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Modernity, the Pluralism and Crisis of Meaning


The Orientation of ModernMan
PeterL. Berger ThomasLuckmann

Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers Gtersloh 1995

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Contents

lletner lYeidenleld
Preface

PeterL. Betger,Tbomas Luchmann Modernity,pluralism andthe crisisof meaning what basic humanneeds of oricntation mus bt es a t i s f i e d l ............9 1. The foundations of the meaningfulness o f h n ml a i fne ............9 2. The meaningfuhre* ol .ocialrelrtion<hips. the concurrence of meaning andthe gener ca ol n d i t i o fo nr s crise os fn r e a n i n . g. . . . . . . . . . 1 8 ty 3 . M o d e r n ia nd t h ec r i s io sf m e a n i n g 4 . T h el o s o s f t h et a k e n - f o r - g r a n t e d 6. How societies dealwith criscs of meaning: illusions andpossibilities 7 .O u t l o o k The authors The project ......28 ........40

5. Flabituated meaning andcrises of rneaning . . . . . . . . . . 49 57 .......64 71 73 3

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Preface

of cultural orientatiooare amongthe most urgenrissues Questions of modernsociety.lndividualismand pluralismleadto the consequence that individuals more anclmore facethe difficulty to define standards and valuesguiding their own lives. IndividuaLs require thesevalues to be ableto find orientationin a situationrvhichis definedby optionsandthe necessity to takedecisions. Three ccntral groups of questionsclelineate crucial problems, which the Bertelsmann Foumlationintendsto tackleby creatinga newr,rngc rson cuhural o[ pro:c, orrcntation: llow can individuals realize meaningful livesby chosing from thc pluralistic rnultiplicityof optionsl How do humanbeings coorclinate the numerous rolesandsocial networksin which they interactl In other words:how do they stabilizc thcir own identity) V/hat value systems guide thcir ideasof good and cvil? In as much :s individualssharcconrnronvalue patternswe haveto raisca consccutive question: *'hich communities do suchindividuals fonn who sharcsimilar pattcrnsof mearingand judgetheir lives by the samevalue systcrns? And finally: what do these comnrunities contributc to thc integrationof the societyas a wholeor to what extcntdo thcy endanger suchintegration? How canmodernsocieties providedre required ligaturesl

Individualswho havc acquircdstableorienrations possess an cffcctive panacea against cxistential thrcatsto their self-perception. lhey regardthemsclves aspeoplewith an undoubted identity. And they

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which enable them to judge of ethical standards availthenxelves asa whole with regard to their effecton society their actions to what to act according individuals haveceased On all drreelevels for grantcd. and takcn asself-evident hestraditionallybeenregarrled hasled to the possibility Thereforcthe lossof the taken-for-granted good and sociaily to decide-hat is meaningful, and cven necessity This decision is an individualone and it is debatrbleif acceptablc. In asa consequence ofthesedecisions. of society suffcrs thc cohesion allows communof suchdecisions the pluraiisticabundance addrtion but do which enjoythe loyalties of rheirmembers itiesto emerge of socictyasa whole. takeinto eccount the welfare not nccessarily 'fhe "culnrralorientation"started its series of range of projects on "'lhc lossof orientation the with a first volumeon publications (in only). In a cohesion crisisin modernsociety" Germanlanguage a number of next phaseof the field of projectswc commissioned 'lhomas As a first result, Peter llerger (Boston)and expcrtises. Lucknrann (Konstanz)presenttheir analysisof the mechanisms lhis study in nodern society. which leadto a crisisof meaning with which are dealing orienta from a contextof projects emerged and with the orientation tion in the immediate socialneighborhood in a workplacc environmentand in company by communication other sub-projects focuson the legitimacyof political hierarchies. or on new iction and the limits to statecontrol of socialprocesses and complexity of knowledge due to the everincreasint challenges face. the flow of informationwhich modernindividuals for count amongthe ceuses PeterBergerand ThomasLucknrann pLuralism crisis processcs of modernization, the modern of meaning societies secularizaand particularlywith regardto Buropean validity meanthat the of shared tion. fhjs leads to the conscqucnce in society. ing is difficult to mailtain for largergroupsof individuals Patternsof meaningare being sharedand maintainedby smaller in which way in communities. It is therefore crucialto distinguish In addition,all of them unite to form thesecommunities. dividuals in societylike politics,ecorelateto the functionalmacrosysterns 6

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nomy andscience. Interaction between these levels and communities is beingregulated by intermediary institutions, mediacommunication and moralizingstatements in everyday life. It will needfurther enquiryto establish definitcknowledge on which institutions areeffective in this respect andhow they performtheir task.The resultof such a study can be evidenceon the possibilityto counteracr centripetal tendencies in society. Prof.Dr. Verner \eidenfeld Memberof the Boardof the Bertelsmann Foundation

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Modernity, pluralismandthe crisisof meaning what basic humanneeds of orientation must be satisfied?
Peter [.. etger Tbomas Luchmann

1. The foundations ofhumanlife ofthe meaningfulness


It is not apparent whethertalk aboutthe crisisof meaning in today's world really corresponds to a new form of disorientation in the life of modernpcopLe. it be wc merely hearing the Latest Could that are repetitionof an old lament? Is ir the complaint*'hich cxpresses the feeLing of distress which has againand againafflictedhumanity in the faceof a worid becomeunstcady? Is this thc old lament,that hurnanlife ls a life to*'ardsdcath? ls this the voiceof doubt,that this life couldfind its meaning in a transcendent history of salvationl Or is this despcration aboutthe lack of sucha meaningl\Vc are distant in time from thc book of the Ecclcsiastes ('everything is noughtl everything is in vainl") but not distant from the spiritof thc Chroni cle of BishopC)tto von Frcisingwritten more than 850 ycarsago: "ln alL, wc are so depressed by thc mcmory of thingspast,the pres' surc of thc present and the fearof futurevicissitudes that we accept the sentence of deaththat is in rrsand rnay become tired of lifc itself."It is evenfurther and all thc sanle not so far betwecn the conceptions of human fate in history from Thucydides to Alben Camus.

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On t,hat basis aremodern(andpost-modern) criticsof present day societyand culture convinced that the crisisof our tirnesis fundamentally different from aLlpast mkeries? Theseobservers hardly startfrom the assumption in the that thcrehasbeena radicalchange humancondition,the conditiohumana. Ratherthey seem to suspect a new socialconstitutior of the meaningof human life in modernity, which hasthrown meaning, and with it humanlife, into a his' torically uniquecrisis.SuchspecLations are powerfully suggestive and may appear convincing, that they that doesnot mean,however, will actually stand up to cmpiricaLinvestigation. Contemporary sociological analysis tendsfar too easily!o assume the existence of like meaningand meaningfulness something as fiotive of human actionandasa backdrop against which the moderncrisisof meaning is apparcnt. It is, therefore, necessary to beginwith sonreanthropologicalpreliminaries. They shallseekto identify the general conditions and basicstructures of mexningfulhuman life. Only in this way is it possible to improveour understanding of chenges in particular structures of meaning. Meaningis constituted in humanconsciousness: in the conscious nessof the individual,who is individuated in a body and who has beensocialized asa person.Consciousness, individuation, the specificity of the body, societyand the historico'social constitutionof pcrsonalidentity are charactristics of our species, the phylo- and ontogenesis of which need not be consideredFlowever,we will provicle a short sketchof the generaL performances of consciousness from which the multi-layered meaningfulness of experience and action in humanlife is built up. Conscior.rsncss takenin itself is nothing;it is alwaysconsciousness ofsomething. It exists only in so far asit directsits attntion towerds an object,towerdsa goal.This intentionalobjectis constituted by the varioussyntheticachievements of consciousness and appears in qherher structure. its gcner;l it bc perception. memoryor imagi nation:aroundthe core,the theme' of the intentional object, extends a thematicfield that is delimitedby an open horizon.This 10

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horizon in which consciousness of ones own body is always given can lso be themxtizcd. The sequence of interconnectedthemes lct us call them apprehensions'- is in itself stili without meaning. It is however the foundation, on which rncaning can come into existence. For, apprehensionswhich do not occur simply and independentLybut which the ego turns its attention lowards acquire a higher degrecof thcmatic definition; thcy becomeclearly contoured "expcrienccs". Expericncestaken nrdividr.rallywouLd stili bc without mcaning itself from the back' Ilowever, as a core of expcricncc cletaches ground of apprehensions, consciousness graspsthe rclatioD of this core to other expcnences.The srmplcst form of such relationships "different "equal', 'simi1ar", "diffcrcnt", "equally and are good', level of meanThus is thc most elementary worse" etc. constituted it does ing. Me:rning is nothing but a complex form of consciousness: nor exist independently.k always has a point of reference.Meaning is consciousness of the fact th:t a relationship exists between The inverseis alsotrue: the meaningof experiences experiences. and, as wiLl be shon'n, of actjons has to be constructed through ' current relational"performances of consciousness. 1he experience ar a particular monent can be rclated to one in the immediate or distant past. GeneralLy,each expcrienceis related not to one other, but to a type of experience, schenreof experience,a maxim, moral legitimation ctc. won fron many experiencesand cither stored in subjectiveknowiedge or tkcn fronl a social store of knowledge. As convoluted as this phcnomcnology of multi-layered performancesof consciousness mxy scenr,its results are the simple elemeots of meaning in our daily livcs. l-or cxample, in the apprehensionof a flower a typical gestalt is tied in with a typical color connectedto a typical quality of snell, touch, and use. In directed consciousness this apprehensionbecomesexperience,this experienceis graspedin ("so nrany flowcrs') or related to a clas' relation to other experiences sification taken from a social stock of knowledge ("an Alpine flower') and may finally be intcgrated into a plan of action ("pick it

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and take it to my lovcd one!").In this process multiple types("A1pine flower","lovedone') are integratecl into a processual scheme ('pick n and takeit to') and fused into a more complex, but still everyday unit of meening. If finrlly this project is not simply put into action because it confiicts with a morally founded maxim ("don't pick itl rare flowerl"), then a decisionis arrived at and a higherlevelmeaning is constituted throughthe scquential evaiuation values of andintcrcsts. 'l 'acting" his example already indicates the doublemeaning of and "action".Th meaning of the currentact is constituted prospectively. A completcd actionis meaningful in retrospect. Action is guided by a viewto a prcconceived aim.Thisdesign is a utopia in whichthe actor anticipates a future stete,assesscs its desirabilityand urgency and considers the stepswhich will bring it about - insofaras the process is not fanriliar throughearlier similaractions and hasnot "in bccome a habit.'Iherneaning ofthc acions, the acr",is constitutedby their rclation to the goal.The completed acion, wherher - can successful or not but alsothe actionprojected ascomplete be compared to other actions, can be undersrood asthe fulfillment of maxims,can be explained and justifiedesrhe execution of laws, canbc excused asdefying a norm,canbedenied to others andin the limit also to oneself. l he double meaning andthe complex structure of meaning are characteristic of all action but in day-to-day routine !he chxracteristics may appear blurred. Socialaction,of course,shares rhis structureof meaningbut acquiresadditionalcharacteristic dimensions: it can be indirect or direct,it can be mutualor unilateral. Socialactioncan be directed towardsother pcoplepresent or absent, deador unborn.It canseekto address them in their individuality,or associaltypesof differentdegrees of anonynrity, or nrerclyassocialcategories. It can be directed towardsobtaininga response or nor - theremay,or may not be,an answer. It can bc intended asuniqueor may aim to achieve regular repetitionor to be prolongedthrough time. The complexmeaning

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of social action and social relations is constructed in thesedifferent dimensionsof nreaning. of In speakingof the constitution of nreaningin thc consciousness the individual it rvas already clear that this could not neen the iso lated subject, thc s'indowless monad. Daily life is full of manyfold identity of the individsuccessions of sociirl actionand the personal are apprchensions ual is formedonly in this action.Purcly subjective layers of the foundation of the constitution of meaning: simplc mcaning can bc created in thc s.rbjcctive expericnce of a Peison. Higher laycrs of meaning and a more complex strucnrrc of meaning dependon thc objectification of subjectivemeaning in social action. Logical connections is only ableto make complicated The individuaL if he or of action sequences and initiate and control differentiated she is ablc to draw on the vealth of experienceavaiiablein a social contexr. In fact, elemcntsof meaning sirapedby older streamsof social action ("traditions'), flow even in the lowest levclsof meaning 'Iypification, of expatterns cxperience. classification, of nrdividLral of subjectivc storesof o{ ection are elcnrents pcrienceand schcnles knowledge that are largely takcn over ftom thc social stock of knowledge. Certainly, subjcctive constitution of meaning is the origin of all social stocks of knowiedge, historicai rcservoirs of meaning, on which peoplc born into a particular society in a particular epoch ol action was born may dral.'lhe neaning of an cxperience ''somewherc , once upon a timc in the conscious, problenl action soLving" of an individuai relative to his or her natural and social environnrcnt. Howeverl si ce most problenrs with which the nrdividual is confronted also arise in thc lives of other pcople, the solutions to these problems arc not just subjcctively but also {rom themselves arise intcrsubjectively rclcvant. Either the problcIrrs interactive social action, so that the solutions must also be found in common. Ihcsc solutions can also be objectified in one of a number of possible ways, through signs, tools, buildings, but above all

ll

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through thc cormnunicative fornx of a language an<ithus made available alsoto othcrs. In objectificarions the subjective meaning of experiencc or action is detached from the uniqueness of the original situation andoffers itself as a typical meaningfor acceptance inro the socialstock of knowledge. As differentpeoplercactto similarchallenges simiJarly, it may cometo pass that they expcctdtese standard rcactions of one anothcror evcnthat they obligate cachother to dcalwith this typical situationin this and no other way. That is the precondition for actions to bc transformed into socialinstitutions. The emcrgence of historicaL reservoirs of meaning andinstitutions relieves the individ, ual of rhe burden of solving problemsof experience and action which appearin parricularsituations from scratch. If dre concrete situationis Lrasically identicalwith constellations which are already familiar, thcn the individualis ablc to resort to familiar and practicedformsof cxperience andaction. just However, as all repctitiousactionsare not transformed into institutions all subjectively constituted andintersubjectively oblectified meaning is not absorbed into socialsrocks of knowledge. Orher processes are inrerposed, in which processes objecificd meaningis socially "processed". Theseproccsses are ro a large extenr determined by thc dominantsocilrelarions. The existinginstitutions of dominationand labor,but aboveall the institutions which socialize trensactions with unusualforcesdirect rhemselvcs towerdsrhe different levcls andareas in whichmeaning is produced. With variable succcss they attemprro influenccthis productionor to inrervene in it. Thc differcnces in the degree of control have beenand remain enormous evenwithin a singleepoch.This is obviousif one com pares the supcrvision of the productionof meaning in ancient Egypt with that in Israel andBabyion,or that in today'sIran with Sweden. Even more significant arethe difierences one canobscrve across suc, cessive epoches; evenif one assunres that up until the onserof mo, - the tend dernity there was a comnon structuralcharacrerisric encytowardsmonopolization.
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'lhe "solutions'for and action, subjective of experience problenrs "primary" intersuLrthc objcctifications of rreeningrvhich became jcctivcly retrievable with othcrsare social_ through conrrnunication "paths"\ir'hichhave varied enormously ly processed on different "secondary'processes acrosshistory. In institutionaLly controllerl asin otherthings arediscarded muchis ignored astoo insignificant; of appropriate or even dangerous. A part of the objectifications are nerely storedaway,dlose nrcanig drawn on for processing *'hich arejudgedto be adequate right are givena form of ordcr, or lhc hier vhilc certain of examples. elements ac<lirethe funcrion thuscreated nraybe closearchies of knowledge andvaluesystems - as in the premodern world - or may develop Iy intcrconnccted inrlcpcndentlyof one anodrer.llurthermore, those elemcntsof which are retainedare cut into a nrcaning and systems of rneaning There have to futurc generations. shapesuitablefor transmission for this function in all but the rnostsimplesocieties. bccnspeciaLists canonitrainedexperts SpeciaLly takc on thc functionof censorship, zation,systenatization andpedagogy. the speAs the overallresulrof all of these activities thereeflerges cific historicalstructureof thc social reservoirof meaning.This that which is structurcis characterized by the proportion between anrl acccssible to all members of the societyas generalknr-'wledge js knowledge that specialist to which cccss limited.The portion of knowledge forms the kero{ meaning which is gencral thc reservoir nel of everydaycommon scnsewrth which the individualhas to 'lhis copc rvith the natural xnd sociel environmentof the time. structure. Neverportion doesnot havean o"erarchingsystematic which it is not withoutstructure: it contains areas of neaning thclcss managed and thet have to be mapthe regions of day to day reality Somc region -hich plums extraordinary reality. anothcr of meaning of structure than of rneaning acquirea grcatcrdcgree of theseareas those limjted to the practicalroutines of everydaylife through of modknc'wlcdgc. The everyday imports fron systems of special 'imports': mass media such ern socictics is increasingly shrpccl by

