Marco Santoro

Open access

The Whole and the Parts. Or: Is Analytical Sociology Analytical Enough about Sociology, and Itself?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Mechanism, theory-group, toolkit, eurocentrism, analytical sociology.

The article offers a critical description of "analytical sociology" as a would-be theory-group, showing the kind of institutional and rhetorical devices scholars have been using for imposing a new brand of sociological theory in the field of sociology. The main argument is that AS looks paradoxically poor in analytical terms when confronted with what should be the first test of any sociological theory, i.e. itself, as a social and cultural object. Three main points are highlighted: 1) the biased and highly selective reconstruction of the standard genealogy of AS, which neglects whole paradigms of social research equally committed to analysis and the search for mechanisms; 2) the use of the notion of toolkit as a metaphor for both a working research approach and an extremely limited set of tools (with the paradoxical neglect of the toolkit of culture, and the series of analytical distinctions social and cultural theorists have developed in the last decades for making valuable and usable the concept of culture); 3) the apparent eurocentrism of AS, and its problematic relation with both an increasingly globalized sociological discipline and the current search for alternative (to Western) discourses in the social sciences.

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