The Social after Gabriel Tarde

Debates and Assessments

Author: Matei Candea

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 131731221X

Category: History

Page: 348

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Gabriel Tarde was a highly influential figure in 19th century French sociology: a prolific and evocative writer whose understanding of the social differed radically from that of his younger opponent Emile Durkheim. Whereas Durkheimian sociology went on to become the core of the social scientific canon throughout much of the 20th century, Tarde’s sociology fell out of the picture, and he was remembered mostly through a few footnotes in which Durkheim dismissed him as an individualist, a psychologist and a metaphysician. The social sciences and humanities are now being swept by a Tardean revival, a rediscovery and reappraisal of the work of this truly unique thinker, for whom ‘every thing is a society and every science a sociology’. Tarde is being brought forward as the misrecognised forerunner of a post-Durkheimian era. Reclaimed from a century of near-oblivion, his sociology has been linked to Foucaultian microphysics of power, to Deleuze's philosophy of difference, and most recently to the spectrum of approaches related to Actor Network Theory. In this connection, Bruno Latour hailed Tarde’s sociology as "an alternative beginning for an alternative social science". This volume asks what such an alternative social science might look like. This second edition has been expanded to include, alongside the original chapters, two key essays by Gabriel Tarde himself - Monadology and Sociology and The Two Elements of Sociology, as well as a significantly revised and extended introduction by the editor.
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Alternative Sociologies of Religion

Through Non-Western Eyes

Author: James V. Spickard

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479826634

Category: Religion

Page: 336

View: 1477

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Alternative Sociologies of Religion explores what the sociology of religion would look like had it emerged in a Confucian, Muslim, or Native American culture rather than in a Christian one. Sociology has long used Western Christianity as a model for all religious life. As a result, the field has tended to highlight aspects of religion that Christians find important, such as religious beliefs and formal organizations, while paying less attention to other elements. Rather than simply criticizing such limitations, James V. Spickard imagines what the sociology of religion would look like had it arisen in three non-Western societies. What aspects of religion would scholars see more clearly if they had been raised in Confucian China? What could they learn about religion from Ibn Khaldun, the famed 14th century Arab scholar? What would they better understand, had they been born Navajo, whose traditional religion certainly does not revolve around beliefs and organizations? Through these thought experiments, Spickard shows how non-Western ideas understand some aspects of religions--even of Western religions--better than does standard sociology. The volume shows how non-Western frameworks can shed new light on several different dimensions of religious life, including the question of who maintains religious communities, the relationships between religion and ethnicity as sources of social ties, and the role of embodied experience in religious rituals. These approaches reveal central aspects of contemporary religions that the dominant way of doing sociology fails to notice. Each approach also provides investigators with new theoretical resources to guide them deeper into their subjects. The volume makes a compelling case for adopting a global perspective in the social sciences.
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