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diffusccxpcrt knowledge in populariz,cd form and peopleappropriarc picccs of this information and ;ntegrate it with thcir stockof The arcas of rneaning are stratificd. The "lowest', simplest typifi cations, relatingto factsof namreandthe socialworld, arethc foundationsof differentparternsof cxperience and action.Stacked on thcsctypificationsare schenesof action orientatcdby maxirnsof 'conligurations vaaction towardshigher values. Supcrordinate of luc" hrvc bcendeveloped since the old high culturcs by rcligious and later phiJosophical experrs into valuesystenN. These clainrto nrean, ingfully cxplainand regulatc thc conductof life of thc inclividuai in relationto thc communityin both routinesof daily life and in overcoming criscswith reference towards realitiestransccnding every day lifc (thcodicy). The claiurof superordinatc conligurations of values and valuesys, r " f i l l r h er n r i r " r y rems o f l i f ew r r hn r e r n i nig . n r o s r p p . r y g in nl I schenre drat bringstogethermodelsfor action in the most diverse areas and fits them into a projectionof meaning that srrerches from birth to death. This scheme of mcaning relates the totality of a life to a time that transcends dre life of the individual (e.g. 'erernity"). Biographical catcgories of ncaning, as wc call thcm, endow the mcxning of short-range actiols with long,tern significancc. 1he meaningof cvcrydayroutinesdoesnot disappear entirely but it is subordinate to the "meanjng of lifc". \(c will narne hcre,amongst the many historicalconstructions of biographical schcnrcs, only rhe small genrc of the exemplary lifc' andthe larger genrc of theholy life", rhc ancienthcroic cpic, and thc modern heroic legend (e.g. Prince Eugene,Georgc Vashington,Baron von Richrhofen, Antoine dc St. Exupry,Rosal,uxemburg, Stakhanov). 'original' All institrrtions embodyan action-nealingwhich has proveditselfin the definitivcrcgLrlation of socialactionin a parricular functionalarea.Of particularirlportanceare thoseinstiturions whosetask includes the sociaL processing of meaningMost import, ant of all are thoseinstitutionswhosemain functionsconsistin the
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of mean_ andthe transmission coDtrolof the productionof mcaning otherthn all socicties have existed in almost ing.Suchinstitutions the earlymo' societies of In dre old high culturcs,in the thc archaic. moral instittr dcrn period and latcr (e.g. in todaysIran) rcLigious of domination They tied to thc apparatus tions havebcencloscLy at both the productionand distri' coLrld aim relativelysuccessfully If however of meaning. consistent hierarchy butionof a relativcly meaning of social bothof production anddistribution theconditions consequcnces approximatc ro an opcn market,this hasconsidcrable 'nreaning of a nunrbcrof suPPliers for the budget'.In that case with is confronted favor c,f a public that mcaningcompctcfor the meaning from the wcalth the nrostsuitable the clifficultyof choosing later. Wc shall renrrn to this of me:nings available. meaning a"ailable have andmaking Institutions thetaskof storing and for for the actions of the individualboth in particularsituations however cs institutions is en e[tire conductof lifc. This functionof but also scntiallyrelated to tire rolc of dre individualasa consumer f i o n l * e ' o . , r r r . : p r o d uc ,r o f l r c a n i n 6 . soLnboth archaic simplc This relationship canbe comparatively the In suchcivilizations cietics and in mosttraditionalhigh cultures. withoutmajor of actions is integratcd mcaning of indivrrhraLsphcres *ith thc o"erall meaning of life conductandthis is itselfrc ruptures of value The conrmunication systcm. fcrredto a rclativelycoherent rneaning is joincd to thc control of the productionof mcanirg.Ildu sccksto ensurethat the lndividual cation or direct incloctrination what conforns to the basicnorms of thc soonly thinks and does that is pubLicly of everything cicty. And thc corrtroland censorship aimsto preventthe diffusionof dissidcnt said,taughtor preachcd is auoided or eliminated lnternal andexternal competition opinion. andlife conductis l he |re:rning o{ actions (not always succcssfullyl). the rcrule brndingon all. For examPle, irlposedasa unquestioncd lationshipof marricd couplesand the relationshipof parentsto generally Parents and children is defincd unambiguously. childrcn from thc norn. is clearlydefincd asdcviance conform;deviancc 17

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In modernsocieties conditionsare different.Of course, there are still institutions which conmunicatc the meaning of actions for their particularareaof action;there are still valuesystcms which are administercd by someinstitutionsasnrcaningful categories of life con, duct. Ho*'cver, as will be sho*'n, there are, by comparison with premodern societies, differences in the consisrency value of systems as in the internal and externalconpetition over the productionof meaning, thc communication of rneaning, and its imposition.To return oncemorc to the example: in modernsocieties it would be difficult to find parcntsand children for whom the relationshipis equallybindingon both partiesand is de{ined unquestioningly by a firm valucsystem.

2. Thc meaningfulness of socialrelationships, the concurrence of meaningand the general conditionsfor crises of meaning

"preserved" Socially objcctified andprocesscd stocks of meaning are in historicalreservoirs of mcaningand "administered" by institutions.The actions of the individualareshaped by objective meaning supplied from socialstocks of knorvledge andcommunicated by the pressure for compliance which emanates from institutions. In this process, objectificd meaning is constantly in interaction with subjectively constitutcd meaning and individualprojects {or acion. IIow- one might evensay,aboveall ever,nreaning can alsobe ascribed - to the intcr'subjcctive structureof socialrelationsin which thc individualac* andlives. From the very beginninga child is incorporated into sociaL relationships: with its parents and with other significant persons. These relationships deveiop in regular, dircct and reciprocal actions. Strictl8

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ly, an infant is not capableof action in the full meening of the word. As an individuated organism i! has, however, the bodily and conwhich it employsin capacitics inherentto thc human species scious its behaviortowards others.'Ihc actionsof others relativeto the child are thcmseiveslargely dctennined by schemesof experience and action that are drawn frotr s<xicty's reservoir of nrcaning l'he chilcl progrcssivelylearns to comprchcnd the actions of its counterparts and to understandthcir meaning.Thus jt is able to understand their actions as typical actions in thc light of historically given PF itself in rclationto terns of expcrience and action.The child places its develops it progresslvely stocks meaning. In the proccss social of personal iclcntity. As soon as it understandsthe meaning of its actions,it alrc understands that in principle it is held rcsponsiblefor of personal its own actions.Ancl that is what constitutesthe essence identity: subjcctive control of action for which one is objectivcly responsible. Let us inragincfor this basicsituationof the communicationof meaning ts o variants drawn as stylized ideal types. Let us flrst assume rhat there is a 'alue system valid for all of society with which the variors layers of the historical reservoir of meaning are well coordinatcd. Let us furthcr assumcthat the parents and the other important pcrsonalrclations o{ drc child have formed their pcrsonal identities according to the patterns in the historical reservoir of meaning. ln such a casethe bchavior of the child is mirrored conof the others.lf it knocksa plateoff the tablc truently in thc actions then it wlll not be rewarded by a smiLefrom one parent and pun ished by thr: other with an angry glancc. Under such conditions the identity of thc child will develop normally without special diffi' "crises of meaning" - in the smc manncr as the culties - ler alonc identity of the parents was forrned: in concordancewith the biographical catcgoriesand the value systcm of society's reservoir of meaning. For our sccondcaselet us assume, on the contrary, thxt there is no generally binding value syste'n, no adapted reservoir of meaning

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with biographical categoriesand schemesof action and rhar rhe others who enter inro sociai rclations with the child do not nrirror its behavior even approximatcly. The typical consequences for the development o{ thc child arc predictable! Pcrfect concordancc, as projccted above,is never achieved, but rrchaicsocietics and the tra ditional high cuitures were not far removed from it. The opposite casehas hovever no corresponding reaLiry: a socierywithout any kind of valuesystemand sithout stocksof mcaningadapted to it is "society hard to imagine as a . As a child one is born into commun, t r c .u f l i f e( l e b e n r t e m c i n r h a l r cw nh t r , h r r e - t o \ r y i n ge x i . n r s 'lhat also conmunities of meaning. means that even without a univcrsally sharedstock of meaning adaptedto a single,closedvaluc systen conrmonaltiesof meaning can be developcd in communities or drawn from the historical rescrvoir o{ meaning. These comrlon meaningscan then, of course,be contnrunicatedto children relativeIy consistently. Communities oflife arecharactcrized by regularly repeated, dircctly reciprocalaction in durablc social rclationships. Thosc involved place an institutionaily or other\r,isesecuredtrust in thc durability of the cormnunity. Beyond thesebasiccommonaltiesthere are wide differenccsbetween societiesin the differcnt forms of conrmunities which are institutionalized in them. The universalbasicform are life communities into which ole is born. However, there are also lifc communities into which one is adoptcd and those which one joins, such as partners in marriagc. Some cornmunities of life form thcftselves through adapting oncs life to the continuation of sociaL relations that were originally not intended to be prolonged, others rcquire initiation. Thc examplcsinclude holy orders which also constitutethemselves as conrmunities of rneaning, leper colonies, retlrctuent homes! and Prisons. Comnunities of life presupposca minimum of cornmon meaning. 'fhis measurccan in some societiesand for some forms of conrmunity be very minimal: it may concern only the coincidcnce of the objcctive ncaning of the schemcs of day to day social action, as per2A

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haps in ancient slave householdsor in nrodern prisons. Commu' nities of life may also aspireto complcte unison in all layersof meanof thc entire conduct o[ life as in some lng including the categories monastic orders or in the ideal of certain tyPes of marriage. How ever, most comntunities of life acrossdiffcrent sociticsand ePoches aspire to a dcgree of shared nrcaning somevhere in between this nlinimum and maxinrum. , u l n c n r l r n r l l r r rr r e n r o s c ,n cor'n.rl t onrnlon l x p c . r : r o n .c l o < c are hardiy problems force. lheir nuies institution:rlizeclthrough cvcr those of nreaning. tvcn where expectationsare considerably above the minimurl and a ccrtain congruenceeven of higher lcveis of mcaning is assumed to be constitutive for the life cornmunity it is hardly likely thxt a real non-co grucnce in particularlayers of meannrgvill create :rdditional difficulties beyond thc real life prob betweencxPeclcms of the comnrunity - insofar asthe discrePancy tatiurs and pra.tical realization docs not becone too great Things arc different if the valuc systenrof a society prescribesthat commu i e. that all pcople nitiesof life and ncaning shouldbc coincident, modesof expcritheir should also bring who live in commLrnities ence ancl action lnto concurrence- ln such a case any apparently trivial non concurrenceof meaning, any lack of agrccmentcan initi' atc a crisisof meaningin the life conrmunity in which it appears. ofthesocietyin m:y follow the ideals A marriedcouplcfor insrance old agetogether' a and happy rvhich it lives and may wish for good their cornmon aging as that only the man experiencs l.ct us assume it actually occurs, in the objectificd sense, whercas the womxn a too large discrepancybetween the mcaningssuggested expcricnces by society and her own concrcte expcrience. If, in her society, marriagesare not characterizedby a perfec! con1munity of meaning of their common aging in the intcrpretation thc non concurrcnce Leadto disputes and may between the two partners in nr:rrriagc serious arguments but it will hardly lead to a crisis of meaning which threatens their life community. If, howevcr, it \ras the commu shouldbe a complete assumption of societythat a marriage

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nity of meaning then their disagreemenr would be painfulfor both partncrs andthe crisisof meaning would escalate into a life crisis. Let us renrainfor an instantrvith our example. Let trsassume the wife encountcrs other agingnrarriedwomenwho havearrivedat a similar perspcctive on theircommon aging, a perspective whichdoes not agrec *ith the dominantviewsshared by their hLrsbancls. In exchangingthcir expericnces a conmunity of meaning might be formed.In thc first variantof our example this communityof meaning remains aspartialasdoes thc rlisagreement with the husband and there{ore servcs ascompensation ratherthan replaccment. In the second variant any partiaL disagreement is interpretcdas "total" and the new foundcommunity of meaning couldtakethe place of the broken rnarriage. V h e r e ; rl i f * . o m m u n i r i c \ l r \ lp r e \ u m a m e nrinimrrn ..rmmuniry of meanrng, the inverseis not true. Communiticsof meaning may under certaincircumstances become communities of lifc, they may howeverbc built up and naintainedexclusively through nrediared, reciprocalaction-Theseconrnrunities may be foundedon different not directly practicalievelsof nreanrng and may concerndifferent realmsof meaning, e. g. philosophical, suchas the humanistcircles of the early modern period, scientific,such es the nlany E-Mail cliquesof today, or the "meetingof souls"of which farnouscorrespondenccs tell, suchasthar between H6loiseandAb6lard. \Vehavescen that undercertain circunrstances problenrs mayoccur in the intersubjective construction of the personal identityof the child to which the term subjective crisisof meaningnray be applicable.lf the behaviorof the child is constantlyconfronredin the actionof significanr adultswith incongruent reacrions the child will be able to discernthc objecrive socialmeaningof its actionsonly with difficLrlty or not at all. If the child doesnor receive reasonably "who concordant answers to the question am I? posed throughout its behavior,then ir nrust encounrer greatdifficultiesin taking on responsibility for itself.Even if undertrore favorablc circumstances the identity of a pcrsonhasbeenunproblemarically constructed, its 22

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strength can be endangcredlater Lry persistent,systematlcLrlconsrstency in the rcflection of its actionsin the actionsof others c,. i n t e r _ F u r l . . r n r r r . , w e h a ' e . e c nr h r r r r r r d c,re r t an i r c u n . r , r n subjecrive criscs of meaning may occur. For different forms of of coherenceare to be community of life different typicaLmcasures expected- and thesediffcr from society to society and from period to period. 1hc condition for a crisis of meaning is that the mcnbers of a particular life-community acceptunqestioningly thc degreeof of them, but are unableto match coincidencc of neaning expectetl "is' 'should" and this discrcpancy between it. ^s was already statcd, <-rf a life community insistthat appears particularly often lf the idcals ' e. r. u n ' p l e r . c o n r m u n r ru vl n r c ; n i n g . r r < h o u 1Id oicrrren nra-e in ivc crr'c. ol meaning li 'ubjc.ti' < andrnter-'ubje., a society so th:rt thcy develop into a gcneral social problem, then not in the subjectitself nor in the one will hauc to seekthe cause given inter-subjectivity of human existence.It is rather to be expected that the causesarc !o be found in thc socil structure itself of a historical structures Let us, therefore, cnquirewhich partlcular society counteract the dcvelopment of crisesof nre:rningand which encouragcsuch a development. More precisely:what are the structural conditions for a sufficient dcgree of coincidcnce in inter-subjective reflectionssuch that rhe foundation for the formation of per' sonal idcntity *ith constant merlrngis givenl \(hen do these processescreate subjective criscs ol mcaningl And which structural of coincidcnce conditionspromote and which hindcr the sufFicient Iu e'r\t;nr n f l r f Fc o m m u n i l i et( 'ocrar l e l . r r ' r n r t h rrr. h e l o u n d . r t ' " o crisis? \(e will attempt to answerthescquestionsin concretetcrms in the light of thc historical developmcnt of nodcrn society. Flowever, we wish to prcccdc this attempt with a fcw abstract,gencral considerx tions. For it is possible- despitethe prxctically endlcssmultiPlicit/ and importance of differcnces between societies- to identify with respectto our qr.lestion about the structural conditions for the

