• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Divided into two parts, this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to examine the `collectivist alternative': the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social scie

Out of Step: The Social Sciences in the Second Crisis of Modernity
Out of step: The social sciences in the second crisis of modernity

Seeking a response to the question ‘Can modernity survive?’, Agnes Heller once described the state of the social sciences as follows: ‘Social science has promised certitude and self-knowledge as the result of a new, rationalist quest for meaning. This promise has not been kept. Where there was certainty, there was neither meaning nor self-knowledge; where there was meaning and self-knowledge, there was not certainty’ (1990: 40). No sensitive observer of contemporary reality will deny that there is what some have called a deep-seated ‘crisis of representation’ (Jameson 1984: VIII; Eagleton 1985: 70; Boyne and Rattansi 1990: 12) which reaches far beyond the ...

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