Contemporary articles citing Marx K (1978) Marx Engels Reader
turn, key, critical, political, global, turns, perspective, scientific, understanding, emancipatory
- Hart-Brinson, Peter. 2012. "Civic Recreation and a Theory of Civic Production." Sociological Theory. 30:2 130-147.
- The debate on civic decline inspired by Putnam's ``bowling alone'' thesis exposed an important limitation in three dominant conceptions of the civic. Whether conceptualized as a locus, type, or motivation for action, the boundaries distinguishing the civic from other categories of political action are permeable and indistinct. This article develops a theory of civic production to better account for the inherent normativity and ``porousness'' of this analytic category. I conceptualize the civic as a variable, contingent outcome or product of a contentious performance undertaken in some venue for some reason. The phenomenon of ``civic recreation,'' a form of fund-raising that combines a leisure activity with a public cause, underscores the necessity of a theory of civic production. I draw from social movement theory and from ethnographic data from one fitness fund-raiser to illustrate some of the key processes and outcomes for which a theory of civic production must account.
- Garcelon, Marc. 2010. "The Missing Key: Institutions, Networks, and the Project of Neoclassical Sociology." Sociological Theory. 28:3 326-353.
- The diversity of contemporary ``capitalisms'' underscores the need to supplant the amorphous concept of structure with more precise concepts, particularly institutions and networks. All institutions entail both embodied and relational aspects. Institutions are relational insofar as they map obligatory patterns of ``getting by and getting along''-institutional orders-that steer stable social fields over time. Institutions are simultaneously embodied as institutional paradigms, part of a larger bodily agency Pierre Bourdieu called habitus. Institutions are in turn tightly coupled to networks between various people based on, but not reducible to, strategic interests. Yet social interaction sometimes exceeds institutional boundaries, giving rise to disjunctive fields and underscoring the prominence of institutional failures in the unfolding of antagonistic relations such as warfare. Such disjunctive fields can be tracked in relation to some transnational networks at the global level without assuming developmental convergence. This last point underscores the meaning of neoclassical sociology, which eschews assumptions of developmental convergence at the global level.
- York, Richard & Philip Mancus. 2009. "Critical Human Ecology: Historical Materialism and Natural Laws." Sociological Theory. 27:2 122-149.
- We lay the foundations for a critical human ecology (CHE) that combines the strengths of the biophysical human ecology tradition in environmental sociology with those of historical materialism. We show the strengths of a critically informed human ecology by addressing four key meta-theoretical issues: materialist versus idealist approaches in the social sciences, dialectical versus reductionist analyses, the respective importance of historical and ahistorical causal explanations, and the difference between structural and functional interpretations of phenomena. CHE breaks with the idealism of Western Marxism, which dominated academic neo-Marxist thought in the latter half of the 20th century, and advocates instead the pursuit of a materialist, scientific methodology in dialectical perspective for the explanation of social and ecological change. In turn, this project also involves a critique of the ahistorical and functionalist tendencies of traditional human ecology, while sharing human ecology's basic starting point: the ecological embeddedness of human societies.
- Mirchandani, R. 2005. "Postmodernism and Sociology: From the Epistemological to the Empirical." Sociological Theory. 23:1 86-115.
- This article investigates the place of postmodernism in sociology today by making a distinction between its epistemological and empirical forms. During the 1980s and early 1990s, sociologists exposited, appropriated, and normalized an epistemological postmodernism that thematizes the tentative, reflective, and possibly shifting nature of knowledge. More recently, however, sociologists have recognized the potential of a postmodern theory that turns its attention to empirical concerns. Empirical postmodernists challenge classical modern concepts to develop research programs based on new concepts like time-space reorganization, risk society, consumer capitalism, and postmodern ethics. But they do so with an appreciation for the uncertainty of the social world, ourselves, our concepts, and our commitment to our concepts that results from the encounter with postmodern epistemology. Ultimately, this article suggests that understanding postmodernism as a combination of these two moments can lead to a sociology whose epistemological modesty and empirical sensitivity encourage a deeper and broader approach to the contemporary social world.
- Panayotakis, C. 2004. "A Marxist Critique of Marx's Theory of History: Beyond the Dichotomy Between Scientific and Critical Marxism." Sociological Theory. 22:1 123-139.
- This article argues that an application of Marxism to itself can help us transcend Gouldner's (1980) dichotomy between scientific and critical Marxism. After demonstrating that the paradigmatic document of scientific marxism, Marx's Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, turns the structural logic of capitalist economy into the basis for a transhistorical theory of social-economic development, this article explores the limitations of critical Marxism's response to scientific Marxism and concludes that a viable, not class-centered, reformulation of the emancipatory project is possible through an analysis of capitalism's ``dialectic of scarcity.'' The task of the emancipatory project, it is argued, is to turn humanity, and not the working class, from a political subject in itself to a political subject in and for itself.
- Kellner, D. 2002. "Theorizing Globalization." Sociological Theory. 20:3 285-305.
- I sketch aspects of a critical theory of globalization that-will discuss the fundamental transformations in the world economy, politics, and culture in a dialectical framework that distinguishes between progressive and emancipatory features and oppressilie and negative attributes. This requires articulations of the contradictions and ambiguities of globalization and the ways that globalization both is imposed from above and yet can be, contested and reconfigured from below. I argue that the key to understanding globalization is theorizing it as at once a product of technological revolution and the global restructuring of capitalism in which economic, technological, political, and cultural features are intertwined. From this perspective, one should avoid both technological and economic determinism and all one-sided optics of globalization in favor of a view that theorizes globalization as a highly complex, contradictory, and thus ambiguous set of institutions and social relations, as well as one involving flows of goods, services, ideas, technologies, cultural forms, and people.
- Martin, JL. 1998. "Authoritative Knowledge and Heteronomy in Classical Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 16:2 99-130.
- This article traces the impact of philosophical questions regarding the grounds of moral autonomy and heteronomy (rule-from-another as opposed to rule-from-oneself) on classical sociological theory, arguing that both Weber and Durkheim understood sociology to have a contribution to make in the debate,with Kant over the grounds of ethical action. Both insisted that the only possible ethical action was one within the bounds of rational knowledge that was inherently authoritative, but this sat uneasily with their focus on the relation between concrete social authority and the authoritativeness of beliefs in the sociology of religion. In rejecting Comte's explicit avowal of the embodiment of moral authority in the secular priesthood of sociologist, Weber and Durkheim had to paper over the social authority supporting the formulation of this rational knowledge. Each then produced a sociology of knowledge without a well-specified mechanism, in turn encouraging the development of the sociology of knowledge as ct flawed sub-discipline.