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- trvo basic cnrergcnce of crisisof meaning typesof socialstructure across all cpoches'l he first type not particularlysusceptible to crises of merningare socicties which havea single andgenerally bindingvaluesystern into which the differentlayers and rcalms of rncaning arewell intcgrxrcd: from cveryclay schemes of expericnce and action to the superordinate categories of lifc conduct and crisis managerncnt directed tovards extraordinary realiries. l he totaLstockof meaning is stored andmanaged in social instrtutions. Because the schemes of actionobjcctified and mademandatoryin social institutions are directedtowards a common value system superordinate to the specific nreaning it is assured in this type of socicty that the institutions sustain thc order of mcaning in basicconcordance with practicallife. lhcy do this directly and,so to speak, in dctail,by imprinting thenlsclves or1thc meaning of many day to day actions; thcy do this,so to spcak, in the largeby identifyingbiographical categories of meaning with communities of life, in particular those s4rich areentrusted wirh forrning the personal identity of . L r l d r cB n rorurn in r o n r e n r b c r . of.ocicry. g Differcntsocieties correspond to this basic typeto differentextents. Archaicsocieties correspond lrost truely to this type. The complcx, ancicnthigh culturesare slightlyless closc,but essential characeristics of this type are to be found cvenin the premodernsocieries of modern times. Like all other societies thesesocieties have nrany organizational problems andtheir members haveeverylife problem inraginable: in dealingwith nature,work, domination, life and death. Naturallythereare alsoqucslons of meaning for the individual.But thesecomparatively stable, often evenstaticsocicries communicate an order of meaningwhich is consistent to a large extent through congruentprocesscs of sociaiization and thc irxtitutionalizationof action.Thcseproccsses are locatedin meaningfully rclatedlife communities ancldiffcrcnt socialspaces. This basic type may be simplifiedas an ideal type, howeversocietics whose structureevenapproximates to this type provideno groundfor the 24

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crisesof and inter+ubjective growth and extensionof subjective meaning. 'l'hings in which shared andbindingvalucs arediffcrentin societics secured and in arc no longer given for everyoncand structuraLly life equally and valLrcs of which these do not pcrmeate all spheres for the Thrs Lsthe basic conclition bring them into concordancc. In crises of rneaning. and inter-subjective spread of both subjective "liableto crises" wc will again this type of socicty formulating basic many dctailsto identify in sinplificationits structuralcharneglect systcninheritedby tradition In suchsocieties thcremay be a ualue from bygoneperiods.This valuesystemis as a stock ol nreaning and is hereend there in the socieral stockof knowledge objectified 'Ihere may (rcligious) institutions. still administered by specialized "imported"fronr the stocks of evenbc more than one setof valucs the to dexl with meanings. Not wanting the muscimagin:rire of question of so crlled pluralisn at this point we set to one sidethe may coexistA society posibility that a multiplicityof valuesystems valuc sysif it contains only onesingle may even be liable to crisis" consisting of ele tem, in the firll sense of the word, a singlesystem and action all the mentsof mcaning(frorn schemes of experience all spheres way to gener:rl categories of life conduct)incorPorating valucs. of life arranged steprvise to{'ardssuperordinate wouldbeboth andnot systcm Evenin such a societyavalue Present In such a societythe big instirutions(of the economy, presen!. from the superordithemselves politics,and religion)haveseparated the actionof the individualin the natevalucsysten and determine Economicand politicalinstitufunctionalarcathat they administcr. tions makeobligatorydre instmncntalrational,objcctivemeaning areas for whichthey areresponsible. of:ctjon in those of schemes 'offer" value'On lnstitutions the sidc, so to spcak,religious (wcrtrational) categories for life conduct.S(eusethc term rationaL ' contains only one even in case, assumed hcre, that society offer' thc valucs, not muf orientated towardssupcrordintc ordcr of meaning 25

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tiple, courpcting systems. Because evenin this case religiorrs institutionstransmit the higher ordcrcategories capable of giving meaning to the entircconduct of Life, but evenwithout competition from othcr valucsystens these c:tetories may not be madcbinding and may not be inposed on the conductof people. Overall,the institutions of tilis type of societyno longercarry a well-ordered srockof meaningand value consistendy and bindingly into thc practiceof life. A socicty is rnthinkable entirely without common valuesand shared interpretations of reality.Vhat is the natureof values in sucha type of society, obvrously tendingtowardsthe modern,and wherc are they to be found) It is certainthat the scheDres of action institutionalized in the differentfunctionalspheres havea binding anclobjcctivemeaning for thoseactingin them.In the organization of action within a singlespherethere is definitelya communityof meaning. 1'harhoweveris not much by way of commonalties. The objectivemeaningof institutionalized schemes of :rctionis instrumentallyorientated towardsthe functionof this area. Apart from its generalizable aspect as instrumentally rariofialthis institutionalized schemeof action cannot be transferredbetweensphercsand it certainly cannot be integrated into superordinate schenres of meaning.lhe objectivemeaningof acrioncannorin itself be integratedinto ctegories refrringto rhe subjectand simultaneously directcdtowardsa superordinate valuesystem. Only rcligiousand 'quasi' religious institutions communicate categories of meaning with sucha claimro generality. This claimis however refutedby the "big" objcctive meaning of the schemes of action of the other insti'lhese tutions. meanings direcr t[e adion of the individualin most arcasof daily lifc, whether rhey conform ro the superordinate meanings of schemes of life cornnrunicared, for cxample by religious institutions,or not. The clai to integrateones own life into a superordinatc value systemcan be realizedessentially only in a sphere not touched by the othcr 'big'institutions, in a sphere socialiy defined asthe private sphere'. 26

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is contained in the meanings in a society A minimumof shared "firnctic,ning ie. the of functions', givento the teneralagrccment should be directed that in eachareaof action condud agreement Ancl this minimal towards instrumcntallyrational requircments. that in the Private is sccured by the generlccePtance consensus and comnlunitiesof life separate reserves of individual existencc distinctfrom thoseof other indi meanings of Lifemay be pursucd, even in this vidualsand groups.This minimum may be cxceedcd "big" institutions that the First, it is remarkable typc of societics. bind their spccific meanings beyond the rationality of the valucs, suchasfor of actionwithin thenr to general organization "drc in thisway interest". I-xceeding the mininlLrm example general ol while the schemes may fulfill abo"e all legitimatelypurposes Furthermore,secondly, action thenxclvcsmay remain untouched. may attenPtto difcct their andcomrnunities of meaning individr.rals 'big' institution by a action evcn within a sphereadnrinistcred "values' going beyond its instrumentally towards supcrordinate meaning. llowevcr, this canoccuronly in conflict rationalobjectivc rationality. with the specific instrumental 'fhe for values to connct to suPerordinatc attenrpts by institutions valueand vapid fonnLriac may prodrrcc only lcgitimatorypurposes of the priconductof life may bc limited to the reserve orientated of subjective vate.This would add to the conditionsfor the spread this alsocreates, However, of nrcaning. anrlinter-subjectivc crises for somethingclse,nanely the the precondrtions simultaneously, of valuesystems value systems anclfragments of different coexistence of quite different in the sanre societyand thus the parallelexistence The statewhich resultsfronr thsepreof meaning. communities a suPerordi conditionscan be calledpluralism.If it itself becomes of modernplLrralism natevaluefor a socictywe may speak

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3. Modernity and the crisisof meaning

If pluralism rvere defined as a state in which people who lead their lives in vcry different ways are to bc found in thc samesociety,one would not be dealing with a spccificallymodern phenomenon. One could find one or other variant o{ pluralism in almost all societies other than the archaic. Ancient lndia as well as the India o{ today was charactcrized by a pluralism of casts, medieval Europe by a pluralism of estatesBut in thcse examplcsthe different forms of life would still be related to a common value systen and thc interaction bctween the communities of life would remain limited and strictly regulrtcd. Even if one defincd pluralisrn as a statein which dif{erent forrns of lifc were to be found in a society without these different forms of life being referrcd to a common value systemone would be ablc to find examples,for instance the Roman Empire which in economic and poLiticalterms was a single sociery.But even here the interaction between thc different groups and peoples - insofar as - was reglllatedsuch that the difthey werc not regionally separatcd fercnt supcrordinatestocks of nreaningwere uncoupled from the institutionalized schcmesof action of the functional spheres.The different groups could, therefore, interacr in the instrumentally rational sphereso[ action while at thc sametime remaining attachedto their orvn value systemsFor example,the relations ofJews to non, 'fence by the so-called ofthe law". Jewsrvereregulated 1f thescregulations are no longer,or canno longer,be nraintained, then a ncw situation is created, widr serious implications for the takcn-for granted starusof value systemsand overarching views of the world. Thc ethnic, religious and orher groups and coDrmunities of lifc, divided by different stocksof meaning,are no longcr spatially .cp.]rrr.d(r. for o,amplein rrgrorr ut r rorierl or 'rrrc or in quar. ters or thetrocs of a city), nor do they interact only through the neutral tcrrain of strictly separated sequences of action in institutionalized functional spheres.Encountersor, under certain circum28

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betwcendiflerent vlue systensnd views of the stances, clashes inevitablc. world becomc 'l'hcre of affairs before,c. g. to this state ha'e bcenapproximations in thc Ilellenic uorlcl. This form of pltralisrn is not necessarily in the of meaning, though particulariy linkcdto thespread of crises Hellcnic world there wcre alsosignsof this. This form of plLrralism Here, the ccntral hasbecome fully flcdged only in modcrnsocietics. of raisecl to the sttus structuralaspects of this pluralisnrhavcbeen andcontpeting valucabove the diffcrent coexisting an cnlightencd "enis rcckoned the value systcnx. So, for examplc,tc'lerance caninlightencd'virtue par cxcellence, since onLythroughtolerance Livesideby sicle and with one anodler, dividuaLs and conrmunities whilst directing eir existencetowards different values. This for thc Lrasic condition modcrnform of pluralisnis, ho*cvcr,also meaning. crises of tire spread of mbjcctiveand intersubjective is en open to suchcrises \Vhethcrmodernpluralismneccssarily lcads question. Howevcr,one can say with certaintythat in highly devcloperl indusrrial countries, i-c. where mc,dernizationhas progrcssecl furthcst and thc nlern form of pLuralismis fully developcd, valuesystems and stocksof meaningare no longcr the 'l comnronproperty of ail members c'f society. he individualgrows values which up in a norld in which therearc neitherconrmon rcality in life, nor a single deternrine action different sphcres of into a suPcrordinate identicallor all. The 'ndividualis incorporated systemof meaning by thc cornmunityof life in which it growsup. of odler to bc the nrcaringsystem Howcvcr, this canrot be assuned by quhe (Mitmcnschen). l hcse others may ha"cbeen shaped pcople which life in of nrcaning in the communities of differentsysrens of insystems they grew up. In Europc, sharedand overarching modcrniterprctationwerc alreadyshakcnin the early phaseof in the last hundred zation. The history of totalitarianideologies can re ycarshasshorvnth:rt nothing, not cven radicalregrcssion, store such interpretativc schemes pcnnanentlyor make thcnr the lt is, by the way, also structLrral charactcristic of a modernsociety.

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questionable whctherfundamentalist attempts in rhe countries ofthe so calledThird Vorld will be more successlul regardless of the intensiry rvuh *'hrch overarching and universallybinding stocksof meaning aredefended today. It hasbeennotcd that suchconditions pronrotethe spread of subjectiveand intcr-subjective crises of meaning. ut while someconditionsaccelerate suchcrises thereare otherswhich hinderthem.The palc superordinate values of modernpluralism do not havethis power.They nrayhaveother usefuleffects in that they promotethe peaceful coexistence of diffcrent forms of life and value systems. lhey are,howevcr,not suitable to dircctly counteract the spread of crises of meaning. They tell the inclividual how to behave towards other peopleand groupswho differ in their view of life. They do not, however, tell one how one shouldleadonc'slife when the unquestioned validity of the traditionalorder is shaken. That may be achieved by diffcrentmeans. As the degree to which sociallyvalid conditioningof shared interpretations ol reality decreases different communities of life candevelop increasingly into quasi-autononrous comnunitiesof meaning. insofarasthese communities proverhemselves relativelystable they may preserve their nrembers from crises of meaning. Stabilityis particularly importantfor the role playedby suchlife communities in the coherent formationof personal identity of children grorvingup in them, who may thereby be protected from subjective crises of meaning. Concrete communities of life as "pure" qasr'autonomous conmunitiesof nreaning, andnrorestable, conrmurnitics of like minded peoplc (Gesinnungsgemeinschaften) counteract the pa demicspread of crises of meaning. However,they cannottranscend the preconditions which prornote the spread oF cnscsof meaninganchoredstructurally in modern society.Iiurthemore, to rcpeatthis point, communities of ljfe nr which the dis, crepncy between the expectcd and factualcommunityof mcaning is too greatcan themselves becomethe trigger for inter-subjective crises ofmeaning. This dialectical relationship bctweenthe lossof meaning and the 30

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andits the erosion of nrcaning nev creation of nreaning or between 'lhis of religion. can most be observed in the case rebuilding clcarly pattern thr: mostimportantform of a comprehensive is, in any case, rich in mean_ and of experiencc and values, systematically structurcd wasunthinkable ing. For the largest part of humanhistory a society without a single rcligion encompassing everythingand everyone 'lhc verc nanrrallyalso nry own gods;my godsof nry ancestors of my tribe or the godsof all the members godswerenaturallyaLso wcre like this. Acrosslong periods ry town. Most archaic societies socialinstitutions of time high culnrreswith rnany differentiated his or the individual, wcrelikethisaswcll.Thenthisunitybetween in the orhighest authority hersociety andthegods, embodying thc and at diflerenttypesby dcr of vaiue,rvasshaken in diffcrcntpiaces of molong beforethe beginning religiousschisms. This happened in the exodus of lsraelfrom the unifiedsym dernity,asfor exarnple bolic order of the MiddleEast,or evenmore radicallyin the separaantiquity. tion of Christianityfrom the symbolicorder of classical to restorea super After suchschisnrs therewere rcpeated attempts of a smaller on a new basis, perhaps ordinatesysrem of oreaning ("subculture' scope instead of culturc)- asin the unity of the tribe for thc unity of the search of Israclwith its God or in the constant Christian church. middleages an in the European Vith the concept of Christendom anemptwasmadeto irring togetherall the peoplein a certrin space systemol of power under a single,common and superordinate meaning, and to h,-,ld thcm there.\Vc know that this attemPtwas preserved nrinorities neverentircly successful. \ithin Christendom -Jews, heretics, symbolicsysterls cultsderivingfrom a their special wasbroke pagan part.At ti'res thc symbolicunity of Christendom AlbinOrthodoxy, up from without(lslam) or from within (Greek The conIt wasmostseverely shakcn by the Rcformationgensians). wanted of thn quakewerenot intended, for the reformers sequences The a uni{iedChristendom on r ncw basis. to restoreand prcscrve level. schismof thc church foiled this attempt at thc European
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Alongside thc Orthodox church two new "Christcndoms" emerged - onc C:rtholic,the othcr Protcstant. The formula rvirh which the - cuiusrcgio,eiusrelireligious warsin centralEuropcwereended gio - wis thc foundation for an attcnrptto restorcsymbolicunity at least withinsmall spaces of rule.Llowcver, dueto the onset of mod ernizationcven this territorial solution was only shortlived. Industrialization, urtranization, nrigrationand masscommunications could not be clcanlydividedinto Catholicand Protestant channels. In nodcrn centralEuropc Catholicsand Protestants (and increasingly membcrs of manyfaiths,not to speak numbers of incrcasing of people nithoLureligion) encounter eachother and are mixedup, e.g. through rrarriage. The conccpt ofregio in thc formulaof the Peace of Vestphalia thus losesits spatial mening.ltcgio becomes the sphcre of cotrmu nication for a community of meaningand convictionrrsuallynot limited to a particular area. One is Catholic by belongingto a Catholic rcligiouscommunity and taking part in other Catholic 'lhese institutions evcnif one'sneighbors are protestants. subcuf tures, generallyvoluntary conrntunities of convrction,no longer offer the securityof earliercomnrunities of life and nreaning which were embcdded in societaiordcrs of value and meaning.Never, rheless, through variousfornrs of comnrunication and socialrelations they can savethe individual from unmasterablc crisesof meaning. If they do not turn radically against socictyand are at ieast toierated by it, they act,so to spcak, on aggregate to stenrthe spread of crises of mcaning in society. linlightened rulerswcre wiseenough to recognizcthis and left their subjects to seekhappiness where they find it". It turned out that the hope tirat Catholicscould be loyal supporters of the Prussian crorvnwaswell founded. Vhat hasbeen saidaboutreligionholds, mutatis mutandis, for other conprehcnsiveorders of meaning.Moderniz-ation has made the assertion ol thc monopolyof localized sysrems of nreaning andvalue across entire socicties more tlifficult if not entirely impossible. Ar the safle time it has creatcde posibility for the formation of 32

