Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking  book cover
1st Edition

Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking

ISBN 9780367705121
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
262 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

This book explores the ways in which social relations are profoundly changing modern society, arguing that, constituting a reality of their own, social relations will ultimately lead to a new form of society: an aftermodern or relational society. Drawing on the thought of Simmel, it extends the idea that society consists essentially of social relations, in order to make sense of the operation of dichotomous forces in society and to examine the emergence of a "third" in the morphogenetic processes. Through a realist and critical relational sociology, which allows for the fact that human beings are both internal and external to social relations, and therefore to society, the author shows how we are moving towards a new, trans-modern society – one that calls into question the guiding ideas of Western modernity, such as the notion of linear progression, that science and technology are the decisive factors of human development, and that culture can entirely supplant nature. As such, it will appeal to sociologists, social theorists, economists, political scientists, and social philosophers with interests in relational thought, critical realism, and social transformation.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Relational Society

Part 1: The Emergence of Aftermodernity

1. Beyond the Modern Dilemma Freedom (Lib) vs Control (Lab): What After?

2. Overcoming the Market/State Binary Code

3. Shedding Light on Society through a Relational (Not Relationist) Gaze

Part 2: Insights into the Morphogenetic Changes of Social Morality

4. Relational Society as a Morphogenetic Configuration

5. The Morphogenesis of Social Morality

6. Morality and Social Networks

Part 3: Why and How Can the New Society be "Good"?

7. What Does the Good Life Consist Of?

8. The Emergence of New Social Subjects Generating Relational Goods

Part 4: The Hybridisation of Society: Shall We Forget About its Human Character?

9. The New Scenario of a Hybridised Society

10. Prospects: Should We Abandon the Dream of a Human(e) Society?

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Pierpaolo Donati is Alma Mater Professor (PAM) of Sociology at the University of Bologna, Italy. Former President of the Italian Sociological Association, he is the author of Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences, co-author of The Relational Subject, and co-editor of Social Science, Philosophy and Theology in Dialogue.