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.
Table of Contents
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
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
7. In Defense of Sociological Theory: From the Crisis of Capitalism to the Crisis of Democracy
8. Social Theory and the Logic of Inquiry. Some Pragmatic Arguments for a Convergence of Critical and Reconstructive Approaches
9. For Sociology – More Ambitious, More Practical, and Definitely Polyphonic
10. Diversity and Unity of Sociology
11. Big Money, Big Data, Big Theory
12. My Position on Your Position Paper
13. The Myth of Methodism
14. Sociology, Gift Exchange, and Temporality
15. What about the others?
16. Comment on the New Classic Sociology
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).