

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