THE CONTEMPORARY LOGICS OF SOCIAL THEORY
For all their putative differences, the interpretive methods of contemporary social analysis obey, or so I want to suggest, one of three logics. Let us call the first the logic of rationality and reconstruction. Such a logic, which starts with the rational character of social life, incorporates elements of a normative hermeneutics of action and communication into a critical theory of modern society and is exemplified in the work of Jürgen Habermas and the contemporary research program of Axel Honneth. The second logic of contemporary social analysis, which we shall call the logic of textuality and deconstruction, may in fact be divided into two sublogics: the “deep” model of text and text-reading and the “planar” model of text and text-evocation. The former preserves traditional hermeneutic categories such as intentionality, meaning, and truth, while the radicalized latter seeks to lessen or unburden itself entirely of the weight of such categories. Most generally, the former draws on the model of text in the work of Paul Ricoeur, while the latter takes its inspiration from the linguistically oriented, deconstructive style of Jacques Derrida. In both deep and planar text models the logic of textuality and deconstruction is meant to capture not the rational but the essentially linguistic, textlike character of social life. Whereas the deep logic of textuality and deconstruction is most notably manifest in the “thick description” of Clifford Geertz, the planar logic of textuality and deconstruction emerges most forcefully in post-modern critics of Geertz, such as James Clifford and Stephen Tyler. Regardless of the particular conception of textuality at work, it is nevertheless fair to say that some
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Publication information: Book title: Interpreting Culture: Rethinking Method and Truth in Social Theory. Contributors: Joseph D. Lewandowski - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 1.
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