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1) The term "Individualization" is used in number of different areas, urban planning, architecture etc. but most frequently in political theory and sociology. Sociologists such as Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens view individualization as an unavoidable and necessary intermediate phase on the way to new forms of social life. They speak of a First Modernity that was linked to the effects of the Industrial Revolution, and a Second Modernity that is linked to such events as the emergence of the computer, post-Fordist production methods, biotechnology and world-wide communication and transport networks. While in classical industrial society there were direct interconnections between class, family, marriage, sexual roles, the division of labor between men and women, today many more people have the opportunity or are forced to live biographies that deviate from this pattern: "do-it-yourself biographies" (Roland Hitzler) or "reflexive biographies" (Giddens). In this case, the reflexive element consists above all in the confrontation with the other. According to Beck, individualization also means first, the disembedding and second, the re-embedding of industrial society's ways of life by new ones in which the individuals must produce, stage, and cobble together their biographies themselves.
- Bauman, Zygmunt (2000): "The Individualized Society", Polity Press.
- Beck, Ulrich/Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth (1992): "Risk society: towards a new modernity", Sage.
- Beck, Ulrich/Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth (2001): "Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences", Sage.
- Beck, Ulrich/Giddens, Anthony and Lash, Scott (1994): "Reflexive Modernization", Stanford.
- Heinz, Walter R./Marshall, Victor W. (eds.) (2003): "Social dynamics of the life course: transitions, institutions, and interrelations", Aldine de Gruyter.
- Giddens, Anthony (1991): "Modernity and self-identity", Polity press.
2) In forensic science, individualization refers to the discrimination of an individual from a group through examining unique characteristics of a piece of evidence. Individualization will be successful when these characteristics can be attributed to a common source with an extremely high degree of certainty.
3) Individualization in an online management context might occurs when a shopping website recognizes a user (through means of e.g. a cookie or a user log-in), remembers what that user has previously bought and reacts to it by showing her/him a website with suggested products related to the previous purchases.
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