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communitics of convictiontranscending spacc(e.g. through comideologies) the shared prchcnsive and from drcse stocksof meaning nreanings this pos of smallercoolmunities mxy be derived.Despite sibility the overalldeuelopmcnt all, a great degree cngenders, above of insecurity; both in the orientationof individualactionsand the entire direction of l;fe. from Nevertheless, it 'ould bemislcading to drawtheconclusion, crises of this alone,that nrodernsocieties sufferfrom comprehensive are rneaning. Therearestill peoplewho cvenunderthese conditions ableto establish a meaningful relationship the experiences between of thcir own livesandthe variousinterpretive offcredto possibilities them and who are thereforeable to conducttheir lives relatively meaningfully. Furthertrore,there are the institntions, sub-cultures values and communities of convictiol wirich transporttranscendent and stocksof mcaninginto concretesocialrelationships and life conrmunities of modernsocicty andsupportrhenrthere.The succcss beyondthcse"islands of meaning" is duc to a legalization of the "old rules of social iife and its fashioned nrorality", lurthermore through the formal moralizationof certainmore or less professionalizcdsphercs sysof action-Legalization means that the functionaL tem is rcgulatcd nonns,fixed in writing and bindingon by abstract ali members Moralizationis an attemptto solveconof a society. crcte cthical qucstions of action. that appearin individualspheres |or example,in the USA academic such as "mcdical disciplines ignoresthe etirics' or "business ethics' havecmerged. Legalization of prodifferentvaluesystenrs of thosc affected. The nroralization fessional spheres doeswithout a conrprehensive order of meaning. Iloth creatcthc conditions in which peoplemanage their daily lives withouta comprehensive andshared nroralrty. rvith a system Sucha societycanbe comparcd of traffic rules.One of these rrrles stopson red and driveson grcenand the maintenance is in the intcrestof all participants. normallyrely One cantherefore on peopleabidingby the ruleswithout the rulesthemselves being one can legitinrated in deepmoral tcnns. If the rulesare inlringed, 33

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bring thosewho haveinfringcdthc 'traffic rules"to reason, by laws or by non state rules,rlaintainedby tradeassociations or medical associations. Char:rcteristically, groups with rival interestin democrticsocieties attcmptto havcthe "trafficrules' which aremostimportant for them legalizcd by thc state.Obviously,the analogyis only partial: 'traffic rul""s"can rcfcr only to the practicalissues of individual spheres of social lifc. Lven there a moralizing,valueorientared rhetoricmustbc enrployed. Particularlyif groupswith an intcrestin a particularset of rules wish to usethe denrocratic rules,then they proccss to legalize these mustseek to legitimize these rulcsby reference to vxlues relevant to - however all of society vaguely may be formulated. thesc "ethics' Beyond theinfluence of thelawandthe ofparticular sphere individualsare lcft to their own devices. Systems of ethics let alonethe lawswhich rcgulate life or in the conductin professional - arcof linlerrse publicsphere in overcoming crises of meaning and conflicts in person:l lifc. I lowcvcr, evenif we ignore the factthat the analogywnh traffic rulcs is incomplete, it is in any case valid only for thc 'normal case . Vhat docs that mean? h means that the analogy assumcs a societywhich hasachievcd a high degree of economic prospcrity, experiences no inrDlcdiatc threatfrom outside and hasnetotiatedrelations betwccndiffcrentgroup interests relatively peacefully. h is one of thc saddcning experiences of this centurythat such"normality'is always fragile. lf conditions are"abnormal" and particularlyif it is dcmanded of individuals that they shouldplace their interests bchindthoseof socictyasa whole,then "trafficru1es" are no longcr cnough.In sucha situation, an overarching morality, regardless how of it is founded, bccorncs e societal imperative. \{rhat we havejust claimeddraws on a tradition of sociological theory which can be tracedbackabovcall to Emile Durkheim and the Frenchschoolfoundedby hin. Flowever, it rejects one of their basicassumptions. Durkheim bclicvedthat no societycan survive without an overarching morality; ire named that overarching morat-symbolic c,rder'religion".\e diverge frorn Durkheim in that

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wc clo not accept for thc "norrnalcase".lhe dialogue this necessity with Durkheirnrcquiresus to specifythis "normal case"more pre cisely.Durkheim devoted much effort to the study of the phenomto sacri' enon of sacrifice because he considercd that the willingness ficc oncsown interests andin extrcnris oneslife for thc socialwhole was a decisive for thc ability of a societyto survivc. characteristic Durkhcinr's assumption holdsfor a society rvhich is exposcd to an which is missing in cxistcntial reat. But it rs precisely th threat ruies thc normalcase . The trafficpartlcrpants need to follow the in thcir orr,n interest; no willingncss ior sacrifice is presumed. "normal Modcrnizationmakesthe occurrcrrce nruch of such cases" morc 1ikelythan it wasin carlicrpcriocls: brings with rnodernizarion it cconomic growth which is typicallyassociared with rclativepolitical stability.The citizenry is much lcsstcnrpted to question the legitinracy of an order lvhcn its survival is sccuredby matcrirl prosperiy. However, it shouldbc cmphasized that it would be a gravccrror to assume and that this statccould be regarded assecure irreversible. 'l hc rveakening and eventhe collapse orderof of an overarching The nrcaning with the onset of modernity is hardlya noveltheme. cnlishtcnmcnt and its successors n,clconrcd asthc overthis process turc for thc crcationof a new onler bascd freedom and rcason. on 'l hc postrevohLtionary Frenchtraclitioralists and other conservative thinkers havebewailed the sameprocss as decadence and declinc. Vhcthcr modcrnity and its conset1ucnce or rcjected arc welcomed thcrc ;s widespread conscnsus on tbe factsof the matter.!e feelthet this conscnsus not does undulysinr though complctcly unfounded 'lhcrc plify a conrplcx is widespread not only situation. consensus anrong* experts aboutthe but alsoin conrnxrnsense understanding cause, perhaps even the main crusc of this breakingapart of the 'l conrprehensive order of meaning. his is to be found in the retreat of religion. Religion here is not understoodin the wider sense enployedby DLrrkheim, i.e.asany comprehensive orderof meaning and world order, but rather in the narrower more corventionl

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- religion,asbeliefin god,in another mcaning world, salvation and the bcyond.$(ith reference to thc n)odern\Vestthis impliesthat the declinc of Christianityhascauscd thc moderncrisisof meenint. This nor very originalinterpretation wasaccepted asfact andwelcomedby progrcssive anrl intellectuals philosophers and mourned by almostall conservative ideological thinkers.Put simply the main thesis of this argument, well established in the socioiogy of religion "secularizetion as the thesis'is that modernhyleads inescapably to sccularization secularization in the sense of a lossof influence of religiousinstitutionson socictyas well as the iossof credibilityof religiousinterpretations in peoplc's consciousness. Thus comesinto "the beinga historicallynew species: nrodernperson"who believes that onecancopeboth in onesown life and in socialexistence without religion. The confrontation with this 'nrodern person" hesbecome an imwhole portanttopicfor of Christian gcnerations theologians and a central pointin theprogranrme of the Christian churches in western countries. l;or thisthesis, aswell,a nLrmber of argrrmen* canbe deployed. Ilistorical evidence suggcsts that at Least since the 18thcentury the social influence of thc churchhasdeclined, at leasr in wesEurope, (e. tern andthat important institutions g. the enrire educational systcm) haveliberated thcmselvcs from their earlierreligious ties.In addition,the term 'modern person"is not entirelydivorccd from reality. It is likcly that there are a considerablc number of peoplcwho copewith thcir liveswithout religious faith (in the sense definedcarlier)or religiouspractice.Vhether this type of secular exjstence is an absolute noveltyis questionable. It is likely that there have alwaysbeen pcople who have found thcir happiness in this v'orld without churches- before and after they came into existence. But evendisregarding this, dre equationof modernity and secularization must be treated I{ the secularization skeptically. thesis appliesanywhcre,then in westcrn l-urope. (Even there it would have to be questioned sr'hethcrthc institutional retreat of the churches can be equatcd with the rctreatof rcligious interpretations 36

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(incLLrdscene in consciousness.) Observers of the European religious long time ing one of the two authorsof this study) have for a with the pointed out that declericalization shouLd lot be confused dlesis lossof religion.In any casethe convcntionalsecularizalion \Western rapidlyloses Europc. credibilityassoo asoue leaves A particularirritant for this theory is the stateof religion in the as unUnited States. American societycrn hardly be described therc.And modern.I Io*'ever,religionis forccfullyaliveandpresent this is trueboth at the institutional leuel asq'ellasin the consciousness anrl life conductof millionsof peoplc. There are fcw signsthat by the sccularizathis situationis changing in thc dircctionsuggcsted tion thesis. Outside l:,uropeand North America it is in any case by thc onrush nonscnse. The so calledl'hird Vorlcl is in fact shaken most of religiousrnovements. The Islauricrereissxnce hasattracted \Vorldwide one can attentionbut it is far from bcingthe only case. the moststriking traccthc success story of evangelical Protestantism, spreads like chapter l his new Protestantism of which is Evangelism. Asia, in a prairie fire - in s-idestretches of Eastand Southeastern - in all counAfricasouthof the Sahara and mostsurprisingly trics of Latin America.Often it is precisely thoselayersof society to reli most touchedby modernization which are most susceptible giouscndrusiasm. The troops of todaysreligiousmassmovcnrents arc to bc found in the new citicsof the Third Vorld, not in thc traare olten ditionalvillages. People traincd at tbe nrodernuniversitics the lcading cadres ofthismovemcnt. modernity hasonly ln short: the Europeanmodel of secularized limitedexportvalLre. factorin the creation of The mostinrportant is probin socicty crises of meaning as in dre lilc of the individual modcrrr ably not the supposedly secularity but modernpluralisnr. increase in plu Modcrnity means a quantitative aslvellasqualitative 'fhe raliz:uion. structural causes of this fact arewell known: population growth and migrationand, associated with this, urbanization; the market ecopluralizationin the physical,dcrrogr:rphic sense; nomy and inclustriaLization which throw together people of the

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mostdifferenthindsand forcethem to dealwith eachother reasonably peacefully; which provideinstithe rule of law and denrocracy tutional guarantces for this peaceful coexhtence. The mediaof mass communication constantly and empharicaLly parade a pluraliryof ways of life and thinking: both prlnted materialriding on mass li, teracyspread across the entirepopulationby compulsory schooling and the nes-est electronic If interactions media. the enabled by this 'fenccs' pluralizationare not restricted by of one kind or another, rhis plurlismtakesfull effect,bringing with it one of its consequencesr the "structural'crisisof meaning. 'lhe "fence of the law" wasalrcady mentioned. Rabbinical Judaism erected this fenceto distinguish practicing Jewsfrom their profane surroundings. It wasthis 'fence"which madepossible the survivalof the Jewish community over many centuriesin a mainly hostile Christianor IslamicsocietyOne nlight alsosey:the "fenceof the law" protectedthose peoplelivnrg within it from pluralism.This protectioncollapsed with the emancipation of the Jewsin wesrern societies and the people affcctedwere consequently particularly liableto crises of meaning. It is not merehappenstance lhat modern thinkers and writers hav e con cern ed th emselves particularly inJewish tensively with suchcrises of meaning. Conversely one can saythat any group that wishesto protect itself from the consequences of pluralismmust erectits own 'fenceof the law'. As wasmentioned, there havebeen instances of pluralisurthroughouthistory, for in, stxncein the large towns of late antiquity and probably at times alongthe trade routesand the urban cenrers of Asia. The modern processes of pluralizationdistinguishthemselves from their predccessors not only by their immense extent(muchwider circlesare affected by them),they are alsodistinguished by their acceleration: whiLst their effects progressively extend to "new" countries, they do not remain static,in alreadyhighly modernized societies they are accelerating. Modern pluralismleads to a thoroughrelativization of systems of valuesand schemes of intcrpretation. Put differently:the old value 38

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'. arc ' decenonizedThe resultsystems andschemes of interpretation ing disorientation of the individual and of whole groupshas for yearsbccnthe main themeof socixland culturalcriticism.Catego"anorrie' to charctcrize ries suchas 'alienation" and arc proposed thc difficulty experienccd by peopletrying to find their way in the is modcrnworld. fhe weakness of suchcommonplaceconcePtions weakness is Their not that they exaggerate the crisisof meaning. aswell asdiffer their blindncss towards the capacity of individuals preserve their own values ent conrmunities of life and meaning to and intcrpretations. Existentialphilosophy from Kicrkegaardto of the alienatcd Sartrchasdeveloped the mostimprcssive conception recent found throughot human being.Other versionsxrc to be \festcrn literanrre (oneneedmentiononly Kafka).However,it canto only a small not bc doubtedthat this imagcof humanityapplies (thoughthis portion portion of the populationin rnodernsocieties may be in certinrespecrs an importantone).Most peoplein these in a Kafha novel. societies do not vander around likc characters to makedesperate They arenot plagued by fearand arenot tempted "condemned to lcapsof faith , nor do they co sider themselves frcedonr'-One x-ay or anothcr,with or without religion,they cope this. with their lives.It is importantto understand how they mnagc But beforewe attempt!o pursuethis questionwe wish to return of the crisisof oncc more to or.rrclain that pluralismis the cause mcaningir modernity.We must cxaminemore closelythe signifi' through which cancefor the stock of meaningend the process meaningis lost, of the socialpsychological statusof meaningand knowlcdge astaken'forgranted.

