The Future of Sociology: Understanding the Transformations of the Social

Wagner, Peter (2009) The Future of Sociology: Understanding the Transformations of the Social. Quaderni del dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale; 43 . Trento : Università degli Studi di Trento. Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale.

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    This essay aims to address the question of the future of sociology in the twenty-first century through a historical reconstruction of conceptual transformations. A first step is devoted to a reflection on the emergence of the Latin concepts ‘the social’ and ‘society’, a second one to a discussion of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century changes that can now be seen as specifying ‘the social’ and ‘society’ rather than inventing them. Thirdly, from the late nineteenth century sociology as a discipline shifts emphasis from the relational concept of ‘the social’ towards the ‘collective concept’ of ‘society’, a shift that is here analyzed as an over-specification that is at the roots of later ‘crises’, both in an intellectual and a political sense. The future of sociology as a culturally significant intellectual endeavor depends on the way in which it exits from this situation of conceptual over-specification. The concluding sections will first critically discuss the widespread resort to an individualist-aggregative understanding of the social as a self-defeating strategy that indeed prepares the end of sociology as an intellectually distinct enterprise. Then, the challenges that emerge from recent and ongoing transformations of the social will be addressed in terms of their conceptual and methodological exigencies for the future of sociology.

    Item Type: Book as author
    Department or Research center: Sociology and Social Research
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
    Repository staff approval on: 28 Oct 2014 09:50

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