The Continuation of the Dialectic in Sociology

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A rapidly changing ‘society’ that requires ‘new units of analysis’, ‘new roles for sociology’, and new democratic commitment to ‘the publics’ has implications for the identity and calling of sociology. In this so-called ‘identity crisis’, some sociologists have introduced the so-called ‘after dialectics’ thesis and argue that social conditions have now become such that the possibility of a dialectical sociology has disappeared. In this article, the argument is introduced that such a diagnosis rests on a common misunderstanding of dialectics. Particularly drawing inspiration from the works of C. Wright Mills and Alvin Gouldner, this article seeks to retrace the classical or Greek meaning and the original significance that they attributed to dialectical sociology, in its resistance to ideological thought and practice. The concluding paragraph provides an overview of some recent movements in sociology, such as the dialogical turn and public sociology, and compares them with the (reconstructed) dialectical approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-413
JournalCritical sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-73293
  • public sociology
  • radical sociology
  • liberalism
  • Dialectics
  • Marxism


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