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4. The lossof the taken-for-granted

lf communities of life and mc:ning rcally overlap to the extent that is demandedby social cxpectariols, rhen social life and the existence of thc individualproccedhabitu:lly alnrost"by themselves". This doesnot necessarily imply drat drc individuals have no life problems or that they are happy with thcir fate. However, rhey a! least "kno\ir" about the world, how tr-,bchave in it, what is reasonable to cxpect and, iast but not least, indiviclLrals know who they are. For exrmple, the role of a slavc was presurnably never a pleasantone. Nevertheless,however unpleasantit may have been the individuals who occupied this role livcd in a steady and clearly identifiable world in which they could orientate their behavior, rheir expectations and their iden!ity rvith sonrc dcgreeof confidence.They were not lorced to daily rcdefine the nrcaningof their existence. This un anbiguous definitionof exntcncein the world was sharedby the siavesard their owners, though it must be assurned that the latter felt more at ease in their cxistence than did the slaves. Neither rhe "condemned slavc nor the slavcorvner were, as Sartre rvould say, to freedom". (Thc possibilrty that the slavesmight rebel or the slave on'ner abandon his property to bccome a monk nccd not concern us here - quite apart from the f:ct that such cases were rare.) "knowledge". Modern pluralism undcrmines this conrnron-sense The world, society, life and personai identity are called ever more into question. They may be subjcct to nrultiple interpretations and cxch interpretation defines its own perspcctivcsof possibleaction. No irterpretrtion, no rangc of possiblcactionscan any longer be ac ceptedasthe only true and unquestionablyright one. lodividuals are thus frequently faced with thc question whether they should not have iived their lives in a completely different manner than they have hitherto. 1'his is expericncedon dre one hand as a great liberation, as an opening of new horizons and possibilitiesof life, leading out of the confines of the old, unquestionedmode of existence. The 40

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(often by as oPPressive sanreprocessis, however, often exPerienced make repeatedly a on individuals to the sanrepeoplc) as pressure senscof the new and the unfamiliar in their realities. Thcre are pcople who withstand tllis pressure;thcre are some who evcn seem to rclish it. One might call thcnr v,rtuosos of pluralism. However, the najority of people feel insccure and lost in a confusing world full of possibilitiesof interpretation of l'hich some arc linked to al rernative waysof life. by Arnold Gehlenin his theory of institLr The concepts developed situation. Vc have allions help us to understand this anrbivaLent ready made rcfcrence to this body of theory in the introductory cirapter with referencetc, the inrportmce of institutions for hunran to relieve individuals oricntation in reality. Institutions are designed of thc nccessityof reinventing thc world and reoricntatiog thcm 'programmes" for the con selvesin it evcry day. Instittltions create 'execution" of particular curduct of social interaction and for the towardswhich peoPle riculum vitae.They provide tcstcdparterns nodes of be' may rlirectbehavior. By practicingthese prescribed" that go with havior the individuallearnsto natch the expectations ccrtain roles: c. g. as husbancl,father, employec, tL\ Paycrl Particr' pant in traffic, consumer. If institutions are functioning reasonably to them by so' norm:rlly, thcn individuals fuLfill the roles assigned of action and leadtheir cicty in the form of institutionalizcd schemes livcs accorclingto insritutionally sccurcd, socially shaped curricula which arc largely accepted unqucstioningly. in their effcctsinstitutions are substitutesfor instincts: they allow Many sociaction nithcrut a1lalternatives havingto be considered. etally inportant socialintcractions arc carriedout quasiautomati calLy.Every timc slavesreceive an order from their mastcr they do not need to consider whcthcr to obey or Dot. Nor does the slave orvner pauseto consider whether he is entitled to give orclersto his slaves. Neither the slavesnor the slveowner queslion their own actions or the actronsof dre other; typiclly, their action is unreflectivc. Connecting Gehlen's theory of institutions with the social

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psychology of GeorgcI Icrbert Mcadc(to which the preceding discussion of the formation of pcrsonal idcntity is alsoindebted) one ' ir incan saythat the institutional"programmcs' are ' internaiized dividualconsciousness anddircctthc indivldual's acrions not asalicn 'Programmes" but as the individual's own mcanings. are internalized in multi-laycred proccsscs: first in "primary sociliztion", in which the Ioundations are laid for the formationof personal identityi then in "sccondxry socializ-ation" which directsthe individual towards the rolcsof social rcality,aboveall in the world of work. The structurcs of society bccomc structures of consciousness. Slave and masterdo not mcrcly behave in conformity with their roles, they think, feel and conccive of thcnxclves in waysthat conformto 'I their rolc behavior. hc srrbjectivc world of the individualdoesnot necessari)y haveto coincide complctclys,ith socially objectified reality this is impossible. In the process of socialization there are if not realbreaks then at least snrall cracks. In the fornration of personality there can be at best an :pproxinrationto the completecongruence of meanings. A scanrless transition from primaryto sec js thc cxceprioin nrost ondary socialization societies, not the rule. The individual has idiosyncratrc inrpulsesand daresro transfer dreams into day to day life and to seekadventures outsidethe programmes of socicty.Neverthclcss, even is can be spokenof as ''nonnatity'. Deviations from the institutional programmes anddivergences from the society's historicalrescrvoirs of meaning (andre serves of meaning) arerelativc)y rareand remainlimited to the indivrrlrul: .y and rhi' rncan' th:u rl Jo nor enrerinro communicarrve processcs anri that "censordlip" opcrares evenat the lowestlevel of objectificationand conrmunicationof "dangerous"thoughrs.If "censorship" is unableto containthe deviationwithin the interior life of the individualthcn special institutionalprogrammes are ap'lhis pliedin the treatment of the deviant. rrearment hasboth an externaland an internalaspect. DxternalLy tllc rangeof treatments extendsfrom the physical liquidationof thosewho havedeviated from the true path to loving spiritualcarefor "lost sheep". One way or 42

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- harmless anotherthe deviantbchaviormustbc rendered harmless for the executionof thc progrannre. fhe obstacle to the smooth functioningof the machinery mustbe removed. The internalaspect of this process of socialcontroL is the attemptto stop deviant 'mindless" thought and to restorcthe previoLrs acceptance of nor malrty. Instinrtionsdraw thcir power from the naintcnanceol unqlrestioned vaLidity. An institutionis endangered fronr the moment in which the peopleLiving within it or with it beginto think aboutinstitutional roles, identities,schenres of interpretation,valuesand ways of viewingthc worlcl.Conscrvative philosophers havealways sensed dris;seniorpolicemcn know it from practicalexperiencc. In the normalcase" dangerous thought canbe reasonably controiled. 'Ihere is here However,pluralismmakes more difficult. this controL a cLear sociafpsychological dialectic from liberationto burdensomefrccdom:it is extremely hardto be forcedto leadonesown life without beingableto hold on to' unquestioned patters of interpretationand normsof bchavior. This leads to a clamorous nostalgia for the good oLd daysof unfreedom. Liberation is an xmbituous - and thing. As GehLen puts it: freedomis born out of alienation Modern literaturc isfull of examples ofthis.Oneneed thinkonlyof thc theme of "provincialism", of thc biographical dialectic between 'paths town and city, of thc many possiblc to freedom' (Arthur Schnitzlcr). Madame Bovarysuffers in her narrow,provincialworld. But if shehad had the chance to moveto Parisshewould not have remained happyfor long.Alienatlon wouldhavebeen the priceof "roorlcher grcrter lre"dom. rhe l-,''clr. br"r cen,rrnlylrer chilclrcnwould probably haveconceived the ideathat the old provincial world had its goodsides after all which at the time were so takenfor grantcd dratthey werenot noticedat ali. A physicalreturn to that world is usuallyno longer possible. There is howeverno shortagcof suggested routesfor an internal return (religious,po' litical, therapeutic), *.aysof healingthe pain of alienation. Projects 43

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"old aimed at restoring the good world" almost always include the suppressionor linitation of pluralism - and with good reason: pluralism constantly suggcsts alternatives,alternativesforce people to think, thinking undermincs the foundation of all versions of a "good oLdworld'; the assumptiono[ its unquestionedexistence. Modernization inplies the radrcal transformatjon of all external conditions of hunan existence.l he motor of this giant transformation, as has often been said, is drc science-based technology of the last centuries. In purely matcrial terms this dcvclopment hes brought rvith it a huge expansion of the range of possibilities. Vhereas in thc past a few technologies,passed on from generation to generalion, wcre the foundation of material cxistence,there is now an apparently endlessand constantly improving plurality of technologicalsystems.Both individuals and huge organizationsface the nccessityof choosing one or other option from amongst this plurality. This conpulsion for choice extendsfronr trivial consumer goods (which brand of tooth pastel) to basic technological alterna tives (which raw nTaterialfor the motor vehicle industryl). The increasein the rangc of options also extendsto the social and intellcctual sphere. I Icrc, nodernization meam the change from an existence dctermined by fate to onc consistingof a long seriesof possible choices.l:ate previously determined almost atl phases of life, the individual movcd frorr phaseto phascaccordingto prcdeterminedpatterns, childhood, rites of passagc, employment, marriage,child rear ing, ageing,illncss and death. Fate also determined the internal life of the individual: feelings,interpret;rtions of the world, values and personal identity. The gods were "already preselt" at birth, as was the sequence of social roles that followed. Put diffcrently: the range of pregiven, unqucstioned assumptionsexrendcdto lhe largestpart ofhuman existence. Modernization fundamentalLy changedthis. Birth and deathare still - only just - determined by fate. In parallel to the plurality of possible choiccs at a natcrial level multilayered processes of modernization open up x rarge of options at thc social and intellectuallevcl: 44

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which job should I take up) Vhom shall I marry? Ifow shorrld I fronr a range of bring up nry children? Even the gods can be sclected possible options. I can change my rcligious allcgiance,my citizenship, ny life style, my image of nrysclf and my sexual habitus. The rangc of taken for-granted assumptionsshrinks to a relatively small 'l economicfounda core which is hard to define. hc technological tions of this changcare at the levcl of the matcrial,but its socialdiPluralismnot only aboveall, by pluralism. nrcnsions are intensified, (job, ivife, religion,party),it rnakc choices hud;and or pcrmitsone to forces one to do so as the moclcrn range o[ consumer goods forccs onc to choosc (Persil or ArieL, VV or Saab).One can no longcr choosc not to choose:it has bccome in)possibleto close ones eyesto the frct that a decision that onc nrirkescould also have been made diffcrcndy. Two central instirutions of modern society Promote this transition from rhe possibility of choice to the comPulsion to choosc: the ruarket econorny and denrocracy.Both institr.ltionsare foundcdon the aggregation of individualchoice- and themselves Thc ethosof dcmocracy cncorage cont;ouous choiceand sclcctron. humannght. nrakcs choiceinto a fundamental f ire taken-for-granred residesin thc reaLmof unquestioned,securc knowledge. lhe loss of the taken for-granted unsettlesthis realm: I know lessand lcss.InsteadI have :r ralge of opinions. Someof thesc opinious condcnscinto sornething that one night call bclief. Thesc in the lirrrit, are opinions for vhich I an prcparcd to make sacrifices even today, to sacrificemy lifc, but probably no longer unquestion'normal" life of so ingly. It lics in the nature of thingsthat in the cicty and the individualsuch linrit cascs are relativelyrare ln the 'nornral processof modernizationi anr in any case no longer forceclto decidev.hcther I am preparcd to wager my life for faith or evcn nrcre opinions. Unqucstioncd, secureknor'ledge dissolvesinto a no longer very compclLing aggrcgate of loosely connccted Conopinions.Firm interpretations of reaiity bccomehypotheses. victions become matters of tastc. Conrmandments become sugges

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tions. These changes in consciousness crcatc the impression of a certain'flaress. One can rmagincthe conscioLrsncss of the individualas different levclslayered on top of eachothcr. In the "depths" (this term is not r.rscd herein thc |reudian scnsc of depthpsychology) lie thoseinterprctationsdrat arc taken for granted. This is the sphere of unquestioned,certainknowlcdge. Alfrcd Schtitzcalleddris the levelof the "world-taken for-grantcd';Robcrt and Ilelen Lynd meant something of the same kind with their concept of "of-course-statements". The other pole,thc uppermost lcvcl of consciousness (uppermost in "surfacc'), the sensc of closest to thc is the sphere of insecurity, that which is not taken for grantcd,opinionswhich I am in principle prepared to revise or evcnretract.This sphcre is ruled by the motto "chacrrn son gut . In this layerrlodel, thc modernization of consciousness appears as a lossof 'depth'.More engagingly one can view consciousness as a huge coffeenraker the contentsof con sciousness of all types have evaporatedupwards, the residual grounds has senously shrunken, thc coffce has become prertyrhin. Theloss ofthetakcn-for-granted rvithallitssocial andpsychological - asonewouid expect - in the consequerces rs mostpronounced sphereof religion. Modern pluralismhas undercutthe monopoly enjoyedby religiousinstiturions. Vhether they like it or not the religiousinstitutions:rc suppliers in a nrarketof religiousoptions. The "church-going peoplc has drvindlcdto a mernbership which can in nany churchesbc countcd on the fingers of two hands. Membership in a particulxrchurch is no longcr taken for granted, bur ratherdre resultof a delibcrate choice. Evcnthosewho decide to renain with thc confession of their parcnts are making such a choice:they could, after all, havcchanged confcssion or religionor simply left the church altogethcr. This fundamentally changes the socialpositionof the churchcs, whethertheir theological self-image is willing to acknowledge dris stateof aff:rirs or not. If they wish to survive,churches increasnrgly necdto consider the wishesof their membcrs.The church must provc irself in the free markct. The

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'buy" pcoplc x'ho a particular faith become a group of consuners. Regardlcss of how stubbornly the thcologiansrefuseto acknowledge "the it, the wisdom of thc old connercial nraxirn customer is always right' has forced itself on the churchcs.They do not always abidc by this maxirn, but often enoughthey do. 'l c'ntounmarkethc churches haveincreasing difficulty in hanging the relation ablc dogmasand practices. lhc sanreprocess changes ship of thc churches to one anothcr.They can no longercount on or to deelwith thc statccitherto drive the flock into churchservices their rivals. The pluralistic situxti<>ll forces thc rival churchcs to get aLong.Initially, this forced tolcr:rnce is grLrdging,later it is lcgitiThe American church ruized theologically (it bccomcsoecunrenical). 'dcnollinxhistorian Richard Niebuhr introducecl the corcept of is a church, tions" which hc definedas follows:'A denomination which has achnowlcdgcddre right of othcr chr.rrches to exist." It is "dcnon)rDation" no accident in thc USA that the term originated fronr a societyrvhich can be secnas rhe p;oneerof modern pluralisnr. lhc increasing similarity of thc religioussiruationin othcr modernsocictics n ith rhe situationin the USA cannotbe explaincd by a proccss of cultural Anericanization- as somc, for obvious idcological reasons,wish to bclicve. The simiLarity is only superficially due to American inflLrences. I* real causeis the global sprcad of nrodernpluralism. 'l hLsshift hasi* correspondentrt the level of individual consciousncs. Religion also "evaporatcsrrpwards'; it loscsits statusas taken 'possibility", for granted. This shift creatcs for faith the status of 'l bascLl I do rot halc !o bclievevhat I know. his on the sentencc: religious possibility' is usually ovcrlooked when theologians lanrcntthc trivializationof religion in modernity.Ilowever, such drcologians are not keento ednlit that they might wish to scea situation in which one could bc * Christian in the same taken'forgrantcd way in which one is man or woman, one hasbrown or blue cycs and suffersfrom hay fevcr since birdr. This posibility of faith mst howcvcr be plausible particularly to protestant theologians.

