Sociology and the twenty-first century: Breaking the deadlock and going beyond the postmodern meta-reflection through the relational paradigm

  • Dalessandro S
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The fact that sociology was born during the period of the Industrial Revolution does not authorize us to consider its discourse as lacking in philosophical elements that are rooted in a previous age. Neither can we consider as fully accomplished its role for modernity, nonetheless today, in an after-modern climate (in the sense of Donati 2009), sociology is trying to escape the prejudice of modern ethics to go beyond the clichés of postmodernity (Ardigò 1989). Filled with self-reflexivity and reductionist dichotomies, the twenty-first-century sociologist feels the need to “own factual reality again” and to rediscover “a new metaphysics of the social world” (Donati 1993). If self-consciousness is in the world, sociology, perhaps, has to go beyond science and turn into “globology” (Arnason 1990), or into a sociology on a global scale, which looks at how world unification has occurred. In order to accomplish this, it has to be careful about what it was able to do best in the past: “to foresee and to enhance sustainable change,” to be aware of the “relational connections,” which no mathematics will ever be able to show, to build new “memes,” and to decide to accelerate or to go against the phenomena it encounters in its observation. Society in the twenty-first century will go beyond postmodern stagnation and turn into something new (After-modernity? Hyper-modernity? Trans-modernity?) if it is to be helped by the interpretations of sociology. Notwithstanding the endeavors to change, most Westernized countries are trapped in the lib-lab model, while China argues for a complete reconfiguration of the concepts of public and private, states and market, freedom and controls, copyright and copyleft. What is going to happen in the future? Are we going to fall into a technocratic and authoritarian form of neo-modernization? Are we going to rediscover the system of exchanging gifts? Are we going to create a fully “relational” society, going beyond the Hegelian categories of right and left? It will be the role of a “strong and relational” sociology to identify all the “viable” scenarios and to prepare its advent in symbolic terms. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • After-modernity
  • globology
  • meta-observation post-human
  • postmodernity
  • relational
  • self-reflexivity
  • trans-human

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  • Simone Dalessandro

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