Law, Policy and Social Control Amidst Flux

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This chapter will begin with a brief discussion of early modernity and the rise of the welfare state, before going on to explore how law and legal regulation change as we enter “late modernity”. The notion of “late modernity” – not to be confused with postmodernity – captures how industrially advanced societies evolve, when globalisation, aided by information technology, accelerates rapidly at the end of the twentieth century. Globalisation speeds up the movement of capital, information, goods, services, people, images and ideas across the globe, thus, dislodging social and cultural norms from their context in time and space. It shifts social and cultural boundaries, enhancing “reflexivity” and social disembeddedness of individuals and collectivises, giving rise to pluralities of values, norms and laws, on the one hand, and to uncertainties, anxieties and “ontological insecurities,” on the other. Enhanced reflexivity – the constant awareness of existing alternative choices, moral standards and modes of action brought on by the consequences of globalisation – offers new possibilities as the agency increasingly frees itself from the normative constraints of institutions. Fuelled by a ubiquitous culture of consumerism and facilitated by digital technology, this heightened reflexivity helps to advance hyper-individualism across society, emphasising individual rights divorced from their corresponding responsibilities and concerns with collective “social good”. This, in turn, destabilises social relations and structures which previously gave a sense of cohesion, permanence and continuity to modernity. What does hold society together and what is the role of law and regulation under the liquid conditions of late modernity? These are among the questions that will guide us through this chapter.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • law, regulation, Globalization, late modernity, Industrialization, welfare state in transition, consumerism, digitalization
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFestskrift till Karsten Åström
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherJuristförlaget i Lund
Number of pages74
ISBN (Print)978-91-544-0569-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 15
Publication categoryResearch

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