Society and Culture reclaims the classical heritage, provides a clear-eyed assessment of the promise of sociology in the 21st century and asks whether the `cultural turn' has made the study of society redundant. Sociologists have objected to the rise of cultural studies on the grounds that it produces cultural relativism and lacks a stable research agenda. This book looks at these criticisms and illustrates the relevance of a sociological perspective in the analysis of human practice. The book argues that the classical tradition must be treated as a living tradition, rather than a period piece. It analyzes the fundamental principles of belonging and conflict in society and provides a detailed critical survey of the p
Chapter 8: Intimacies
The history of sociological theory can be written as a sustained criticism of utilitarian models of economic action as the exclusive and positivistic measure of rationality. This criticism of economic paradigms of rational action can be traced in classical sociology from Karl Marx's analysis of the limitations of the bourgeois economics of Bentham and Mill, through Emile Durkheim's commentary on the non-contractual element in social contract theory, to Max Weber's conceptualization of non-rational action in response to marginal utility theory and finally to Talcott Parsons's critique of the ‘residual category’ (of sentiments) in economic assumptions about the theory of social order (Holton and Turner, 1986). Many features of social life cannot be understood or explained within the paradigm of utilitarian economics, and religion in ...