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Title: Figurational sociology and the rhetoric of post-philosophy
Authors: Dunne, Stephen
First Published: 1-Jul-2014
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Citation: History of the Human Sciences July 2014 vol. 27 no. 3 76-95
Abstract: Norbert Elias’s early work – specifically ‘Idea and Individual’ – offers a positive account of philosophy’s potential contribution towards historically oriented concrete sociological investigation. His later work, on the other hand, characterizes philosophical investigation as little more than a distraction from the myth-exposing vocation of the (figurational) sociologist. This later ‘post-philosophical’ account of figurational sociology predominates today. Within this article, however, I suggest it has come to prominence through a series of dubious rhetorical strategies, most notably subtextual hearsay and disingenuous caricature. By dispensing with the post-philosophical rhetoric, I argue, figurational sociologists might again, following the Elias of ‘Idea and Individual’, take the possibility of a philosophically grounded sociology seriously. If the article does not convince figurational sociologists to revisit philosophy as a potentially positive sociological resource, however, my effort will not have been wasted for as long as it demonstrates the presently dubious nature of their post-philosophical rhetoric.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0952695114535396
ISSN: 0952-6951
eISSN: 1461-720X
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Archived with reference to SHERPA/RoMEO and publisher website. Copyright the author. Version of record:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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