6 Race, class, and culture in the British racialised social system O ne text I often turn to in my sociological writing is Becker’s Tricks of the Trade.1 As Becker claims, one question that sociologists must continually ask themselves is simply ‘So what?’2 I use this chapter to address this ‘so what?’ question – or as Du Bois puts it, ‘the meaning of all this’ question 3 – looking both backwards and forwards. I look backwards by reviewing how the data presented in this book makes contributions towards the micro field of Black middle-class studies, as well as to

in Black middle class Britannia
On late modernity and social statehood

Populism, neoliberalism, and globalisation are just three of the many terms used to analyse the challenges facing democracies around the world. Critical Theory and Sociological Theory examines those challenges by investigating how the conditions of democratic statehood have been altered at several key historical intervals since 1945. The author explains why the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood, such as elections, have always been complemented by civic, cultural, educational, socio-economic, and, perhaps most importantly, constitutional institutions mediating between citizens and state authority. Critical theory is rearticulated with a contemporary focus in order to show how the mediations between citizens and statehood are once again rapidly changing. The book looks at the ways in which modern societies have developed mixed constitutions in several senses that go beyond the official separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. In addition to that separation, one also witnesses a complex set of conflicts, agreements, and precarious compromises that are not adequately defined by the existing conceptual vocabulary on the subject. Darrow Schecter shows why a sociological approach to critical theory is urgently needed to address prevailing conceptual deficits and to explain how the formal mechanisms of democratic statehood need to be complemented and updated in new ways today.

The social transformation of the Scottish Highlands

This book charts the story of the people of the Scottish Highlands from before the '45 to the great crofters' rebellion in the 1880s - a powerful story of defeat, social dissolution, emigration, rebellion and cultural revival. The conventional and familiar division of Scotland into 'Highlands' and 'Lowlands' is a comparatively recent development. Strangely, fourteenth century chroniclers who noted differences in culture, dress, speech and social behaviour between the Highlands and the Lowlands failed to comment on clanship as a distinguishing characteristic. During the Wars of Independence against England, soldiers from the Highlands fought on the Scottish side but were not given clan affiliations. The penetration of feudal structures into the Highlands blurred the distinction between clanship and social systems elsewhere in Scotland and many of the greatest clan chiefs were feudal lords as well as tribal leaders. This can be best illustrated from the history of the Lordship of the Isles. Successive heads of the MacDonald dynasty practised primogeniture, issued feudal charters to major landowners in the lordship and employed feudal rules in marital contracts. It used to be thought that Highland clanship died on Culloden Moor in 1746 and was effectively buried by the punitive legislation imposed on Gaeldom after the final defeat of the last Jacobite rebellion. It is clear that clan society was undergoing a process of gradual and protracted decline long before the '45 and that the climax to this was reached in the decades after the failure of the rebellion.

On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded neoliberalism

also exhibiting properties readily recognisable as distinct elements within an historical bloc.7 Whether the states of complex societies are strong or weak thus depends in large measure on a larger set of issues concerning modalities of public political centralisation and the extent to which those modalities can be successfully synchronised with the operations of social systems. With this ana­lysis, one is obviously quite some distance from Renaissance and early modern perspectives on constitutional breakdown that regard crisis to be the result of an excessive

in Critical theory and sociological theory
On social systems and societal constitutions

5 Re-​thinking inclusion beyond unity and mediation beyond discretionary steering: on social systems and societal constitutions Previous chapters have looked at the ways in which the evolutionary gains of political modernity and sociological modernity might be symbiotically maintained and further enhanced as the twenty-​first century continues to unfold. Here the term ‘evolutionary’ is evidently not synonymous with peaceful, natural, predominantly consensual, or any other designation that suggests spontaneous progress towards harmoniously agreed norms of

in Critical theory and sociological theory
Abstract only
Democratic state, capitalist society, or dysfunctional differentiation?

battle of ideas and emergent institutions, on the other. It has been shown in previous chapters that contemporary societies are characterised by the difficulties and discoveries inherent in trying to co-​ordinate the operations of discrete social systems functioning according to incommensurate codes, and that some of these difficulties could be remedied to a significant extent in the course of a gradual transition from political to social statehood. It has also been shown that FD produces and also depends on the development of social-systemic autonomy, and that

in Critical theory and sociological theory
How social subsystems externalise their foundational paradoxes in the process of constitutionalisation

are there such differences in the constitutional status of social subsystems? How a constitution deals with its foundational paradox – that is the point that links these four reciprocally separate phenomena. This question is pertinent not only to the state constitution, but also and especially to the constitutions of other social systems. 10 The starting point is Luhmann's argument (discussed

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
The mutual paranoia of Jacques Derrida and Niklas Luhmann

world of autopoietic social systems, their coding and programming. By contrast, Derrida's thought aims at the transcendence of social institutions through their re-paradoxification and proposes a counter-world of différance , in which the deconstructive double movement permanently exposes the founding antinomies of social institutions as well as the paradoxical paralysis of concrete legal and economic

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis
Abstract only

social systems, of which the most promising was the evolution of ideas themselves. During the course of the discussion, the concept of types also repeatedly surfaced as a key theme in the work of several writers, suggesting the basis for a general concept bridging both natural and artificial phenomena. 113 EXSELF.indb 113 30/07/2014 13:39:15 This led in turn to questions regarding the nature and definition of the principal agents involved in the evolution and proliferation of ideas, and their possible solution. In seeking answers to those questions, Chapter 6

in The extended self
The logics of ‘hitting the bottom’

social systems, through the moment of near-catastrophe, to new orientations, which cannot be effected from the outside but only through the transformation of their ‘inner constitution’. With Derrida, we might talk of the ‘extreme capillarity of discourses’ at which the transformation must direct itself; since it is they – and not the capital constitutions of the world of states – that regulate the

in Critical theory and legal autopoiesis