Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing: Bridging the Divide

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Overview

There is a growing conflict between modern and postmodern social theorists. The latter reject modern approaches as economistic, essentialist and often leading to authoritarian policies. Modernists Criticize postmodern approaches for their rejection of holistic conceptual frameworks which facilitate an overall picture of how social wholes (organizations, communities, nation-states, etc.) are constituted, reproduced and transformed. They believe the rejection of holistic methodologies leads to social myopia-a refusal to explore critically the type of broad problems that classical sociology deals with. This book attempts to bridge the divide between these two conflicting perspectives and proposes a novel holistic framework which is neither reductionist/economistic nor essentialist. Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing will appeal to scholars and students of social theory and of social sciences in general.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Modern and Postmodern Social Theorizing: Bridging the Divide is a truly outstanding contribution to knowledge in the field. Professor Mouzelis succeeds in unequivocally shedding light in areas where darkness and confusion have been allowed to reign in recent years. He has consolidated his position at the forefront among contemporary sociological theorists." - Eric Dunning, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leicester

"This is brilliant: the best formal sociological theory known to me, and a terrific analysis of the state of play of the field." - John Hall, Professor of Sociology, McGill University

"In this masterly survey of developments in social theory over the last half century, Mouzelis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of competing schools of thought and sets out the means of their reconciliation. It shows concisely and convincingly where sociological theory should be going if it is to regain its original path. His resolution of the conceptual shortcomings arising from the unbalanced treatment of the relationships between agency and structure at both macro and micro levels of analysis is brilliantly set out in the concluding Part Five. With its comprehensive grasp of a complex body of work, this much needed reformulation of basic principles is in a class of its own. A tour de force." - David Lockwood Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521515856
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2008
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicos P. Mouzelis is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Table of Contents

List of figures

Pt. I The theoretical background: the development of the agency-structure problematic 7

1 From Parsons' to Giddens' synthesis 9

Pt. II Parsonian and post-Parsonian developments 41

2 Parsons and the development of individual rights 43

3 Evolution and democracy: Parsons and the collapse of communism 57

4 Post-Parsonian theory I: neo-functionalism and beyond 65

5 Post-Parsonian theory II: beyond the normative and the utilitarian 86

Pt. III Agency and structure: reworking some basic conceptual tools 95

6 Social and system integration: Lockwood, Habermas and Giddens 97

7 The subjectivist-objectivist divide: against transcendence 107

8 Habitus and reflexivity: restructuring Bourdieu's theory of practice 131

Pt. IV Bridges between modern and late/postmodern theorizing 143

9 Modernity: a non-Eurocentric conceptualization 145

10 Ethical relativism: between scientism and cultural relativism 164

11 Cognitive relativism: between positivistic and relativistic thinking in the social sciences 175

12 Social causation: between social constructionism and critical realism 191

Pt. V Towards a non-essentialist holism 215

13 Grand narratives: contextless and context-sensitive theories 217

14 The actor-structure dimension: anti-conflationist holism 225

15 The micro-macro dimension: anti-essentialist holism 237

16 The inter-institutional dimension: beyond economism and culturalism 261

App In defence of 'grand' historical sociology 279

References 285

Index 299

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