1st Edition

Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking

By Pierpaolo Donati Copyright 2021
    262 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    262 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781003146698, 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.

    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?


    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.