Guide to the vibrant and

Download 17.16 Mb.
Size17.16 Mb.
1   ...   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   ...   162

in the intersubjective context of daily linguistic

usage. For this, he drew partly on the speech act

theory of J. L. Austin (1911–60) and partly on the

theory of psychological development of Lawrence

Kohlberg (1927–87), who published Stages of Moral

Development (1971).

The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

(1962 [trans. 1988]) was Habermas’s first book,

and it already expressed his belief in the importance

of unconstrained, open debate amongst

equals. He called this the ideal of a “discursive

will-formation.” Habermas argued that the emergence

of bourgeois society made possible the potential

for realizing this ideal. With the advent

of bourgeois society, a public sphere emerged:

people openly discussed political issues, which

appeared in newspapers and magazines. Modern

society has not fulfilled this potential, partly because

of the way in which the content and role of

the media have changed. Several commentators

criticized Habermas for overestimating the existence

of the public sphere in the nineteenth century.

They pointed out that several sections of

society were excluded: notably working-class

people and women. Some feminist authors add

that the emergence of a private sphere for women

was constitutive of the public sphere for men.

In Knowledge and Human Interests (1968 [trans.

1971]) and other methodological writings, Habermas

draws on the pragmatism of Charles Peirce

(1839–1914) to criticize positivism. Positivist epistemology

tends to reduce knowledge to one type:

empirical-analytical knowledge, directed towards

technical control and prediction. Habermas insists

that other types of knowledge are also valid; they

simply aimat different cognitive interests. Interests

are “basic orientations” based in “fundamental conditions”

of reproduction and self-constitution of

the human species. Besides empirical-analytical

knowledge, there is also hermeneutics and critical

theory. Whereas the empirical-analytical approach

aims at nomological knowledge, hermeneutics

insists on the qualitative differences between

the natural and the social sciences. Hermeneutic

authors insist that the main objective of the

social sciences is to provide understanding – to

make sense of different practices or cultural artifacts.

Critical theory consists of a combination of

empirical-analytical and hermeneutic knowledge,

but it is ultimately directed neither towards control,

nor towards understanding. Its main goal is

emancipation and critique. It seeks to question

what was previously taken for granted and it

intends to reveal and uplift psychological dependencies

and sociological obstacles. Once these

are removed, emancipation becomes a realistic

political target.

In the early 1970s, Habermas turned his interest

towards the question of how governments are able

to find legitimacy within capitalism. In Legitimation

Crisis (1973 [trans. 1975]), Habermas set out

to explain the problems capitalism faces. Capitalism

tends to justify itself as a highly efficient

socioeconomic system; it avoids referring to

higher political, spiritual, or religious values. In


reality, however, capitalism faces recurrent economic

problems. These economic crises are inherent

to the capitalist mode of production. Because

capitalism justifies itself mainly in terms of instrumental

rationality, these economic crises

easily lead to a “legitimation crisis.” Governments

find it difficult to sustain themselves in the light

of an economy of boom and bust, especially given

that their legitimacy relies on their ability to solve

technical, economic problems.

Towards the mid-1970s, Habermas developed a

growing interest in the accomplishments of the

linguistic turn in philosophy. This led to his theory

of universal pragmatics, which forms the core of

his Theory of Communicative Action (1981 [trans.

1984]). Central to his universal pragmatics is the

idea that, whenever people talk, they make a

number of validity claims. Validity claims are presuppositions

such as intelligibility, truth, moral

rightness, and sincerity. For instance, when I explain

to a student how to get to a lecture hall, it

is implicit in my account that the instruction is

intelligible and that it is correct – that is, it is the

right way to reach the lecture hall. Also implicit in

it is the assumption that I am morally justified to

provide it, and that I am being sincere – I am not

explaining the way in order to deflect attention

from something else. Habermas talked about undistorted

communication in which people can

openly criticize each other (and openly defend

themselves) with regard to the validity claims.

Habermas coins the term ideal speech situation

for when there are no obstacles whatsoever in the

way of such an unconstrained debate. Although

the ideal speech situation never exists in reality,

it is a yardstick for a critical theory of society.

