This book provides the first comprehensive account of the social and cultural aspects of modernity over the past two centuries. The author draws on and synthesizes recent research on the socio-cultural dimension of modernity and draws connections between disparate elements of cultural and social life in the modern era. The topics covered include the civilizing process, gender identity, sexuality, consumerism, city life, the role of popular culture and the media in structuring experience and aspirations, and the significance of 'modernism' in culture and the arts. "Exploring the Modern" is an invaluable guide to the roots of contemporary experience. It provides an essential context for evaluating current discussions of the late 20th century cultural crisis and debates over a possible shift into the 'postmodern'. The book is theoretically sophisticated yet written in a lively and accessible style making it an ideal text for students across the humanities and social sciences.