Modernity and Social Knowledge Reconsidered: On John R. Hall’s Apocalypse
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Apocalypse: From Antiquity to the Empire of Modernity. By John R. Hall. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 2009. ISBN 0745645097. 296 pages, $69.95 (cloth).
Whatever one thinks of the classics of social theory as defined by canonization, two arguments about Marx, Weber, and Durkheim are both ubiquitous, and, on a surface level at least, clearly true. First: the classical social theorists were both products of, and developed theories about, Western European modernity. Second, that the founders of what we now call social theory also pursued intense empirical research agendas. Thus myriad commentaries on social theory, intellectual biographies of social theorists, and even some textbooks make three interrelated claims about the classical theorists: Marx, Durkheim, and Weber lived through and experienced, developed abstract theories of, and pursued research in and about“modernity,” and, in particular, modern Western Europe from the advent of capitalism through industrialization to (in the case...
KeywordsSocial Knowledge Social Theory Causal Efficacy Strategic Time American Modernity
The author would like to thank Jennifer Bair and Claire Decoteau for critical discussion during the writing of this review.
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