It allows the critical theorist to judge and

compare real settings and to criticize distorted


Habermas used this communication-based approach

to tackle various issues. In The Philosophical

Discourse of Modernity (1985 [trans. 1987]) and The

New Conservatism (1985 [1989]), he defends Enlightenment

principles against postmodernism and

conservatism. In Moral Consciousness and Communicative

Action (1983 [trans. 1990]) and Justification and

Application (1991 [trans. 1993]), he applied the

theory of universal pragmatics to the ethical

domain. Discourse ethics treats normative claims

like truth claims: they are considered as having a

cognitive meaning. Discourse ethics assumes that

the grounding of norms requires a dialogue. As

such, moral judgments are not simply conclusions

reached by isolated individuals (as in the formal

approaches), nor do they simply reflect social

codes (as in the communitarian perspectives). In

Between Facts and Norms (1992 [trans. 1996]), Habermas

took the position that legal and political

issues should not be left in the hands of the

experts. These issues should be subjects of an

open discussion, which includes as many people

as possible. In his proposal for a “discursive democracy,”

norms are valid if they are accepted by

the individuals who are potentially affected by

these norms, and if this acceptance followed

procedures of communicative rationality.


habitus and field

Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of structured inequality

pivots on these two concepts. (See Bourdieu’s

“Structure, Habitus, Practices,” in his The Logic of

Practice, 1980 [trans. 1990].) Habitus, the more

widely known term, refers to a system of lasting

dispositions which integrate past and present perceptions,

appreciations, and actions, and also facilitate

the achievement of an open-ended array of

diversified tasks. It constitutes a component of a

field of objective relations, where the term objective

signifies independent of the individual’s consciousness

and will. The objectivity of fields is

provided by the distribution of different species

of power, which Bourdieu characterizes as economic,

cultural, and social capital. To each field

corresponds a tacit struggle over these resources.

Fields determine relational positions which

impose present and future situations on their

more or less powerful occupants. A given population

may occupy positions in multiple fields. Multiple

fields may impose more or less consolidated

relations of domination and subordination.

For fields to operate there must be agents with

the appropriate habitus, which operates tacitly

(see David Swartz, Culture and Power, 1997). Like

mile Durkheim, Bourdieu sees the dispositions

which constitute habitus as acquired in primary

socialization. The originality of the idea of habitus

stems from its positioning in fields of struggle.

This allows Bourdieu to investigate the tacit ways

in which the dominant perpetuate their own domination

or, in Bourdieu’s terms, commit symbolic

violence on themselves. I RA COHEN

Halbwachs, Maurice (1877–1945)

A French sociologist who was much influenced by

mile Durkheim, but who modified and extended

the claims of the Durkheimian paradigm, Halbwachs

was an accomplished social statistician,

and, in his book Les Causes de suicide (1930), he

introduced major new findings that Durkheim

Habermas, Ju¨rgen (1929– ) Halbwachs, Maurice (1877–1945)


missed. For example, suicide rates differ between

rural and urban communities, such that those in

more placid and religious rural settings have lower

suicide rates than those in densely populated

urban agglomerations. Halbwachs was also one of

the first French sociologists to write systematically

about the nature of social class. In his study of the

working class he showed that Friedrich Engels’s

Law, according to which low-wage groups spend

a larger proportion of their income on food than

other classes, applies far more widely. He argued

that perception of human needs is determined by

class position. His representation of the working

class, however, is too inflexible to be of much use

to contemporary class analysts.

Halbwachs’s most influential and innovative

work concerns collective memory where he goes

far beyond Durkheim’s concept of collective representations.

Halbwachs’s thesis is that human

memory can only function within a collective context.

He shows how collective memory is always

selective, and how various groups of people have

different collective memories which in turn give

rise to different modes of behavior. Halbwachs

was the first sociologist to stress the important

insight that memories of the past are essentially

reconstructions in the light of the present. His

work has important implications for contemporary

studies of the role of collective memory (and

collective forgetting) in continuity and social


Hall, Stuart (1932– )

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Hall migrated to the

United Kingdom in 1951 to study as a Rhodes

Scholar at the University of Oxford, and is widely

regarded as Britain’s leading public intellectual.

He is sometimes erroneously called “the father of

cultural studies.” Actually, he belongs to the

second “New Left” generation that took the cultural

turn, following the mold-breaking work of

Richard Hoggart, C. L. R. James (1901–89), Raymond

Williams, and Edward Thompson. Hall’s

contribution has been built upon a consistently

inventive and exhaustive reading of western Marxism,

post-structuralism, post-colonialism, psychoanalytic

theory, and feminism. He has combined

this with political activism and various media

contributions. Hall’s ideal for intellectual activity,

borrowed from Antonio Gramsci, is the organic

intellectual, who combines the latest cuttingedge

ideas with effective political action.

