Previous Chapter Chapter 12: Conclusion

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Just before the three thousand strong 26th Biannual Congress of German Sociology, Karl Otto Honderich – distinguished Professor at Frankfurt University – penned an unsettling and reverberating j'accuse into the pages of Die Zeit. Into the pages of this weekly newspaper of intellectual opinion – read by some 400,000 educators, professionals, political policy-makers and others crucially active in ‘culture brokerage’ and general public sphere responsibility – Honderich (1992) asked if ‘sociology had failed Germany’. According to Honderich, sociology had failed Germany in a very specific sense – with its assumptions of a modernizing process, not of Gemeinschaft, but of Gesellschaft; with its presuppositions of an even more individualized society; with its universalistic claim that social life, indeed the ‘life world’, was first and foremost ...

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