The aspiration to devise a meta-theory of languages — social theory as an objectifying theory of discourses — is to be rejected on the grounds not only of its legislative, expropriating ambitions but also because of its futility. Its futility lies in the inevitability of resistance by the languages it seeks to control. Yet is the alternative a hermeneutical theory which can say little or nothing positive or concrete to languages about language as such, without contradicting its core intentions?; does this idea of language1 mean anything from the point of view of the activities to which social theory belongs? Is there not a danger here of positioning oneself in a muddled middle somewhere between epistemology, methodology and professional ethics?
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