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The politics of figurational sociology

By Stephen Brendan Dunne


This is the author’s final draft of the paper published as Sociological Review, 2009, 57 (1), pp. 28-57. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com, Doi: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.01803.x.Figurational sociology is so often said to distance itself from the political issues of the day. Whilst this is certainly true with regards to the present day, it in no way follows that figurational sociology seeks to distance itself from politics as such. On the contrary, as will be shown within this paper, politics is and always has been a central concern for figurational sociologists. This political concern, however, is an exclusively long term concern; figurational sociology purposively postpones present political engagement for the sake of developing a sufficiently detached sociology that would eventually facilitate in the delivery of effective practical and political measures. This paper discusses the stakes involved in, as well as the reasoning behind, the assignment of such a place to politics. It gestures towards two distinct and separate concepts of social control that exist within figurational sociology and then proceeds to offer a critical consideration of the consequences that can be derived from any temporal demarcation of the political done on their basis. The paper ultimately suggests that figurational sociology's position on politics raises a series of as yet unanswered questions, questions which can no longer remain unanswered by the contemporary figurational sociologist

Topics: Norbert Elias, figurational sociology, involvement and detachment, political intervention, social control, social policy, public intellectual
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.01803.x
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/8844

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