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Sociology and the critical reflexivity of modernity: Scholarly practices in historical and comparative context
Uppsala University, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS).
2003 (English)In: Comparative Sociology, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 523-539Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

  A sense of the contingency of human, finite existence, reflections on its temporal embeddedness and on the possibility to act, to bring about other states of affairs in the world, i.e. what has sometimes been labeled the reflexivity of modernity, are not phenomena that appear only in the epoch of modernity. However, they become articulated in a distinctly new way, at the turn of the 18th century, one in which categories of the social and new notions of temporality and of agency become key components. Sociology came to depend on the existence of certain epistemic, institutional and existential conditions that allowed the new discourses of society to uphold epistemic claims to valid knowledge but also to reflexively engage in societal practices and their transformations. This article focuses on the ways in which this dilemma was articulated at three crucial historical junctures, namely the turn of the 18th century; the period of classical sociology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and finally; the present situation in the early 21st century with a global diffusion of professional sociological practices. This comparison in historical time is, for the last two periods of transformation, complemented also by a comparative analysis in space, by juxtaposing a Continental European experience with a North American one. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT];A sense of the contingency of human, finite existence, reflections on its temporal embeddedness & on the possibility to act, to bring about other states of affairs in the world, ie, what has sometimes been labeled the "reflexivity of modernity," are not phenomena that appear only in the epoch of modernity. However, they become articulated in a distinctly new way, at the turn of the 18th century, one in which categories of the social & new notions of temporality & of agency become key components. Sociology came to depend on the existence of certain epistemic, institutional, & existential conditions that allowed the new discourses of society to uphold epistemic claims to valid knowledge but also to reflexively engage in societal practices & their transformations. This article focuses on the ways in which this dilemma was articulated at three crucial historical junctures: the turn of the 18th century; the period of classical sociology in the late 19th & early 20th centuries, & the present situation in the early 21st century with a global diffusion of professional sociological practices. This comparison in historical time is, for the last two periods of transformation, complemented also by a comparative analysis in space, by juxtaposing a continental European experience with a North American one. 34 References. Adapted from the source document.;

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 2, no 3, p. 523-539
Keywords [en]
History; Sociology; Centuries; Eighteenth Century; Reflexivity; Intellectual History; Epistemology; Twentieth Century; Modernity; Nineteenth Century; Twenty First Century; History of Sociology; article
National Category
History Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-372265OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-372265DiVA, id: diva2:1275606
Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2019-01-07

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