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Sociological theory and the problem of collective subjectivity, with special reference to Marx, Parsons, Habermas and Giddens.

Domingues, Jose Mauricio C.S (1994) Sociological theory and the problem of collective subjectivity, with special reference to Marx, Parsons, Habermas and Giddens. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis stresses the centrality today of synthetical sociological theories, such as those of Habermas, Giddens and Alexander, but criticises them for neglecting the problem of collective subjectivity. The failure to consider this topic stems from deep problems in the history of sociology. Emerging from the social thinking of the Enlightenment and the Counter-Enlightenment, sociology has been keen on perceiving social life in the mould of a polarisation between active individuals and passive societies or, more generally, social systems or structures. Although the dialectics between subject and object plus the notion of interaction have allowed for bridges between those two poles, a crucial idea has not been receiving enough attention. Marx - with the concept of social class - and Parsons - with the concept of collective actor - produced two important departures from the presuppositional universe of the Enlightenment. But their elaboration does not suffice and, more regrettably however, those synthetical theories have not acknowledged and worked on the problems and concepts Marx and Parsons highlighted. The concept of collective subjectivity is, therefore, introduced to resume their insights and connect them to the issues and formulations put forward in synthetical theories. A critique of the philosophy of the subject, aiming at its decentring, is moreover pursued, for Marx and Parsons still embraced some of its main tenets. The concept of collective causality holds centre stage for the definition of collective subjectivity. Alongside collective causality, interaction, dialectics, levels of (de)centring, the syllogism of the general, the particular and the individual, plus multidimensionality, furnish the categorial axis for the development of the thesis. Concerned with general theoretical questions, this study makes, however, reference to "middle range" theories, in order to develop, ground its propositions and suggest ways in which its concepts may be useful in more empirically oriented research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Theory and Methods
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Sociology

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