Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Social Theories

It is a fact that there is continuing interest in and relevance of social theories for our understanding of our social reality. They flow ceaselessly. A grounding in the classic tradition raises the perennial questions: What constitutes a social order? Is community possible in contemporary society? Are science and technology emancipatory or forms of social control? Is individual freedom threatened by processes of rationalization? Marx told me about alienation and class struggle, Durkheim spoke anomie, Nietzche with his hammer on reason and power, Weber with his bureaucracy, the Mead’s self, and Mannheim’s Intelligentsia. All flow through the my mind’s rivers and stir it up.

It seems that above questions provide the theorists with a critical perspective from which they view the dominant interpretations of social reality and the value presuppositions that inform them. The authors and schools categorized as contemporary social theoresies grounded in the earlier works of the classic tradition but present important departures. Functionalism of Kingsley Davis and Robert Merton; Wright Mills and Ralf Dahrendorf with their Conflict Theory, Peter Berger with his ‘everyday life’, Herbert Blumer with Symbolic Interaction, and Dorothy Smith with her ‘women’s experience’. They spoke on their own pulpit, and I am still here, keep my ear on them, I am not dozing however ….

Then, the critical theories and the post-modernists are engaged in intelectual battle in their attempts to refine and redefine the fundamental questions posed by those classical theorists. Herbert Marcuse told us about one-dimensional man, and the refinement of Jurgen Habermas on technical progress and our social life world. Not to mention, Michel Foucault who wrote on sexuality and the carceral, Lyotard who reported postmodern condition, and Richard Rorty deep insights. I see, there are thoughts to be reviewed in my minds. I think it’s okay to visit their lecture rooms one by one, I love it.


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