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The structure/agency debate has been among the central issues in discussions of social theory. It has been widely assumed that the key theoretical task is to find a link between social structures and acting human beings to reconcile the macro with the micro, society and the individual. This book considers a general movement in which the collective concepts established by the early pioneers of modern sociological thought have been reconsidered in the light of both theoretical critique and empirical results. It argues that the contemporary sociological preoccupation with structure and agency has had disastrous effects on the understanding of Karl Marx's ideas. Through a critical evaluation of 'structuration theory' as a purported synthesis of 'structure and agency', the book also argues that the whole idea of a structure-and-agency 'problem' mythologises the fracture lines that do run through relatively recent sociological thought. Michel Foucault's ideas were used to both shore up existing positions in sociology and to instantiate (or solve) the 'new' structure-agency 'problem'. Foucault allowed sociologists to conduct 'business as usual' between the demise of structuralism and the contemporary consensus around Pierre Bourdieu-Anthony Giddens-Jurgen Habermas and the structure-agency dualisms. Habermas is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary social theory.

Social and cultural modernity beyond the nation-state

From its conception to the referenda of 2005 where it met its end, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote in support of the European Constitution. This book is the first in-depth account of his project. Emphasis is placed on the conception of the European Union (EU) that informed his political prescriptions. This study engages with Habermas's thought as a totality, though attention is focussed on themes such as communicative rationality that began to surface in the 1970s. The first part of the book considers the unfolding of 'social modernity' at the level of the EU. Among the subjects covered are Habermas's concept of juridification, the latter's affinities with integration theories such as neofunctionalism and the application of Habermas's democratic theory to the EU. The second part addresses 'cultural modernity' in Europe - 'Europessimism' is argued to be a subset of the broader cultural pessimism that has assailed the project of modernity in recent decades with renewed intensity in the wake of 9/11. The final section looks at the conceptual landscape of the Constitutional Convention. The groundbreaking work of E. O. Eriksen, E. F. Fossum and others provides the most developed Habermasian account of the EU to date. Juridification is put forward as a metatheory of social modernity, and existing approaches from the corpus of European integration theory are drawn. Recent political theory confronts scholars of European integration with difficult questions. The social democrats who were interviewed had the opposite combination of opinions.

Jürgen Habermas and the European left
Robert Fine
Philip Spencer

5 The Jewish question after the Holocaust: Jürgen Habermas and the European left I have, of course, long since abandoned my anti-Zionism, which was based on a confidence in the European labour movement, or, more broadly, in European society and civilisation, which that society and civilisation have not justified. If, instead of arguing against Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s I had urged European

in Antisemitism and the left
Coffee and society in Georgian England
James Nicholls

public sphere, the German social theorist Jürgen Habermas claimed that the coffee houses of Georgian London were fundamental to the rise of modern democratic culture.7 Philosophically, Habermas argued, they played a crucial role in what he called ‘the project of modernity’, one of the key features of which Habermas identified as the desire to arrive at meaningful explanations of the world through rational discussion. Modernity (and democracy) were, therefore, founded on a combination of scepticism and what Habermas called ‘communicative rationality’: that is, a model

in The politics of alcohol
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Modernity, welfare state and Eutopia
Shivdeep Grewal

‘Flow and boundary’ – a suggestive image for a new constellation of border crossings. (Habermas, 2001 ) 1 From its conception to the referenda of 2005 where it met its end, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote in support of the European Constitution. An account of his efforts must, however, be more than a catalogue of texts. For his status as the last of the great system builders of European philosophy, comparable with Hegel in the breadth and explanatory power of his thought

in Habermas and European integration
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John Goff
Shivdeep Grewal

years, it seems that serious philosophical examination of the European Union has been relatively scarce. Jürgen Habermas is significant in this regard because he has developed a philosophy of the European Union, in part. However, this philosophy has not been rendered explicit. Shivdeep Grewal has done significant work here to make not only Habermas’s philosophy of the European Union explicit, but in so doing begins to ground philosophy of the European Union as a viable domain of intellectual effort and concern. There are thus

in Habermas and European integration
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Anthony King

Introduction Jürgen Habermas is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary social theory. This status is deserved: he has produced an impressive opus which has addressed critical contemporary social and political issues. Habermas has also been a consistently brilliant exegete, lucidly describing a wide range of philosophical and sociological literature. In the specific field of social theory and, in particular, in the debates about ontology, Habermas has also made a decisive contribution, demonstrating the undeniable importance of meaning

in Human agents and social structures
Volker M. Heins

unfortunately been dissolved by continental political philosophers such as Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth who reject all group-based understandings of recognition which cannot be reduced to aspirations for individual freedom within a given state or society. Yet this individualist bias has proven to be rather unproductive in the field of international political theory. I therefore suggest

in Recognition and Global Politics
A Habermasian model of truth recovery
Kirk Simpson

Simpson 04 30/3/09 09:32 Page 77 4 Victims of political violence A Habermasian model of truth recovery Introduction How can people in Northern Ireland (and by extension other post-conflict societies) come to ‘know the past’, after thirty-eight years of violent conflict? That is perhaps the most pressing and vexing question of all, particularly for victims. In this chapter, this issue is addressed via an in-depth discussion of a unique and original model for truth recovery that is based on the communicative rationality theory of Jurgen Habermas (1984). One

in Truth recovery in Northern Ireland
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Anastasia Marinopoulou

critical realism. Such a discussion remains for the next chapter to analyse and criticize. Notes 1 Niklas Luhmann, Introduction to Systems Theory (Cambridge:  Polity Press, 2013), 254. 2 ‘There are no sufficient indications for the exhaustion of what is possible, for rationalization. We live, as we know since the earthquake in Lisbon, not in the best possible world, but in a world full of better possibilities.’ Author’s translation from Jürgen Habermas and Niklas Luhmann, Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie –​ Was leistet die Systemforschung? (Frankfurt

in Critical theory and epistemology