Refracted Sociality: Rethinking Interpretive Sociology
- Author: Svetlana Sabeva
- Year: 12-12-2010
- Availability: In Stock
- Product Code: 632-01
- SKU: 16.0059
- ISBN: 978-954-321-771-7
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The twentieth century faced thinking with a number of challenges related to events that left an imprint on the lives and memories of many witnesses and victims. The Holocaust, Chernobyl, the totalitarian regimes, the new forms of biopower and control became part of a collective experience that was almost impossible to articulate. This applied also to all human sciences, which had to find the strength to confront that experience. Sociology was faced with the difficult task of finding ways to think about the unprecedented, about that which had no precedent in history in terms of its monstrosity. It became necessary to find an appropriate perspective that would allow a more humble theoretical position guaranteeing that the phenomena under study would not be subjected to generalizing operations and loss of their uniqueness. Hannah Arendt’s dictum that non-understanding is the starting point and basis for any understanding is important in this sense.
Svetlana Sabeva’s book Refracted Sociality: Rethinking Interpretive Sociology, where she outlines new possibilities for thinking about the unprecedented, is a significant achievement in this respect. According to the author, the classic interpretive sociology (verstehende Soziologie) of Max Weber and Alfred Schutz does not have enough tools for understanding the exceptional, that which transcends everyday experience. In this sense, the sociology of the unprecedented can be thought of as a counterpoint to the sociology of everyday life, as a ‘switch’ from one type of hermeneutics to another. This switch is hinted at even by the cover of the book which features Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, the painting that inspired Walter Benjamin to write some of the most profound and moving reflections ever on the experience from history, its messianic potential, and the need for empathy with the victims.
- Dimitar Boikov
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