Various Modernities and Its Discontents: A Sociological Analysis on Kierkegaard’s Modes of Existences

Kevin Nobel Kurniawan


This article explores Kierkegaard’s modes of existences through a sociological framework. Kierkegaard’s philosophical framework of typifying the individual’s existential modes of living, aesthete, ethical and religious has often challenged the tenets of modern society. The struggle to find the authentic self is not separated from the sociological context in which the individual is positioned within the society. The author attempts to trace how societal structure is corelated with the individual experience by relating Kierkegaard’s individual to societal analysis. As the role of ideology and social structure reinforced the notion of impersonal social interactions, the individual would experience different form of despair: the ethical individual experience modern form of discontents, the aesthete individual experience the postmodern form of alienation. The discontents  of society, both in the modern or liquid modern forms, is later reflected within the individual’s existential despair.


Kierkegaard, Modernity, Liquid Modernity, Ethical Stage, Aesthete Stage

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