The Public Role of the Social and Human Sciences After the Crisis of Modernity
- 24 Downloads
The current crisis of modernity has far-reaching implications for the public role of the social and human sciences. This crisis has made it clear that the central theoretical premises and concepts used by social scientists until now are not reflections of phenomena and processes which really exist, but components of the modern imaginary or discourse. As a consequence, social scientists’ ambition of being experts and guides of human practice has been seriously undermined and their social function should be completely reconsidered and redefined. From now on, the function of social scientists cannot be to provide people with an objective knowledge about reality. In a situation marked by the theoretical and epistemological disenchantment of modernity, their public role should be to help denaturalize and deconstruct any statement, practice, institution, or power relation with claims of being objectively founded.
KeywordsSocial scientists’ role Crisis of modernity Knowledge Modern imaginary Deconstruction
I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions.
- Bell, David. 2003. Nation et patrie, société et civilisation. Transformations du vocabulaire social français, 1700–1789. In L’invention de la société. Nominalisme politique et science sociale au XVIIIe siècle, ed. L. Kaufmann and J. Guilhaumou, 99–120. París: EHESS.Google Scholar
- Cabrera, Miguel A. 2004. Postsocial history. An introduction. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
- Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2000. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Chomsky, Noam, and Michel Foucault. 2006. The Chomsky–Foucault debate on human nature. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
- Foucault, Michel. 1990. History of sexuality, Vol. 2, The use of pleasure. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Kurasawa, Fuyuki. 2004. The ethnological imagination. A cross-cultural critique of Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of piety. The Islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, Charles. (ed.). 1985. Understanding and ethnocentricity. In Philosophy and the human sciences, 116–133. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, Charles. 2004. Modern social imaginaries. Durham and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar