Tidsskrift for samfunnsforskning. 2000, 41 (2), 215-235
English summary Inaugural lecture The Ambiguity of Modernity - Increased Individualization or Stable Structural Inequality? Over the past quarter of a century a number of authors have argued that modern societies are undergoing a profound transformation into a new kind of modernity, characterized by increased individualization, fundamental changes in the family, dying ideologies, globalizing capitalism, dissolution of the class society, etc. On the other hand, a number of empirical studies document fairly stable, even increasing, patterns of social and economic inequality over time and across societies. The paper discusses this apparent ambiguity of modernity, and some possible consequences for theories of social stratification.