On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation
The relationship between sociology and social critique has hauntedthe discipline since its origins. Does critique divert sociologyfrom its scientific project? Or is critique the ultimate goal ofsociology, without which the latter would be a futile activitydisconnected from the concerns of ordinary people? This issue hasunderpinned two divergent theoretical orientations that can befound in the discipline today: the critical sociology that wasdeveloped in its most elaborate form by Pierre Bourdieu, and thepragmatic sociology of critique developed by Luc Boltanski and hisassociates.
In critical sociology, description in terms of power relationsunderscores the potency of mechanisms of oppression, the way theoppressed passively endure them, going so far in their alienationas to
In this major new book Boltanski develops a framework that makesit possible to reconcile these seemingly antagonistic approaches -the one determinist and assigning the leading role to theenlightening science of the sociologist, the other concerned tostick as closely as possible to what people say and do. This labourof unification leads him to rework central notions such aspractice, institution, critique and, finally, ‘socialreality,' all with the aim of contributing to a contemporaryrenewal of practices of emancipation.
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1 THE STRUCTURE OF CRITICAL THEORIES
2 CRITICAL SOCIOLOGY AND PRAGMATIC SOCIOLOGY OF CRITIQUE
3 THE POWER OF INSTITUTIONS
4 THE NECESSITY OF CRITIQUE
5 POLITICAL REGIMES OF DOMINATION
6 EMANCIPATION IN THE PRAGMATIC SENSE