A Translational Sociology : Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Politics and Society book cover
1st Edition

A Translational Sociology
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Politics and Society

ISBN 9781032112138
Published December 29, 2022 by Routledge
186 Pages

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Book Description

A Translational Sociology provides an interdisciplinary investigation of the key role of translation in society. There is a growing recognition of translation’s intervention in the intellectual history of sociology, in the international reception of social theory, and in approaches to the global literary and academic fields. This book brings attention to aspects of translation that have remained more elusive to sociological interpretation and analysis, investigating translation’s ubiquitous presence in the everyday lives of ordinary people in increasingly multilingual societies and its key intervention in mediating politics within and beyond the nation.

In order to challenge a reductive view of translation as a relatively straightforward process of word substitution that is still prevalent in the social sciences, this book proposes and develops a broader definition of translation as a social relation across linguistic difference, a process of transformation that leaves neither its agent nor its object unchanged. The book offers elaborations of the social, cultural and political implications of such an approach, as a broad focus on these various perspectives and their interrelations is needed for a fuller understanding of translation’s significance in the contemporary world.

This is key reading for advanced students and researchers of translation studies, social theory, cultural sociology and political sociology.

Table of Contents




Part I. Translation and society


Chapter 1. Translation and identity

Chapter 2. Translation and transformation

Chapter 3. For a translational sociology


Part II. Translation and politics


Chapter 4. Politics of translation

Chapter 5. Translating democracy

Chapter 6. The translator as producer


Part III. Translation and experience


Chapter 7. Translation and modernity: Benjamin’s Baudelaire

Chapter 8. Translating strangers

Chapter 9. Homecoming: an auto-analysis


Conclusion: translation and reflexivity

General bibliography



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Esperança Bielsa is an Associate Professor and ICREA Academia Fellow at the Department of Sociology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her most recent books are The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Media (ed. 2022) and The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalization (with D. Kapsaskis, eds. 2021).


'Sociologists! Read this book! It is a major contribution to sociological theorising, and rams home the point that you ignore translation matters at your peril. 

Translation Studies scholars! Read this book! Bielsa pushes the ‘sociological turn’ in Translation Studies further, deeper, and better than anyone else has yet managed. 

Everyone else! Read this book! It is a brilliantly incisive intervention into many of the pressing and inter-related cultural, linguistic, and political matters of our time.' 

David Inglis, University of Helsinki, Finland 

'This book makes a significant contribution to the sociology of translation. It shows how translation is interwoven into the very fabric of social life and is central to many major questions in modern social and political thought.'

Gerard Delanty, Sussex University, UK