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Nicos Mouzelis's Sociological Theory

What went Wrong? Diagnoses and Remedies

Charles Crothers

In Sociological Theory: What went Wrong?: Diagnoses and Remedies (London: Routledge, 1995), Mouzelis provides a stunning and largely successful attempt to establish (or rather re-establish) sociological theory as a speciality within the social sciences which is progressively developing solutions within its own set agenda of concerns, and he then reviews a range of theoretical issues embedded within the work of a wide range of contemporary theorists in order to begin to build up this approach. Whereas many sociologists have rather ineffectively mourned sociology’s slipping from popularity in the recent period, Mouzelis not only provides an effective diagnosis of this situation but also offers a serious prescription to begin to cure the ills. To carry off his feat of derring-do Mouzelis has to descend into the very jaws of hell (post-structuralism) in order to snatch conceptual points which can then be used as levers to return sociology to its historical mission and to regain its formerly successful trajectory – which involves working against the very sources of the material he uses to rescue sociology!

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A Mistrustful Society?

The Lack of Trust in Government Institutions in the Czech Republic

Nicole Horáková


The level of trust in politicians also in government institutions is taken as an indicator of the state of society in general. Various studies have shown that the population of the Central Eastern European countries, and especially the citizens of the Czech Republic, lack trust in state institutions and democratic structures. The trust of the Czech population in government institutions is, compared to other (Western) European countries, at a relatively low level. This article aims to discuss different factors that are currently influencing this lack of trust: the historical, cultural, and institutional. The empirical data for this article is based on the European Values Study and Czech surveys of public opinion concerning trust in government institutions.

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Roland Axtmann

The notion of cultural plurality and the idea of intercultural dialogue have been central to the discussion of cosmopolitanism in both political philosophy and social theory. This point is developed in an exposition of the arguments put forward by Immanuel Kant and Hannah Arendt and through a critical engagement with Ulrich Beck's social theory of cosmopolitanism as a “social reality.“ It is argued that Beck's analysis fails to convince as a sociological extension of a long philosophical tradition and that instead of Beck's macrostructural analysis it is more promising to formulate an actor-centred sociological theory on the transnationalization of social spaces and the formation of a “cosmopolitan“ consciousness or awareness of transnational actors.

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In addition to offering insight into the discipline of sociology, sociology of education textbooks constitute a major source of sociological knowledge. This article examines the scholarly content of Indonesian sociology of education textbooks by focusing on the degree of commonality between their core content and sources, and between their core content and academic scholarship. The results of this examination reveal a low level of commonality among the core contents of the seven selected textbooks—a heterogeneity that reflects not so much the plurality of Indonesian society and educational institutions or the application of sociological theories and approaches required by the Indonesian curriculum, but rather the diversity of the textbooks’ sources and their authors’ scholarly publication records.

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Michel Lallement

In La Barrière et le Niveau (1925), the French philosopher Edmond Goblot applied a logic of quality to the social world. The major thesis which Goblot defended at that time was: having no titles or property, the bourgeois class constructed itself superficially through value judgements, building upon commonly shared appreciations, however intrinsically contradictory they may be. If we accept this logical reading found in La Barrière et le Niveau, then two different types of paralogism, useful for sociological theory, merit consideration: paralogisms of criteria and paralogisms of judgement. When interpreted in this way, Goblot’s work presents a threefold theoretical interest: it associates logic and sociology in an original way; it illustrates the heuristic relevance of a social ontology approach, and it provides a grid of sociocultural analysis of the social classes which is still relevant today.

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Nexus Politics

Conceptualizing Everyday Political Engagement

Matthew Flinders and Matthew Wood

Existing research on alternative forms of political participation does not adequately account for why those forms of participation at an “everyday” level should be defined as political. In this article we aim to contribute new conceptual and theoretical depth to this research agenda by drawing on sociological theory to posit a framework for determining whether nontraditional forms of political engagement can be defined as genuinely distinctive from traditional participation. Existing “everyday politics” frameworks are analytically underdeveloped, and the article argues instead for drawing upon Michel Maffesoli’s theory of “neo-tribal” politics. Applying Maffesoli’s insights, we provide two questions for operationally defining “everyday” political participation, as expressing autonomy from formal political institutions, and building new political organizations from the bottom up. This creates a substantive research agenda of not only operationally defining political participation, but examining how traditional governmental institutions and social movements respond to a growth in everyday political participation: nexus politics.

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The Logic of Welfare

Religious and Sociological Foundations of Social Policy Rationality

Elmar Rieger

The article aims to contribute to the sociological theory of the welfare state by addressing a fundamental puzzle of social policy, namely, the weakness of its claim to be a rational effort of society dealing with problems of social integration. Drawing on the work of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, I distinguish between the cultural or ideational side of the welfare state and the social engineering or outcome side, arguing to take the rhetoric and symbolism of social policy more seriously. The integration of society is more due to the communicative action of social policy than to its organizational quality. As early as the axial age civilizations, symbolism and ideology emerged as an autonomous field of social conflict and societal union. Taking ancient Israel as an example, I argue that societal integration may take place even in the absence of strong institutional correlates of social politics. This can help to explain why the welfare state in modern society is compatible with ever-increasing economic and social inequality.

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Young Delinquency as a Social Product in an Age of Correction

The Chicago School’s Struggle to Humanize Transgression

Shane Blackman

the Chicago School was constructing sociological theory on social problems and locations, in reality the treatment young deviants received inside the system of justice belonged to the harsher regime of the nineteenth century. The dynamic of Salerno

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Jeroen Huisman

connected to sociological thinking, for example to the work of founding fathers of sociology like Weber and Durkheim, but also to more recent sociological theory of Bauman, Habermas, Bourdieu and Giddens. Interestingly, references to Foucault are missing

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Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower

, theories like hegemonic masculinities and the colonial, transnational business, and military roots of masculinities arrive in manageably sized, active-verbed, well-exampled sentences. Comparing these to other luminaries of sociological theory, one admires