The great decentering

  • Laurent Thévenot
Keywords: Engagement regimes, the history of the social sciences, colonialism, populism, environmental problems.

Abstract

Given the upheavals that seriously affect sociology and threaten its survival,
the author proposes to integrate these upheavals by conceiving them as forces
of decentering with regard to the classical definitions and methods of the discipline. All of them require taking into account underestimated, or even unrecognized, dependencies of the “social” on the many beings that have been
left behind and that “studies” have helped to bring to the forefront.

The movement of the article follows a decentering of the subject, agent or
social actor who can no longer keep his/her pivotal role, and the forms of the
common and the community which are off-center with respect to societies
and collectives. Far from society (1), the movement leads against the strangeness (2) of an exteriority now to be integrated into the apprehension of the human being through his or her dependencies (3). To be together with these and
those that were previously under-represented (4), requires a shift in making
commonality. Commonality has to be more concerned with close attachments
and to open up cohabitation beyond the human, at the cost of changes that do
not leave the underlying normativity of the social sciences untouched. Modes
of government emancipate from the city (5) by moving beyond the market
economy to things that support deeper political economy assemblages than
the versatile alliances between oligarchs and political authorities.

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Published
2021-06-25
Section
Artikler