In 1964 he was invited by Hoggart to join the

newly founded Birmingham Centre for Contemporary

Cultural Studies, where he became Director

in 1974. In Birmingham, Hall’s work attempted

to fuse central elements from the thought of

Gramsci with the Marxism of Louis Althusser to

elucidate the interpellation of subjects under advanced

capitalism and the unfolding crisis of the

“representative–interventionist” British nationstate

(Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, 1978, and Hall

et al., On Ideology, 1978). This involved an ambitious

reformulation of the operation of ideology, hegemony,

and normative regulation. Not the least

achievement in this respect was his encoding/decoding

model of mass communications that purported

to reveal how “preferred readings” of news

items are orchestrated in the process of political

and cultural reproduction. Hall’s work on the

crisis was based in a trenchant analysis of the

roots of welfare interventionism that he traced

back to the 1880s, and which he presented as a

constant “war of maneuver” designed to co-opt

the working class (Hall et al., Crises in the British

State, 1985).

Writing before the rise to power of the New

Right, Hall accurately predicted the drift towards

the “law and order” society and a form of democratic

state control organized around authoritarian

populism (The Hard Road to Renewal, 1988; Hall

and Martin Jacques, New Times? 1990). In 1979 he

was appointed Professor of Sociology at the Open

University, where he remained until 1997. Hall’s

later writings focused on questions of multiculturalism,

new ethnicities, identity slippage, and

black aesthetics, raising a series of urgent questions

about identity and belonging in the age of

globalization, but casting doubt on the political

realism of his project. CHRIS ROJEK

Haraway, Donna J. (1944– )

A cultural theorist and scientist concerned with

the relations among humans, technologies, and

animals, Haraway, during her early career studying

primate behavior, engaged in a number of

feminist debates, and published critical accounts

(Primate Visions, 1989) of the activities of her male

colleagues in the biosciences, ascribing to them

the behaviors they ascribed to primate bands,

such as competition, aggression, and the pursuit

of dominance. Her “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”, first

published in Socialist Review in 1985, has become

one of the three most cited articles in the humanities.

In it she constructs a socialist-feminist

case against essentialist feminisms, those that describe

femininity as an unchanging quality, often

with mystical connections. Instead, through the

use of the metaphor of the “cyborg,” she argues

for a feminist, hybrid cybernetic organism. This

Hall, Stuart (1932– ) Haraway, Donna J. (1944– )


imaginary creature (which nonetheless has some

practical existence, for example, in wearers of

pacemakers and contact lenses) is a construct

built from existing components. By analogy, new

genders may be constructed from the components

with which we are surrounded. Rather than embrace

a mystical essence, Haraway recommends

building new identities: “I would rather be a

cyborg than a goddess.” Though her essays collected

in Simians, Cyborgs and Women (1991) were

especially influential in the first generation of

critics responding to the emergence of the worldwide

web in 1993 as they began to describe virtual

worlds and identities composed of material and

electronically constituted components, Haraway

herself pursued her interests in the life sciences

to produce significant critiques of genetic engineering

techniques from socialist feminist perspectives

(Modest Witness @ Second Millennium, 1997).

In her most recent work, she has begun a critique

of human–animal relations, initially through

an analysis of “companionate” (pet) animals and

the institutional discourses that surround them

(The Companion Species Manifesto, 2003).



