1st Edition

For a New Classic Sociology A Proposition, followed by a Debate

Edited By Alain Caillé, Frédéric Vandenberghe Copyright 2021
    168 Pages
    by Routledge India

    168 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book examines the future of the social sciences and the reconstruction of society in contemporary times. Drawing on the lead piece For a New Classic Sociology, it calls for a new theoretical synthesis that overcomes the fragmentation, specialization and professionalization within the social sciences. The position paper and the responses by a team of world-class social theorists provide an alternative to utilitarianism and the colonization of the social sciences by rational choice models, propose a new articulation of social theory, and moral, social and political philosophy. It recommends a return to classical social theory and explores articulations between theories of reciprocity, care and recognition.

    A radical intervention in the study of the social sciences, the volume will be indispensable to scholars and researchers across the social sciences, especially social theory and sociology and social anthropology.

    Contributions by Frank Adloff, Jeffrey C. Alexander, Francis Chateauraynaud, Raewyn Connell, François Dubet, Philip Gorski, Nathalie Heinich, Qu Jingdong, Mike Savage, Michael Singleton and Philippe Steiner.

    Part I. Position Paper: For a New Classic Sociology. Reassembling Social Theory, the Studies and Moral Philosophy

    Introduction: The Prospects of Social Theory

    1. Four Fragmentations

    The gap between theory and methods, teaching and research

    Warring Schools of Sociological Theory

    Are the Studies part of Sociology?

    And what about moral and political philosophy?

    2. The Alternative to Utilitarianism: Neo-Classical Sociology

    The Misfortunes of Interdisciplinarity

    Anti-Utilitarian Sociology

    From Critical to Positive Anti-utilitarianism

    3. Principles of a General Social Theory

    Three Concepts of General Social Science

    Steps Towards a Generalising Social Science

    Metatheory, Social Theory and Sociological Theory

    Four Methodological and Epistemological Imperatives, Plus one

    4. The Fate of Marxism

    Two Lineages, Two Marxisms

    A Third Tradition, via Mauss and Polanyi

    Features of Contemporary Marxism

    5. Constellations of Intersubjectivity and Interdependence

    Introducing the Gift Paradigm

    Constellations of Interdependency

    Dialogism, Care, Gift and Recognition

    The Struggle for Generosity


    Part II. The Debate: Comments, Critiques and a Response

    6. Including All Those who Count and Care

    Frank Adloff

    7. In Defense of Sociological Theory: From the Crisis of Capitalism to the Crisis of Democracy

    Jeffrey Alexander

    8. Social Theory and the Logic of Inquiry. Some Pragmatic Arguments for a Convergence of Critical and Reconstructive Approaches

    Francis Chateauraynaud

    9. For Sociology – More Ambitious, More Practical, and Definitely Polyphonic

    Raewyn Connell

    10. Diversity and Unity of Sociology

    François Dubet

    11. Big Money, Big Data, Big Theory

    Phil Gorski

    12. My Position on Your Position Paper

    Nathalie Heinich

    13. The Myth of Methodism

    Qu Jingdong

    14. Sociology, Gift Exchange, and Temporality

    Mike Savage

    15. What about the others?

    Mike Singleton

    16. Comment on the New Classic Sociology

    Philippe Steiner

    17. In Return to Our Commentators

    Alain Caillé and Frédéric Vandenberghe


    Alain Caillé is Professor Emeritus of Nanterre University in Paris, France. One of France’s most prominent intellectuals, he is the founder of the Mouvement Anti-Utilitariste dans les Sciences Sociales (MAUSS, Anti-utilitarian Movement in the Social Sciences), the chief editor of the Revue du MAUSS and the driving force behind the international convivialist movement. He has published about 30 books and over 500 articles on social theory, Marcel Mauss and the sociology of The gift. His most recent book is Extensions du domaine du don: Demander-donner-recevoir-rendre (2019).

    Frédéric Vandenberghe is Professor of Sociology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he also directs the Sociofilo, the Social Theory Lab. He has published widely on the history of ideas and various aspects of social theory in English, French and Portuguese. With Routledge, he has earlier published A Philosophical History of German Sociology (2009) and What’s Critical about Critical Realism? (2014).