Figurational sociology and the rhetoric of post-philosophy
journal contributionposted on 02.02.2015, 16:27 by Stephen Dunne
Norbert Elias’s early work – specifically ‘Idea and Individual’ – offers a positive account of philosophy’s potential contribution towards historically oriented concrete sociological investigation. His later work, on the other hand, characterizes philosophical investigation as little more than a distraction from the myth-exposing vocation of the (figurational) sociologist. This later ‘post-philosophical’ account of figurational sociology predominates today. Within this article, however, I suggest it has come to prominence through a series of dubious rhetorical strategies, most notably subtextual hearsay and disingenuous caricature. By dispensing with the post-philosophical rhetoric, I argue, figurational sociologists might again, following the Elias of ‘Idea and Individual’, take the possibility of a philosophically grounded sociology seriously. If the article does not convince figurational sociologists to revisit philosophy as a potentially positive sociological resource, however, my effort will not have been wasted for as long as it demonstrates the presently dubious nature of their post-philosophical rhetoric.
CitationHistory of the Human Sciences July 2014 vol. 27 no. 3 76-95
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Management
VersionAM (Accepted Manuscript)
Published inHistory of the Human Sciences July 2014 vol. 27 no. 3 76-95
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd.
Arts & HumanitiesSocial SciencesHistory & Philosophy Of ScienceHistory Of Social SciencesHistory & Philosophy of ScienceSocial Sciences - Other TopicsHISTORY & PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, SCIHISTORY & PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, SSCIHISTORY OF SOCIAL SCIENCESNorbert EliasepistemologyImmanuel Kantrhetoricsociology of knowledgeELIAS