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The New Sociological Imagination

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2006

    Original vision for sociology

    Fuller, a prolific author whose reach extends across the humanities and social sciences, has written his most audacious book. Going against the tendency of most of his colleagues, he actually takes seriously both the monotheistic religious roots and the current biological challenges to the integrity of the social sciences. The book is especially designed for social scientists who are worried that they are losing the turf beneath their feet, given the various efforts to disintegrate the very idea of society. These include (and Fuller discusses) neo-liberal versions of Margaret Thatcher¿s claim ¿There is no such thing as society,¿ attempts by evolutionary psychologists to reduce all of society to extensions of the biological family, and postmodernists who deconstruct and otherwise place society ¿under erasure.¿ Fuller intriguingly maps these movements as all part of a common trend against what he calls, after the Enlightenment thinkers, ¿the project of humanity.¿ Fuller, a social constructivist who made his reputation as the founder of ¿social epistemology,¿ is adamant that humanity is something not built into our genes but something constructed, just like the rest of social reality. The book reaches back into sociology¿s history before it became clearly distinguished from biology (which really happens only well into the 20th century), and takes seriously such bellwether movements as animal rights and environmentalism, both of which diminish if not reverse the project of humanity. People who were taught that ¿sociology¿ and ¿socialism¿ shared little more than some words will be surprised to see that Fuller believes that the two are intimately connected and need to be reasserted together. Heady stuff but well worth reading by anyone interested in the future of the social sciences and even society.

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