The relationship between sociology and social critique has haunted the discipline since its origins. Does critique divert sociology from its scientific project? Or is critique the ultimate goal of sociology, without which the latter would be a futile activity disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people? This issue has underpinned two divergent theoretical orientations that can be found in the discipline today: the critical sociology that was developed in its most elaborate form by Pierre Bourdieu, and the pragmatic sociology of critique developed by Luc Boltanski and his associates. In critical sociology, description in terms of power relations underscores the potency of mechanisms of oppression, the way the oppressed passively endure them, going so far in their alienation as to adopt the values that enslave them. Pragmatic sociology, by contrast, describes the actions of human beings who rebel but who are endowed with reason. It stresses their ability, in certain historical conditions, to rise up against their domination and construct new interpretations of reality in the service of critical activity. In this major new book Boltanski develops a framework that makes it possible to reconcile these seemingly antagonistic approaches - the one determinist and assigning the leading role to the enlightening science of the sociologist, the other concerned to stick as closely as possible to what people say and do. This labour of unification leads him to rework central notions such as practice, institution, critique and, finally, ‘social reality,' all with the aim of contributing to a contemporary renewal of practices of emancipation.
What is the relevance of Luc Boltanski’s ‘pragmatic sociology of critique’ to central issues in contemporary social and political analysis? In seeking to respond to this question, this book contains critical commentaries from prominent social theorists attempting to map out the influence and broad scope of Boltanski’s oeuvre.
Questioning the resistance to change of the West in constant crisis, and framed by early writings of Max Horkheimer and others, John E. O’Brien's historical-materialist method explores the contested perspectives of Voltaire, Schiller, Baudrillard, Foucault, Eagleton and Hayden White.
How does the practice turn play out in international relations? This study offers a concise introduction to the core approaches, issues and methodology of International Practice Theory, examining the design, strategies and technique of practice theoretical research projects interested in global politics, and outlining issues for a future agenda.
In Capitalism's Future: Alienation, Emancipation and Critique, sociologists, philosophers and cultural theorists critique economic and political dynamics of contemporary capitalism. An agenda for 21st century critical social theory emerges in conjoined critique of political economyand critique of political psychology.
This book lays the conceptual groundwork for a coalition of struggles under the neoliberal age. In doing so, the author demonstrates that, despite talk of fragmention, divisions and conflicts, the present situation offers fresh opportunities for connecting diverse solidarities. Critique and Resistance in a Neoliberal Age explores what connects individuals, not only between neoliberal conditions of economic, cultural and environmental domination but also in resistance. It also highlights the transformative power of human action, by grounding neoliberal processes in human action and demonstrating the relevance of, and opportunities for, emancipatory politics today. Offering a critique oriented towards social change, informed by a broad range of theoretical traditions and empirical research, the book will be of interest to students and scholars in the fields of sociology, politics and philosophy, as well as those interested in the possibilities for social change.
Much evidence suggests that a fundamental reordering of artistic production and a transformation of the art field are about to take place. Heated debates have been sparked over new forms of work, public subsidies, and the expanding impact of the creative industries. Independent education programs, self-organized urban planning, artistic practices in the outer field of scientific research, and similar initiatives have unfolded over the last few years. This publication addresses this wide field, focusing on theoretical reflections and exemplary insights into alternative artistic working models. The anthology assembles expert studies and artist interviews, in order to reflect on new forms of practices that have been established beyond the exhibition-gallery nexus and hegemonic market activity. These strategies in particular are investigated concerning their self-images, organizational structures, networks, and economies, and the potential for usurpation.
This book focuses on Jürgen Habermas’ theorising on law, rights and democracy in light of the modern critique of law. The latter tradition, which goes back to Hegel and Marx, has addressed the limitations of rights as vocabulary of emancipation and law as language of autonomy. Since Habermas claims that his reconstruction of private and public autonomy has an emancipatory aim, the author has chosen to discuss it in the context of the modern critique of law. More specifically, the study addresses the need to consider the dialectic of law, in which law is both a condition for emancipation and domination, when discussing what law and rights permit. It will appeal to students and scholars across the fields of political theory, law and legal criticism, as well as sociology and sociology of law.
Modern antisemitism and the modern discipline of sociology not only emerged in the same period, but—antagonism and hostility between the two discourses notwithstanding—also overlapped and complemented each other. Sociology emerged in a society where modernization was often perceived as destroying unity and “social cohesion.” Antisemitism was likewise a response to the modern age, offering in its vilifications of “the Jew” an explanation of society’s deficiencies and crises. Antisemitism and the Constitution of Sociology is a collection of twelve essays providing a comparative analysis of modern antisemitism and the rise of sociology. This volume addresses three key areas: the strong influence of writers of Jewish background and the rising tide of antisemitism on the formation of sociology; the role of antisemitism in the historical development of sociology through its treatment by leading figures in the field, such as Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Theodor W. Adorno; and the discipline’s development in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust. Together the essays provide a fresh perspective on the history of sociology and the role that antisemitism, Jews, fascism, and the Holocaust played in shaping modern social theory.