Radical Sociology

By J. David Colfax; Jack L. Roach | Go to book overview

PART II · The Character of
Radical Sociology: Theoretical
and Conceptual Issues

IN what ways is the emerging radical sociology fundamentally different from that practiced by most academic sociologists? In Part I attention was given to the question of how the professional organization and norms of sociology serve to obfuscate and ignore important issues, and in Part III the focus is on the kinds of research radical sociologists are doing. In this section a number of articles which challenge the epistemological and ontological character of contemporary sociology are presented, and in so doing, begin to spell out the requisites of a radical sociological consciousness. Here the validity of dominant sociological versions of social reality is appraised and different modes of apperceiving social reality briefly sketched. Several of the writers consider the processes by which the observer's consciousness, rooted in the social and material circumstances of his own existence, cause him to perceive and construct distorted and inverted images of social reality. Thus in the Marxist usage of the concept of ideology as false consciousness, most of these contributions are directed to the development of an ideology‐ free sociology. Toward that end, most of the authors provide what are necessarily tentative and exploratory statements. The issues they address are those of the interaction of knowing and action, on one level, and consciousness and history, on another. These are expressed in the examination of the relationships between radical scholarship and political action, between sociological and Marxist concepts, between epistemologies and ontologies, between being and becoming.

In an effort to distinguish among a variety of radical sociologies, J.

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