We have recently been reminded that the notion of modernity passed into popular usage during the mid-nineteenth century. It was Baudelaire who characterised the term in the following way: ‘Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is the one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immutable’ (cited in Harvey 1989:10).1 Although Baudelaire was addressing the emerging conventions of art during this period, his focus on a tension inherent in aesthetic sensibilities is seen to be replicated in wider social and cultural domains.