Thinking the Unthinkable: The Riddles of Classical Social Theories / Edition 1

Thinking the Unthinkable: The Riddles of Classical Social Theories / Edition 1

by Charles Lemert
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
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Thinking the Unthinkable: The Riddles of Classical Social Theories / Edition 1

In the eloquent style for which he has become famous, Charles Lemert writes of social theory as no one else. Thinking the Unthinkable is offered as text for instruction, yet it defies the prevailing assumption that social theory is a method for clarifying the facts of social life. Lemert shows how social theory began late in the 19th century as a struggle to come to terms with the failure of modern reason to solve the social problems created by the capitalist world-system. Since then, social theory has developed through twists and turns to think and rethink this Unthinkable. Hence the surprising innovations of recent years-postmodern, queer, postcolonial,
third-wave feminist, risk theories, among others arising in the wake of globalization. Once again, Lemert has made the difficult clear in a book that students and other readers will treasure and keep.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594511868
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 04/28/2007
Series: Great Barrington Bks.
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 322,973
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
What is Social Theory?: Total Destruction, Bead Lust, and Other Unreasonable Social Things
The Impossible Reasons of Modern Civilizations     3
Social Theory and Modernity's Unthinkable     17
Social Violence as the Bead Lust of the Unthinkable     26
Five Ways to Skin a Cat: Modernity's Five Riddles     34
Unthinkable Social Things: Five Solutions to the Riddle of the Defiant Darkness, 1848-1914
Light and Dark     43
Revolutionary Reasons: Karl Marx and the Melting of Solid Modernity     47
Rationality's Double-Bind: Max Weber and Modernity's Threat to the Human Spirit     61
The Reasonable Hope of a Social Bond: Emile Durkheim and Modern Man's Trouble with Conflict     77
Riddles and Realities     97
Perverse Reasons: Sigmund Freud and the Discontents of Conscious Life     102
Unreasonable Differences: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Logic of the Feminist Standpoint     110
The Exiled Others Think the Unthinkable: The Classic Solutions Encounter Differences and Possibilities
Unthinkable Variations on the Classic Riddles: W. E. B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Georg Simmel, and Ferdinand de Saussure     119
Beyond the Double-Bind: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Gift of Second-Sight     124
A Revolutionary Social Bond: Anna Julia Cooper and the Colored Woman's Office     130
The Strange Social Benefits of Conflict: Georg Simmel and Modern Wandering     137
The Social Structure of Meanings: Ferdinand de Saussure and the Arbitrary Sign     147
Violence, War, and the Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991     159
The Unfolding of Social Theory in the Unraveling of the Twentieth Century into the Twenty-First     164
Bibliographic Essay and Other Acknowledgments     179
Index     187
About the Author     195

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