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Protestantisnr, fronr Lrrther's comprchension of conscience(Ver stndnis desGe\\'lsscns) to Kierkcgord's lcapof faith', hasbeenthe modern religion par cxcelience.Ihcologianscould acknowledge theseideas with hopc ratherthal pessimisl.From thc social scienti fic perspectiveone nru$ howrvcr recotnize that modcrn society has not scen a great accumulation of Kierkegaardirn "knighCs of fairh . More typical is a typc of pcrson l,ith "Ohristian opinions" - a per ' son who belongs sonrchow' to r church, but in a loose way, which for theologiansmust be r.rnconlfortablyclosc to other realmsof consun]ption. People with 'rcligious opinions change their opinions relatively easily evcn if they do not thcrcforc aLwayschange their "denomrnatiou membership in a . lraditional Christian churches, particularly il F.uropc, stiLl h.rvc grcrt difficulty in accepting this change.They, in fact, wLshto closctheir eyesto it. For examplc,the Roman Catholic ChLrrchrefuscsto understandi*elf as a "denomination . Thosebranches of Protcstantism which stillunderstand them selvcs asappealing to thc populationat largehavesimilardifficulties. The exceprion are disest:blishcd churches, aboveall in the Anglosa-ronworld, *'hich have exisredin a pluralistic situation from the The loss of depth in religious consciousness can be traced (not co'l incidentally) in the ^nerican languagc. he nost common exprcssion for belonging to a religion in thc United Statesis "religious 'my prcfcrence", asin rcligious is I-utheran"; prcfcrcncc in German "ich this transLates into: 7-jehe es vor, l,uthcrancr zu sein". By comparison, the expressionstill comnrcn in Contincntal Europe is 'con, "I fession"anr of the Luthcran confession".The exprcssion'con fession" refcrs to bearing witness, cven to the wilLingness to make the sacrjfice of a martyr. .lhe American cxprcssion, by contrast, comesfrom thc realm of the languagcof consunption (and from the realm of economic sciencc- "prcferences' and "prcferencescales" detenninc the market for a commodity or a service).k implies a lack of comnltment and refers to the possibility of prcferringsomething else in future. It is a historical irony of the current European situa 48

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"retion, that, for cxarnple,Gennans also mean nothing more than a ligious prefercncc' when they say that they are of the Luthcran confession.Thc Ioss of the takcnJor-granted is today a global phenom-

5. Habituatcd meaningand crises of mcaning

Day-to day actions are carriedon habitually. Their implicit rneaning of is untouched. Hard, thrcatening rinrescan leadto the eppearance crisesof nreaningin some areasof life. Even then orher arcasremain under the inflLLcncc of old habinratcd rneanings.liven during civil wars and earthquakcspeople bmsh thcir teeth if thc water supply has not beer cut off. Thc litcratrrrc c,n such periods, c. g. memoirs about Gcrnrany in the last years of the war and its imnrediate after n1athcont^in impressive testimonyof the rvay in which apocalypse and norm:rlity coexistside'by side. Even in hard tirnes, crisesof meaning rarely afflict all arcasof life sinultaneously and vith dre same forcc. Particularly when habituated action has becomedifficult or irnpossiblein many areas,it protects x8ainstcrisesof meaning in those areaswhere one can continue not according to habit. In societiesin rvhich crisesof meaning occr.rr in the rvakc of serious catastrophcsand total wars the range of habitual norrnalityvhich is maintaincd is of coursemuch wider. But takenJor-grantedhabits are not just thrextenedby serious eventsin thc fate of the collectivity, but also by radical changc in the life of which the individual. In all societies there arc certain typical changcs may unlcashcrisesof meaning if thcy are not socially acknowledged. which In archaic and traditional societicsthere are ritcs of passage give mcaning to thesechanges. Puberty, sexualinitiation, cntry into a job, agc and death could be cxpccted with lessuncertainty because codesof behavior existedfor dealing with thesebiographical breaks.

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l he societal foundation were of tue:ningc suredthat these changes not experielcedby the incli"idualpcrson as deepcriseslet alone 'lhc existcntial threats. weakenirgor evencomplete absence of such ritcs of passage in modernsocieties can be readasa symptom- and - of a slowly risingcrisisof meaning. a co-cause In part, this develrt . w e l li . o u e dr o m o J e r n oprrr.n pluralizrtion. 'lo clarify what hasbeensaicl, let us consider two spheres of life in the existence of the indjvidual that are particularly important bur alsocrisis ridden: That humansexuality sexuality and occupatlon. alv'ays couLl and everywhere lcadto crises of meaning is adequately documented in popularsayings andthe entiretyof humanliteramre. 'l he main themeof popularsongs in all countries is lovc, love sickncssand disappointed love. The institutions that were fonncriy rerluiredto dealwith suchtroublesarestill in business today,foretrost amongst these the churches. Ve will return to this point. Churches were,however, neverthe only institutions which were and haverenrained activein this area.Relarional nerworks of interection rvhcrever thcy continue to cxist- belong to the social insritutions which scrvefor the producrion and communication of nreaning. Young pcoplein this or that fornr of sexual troublemey still rrn to a well treaning uncle, aunt, grand-parent or godparent. However hereas wcll, like for the churchcs, there hasbeena decided lossof crcdlbility.Geographic andsocialmobility hasvery muchweakenerl the network of relationalintcraction.Furthermore,it is more and more likely that, for example, the well-meaning unclenot only lives far away but is alsohopelessly confused by his own love life. The same can be saidfor problemsin the arcaof work - worricsabout rraining, suitable troubLes with the boss andwith colleagues, unemployment andat some point,usually in the middleof a career, the incscapable rcalization that cvcrythinghasbecnachieved that could be hopedfor and that from can at bcst hope ro evoid downwardsocialmobility. In both areas, modernsocictyhas 'invented"new institutionsfor - psychotherapy the productionandcommunication of meaning of 50

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(both already differentsorts, sexual andprofessional counsellors present within schools), special courscs for adult educaand seminars departrnents welfare trained(or ration, of the state, psychologically the mass ther,halftrarned) personnei officcrs, andl:st but no! leasr media.The piest and the old aunt may sometimes sti1lbe heLpfuL. But it is more probable that 'modernpcople turn towardsthe new institutions of orientation. For this purpose not even one often does visit haveto an office,an institutionor a practice. Simplyturning on prothe television, one is facedwith a widc rangeof therapeutic from granrmes. ^lternatively one goes to thc bookshop andchooses the shelves with Self-Help litcrature volume that is best packed the tunedto onescrrentdifficulties, whcthcr they be in onesouter or inner life. A word on the mcdiaof mass from publishing to conrnrunication institutions play a tclcvision: ashasoften and rightly beensaidthese in kcy rolc in modernmcaningful orientation or more precisely the communication of meaning.lhey mediatebetweencollective for and individual experience by providing typicalinterprerations whicharedcfincd problems astypical. Vhatever otherinstitutions the media providcby way of intcrprcttions of realityand values, and select andpeckage these products, transform them in the process decide on the form of dissemination. Modernsociety hasa nunber ofspecialized for the proinsritutions duction and communication of nrcaning. Even though an adequate typologyof these institutions andnn enalysis of their modeof operawould tion be helpful,socialscicntists haveonly tentativelybegun to deal -ith this problem. lly way of a first approximationone could distinguish betwecnthoscinstittrtions which offer their inter pretivcscrvices and those on an opcn nrarkct(e.g. psychotherapy) institutionswhich cater to a smaller,often strictly closedcommunity of mcaning with strictly andspirit(sccts, cultsandcommunes definedstylesof life). The distinctioninto new and old institutions hasits uscs.There are old institutions(the of meaning-production mos! important are the churchct who continueto cultivatetheir 51

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established interpretations of rcality as best as thcy can and to offer them competitivelyin a pluralisticsituation.Newer instiutions "advantage" have to start from scratch,but thcy h;rve the that they can take unrestraincdly fronr the traditional meaningsof the different cr.rltures and epochcs.llven though such institutions xre free to draw on a single, well tlefined, ancicnt stock of meaning, they are without exception highly syncrctic. Techniques of meditation imporrcd from Asia are to be found alongsidethe newest practices of psychotherapy,dizzryingscxual cxperiments alongsidea restricted petit-bourgeois ideal of f:rmily happiness.And all of this can be distributed through the massadvcrtising nrcthods of late capitalism. Juggling with these discrepant intcrpretations of reality requires a have emcrged ccrtain skill and consequentlya number of professions "knowspecializedin this aptitude. These are the professions of the ledgeindustries", as econonlistscall this sector.Helmut Schelskyhas characterizedthem as occupations which arc conccrned with the education, counseliing and plannirg of other peopleThe institutionsof meaningproduction have a rangeof possible options. Hos'ever, in tcrnrs of the strategy they chose to enforce their inrerpretive perspectivein society they are limited to two main possibilities. On thc onc hand thcy may enterthe market in which they must survive m compctition with old and new suppliers. On the other hand they may mobiliz-ethe state for their purposes.Produccrs nray acquire a monopoly position through lcgislation- only qualified psychologistsmay practice psychotherapy or their pro duction attracts a statc subsidy - public health insurance pays for psychotherapy - or thcir product may be dlstributed by meansof state - certain categoricsof delinqrrcntsare obliged to submit to a psychotherapisttreatment. lhis dcvclopnrentdoes nor lack a certain irony. The monopoly position which was taken from the churches by the democratic, law-bound statc is now confcrrcd by thc democratic wlfare state on a number of new institutions for the production of meaning.There arc no longcr established churchesin the old sense. Instcad there is official therapy, to paraphrasePhilip Rief, a 52

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'Ihis therapeutic state. however, leads to considerations observation, which lie beyondthe themeof this essay. terOne candcscribe all these institutions elsoin Arnold Gehlen's "secondary minology as institutions".lly this is mcant that these no longer,asin the past,standat the centreof society institutions "in oncedid . Instead, they asthe church thc nriddle of the village functions.A further pcrfonn limited and often highly specialized distinctionmay bc uscfulin this contcxt:on the one sidewe find inwhich cnable vaiues stitruions individuals to transporttheir pcrsonal from privatc lifc into differentsphcres of societyand to applythem in sLrch a way as to nrakcthem a forcc shaping the rest of society. On the othersidcthereare institutions whichtrcat the individual merclyas a more or less serviccs. passive objectof their symbolic 'intcrrnediary Only the first mcntionedare institutions' as they have been known to sociologysinceDurkheim. lhcy are "interin thc sense the individuel nd mediary" that they rucdiate betwcen in society. Through the pattcrns of cxperience andactionestablished instirurlons, to thcsc indi"idual pcople actively corltributc the productionandprocessing It is the effect of the socialstockof meaning. of theseinstitutionsthat the existingstock of mcining is not experienced as rthoritatively given and prescribcdlrut as an repertoire of possibilities that has bcen shapedby the individual members of socictyandwhich is opcnfor further chauSes. -l'he insti distinction betseen intcrnrcdiary andnon-rnternrcdiary tutionscennotbc madein the abstract. It hasto bc madethroughthe of cmpiricialanalysis of the concretc modeof operationof a sphere group,evenan action.A local parishcommunity,a psychotherapist agency of the wclfarestatcmay be a true, mediating structure in the midstof the pcoplc associated wilh it. l hc same fornr of institution rlay, however,alsoappear imposed, as asa force alienor evenhos with it. Both tile to the iife world of thosc indivLduals associatecl "secolclary", I Iowever,only forms are both conrnrunicate meaningin the first mentioned fornr arc thcy suitablc to softenthe negative "anomie") ("alicnation", aspects of moclernization or cvento over53

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conrecrises of meaning. If such institutionstake the sccondform, theycontribute to "alicnation' . One fLrrther rcmark shouldL'cmadeaboutthe churches. Amongst the prinrary institutions"of practicallyall premodernsocietics re ligion takesa centralplace.This centralitywas essenrial to Durkheirl's conceptionof "religion". Religion was a symbolic remedy spreacling throughoutall of society, collectingall shared interpretations of reality (repr6sentations collectives) into a cohercntview of the world, and in the process providingthe foundationfor e societxl - both consciousness morality (conscience collecti"e) and consciencc. As was alreadynrentioned, rcligiousinstitutionsin modern societics canno longer claimthisposition. They are no longer the 'fhey solcbcarers of supcrordinate ordcrsof valueand meaning. are increasingly reducedto secondary institutions.They are pushed from the centreto rhe peripheryof the 'village". The pompous ceremonialbuildingsthat stiil standappcf,ras museums and the theo"una sancta', logicaliylegitimized ("Catholicism", self-definitions "peoplc's church") no longerfit the empirical facts. The chLrrches abandon eir (empty)public rolc and take on a privaterole in the lives of thoscwho still continueto be members of the church or joincd. lhis change who havcrecently in role neednot be judgcd merely ncgatively. Despitclosingits centralrole in societyoverall - in somecases precisely because of this loss- the churchcanstill perfornl ao cxtremelypositivcfunction as an intermcdiaryinstitution, positivc both in termsof the life of the individual andthat of society asx whole.For thc indiviclLraL the churchcanbe the most important community of meaning; through the church thc individ' ual may establish a meaningful bridgebetween privateJifeand par'lhe ticipationin socieral institutions. churchprovides mcaning both to family life and to citizenship. The church makesen important contribution for societyas a whole. It supportsthe stability and crcdibility of the "big' institutions(aboveall the statc)and reduces the 'alienation" of individuals from society. That was of course always thc big social role of religion. Flowever, today,when the 54

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institution,it does churchperfornlsits function as an intcrrnediary so without compulsion. By contrastwith its former role, that is difference. significant function The churchmay alsofulfill an important,purelyreligious with no or minimal associated This is true in the soci:l functions. withoutfamilyanda job andwith policase of a lonelyold person, For thcsc ticaL interests limited to occasional reading of a newspaper. importxncc in churchLifenraybe of decisive people participation in prayer,rn bible class and in other actions in the churchscrvice, which transccnd rolcs,suchpeoplcmay exPerience sociallydefnred If the church thenselves as mcmbers of a comrlrrnity of nreaning. in the meaning theseuraycommunicate alsofulfiLls socialfunctions, manncrdiscussed above, or may rcmail effective only in thc private werefor a long members. I hc iatterfunctions spherc of thc church's of Protestnt time cultivated by the Pietistand cvangelical branches 'privatizcd" religion may have indirect social isrl. But even such and thesemay be inrportant(asMa-x\fleber already conscqucnces rvasaware).For example, to what extent a it is an open question 'on the values religious may influence famLly life regulated by iob' realm. (andthusthc economy) t,r bcha"ior in the political behavior in any case, the churchasan intermcdiary institutionhasimmcdiate by directingthc rndividuaL !o think his Public socialconscquences rolc through the church'sview of the world and then to act in of cornmunity in concertwith othcr nrenrbcrs of thc religious ptLblic mcaning. This role of the churchotrvic,usly hasa particularimPorconstitutcd societies. Alexis de Tocqueville tancc in dernocratically in the alrcadyarrivedat this conclusion iu his worh on democracy UnitedStates. for the spread of subLct us sLrmmarizel The structurel con(litions jcc!i!c andinter-subjective crisrs of rncaning that we havededuccd lrom thcorcticalconsiderations arc to be found in a1lwesternsociquite differthough thcy manifest themselves clics of the present, is modernpluralism, cndy. The most irnport:nt oi thescconditions of the systcnl it to destabilize the takcn-for-granted slatus sincc tcnds 55

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of meaning andvalue that oricntatcs action andunderpins idcntity. "normally" Neverthcless, modern socictics tlo not experience the drarnaticspreadof criscsof mcaning.Both subjcctiveand intersubjectivc crisesof meaningoccur much more cornmonlyin such societies, however they do not conclcnse into a generalcrisis of 'I'his meaningaffectingal1 of society. characteristic condition of 'nornrality" in modern societics Dtay bc termed a latent crisis of mcaning.The reasons for this condition are the various factors which act xgainst thc conscqnences of nrodcrnpluralisnr most liable to produce crises of mcaning. In our opinion thc mostinportant of these factors is a basic stockof intermediary institutions. These insti, 'Uriorr...rvc ro gener .rnJr" .rrpport Lre m"*rrrng' exisring meanings in the lives of individu:rls andin the cohesion of communities. They provide peoplcwith orientation cvcn whensociety as a whole no longer supportsan overarching ordcr of meaningand values, but instead actsasa kind of rcgulating instance for thc differenrsystens 'lhose of value. ruleswhich arc valld for all of sociery servero enable the coexistcnce and neccssary cooperation of different communltres of nreaning, withoutinrposing on thema comnonorderof values. Vc thereforesuggcst dre hypothesis dtat as long as the immune "normal" systenr of intermediary institutionsrer:rains effective, modern societies will not sufferthe pandenric spread of crises of mean, ing. As long as thrs condition holds, the crisis-of-rneaning virus which is at home in the organismof all modern socicties will be suppressed. Howcver,if the immunesystem is sufficiently weakened by othcr influences, thcre is nothing to stopthe spread of the virus. (Characteristically, it is the statewhich hclpsto weakeninrermcdi - asa form of corlpetition?) ary institutions This hypothesis seems plausible to us,howcvcrsimplificdits formulation,but it, of course, rcquires carefulcmpiricalinvcstigation. In the lastsection we return to this.

