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Northern Theory: The Political Geography of General Social Theory

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The relationship between geopolitical position and general social theory is examined by a detailed reading of three important texts, Coleman’s Foundations of Social Theory, Bourdieu’s Logic of Practice, and Giddens’s Constitution of Society. Effects of metropolitan position are traced in theoretical strategies, conceptions of time and history, models of agency, ideas of modernity, and other central features of their theorizing. Four textual moves are identified that together constitute the northernness of general social theory: claiming universality, reading from the center, gestures of exclusion, and grand erasure. Some alternative paths for theory, embodying different relations with the global South, are briefly indicated.

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Correspondence to Raewyn Connell.

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Raewyn Connell is University Professor at the University of Sydney, and author, co-author, or editor of nineteen books, including Ruling Class Ruling Culture (1977), Making the Difference (1982), Gender and Power (1987), Schools and Social Justice (1992), Masculinities (1995), The Men and the Boys (2000), and Gender (2002). Connell is an Editor of Theory and Society. A contributor to research journals in sociology, education, political science, gender studies, and related fields, her current research concerns social theory, neo-liberalism, corporate masculinities, gender practices, and intellectual labor.

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Connell, R. Northern Theory: The Political Geography of General Social Theory. Theor Soc 35, 237–264 (2006).

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