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Paul Paolucci

The prospect of public sociology is beginning to be widely discussed and debated. Critics put forth several reasons for skepticism, one of which is that the program of…

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The prospect of public sociology is beginning to be widely discussed and debated. Critics put forth several reasons for skepticism, one of which is that the program of public sociology, under the leadership of Michael Burawoy, will infect sociology with a Marxist drift. This paper examines whether this drift in fact comports with Marx's ideas on the relationship between scientific knowledge, the role of intellectuals in the class struggle, and the type of political action he advocated. It finds that critics are fundamentally mistaken about the extent to which Marx's ideas are expressed in public sociology's program.

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No Social Science without Critical Theory
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ISBN: 978-1-84950-538-3

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Paul Paolucci, Micah Holland and Shannon Williams

Machiavelli's dictums in The Prince (1977) instigated the modern discourse on power. Arguing that “there's such a difference between the way we really live and the way we…

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Machiavelli's dictums in The Prince (1977) instigated the modern discourse on power. Arguing that “there's such a difference between the way we really live and the way we ought to live that the man who neglects the real to study the ideal will learn to accomplish his ruin, not his salvation” (Machiavelli, 1977, p. 44), his approach is a realist one. In this text, Machiavelli (1977, p. 3) endeavors to “discuss the rule of princes” and to “lay down principles for them.” Taking his lead, Foucault (1978, p. 97) argued that “if it is true that Machiavelli was among the few…who conceived the power of the Prince in terms of force relationships, perhaps we need to go one step further, do without the persona of the Prince, and decipher mechanisms on the basis of a strategy that is immanent in force relationships.” He believed that we should “investigate…how mechanisms of power have been able to function…how these mechanisms…have begun to become economically advantageous and politically useful…in a given context for specific reasons,” and, therefore, “we should…base our analysis of power on the study of the techniques and tactics of domination” (Foucault, 1980, pp. 100–102). Conceptualizing such techniques and tactics as the “art of governance”, Foucault (1991), examined power as strategies geared toward managing civic populations through shaping people's dispositions and behaviors.

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Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

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Paul Paolucci

In theorizing the dynamics of social processes, dialectical thinking informs Marx's historical materialist inquiries and both – dialectics and historical materialist…

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In theorizing the dynamics of social processes, dialectical thinking informs Marx's historical materialist inquiries and both – dialectics and historical materialist principles – inform his political–economic analysis. In conceptualizing empirical observations during this work, Marx (1973b, p. 101) assumes that the “concrete is concrete because it is the concentration of many determinations, hence unity of the diverse” and that “With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too” (Marx, 1992, p. 28). This methodological tack strives for the flexibility needed for analyzing patterns in long-term social development (the structure of history) as well as the logic of specific systems in their totality and flux (the history of structures).

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Theorizing the Dynamics of Social Processes
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ISBN: 978-0-85724-223-5

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Paul Paolucci

Both Marxist and postmodern discourse have tended to place Foucault's work in an antagonistic juxtaposition to Marx's, seeing him as directly confronting both Marx's…

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Both Marxist and postmodern discourse have tended to place Foucault's work in an antagonistic juxtaposition to Marx's, seeing him as directly confronting both Marx's politics, epistemology, and subject matter. Ample evidence — in his words and intellectual practice — supports this view. However, such positions suffer from two main weaknesses. First, they often conflate the different levels of abstraction in Marx's work, leading to problematic analytical comparisons between elements in his work vs. Foucault's. Second, interpretations of Foucault as Marx's foil must ignore and/or downplay equally compelling evidence — also in his words and intellectual practice — that place him squarely within Marx's epistemological, if not political, camp. To the extent Foucault positively engaged Marx's work itself is the extent to which postmodern claims of the declining relevance of Marxism fail.

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Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76230-963-4

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Harry F. Dahms and Lawrence Hazelrigg

It was obvious that we were not breaking new ground. Others have made similar calls many times before, with greater visibility and sustenance. One of us recalled an…

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It was obvious that we were not breaking new ground. Others have made similar calls many times before, with greater visibility and sustenance. One of us recalled an exuberant conversation with Aage Sørensen in the mid-1980s, for example, when it seemed that a rejuvenated program of sociological inquiry into the dynamics of processes of various kinds might be coming together, with research programs in group process and network dynamics among the vanguard, and books such as Tuma and Hannan's Social Dynamics (1984) offering torchlight. It was clear, of course, that the program would be couched mainly, probably even entirely, in terms of standard analytic theory (there was still little conversation between it and either critical theory or, even less, theory built of dialectical as well as analytical logics), but such would be the necessary beginning of a rejuvenation. The impetus did not generalize as well as one would have liked, however. The editor of Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Dahms has repeatedly stressed in his works, including some that have appeared in past volumes of this series (Dahms, 2002, 2008), that greater concerted effort to install and nurture a systematic program of theory, most especially one of critical theory, that gives central emphasis to the dynamics of process is and will be vital to the future health of sociology in particular and of the social sciences in general. This volume was announced with that background in mind. The resulting contents offer a variety of responses to the call. At one time we were brash enough (or one of us was brash enough) to imagine that an outpouring of manuscripts would yield enough content for two volumes (27 and 28), not just one. Unfortunately, we must be content with a singleton, at least for now.

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Theorizing the Dynamics of Social Processes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-223-5

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Theorizing the Dynamics of Social Processes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-223-5

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Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

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Critical Theory: Diverse Objects, Diverse Subjects
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76230-963-4

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Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

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Globalization, Critique and Social Theory: Diagnoses and Challenges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-247-4

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