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illusionsand possibilities
"decay of clture", the loss of meaningin Complaintsabout the the'inmoderniry",the' alicnation of hunranityin latecapitalism', of peoplcin in mass society",'the disorientation flation of mc:rning thc irodern rvorld" and suchlike arc hardly new. Theokrgians,philosophcrs, sociol;gists, quitc apart fronr non academjcmoral entrepreneurs fronr far right to farleft havc been making thcse com Under different ideological pLaintslor r nl.rmber of Benerations. signsall inuginable renredieshave bccn advertiscdfor thesc illnesses of the of the individualand society,from dre nroral strcngthening individLralto the revolutionary transformation of the entire poiiti"diag' cal econonric system.C)ur doubts about the most cxaggcrated noses"c,f thc cultural conrlition were hintcd at in the introductory "therapies" section. Lct us add here that q."erceard the proposed optionswhich with equalskepticism borh the radical-collectivist are in the r:nd always totalitarirn as *eli as radical individualism which is in thc cnd a solipsism. 'Lo seewhethcr a core of truth is to be found behind the ex:rggcraof the tions and whedrer thc diagnosisrrrs only in the seriousness describc the organwe havc attempted to specificallynrodcrn crisis, <-,f acisn in its healthy state.Ve first refcrrcd to the meaningfulness way which the in and tion and life constimtive of the humanspecies it is conditionecl by social processcs and structures.In a sccond step we could then clefinethe historicaLchanges which definc the specifiand sccuring of the nodcrn conrrnunication cally construction, rncaning of life ud acrion nr nrodcrnity. Before formuLating our "thcrapeutic' suggestions,we will own, co]nparatircly modest " d r ; g n . r . i' r, c.u .,,lorrr . bricfly.u,r',rr,ri,.rln)eaning, evenif ofgenerating Allsocicties areinvolvedin proccsses they hxvc not de"elc,pedspccializedinstitutions for the prodction of neaning. In any case,thcy control the processthrough which

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clcments of meaning are absorbcclinto social stocks of knowledge and organize the conrnlunicarion of historicaL stocksof meaningto the membersof society,adaptingto cw needs. Through institurions societies preservethe basic elenrcnrs of their stocks of mcaning. They communicate meaningto rhc individualand to the commu, nities of lifc in vhich thc individual grows up, works and dies. l hey determine subjective neaning in rvide areas of acrion, whilst the objcctified meaning of theseactionsis dictatedby the big institutions of domination and the econorly. All dris gocs on in all socieries in one way or another, but it occurs with diffcring degrees of succcss. Vc therefore first pursued the qucstior whethcr there are gencral reasons fbr thesediffcrences. Our first concern was wirh pcrson:rl identity, the individual reference point of the mcaning of action and life. The personalidentity of dre child is shaped through sccing its behavior mirrored in the actions of those closc to it. A certin congruencein the actions of these personsis thereforc the nrosr ir:rportant condition for the un troubled development of pcrsonalidentity. If rhis condition is not nrct, the probabiiity of subjective criscs of meaning incrcases. Furthermore, we have attcmpred to show rhat communities of life re, quire a minimal ovcrlap in intcrprctations of reality. Only under this condition can conmunities takc on a supporting role in the gcneration and sustenance of rDcannrgin the life of their melrbcrs. 'lhe degree of congruencc betwccn the expected community of mca ing ard the community actually rcalized appearedof particular inrportance. \ffc suggesrthat the greatcr the degreeof discrepancy, the larger is the likelihood that intcr subjective crises of meaning will result. 'When we turned our atrention to nrodern societies it becameclcar thxt it is those featureswhich make them different from their prcdecessors rvhichalsopreventthc stabilization of meaning.the mrin tenance ol congruence ln thosc processes through which personal identity is shapedbccomesmorc difficult as docs the promotion of sharedmeaningsin life communitics. I'he frequency of both subjcc58

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tive :rnd inter subjectivc criscs of nreaning is intelligiblc once we of nrodern considcrthc consequences of the structural charecteristics societies,in particular modern western societies.Taik of identity crisesand the mounting figurcs of the divorcc statisticsconfirm both is the thorough A gencral,fundamentalfeature of modern societies were still differentiation of actions(that 1n othcr types of societies connectedand related in meaning) into their own institutional in achieving, spheres: eachof drcseairls for, anclis largely successful autonomy in setting its own orrls, i. e. enrancipationfronr superSchernesr-,f actjon defined by these sets of ordinate social valLres. instinrtions (economy, political clourin:uion,reLigion)have an objectificd meaning that is related tc, thcir main function. Since,with thc except;onof rcLigionthis 1rea[ing is instrumentaliy rtional, it must bc uncouplcd from subjectiveschtrlcs for nrterpreting life. lndivid' rrals nrust subordinate themselvesto the goals of the organization rathcr than adapting madc on them to thcir own conthe demands yalue. ccptionsof The structuraldifferentiation of modern socictics rith thc continued ofsuperordinatc is thus not compatible existence and generally binding systemsof meaning and value. This is, howcver, the condition for a socially guaranteedcongruencein the formalion of personalidentity and fc,r a hi6h degreeof sharedmeanings ' 1 lile comnunities. To this rnust be added a furthcr characteristicof the structurc of modern, above all western socictics,th:rt is ciosely related to thcir basiccharacteristic.This is nrodcrn pluralism, a pluralism, in 'vhich the protectivc fcnccsaround the stocksof mcaning within commun'fences itics oI lifc (thc of the 1aw') can no longer be completely maintained. Through the gapsin the fencepeoplepear at what lies in cer' status beyond. l his lcadsto the lossof the takcn-for-granted hope to layers rncaning which and life. \Ve t:rin of orientateaction of have shown thar this is a typical cause of the outbreakof crises 'l-here oleaning, are t\|o extremc allcl contradictory reactionsto nodern pluralism.

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One might say that thcre $,hcre some desperatelyattcnrpt to close the holcs in the protectivc fcncc, othcrs rvish to tear down trore of the fence.These reactionsare forrndcdi| trvo diffcrcnt attitudes,not only in individuals, but also in institutions, cornmunities and social movcments. The "fundanrcutalist"position aims ro rcconquer all of society for the old valLrcs and traditions. Politicians have again and again attcmpted to exploit thc attitude link to this affect for their own purpose, in westcrn socictieswith little succcss. Prine Minister 'back Major wnh his to basics" is only the rnost recentpolitiJohn "contrast', cian to have discoveredthrs to his cost. Ily reiativist positions abandonthe attempt to asscrtany kincl of common valucs and stocks of meaning. Postnrodernthcorists nlake a virrue of necessity and displace the pluralismof socictycvcn to within the harassed individual. Both reactionsare wrong and may cven becontc dangerous. In irs radicalvariantthc fund;rnrentalist positionlcads to selfdestruction *'hen it determines thc action of weak groups.Thc'other'is destroyedif strong groupsput this attitudeintir action.In its moder'own' atedform this attimrleleads to thc ghcttoization of the group within societyrs a B,holc. ihis rs hard to achieve and is associated l'ith variable costs, as thc cxamples of rhe Pcnnsylvania Amish, the jn Hassidic Iews in Nes, York, the Algcrians lirance,the Turks in Berlin-Kreuzberg etc. dcnronstratc. Neither thc "fundamentalist" 'relativist" nor the position can bc rcconciled with practical reason. "relativist" But the position is cvcn internally inconsistent.If it rvere put into actionjt would leadto thc individualleavingsocicty. A per son who cqually accepts quite different mutually contradictory norms will not be capablc of cohercnt acrion for which he or she can assume responsibility. Sucha pcrsonwillnot be ableto givc rea sons for acting in onc rvay r:lthcr thitn anodlcr; his or her actions must appearcompletcly arbitrary ald no onc would be able to expect that hc or she *-ould not conrplctely change in character in thc next moment. lhcrefore, inclividuals no longer responsible for their ac!ionscannot maintain rhc urutuaL obligationo{ socialrela60

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for thc tionships.'fhc nrinimum of nutual respectthat is essential existetce of communities of life and therefore for the whole of a so' "fundamentalist' act on their cicty would be lost. Howevcr, whcreas 'rclativists" remained confincdto tatt<. beliefs, To considcr how the crisis of nreaningof modern societiesmay bc to rcalizethat two quite different countered, if at all, it is essenrial strr.rctural characlcrislicsof modern society have quite different con scquences. Stmctural differentiation of function (and thcir instrumentaLly-rationalorganization in thc economy, administration and La-r')ancl modern pluralism are amongst the preconditions for the long list of advantages which nrodern socictiesare able to offer their mcmbers:economic prospcrity and the not merely material, but also psychic security of a law'bc,uud welfare state and parliamentary denrocracy.The samestructural charicteristics are however also rc_ sponsiblc for the co[dition drat nodern societiesare no longer to perfc,rm a basic anthropological function rvhich all societieshavc fulfilled, namcly rhe generationof lreaning, communicationof modern societies mcannrg and preservation of meanLng, or, at least, relatively successfrrl fLurction in thc same, no longer perfornr this rvay in which orher, earlier so.ial formations did. Modern societics may havc spccializedinstitutions for the production and cornmuniof such incation of nreaning, or have permittcdthe devclopment \y_ ' r'.rriorrb cr P r r \ c r v c . .u r , r e n " l o n g , r a h l ( l u . o r r r r r , u n i ( a lo tcnx of rneaning and valuc to all r-rfsociety in a gcnerally binding fashion. The srructure c,f mcrdcm societics alongside wealth and also createsthc conditions for the enrcrgenceof othcr advantages s n j c . t r v er n d r r r r e n u b r r r ..c.r,' ' uf n,r;ning. lf there *'ere no proccsscs and structures in modern society that and of meaning,then coLrnteracted the en)crgcncc sprcadof crises crises of would be the most fcrtilehostsfor pandemic these socictics soci which rnodern nreaning.lhat would certainlybc a high price and securitiesthat rest on the sxmecauses etiespaid for thc blessings on this high price and iSnoring 1s the criscs.lly focusing exclLrsiveiy advantages achieved at thc same tirne, radical cures have been thc 6l

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proposedfor thc supposedly scriousillnessof modern society.ln those cases in g,hich such curcs l crc acnrally atternptedby regimes of totalitarian rcgression,it turncd out that the cures wcre more deadlythan the discasc. Ilouever, one nccd not ever'r attcmpt to judge the advantages and disadvantages of such a calcularion even handcdly, sinceits premises are false.The reconstrction of prernodern structurcs with a singie, generally valid and t:rkel for-grantcclstock of meanings and values cannot be contrastedwith a socicty whose material wcalth is washed over by a general crises of nrcaning. The artenrpts to restore premodern structuresof socicry, which are possiblc only with modern means of compulsion, havc all failed in the short- or long run. But this point is less important in this contcxt than the fact that the image of the characterof modern socicticsis distorted. Precisely,in those societiesrvhosebasicstrucnrre provides thc conditions for the emergence of crisesof mcaningand thc possibilityo{ thesecrises spreading,specificcountcracring processcs have produced structures ivhich have prevented the unhindcredspreadof crisesof meaning and prevented a crisisof mcaningaffecting all of society. The most importantof these sc havcattcnptedto understand strucmres using the conceptof intermediary institutions. 1he previous sectiondiscussedtheir strengths and weaknesses. To simplify: the basic structurc of modern societiesis thc causcof incipient criscs of meaningIn nodern societies thcre are, howcvcr, also parrial srructures,above "intermediary all the institutiorls" that prcvent thesecrisesof mean 'Ihey ing flaring up into criscsof the cntirc socicty. are norc or less successful depending on their quality and qLrantity in modern societies.Given similar basicstmi:tural conditions the failure of counter ecting forces to develop or their dccisivc rveakeningcan lead to the spreadof crisesof meaning, whereasstrengtheningthese forces can help to dam thc crisis. Irronr this argunrentwe can dcrlrrce one ofthe fcw, reasonably reaLis'drcrapeutically" tic methodswith which socictics can deal with crises of meaning. One should have no illusions about the main 62

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of modcrn so of crisesof mcaning,i. e- the basicstructures cause 'lherc and pluralim which ciety. is no antidote to diffcrentiation has not revealcd itself to be a deadlypoison.Intermediaryinstitu' Thesecannotrenrove tions canonly administer honrcopathic doscs. of the illness the cascs, howeverthey may softcn the ppearance and incrcase the po-er of resistancc to it. They kccp the crisisof up. fhe pa meaning 'n its incipicntform andprcvcntit from fLaring tendency s'hich apartfrom the constant ticnt is kcpt alivein a state to crises mcaning is not partjcularly disagreeable. of reaction to moderniy Benecnthcimpossibility ofthc rclativistic" and the frighteningpossibilitics of funrlamentalism' , there is anoneself to the negaotherposition. As bestone can,onereconciles tive consequenccs of structuraldiffcrentiationand modcrn Pluralof modernsocicty ism. Onc opposes the dangcrof the destruction but sees no reason to join in thc celebrx_ by totalitarianrcgression, This programme is modcst, but, wc feel, rion of,lodern plLrralism. whercthey realisticr intermediary institutions should be supportcd $'herethey supportthe do not cnrbody fundatrentalist attitudes, ''little nrAny ye{rs lifc *orlds" (a term coined by Benita Luckmann ago)of conrmunities of meaning and faith and where thcy develoP "little ' In the theirnrcrnbcrs of a pluralisticcivil society'. ascarriers for commr.rnilife worlds" thc variousmeanings olferedby agcncies "consumed'; rthcr they arc approcatingnlcanin8s arc not simply into elcments of priatedcommunicatively and selectively processed bnt by no the comnrunity and lifc.This unspectacular of meaning for mcdiapolicy means passivc alsohasimplications basic position rv:rybcyond lt is the the social andcuhural poiicies of the sttc. ','pon.l,rh "Irh, leaJer'o c.rrrirrg. tf l . . ' g c r . , r ' . o r n n r u n i . r t ir rr r'g 1 within the the irtcrnrcdiary institutions c. t. missnredia, to supporr market in mcaning. And this is a policy context r:f :r dcrcgulated which licswithin the rcalm of the possible. In termsof contentthey collectivisnr of the nus! stcl'r a middle -ay bctwccnthe dogmatic ''firndrnrcntalists" "postmodcrnity". In ard dre latrilcsolipsism of s,cstcrn have nrany, in nodern societies social and cultural policy 63

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part contradictoryfunctions.If our considerarions are closeto thc mark, it shoulcl be clearin which direction the main socialand culnrral policy efforts of the srate- and rcsponsibie and capable - should non-state agencies beciirccted in dealing with theincipicnt crlsisof meaning: to thc promotion and development of the intcr"civiL mediary instirutions of a plurrlistic society" andtowards supportingthem as sourccs for communities of meaning of life and faith. As was already said,thc idcntification of inrermediary institutions is not aLways easy. Thcy can be rccognizcd in their effects, bur not by thc way in which they refer to thcmsclves. Furthermore, thcrc is no simpleformulawhich tclls us how sLrch inslirtrtions can most effcctivelybe supported. Howcvcr, these twin problems seem opento solutionby empiricalresearch. l(hcther thereis the will to actually supporttheseintcrrnediaryinstitttions is anothermatter.This de pendson both the big ideologies and thc little day,todaypolicicsof the partiesand thc comfiercial interests of the agencies responsible lor comnuricating rneanings. A.adcnlicscan at best gcncrate rhe rvill of politicsand business, thcy cannotbe responsible for actually directing such a commitment.

