Throughout the book so far an important point of reference for analysing the environment and social theory has been the way in which, both historically and conceptually, ‘modernity’ has affected social theorising about the environment. ‘Modernity’ may be understood as the (sometimes radical) changes in the organisation and legitimation of ‘modern’ social, political and economic life and ‘modern’ ways of thinking and acting, associated with the advent of the ‘modern’ age in the latter half of the eighteenth century in Europe. The many and complex aspects of these changes in almost all parts of life are central to an adequate understanding of how ‘social theory’ (itself a product of the ‘modern’ age), in its different forms, schools and as developed by different social theorists, viewed, valued and thought about the environment.