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Response: What Is Distinctively Human About Human Affairs: Sociality and the Question of Society

Michael E. Brown (Northeastern University, USA)

The Centrality of Sociality

ISBN: 978-1-80262-362-8, eISBN: 978-1-80262-361-1

Publication date: 12 December 2022


This essay summarizes the formation of the concept of “sociality” as it was developed in The Concept of the Social in Uniting the Humanities and Social Sciences. Its thesis is that if the human sciences are to have a representative discipline – in contrast with a field of largely topical studies – that defines human reality in the course of its work, then that discipline must have a concept of its distinctive reality, and the basic fact that the concept describes must be indisputable: that is, it must be irreducible and irrepressible as well as distinctively human. These qualities are satisfied by the formula “each-dependent-on-All,” where each shows itself as “intra-dependence” and, therefore, as “being-in-the-middle” of a “course of activity without immanent beginning and end.” This concept is then applied to theoretical positions presented or hinted at by the other chapters of this volume in order (1) to see how a given theory might differ from what is conventionally taught as sociological theory when the basic fact is systematically taken into account, and (2) to find among the implications of the concept a dialectic of social progress and societal change that is incompatible with received positive ideas of society, e.g., as an entity, system, or totality and compatible with the idea of such an apparent formation as a project in which the manifold (internal) relations of each-dependent-on-All present social progress as the ongoing reality of human reality.



Brown, M.E. (2022), " Response: What Is Distinctively Human About Human Affairs: Sociality and the Question of Society", Halley, J.A. and Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) The Centrality of Sociality (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 225-253.



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