The sociology of health was originally known as

medical sociology, emerging as a specialized area

in the 1950s. “Sociology of health and illness” is

now the preferred term, suggesting a wider canvas

than the purely “medical,” though medical sociology

is still often used for convenience. Despite its

youth – little more than half a century – it rapidly

became one of the most important of the subdisciplines

of sociology, in terms of numbers of practitioners,

volume of research, and specialized


In part, this is because of the recognition by

medicinal authorities of the importance of a sociological

perspective on health and illness in helping

general practitioners to understand better their

interaction with patients. The subject is now

almost universally taught in medical schools and

in the education of nurses and other health


Originally a distinction was made between sociology

in medicine and sociology of medicine. The

first described the use of sociology in solving medically

defined problems, such as the social distribution

of disease (covered by social epidemiology),

the self-definition of illness which brought people

to seek medical help, and illness behavior. The

sociology of medicine is seen as less oriented to

the professional interests of medicine, and treats

the concepts of health and illness as problematic

and constructed. Medicine itself is studied as an

institution and practice, and there is concern with

the issue of power relations between doctors and

patients. The larger term, the sociology of health

and illness, defines the concept positively, and

includes not only the profession of medicine,

but also the whole range of caring occupations

and activities, and not only the identification,

treatment, and experience of illness, but also

health-related lifestyles and health as general


What is called, in its stereotypical form, the

biomedical model has been the basic paradigm

of medicine since development of germ theory in

the nineteenth century. At the beginning of this

modern period, medicine was based almost entirely

on the methods and principles of biological

science. Four postulates were seen as its basis:

(1) the doctrine of specific etiology, that is the

idea that all disease is caused by agents which are

at least theoretically identifiable – germs, parasites,

trauma, bacteria. Ideally, the search is for

single causes;

(2) the assumption of generic disease, that is the

idea that each disease has its distinguishing features

that are universal within the human species;

(3) the model of ill-health as deviation from the

normal, with health defined as equilibrium and

disease as a disturbance of the body’s functions;

(4) the principle of scientific neutrality, that is,

the belief that medicine adopts the values of objectivity

and neutrality on the part of the observer,

and sees the human organism as the product of

biological or psychological processes over which

the individual has little control.

The actual practice of medicine, as knowledge

advanced and medical institutions became more

differentiated and complex, threw up many problems

relating to these postulates. In his book Man

Adapting (1966), Rene´ Dubos (1901–82) asked, for

instance, why infection does not always produce

disease. It was realized that for many diseases

there are multiple and interacting causes, rather

than single ones. The principle of single causes is

more easily applicable to acute conditions and

infections than to the chronic diseases that

became more important in the twentieth century.

The assumption of generic diseases stumbled

against the realization that diseases are differently

defined in different cultures, and medical

definitions are not simply a matter of advancing

knowledge but also of professional choice. Diseases

tend to be those things which, at any given

time, medicine is able to treat or wishes to

health health


treat. Deviation from the normal, though still a

foundation of much medical investigation and

categorization, is complicated by the fact that it

is often unclear where normal variation ends and

abnormality begins. What is defined as the

normal range (of body mass index, of lung function,

of birth weight, of liver function, of blood

pressure, and so on) has to be a choice, even if it

is one which is scientifically informed. Finally,

scientific neutrality was questioned, since the institution

of medicine is always embedded in the

larger society and subject to social, political, and

cultural pressures.

Residues of these postulates can be found in

modern medical practice. However, the advance

of science has directed attention to necessary

and sufficient rather than single causes, and biomedicine

now stresses multiple and interactive

causes, including the state of the body’s own defenses.

The rise of psychology was influential in

altering a purely mechanistic model of illness. The

medical model current in medical practice should

not be presented as separate or in opposition to

the social model of health.

The clearest dissatisfaction with the dominant

model offered by biomedicine arose around the

mid twentieth century. A mechanistic view of

human health, together with the rapid rise in

knowledge, had resulted in an ever-increasing

use of medical technologies. Dubos described the

Mirage of Health (1959), whereby we are led to believe

that science can produce a utopia of diseasefree

life: scientists look only for a “magic bullet.”

The American philosopher Ivan Illich (1926–2002),

in his Medical Nemesis (1976), argued that medical

practice had transformed the human condition

of pain, illness, and death and dying into merely

a technical problem. As a result, medicine had

prevented people from dealing with these threatening

circumstances with autonomy and dignity.

Medicine had parodoxically created a new kind of

“unhealth” (1974, Lancet).

Anton Antonovsky, in Health, Stress and Coping

(1979), was influential in pointing out that this

means more attention to disease than to health –

“We do not ask about the smokers who do not get

lung cancer, the drinkers who stay out of accidents,

the Type As who do not have coronaries” –

and advocated thinking “salutogenically,” that is,

focusing on what facilitates health, rather than

what causes or prevents disease.

The focus on stressors as causes of ill-health has

led to much study of the mechanisms and possible

Share with your friends:
1   ...   60   61   62   63   64   65   66   67   ...   162

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page