A Society of Signs? by David Harris PDF

By David Harris

ISBN-10: 0415111285

ISBN-13: 9780415111287

An creation to present debates round the issues of tradition, id and way of life. Such debates frequently start with the statement that we are living in a "society of signs". good points comprise: precis and significant dialogue of a few easy methods in social conception and cultural research; key readings of a few of the paintings of writers together with Barthes and Giddens; reports of labor in additional conventional components, for instance, the sociology of id and the embedding procedure present in social existence; and recommendation on additional interpreting.

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To anticipate a term developed in Crook’s (1991) critique of postmodernism discussed in Chapter 5, Giddens operates not with a ‘monism’, a simple single world-producing process (language, or a mode of production), nor even a set of dualisms (the classic oscillations between ‘structure’ and ‘action’ beloved of textbook sociology) but with a duality, a structured bifurcation, producing a two-level model of the social. There is the structural level, which is far more abstract in Giddens than is the case with conventional sociologists (like functionalists).

However, we might fairly easily anticipate a common ‘technical’ theme in these critiques: can a synthesis of this kind really proceed without doing violence to some of the specificity of the positions being synthesised (Gane) or perhaps even just being collected (Craib), or without managing some rather strained categorisations (lumping together ‘rules’ and ‘resources’, for example—see Dallmayr)? The latter point is also taken up very effectively by Thompson (1984) in a sympathetic critique (in Chapter 3 we examine Thompson’s own developments from Giddens’s position).

Although these data are managed within Gramscian frameworks in the form of general commentaries and reservations about their inadequacies, there seems to be never enough time to address the issue of interpretation adequately, to winnow out thoroughly what can and cannot be trusted, so to speak. A sceptic might suggest that this leads to a rather pragmatic attitude towards such data, where examples that seem to fit are simply cited, and those that do not are exposed as inadequate. Theoretical complexity can be added to functionalism too, as we have seen already.

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A Society of Signs? by David Harris


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