/- (rutlook

In the precedingdiscussion we have on a number of occasions pointed to questions which could be ansveredonly by extensivc empiricalresearch. Our discussion dealt with a many layeredand complex problematic: the strLrcture of meaning in modern societies, from the anthropological basisof the constitutionof meaningin humanactionand life ro the spccific conditions of crises of meaning in thc modernworld. It is, thercforc,hardlysurprising that the statc of research in most of the varior.rs problernareas is characterized by 64

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questions. That meansthat aPartfron1 open rathcr than ansrvered the rescarch questions \\,hich s'e havc already referred !o, a long enquiry. of problcrns requireclarificati<,n throughemPirical series of *e thc constitution this enquiry clescribed At the beginning of in the genof individualexperiences meaning,frorn the separation to thc processthrough which they are eral strcam of consciousncss related to othcr experiences. \Ve have said thet thc meaning of indithat the mcaningof vidualexpcricnces liesin schcrres of expcricnce, action and the mcaningof schemes of cxpcrience lies in pattcrnsof of the conductof patterns of actionis locatedin gencralcategories life. Vc have seenthat drc meaningof the differentschemes, Patterns and catcgoricsis located et different distancesfrom thc super ordinatc configuration of vaiues.One can say that the meaningof all expericncc and action and certainly the meaning of lifc conduct is deternrincd rvith reference to supcrordinate values, i. e. that it is of ex' morally relevxnt.llowever, thc ureaningof some schemes whilst to vxlues, periencc and actionis explicitlyand directlyrelated valLres is indirectand im in oer cases thc rclationto supcrordinate only be madt cle:rrby of thc latter can plicit- Thc moral relevance anaLyzing the links n'hich leall from the schemeto the suPerordinxte vaLr.res ancl by makilg the inplicit relations of valuc expLicit.The "If I moraL ciraracterof an action which is in breach of the maxnl find a wallct on the street I hand it in at the lost property office" is "'lhe soup is obvious. Ily contrst, if someonenrakcs the comment hot thc (rroral) implication is clcar only if one knorvs that the speakcr hasnot cookedthc soupand the cook is within earshot l he "You've givenme my would be clearer if the speakcr had saidr issue souproo hot againl" Such dLstinctionswith rcgard to thc moral connotations of differcnt scheesof expcrienceand action are useful 1f one wishesto ana_ lysc systcms of rneaning and valuc and one is centrally concerned with thc moral aspeclsof meanint. These distinctions are useful in allowing one to trace the transformation of superordinateconfigura-

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tiols of value into norrns of :rctionsand maxinr, step lor step down to the level of ordinary, cvcrlday action. The analysisof systcnrsof valuc and meaning in rnodern societies hasto overcomeparticuiardifficultics.We have seenthrt it is not possibleto speak in modern socictiesof a single and generally binding order of values. k may be true that beyondthe legalized systenl of behavioral norns there are still clcnlents of a generalmorality. However, qithout careful research it is not easy to decide -hat these might consist of and whetlrer togcther they make up a framework of establishedmorality. lt ccrtainly seernsthat there are a multiplicity of moralities, distributed acrossdifferent communities of lifc ancl faith, which can bc iclcntified in the form of "partial catechisms"and particularistic idcological programmes.To what extcnt these diffcrent moralitics - we spcak here not o{ the ethics of par ticular functional sphercs(medical ethics,business ethicsetc.), which *c h rve ;lready di'cu*.d - r.rre clcrrrenr. in c,rmmon rr an open qucstion, to vhich the existing researchhas not given a satisfactory answer. Even if rherewere no such comnron elements: it doesnot follon' that people in modern socicticsdo not orientate their action antl conduct of life towards supcrordinatevalues,valueswhich havc validity in their communities of Iife anct faith. Lven those acting "immorally" will generally conform to the prevailing morality by attempting to hide or make excoscsfor their breach of the noflIs (hypocrisy is hotrage paid by vice to virtue). In any case,individuals in modern society have to overcornc both insecurity of meaning and uncertainty in moral jusrification. First, thcy cannot assumethat t hat they consider good and right is considcred good and right by others; sccond,individuals do not always knov what is good and right cvcn for themselves. The insti, tutionshavetheir instrumentally rationalorganization whlch objectively dctermines action and pcrhaps some kind of specific cthics. (lommunities of life vith diffcrcnr stocksof meaning are not divided from onc another by high protcctive walls and communities of faith run, so to spcak,crisscross acrosssociety.Furdrermore, through thc 66

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meansof masscommunication thc different stocks o[ rneaninghave h".^-" """",. .,.""..ih1" Researchnrust be directed towards three levels c'f the production, m :,l\\ LonrDlunicrlion: \ornmunicrlion ; r r J r e . e p r i o ro f r r l e a n i n S internediary inconrmunication Rithin communities; day-to'day , r i rr r . o n 'w h r , h r r ' c d r r rb e. r w . r n t l r " b , g i r . r . r l i o n . . c o m m u r , r . " ' and the indivitlual. 'I he ievelof m:lssconrmunication:the cofltentsof masscommunication arc morally chargcd, in part implicitly ft. g. in advertisingand news reporting), sometimesmore direcdy (e. g. in police films and nature films), ancl sometirnesmoral :spectsof individual life and so' (c. g. televisionsermons,political ciety arc consciously addressed con1mentary). In this respcct there are some differenccs between public" media organizations and purely private media, but we do not yet kno{'how big this differencc really is. It is, however, clcar that the nredii of nrasscommunicatioo are employed explicitly by moral cntreprerrerrrs of different dcgreesfor thcir own purposes,by of asrcpresentatives the state,by churches,by voluntary associations cornmunities of opinion *'ith qLrite diversc progranrmes (environmentalism,protcction of cthnic, sexualor other mi11oritics). of variThe levci of the individual in thc daily life of commr.rnities ous kinds: in evcryday verbal conrmunication (in thc family, at the bar, in conversationsbetl'een ncighbors, at the workPlace and in commLlnitics of opinion to thc extentthat theseare not alreadyin_ and therctermediaryinstitutions of a higher lcvcLof organization fore to bc treated xt the next state) thcre is constant moralizing: in to specificsetsof norms, gossipctc. conrpLaints, apologics,references The moral aspcctsof conmunication may refer to thosc present (e. g. in munral rccrimination) or may be directed towerds absent others (e. g. in gossip)or nray rcfer rn a general way to examples (e. g. in argunrcntsbet*-eenmcnrbcrsof a famiiy ovcr a caseon television,e. g. Maradona). The lcvcLof intermediary institlrtions: this qucstion is, as was af rcady argued, particularly problcnlatic since one must first answer

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the qucstionas to what belongs to this category, but c:nnot do so unctluivocally prior to bcginning rcscirch. Vith somcconfidence onc cansaythat the intcrnediary institutions include communitics of opinion organizedlocally, e. g. ecological groups;institutions srrchas the church,to the cxtcnr that they havelocal roots strong cnougllto serveassources of mcaning for communities of lifc; possibly loctl party organizations; associations of variouskinds.Vhich of thescorganizations deservcs the title intermediry institutioncan onLy be decided when their local mode of operationhas beenexamined. If thcy do not mcdiate bctrvccn the biginstitution of society andthe individuals in theirlife communities rhenrheyerenor true intcrnrediary institutions. 'l'hey In the idealcase intermcdiaq, insrirutions areJanus faced. look "upwards'to the ' big institutionsand downwards'to rhe cxisrence of the individual. lhen rhcy comrnunicatcnot iust srocks of meaning frorn thc "top' to drc "bottorn"but also,asis suggestecl by the idcaof "civil society', fronr thc "bonom" 'up'. k appears as thoughthis is quiterare;an examination of this sphere shouldbe ableto conclude r','hether thc general skepticisnis justifiedequally in diffcrcnt societies. An answerto this qucsrion would bc inrporrart. On the basis of sorne rcscarch and prior considerations it seems that onc nrustassume there arc usuallylargediscrepancics between the moralities offcredby thc state, the churchand othcr'moral entrcpreneurs', which reachdre individualvia the nr:rss nlcdia,and the valucs hcldby the indivicluals themselvesOn the level of dyro ' dayconrnrunication, e. g. in fanrilies, rhcse moraloptions'are not nerely consumcd . They arc processed conrmunicativcly, selected, rejectecl and adaptcd to individual's own circumstances. Still the gap that ya\,Dsbetween the moral recornmendations of thc mediaand day to day rcality should not bc nderestimated. If tolcranceis "from preachcd above"it rarely bccomes significant in thc attitucles of indivicluals if it hasnot beenabsorbed inro the shared mcanings of "their' conmunity throughcc'nrmon communicative effort. With rcfcrence to intermediary instirutions theimportant qucstion 68

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is, as was already said: do they really mediatexnd do they mediate in both dircctionsl fhc empirical anss,/er to this question will deterrrrinc whcthcr, on thc whole, rnodern societiescan reign-in the ever Iatcnt crisis of mcaning, as wc suspectthey probably can. Only if intcrmediary institutions cnsurcthat the subjectivepatternsofexperience and action of the individuals contribute to the social negotiation and objectification of meaning, will individuals not find thcm' selvesin the modern world ascomplete strangcrs;and only then will it be possibleto avoid the identity of the individual person and thc intcr-sr.rbjcctive cohcrcnce of socicty being threatened or even destroyed by crisis ridden modernity.

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The authors

Pcter L. Berger llronr 1955 56 ResearchDircctor, Acadenry of the Protestant Church, Bad Bo1l, Germany; fron 1956 58 ?rofessor at thc 63 \(oman's College,University of Nordr Carolina; frorn 1958 Director at the Institute of ChLrrchand Community, Hartford Theological Instilutc of Church anrl Conrmunity,Hartford TheologicalSenrinary; frarn 19637aProfessor at thc GraduateFaculty, Professor Ncw Schoolfor SocialResearch, Ncw York; from 1920-79 at thc l{utgersUniversity; from 1979-81 Prolessor at the Boston since1985 Collegc; sincc1981 Professor at the Doston University; I)irector of the Institutefor the Snrdyof Economic Cul!re,Boston University. Publicrtions: 1963; The Social Invitationto Sociology: A Llumarristic Perspectivc, Constructionof Reality (with TironrasLuckmann),1966;The Se' 1967i A crcdCanopy: Elements of a Sociological lheory ofReligion, of thc SuRtrmorof ngels: ModernSocicty andthe Rcdiscovery 1969; The Ilomeless Mind; Modernization and Conpernatural, sciousncss (with Brigitte Berger and Hansfried Kellner), 1973; Pyramidsof Sacrifice: Pc,liticalUthics and Social Change,19l5; 'thc Heretical Imperative, 1979; Sociolc,gy Reinterpreted(with I Iansfried Kellner); The l(ar Over the Family (with Brigitte 1992. Bergcr), Rev<.rlution, 1986; A FarGLory, 1983; The Capitalist 7l

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ThomasLucknann I:ro r 1958 Department of An60 Professor at the I IobartCoLlege, Professor at thropologyandSociology, N.Y.; from 1960-65 Gencva, New Schoolfor the GraduateFaculty, Departnrcntof Sociology, 65 Co-Director of thc Social Rescarch, New York; lrom 1963 ?rofessor for SocioloN.l.M.H. Fellos'ship l'rogram; from 1965-/0 from 1966-68 Man' gy andDirector of the Departrncnt of Sociology, aging Director of the Departmcnt of Sociologyat the Johannsince1970Professor \f olfgang Goethe-University, FrankfLrrt/Main; of Sociology, Univcrsityof Konstanz. Publications: 1966; The The SocialConstruction of l{eality (with PeterL. Berger), InvisibleReligion, 1970; Ihc Structurcs of the Life-\orld I (with 1975; LebeDsAlfred schtz),1973, II, 1984i sociologyof Language, wclt und Gesellschaft, sozialen Handelns, 1992. 1980; Theoriecles

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The project

The Bertekmann lourulation ts targeted to be an operative, concepnrallynorking foundation.lt is obliged by its statutes and its mandatc to the levelof prac to promoteinnovation, raisencw idcas 'l tice, help to identifysolruions problems of our time. he to pressing projectsare beingconccptualizcd by thc foundationitand inrtiated se1f. Startingfronr thc dcfinitionof the problem to the practical implementation the foundationruns its projectsin closecooperation l,ith competent partners in acadcnric, state and privateinstitutions. Followint rhis intcntion the Berrelsn)ann Foundation has initiated the project Cuhrral Orientation.h wrll rnakeefforts to elaborateso Irrtions and conccpts in repll to thc crisesof modern societies which can be summariz-cd as a decline of orientation. It will be one of the questionsdecisivcfor our firture how we can overcome these crises related to the transition of values nLl the loss of patterns of mcaning. Certainties of oricntation are erodrng, identities are being ques tioned- Thc increasingvelocity of social dcvelopmenr gives rise to this tendcncy by an intensifiecl changc of familiar structures and experience-bascd ccrtainties.Traclitional k'rowledge, which is being passed on from one generationto thc next by the church, the state, '.hool. or funrlic.. bc.orn.. .rrrrJatcJir rn evertrowing pr.e.

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'fhe

institutrons of orientation are beingsupplemented traditional competing orienta by recently cnrcrgcd ones.Conflicts bctrvccn "market",different tions on thc supplyside are rcsolvcd at the definitions of one'slivesmay Lrcincompatible. Functionalelitesare of being calledupon to contributc their shareto dre stabilization of socialfunrre. Effectiveorientationhas to masterthe challenge reconciling individuallymeaningful concepts for life and necessities to maintainthe cohesion of socicty. The Bertelsmann Foundation is ainrilg at responses to three crucixlquestions: - \fhat canbc an cxplanation of this dcclincof orientation? - $(hichinstiutions contribute to coherent andstable oricntations? - How cana solutionto dre oricntationcrisisbe designed) "cultural As a first stepin thc field of projectson orientation"the 'The volum on lossof oricntation the cohesion crisisin modern (in German language of society" only)wasreleascd to opena series publications. The next phaseconsistcd of a series o{ expertises of which the present snrdyby Pctcr L. Ilergerand ThomasLuckmann was completed in the first instancc. \farnfried Detding (Munich) will presenthis conceptof thc immediate socialenvironmentand orientation in cornmLrnication with ncighbors in a few monthstime. Other sub-projec*consistof a study by Gerhard Schmidtchen (Universityof Zurich) on oricntationin intra-firm communication, (Universityof Snrttgart) on an expertise by Martin Grciffcnhegen politicallegitimation and thc liuritsof strtecontrol and an investigatiofl of the episte[rological conclitions of orientationunder conditions of an increased complexityof knowlcdge and informationby (Universityof anrberg). cerhard Schulze The Bertelsnann Foundation publishes this volumein the intention to providea forum for a dcbate on the future of modernsociety andperspectives of developnlent.

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Accessed Feb 26, 2013

http://www.stiftung.bertelsmann.de/bst/en/media/xcms_bst_dms_14283_14284_2.pdf

identilies arcbeing arceroding. acnninties oforicntrtion qucslioned. velocit)'ofsocial devclopment Thc incrcasing Srvcs chxngcoffamiliar struclurcs risc to this tendency by Dintcnsified which liaditional knowledgc, ocrtaintics. andexpcricnce-bascd church. gencration to the ncxt bythc is bcing passed on fronr one ouldalcd rn an everthc statc.schools or fanrilics. becomcs arebcing ol orientation grolring pace.-fhelradrlionl institulions ones.ConllictsbciYeen supplcmcnted by rcccntlyemerged at the compctingorientation on thc supplysidee rcsolved "mlrrkcl",diflerentdefinitions may be incompatible ofonc's Lives their share to calleduponto oontribulc funclionaLelitesrrc beil1g has thc shbilizationoi sociirllirture.Eilectivc orientation to nrastcr the challcngc ol'rcconcilingindividuallymeaningll o1' to mainlaintbc cohesion and neccssities concepts for lile Luclmann countmongthe causes PctcrL. tserger and I homas ofnodemizatjon, lor thc modemcrisisofmcaningprocesses socrctlcs pluraiismand particularly wilh rcgard1oliuropean suggcst the authors secularization. As a pfoblcm solvingstratcgy, which cdjate bclwccn institulions ihcir conceptofintcrmediale thc individualand socicly.

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