New Directions in Social Theory: Race, Gender and the Canon

New Directions in Social Theory: Race, Gender and the Canon

Kate Reed

Language: English

Pages: 193

ISBN: 076194270X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

`This book contributes to the growing debates about social theory and its role through a discussion of the ways in which gender and race contributed to the exclusion of important thinkers from the sociological canon' - John Hughes, Lancaster University

Who makes up the `canon' of sociology - and who doesn't? And does sociology need a canon in the first place? Beyond Social Theory offers an innovative and passionate contribution to current debates on the history and development of sociology and the exclusion of theorists - who are female, black, or both - from the mainstream of social theorizing. With compelling biographical sketches bringing the dynamics behind the `canon' to life, Kate Reed focuses sharp analysis on the exclusion of theorists on race and gender from important debates on inequality.

An important contribution to the debate on non-exclusionary theory, this book critically examines existing accounts of the history of the discipline, situating the development of social theory within a wider social and political context.

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canon as one of the key founders of symbolic interactionism, and more recently he has been seen as the key classical sociologist to establish debates on modernity and postmodernity (Weinstein and Weinstein 1993). Simmel’s sociology was not entirely intuitive and unsystematic (Ray 1999). He also developed a ‘formal sociology’. His formal sociology was to study the forms of association that made generalized and routinized social interactions possible (ibid.). According to Levine, His method is to

According to Becker, this was due to Mills not really deciding whether he wanted to be a political speaker or a professional sociologist; Mills wanted to be a respected professional, in a field in which professionalism was coming to be defined in a narrowly disciplinary way, and a speaker on the big contemporary issues at a time when success with those narrow disciplinary concerns disqualified you as a speaker, almost by definition. (Becker n.d.) Mills therefore failed ultimately to bridge the

post-traditional. This does not mean a society in which there is no tradition but rather one in which tradition is forced into the open for public discussion. Reasons or explanations are increasingly required for the preservation of tradition, and this should be understood as one of the key elements in the reinvention of social solidarity. Tradition is refashioned to build new types of solidarities, for example in new social movements (peace, ecology, human rights, etc.). The opposite of this can

the World of Modern Science (1989), she combines literary theory, political philosophy, and American history to explore the world of primatology. Among her often cited and highly influential articles is ‘Manifesto for cyborgs’ (1985), initially published in Socialist Review. This tract offers a highly original approach to social theorizing, one that includes an analysis of a number of different forms of social interaction, including human and machine. Another key work is ‘Situated knowledges’,

(ibid. 194). Furthermore, when we look at the rewriting of social theory’s past, women and authors of colour appear to fare no better. Although those rewriting sociological theory’s past may have added accounts of women and other minorities, this is only as an appendage not, as Parker (2001) argues, integrated into accounts of the classics. Women and black social theorists are sidelined on the fringes of social theory, as are the areas of gender and race more generally. Race and gender as fields

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