Taking as his starting point a critique of what he calls the Dominant Interpretive Discourse, which tried throughout the twentieth century to impose the idea of a society without actors that was subject to various kinds of determinism (especially economic determinism), Touraine argues that the only principle that allows us to evaluate individual behaviour and social situations is the recognition of the political, social and cultural rights of all human beings, who are viewed as free and equal. The individual must be seen as a subject and treated as the cornerstone of a reconstructed sociology. Whereas some denounce individualism, the author celebrates a subjectivation that involves the defence of the rights of all against all modes of social integration. This general line of argument is made concrete through an analysis of the subordination of women, the exclusion of minorities and the difficulties young people face at school and at work.
This major new book represents in many ways the culmination of twenty years of theoretical reflection which began with Critique of Modernity and which have established Touraine as one of the leading figures of contemporary social thought.
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‘Touraine's analyses of modernity and the subject, of
social movements and of the meaning of freedom, are concise,
original and indeed provocative for all those who cling to
conventional wisdoms. The book combines wisdom with commitment, the
experience of the scholar with the relentless questioning typical
of a great mind.'
Peter Wagner, Trento University
PART ONE: A BLIND SOCIETY.
CHAPTER ONE: DOING AWAY WITH THE DOMINANT INTERPRETIVE DISCOURSE.
CHAPTER TWO: THE IMAGINARY REVOLUTION.
CHAPTER THREE: KILLING THE SUBJECT.
CHAPTER FOUR: DEFENSIVE POLICIES.
CHAPTER FIVE: LIGHT AND SHADE.
PART TWO: A NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT THINGS.
CHAPTER SIX : INTRODUCTION TO PART TWO: THE THEATRE FILLS UP.
CHAPTER SEVEN: MODERNITY.
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE SUBJECT.
CHAPTER NINE: CONFLICTS AND MOVEMENTS.
CHAPTER TEN: THE SUBJECT, THE OTHER, AND OTHERS.
POINT OF ARRIVAL.