The New Sociological Imagination

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Overview

C. Wright Mills' classic The Sociological Imagination has inspired generations of students to study sociology. However, the book is nearly half a century old. What would a book address, aiming to attract and inform students in the 21st century? This is the task that Steve Fuller sets himself in this major new invitation to study sociology. This book sets the agenda for imagining sociology in the 21st century and will attract students and professionals alike.
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Editorial Reviews

M. Oromaner
"Fuller is one of the most productive and critical writers in the history and philosophy of science and the social studies of science, technology, and society to use the title of his 1988 book. His current book is squarely within this tradition . . . Fuller raises significant questions concerning challenges to the concept of "humanity" posed by evolutionary psychology and the Darwinian Left on the one hand, and by developments in biotechnology and nanotechnology on the other hand. "
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761947561
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction     1
Desperately Seeking Sociology in the 21st Century     9
Tales of the Academic Undead: The Mysterious Disappearance of Society     11
The Social Sciences at Risk: A Brief History of the Stakes     23
Socialism as the Elusive Synthesis at the Heart of Social Science     31
The Problem of Inheritance and Socialism's Ultimate Retreat to Naturalism     41
Towards a Renewal of Welfare and the Rediscovery of British Sociology     54
Interlude: Today's Orwellian Turn in Social Science     62
The Biological Challenge to Social Science     77
The Hidden Biological Past of Classical Social Theory     79
Making the Difference between Sociology and Biology Matter Today     90
Beware of Darwinists Bearing Leftist Gifts: The Struggle for Marx's Successor     107
Who (or What) Deserves Our Sympathy?     118
Humanity as the Endangered Species of Our Times     129
The Coming World-Historic Struggle in Science and Religion     131
Understanding the Fundamentalist Backlash against Secularism     147
Karma Secularized: The Darwinian Turn in Development Policy     161
Might we become Nazis in Paradise?     183
Conclusion: Is there no Escape from HumanNature?     196
Glossary     206
References     215
Index     228
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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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