The social occupations of modernity : philosophy and social theory in Durkheim, Tarde, Bergson and Deleuze
Toews, David (2001) The social occupations of modernity : philosophy and social theory in Durkheim, Tarde, Bergson and Deleuze. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1652907~S15
This thesis explores the relationship between occupations and the ontology of the
social. I begin by drawing a distinction between the messianic and the modern as
concentrated in the affective transformation of vocation into occupation. I then, in
the Introduction, sketch an ontic-ontological contrast proper to the modern, between
modernity, as the collective problematization of social diversity, and the
contemporary, as the plural ground of need which provides a source for these
problematizations. I argue that this distinction will enable me to shed new light on
the occupational as a distinctly modern event.
In Part I, I begin by providing a reading of Durkheim in which I argue that the
occupational is to be understood ontologically, but no longer by means of the
theorization of society and social types. This kind of theorization, exemplified in
Durkheim's concept of solidarity, contains a fundamental ambiguity between this
concept's ontological senses of original diversity and of unity in diversity.
Durkheim's thought is thus first intelligible in terms of an implicit evolutionary sense
of coherence or `need of wholeness.' However, the explicit evolutionary framework
and its central typological difference between the mechanical and organic is an
attempt to resolve the ambiguity that must fail because it addresses primarily a
distinction of obligation rather than a distinction of need. Obligation is shown to be
a concept of facticity which overcodes and obscures the distinction of need. I then
go on to argue that sociality can be better accounted for in terms of a continuity of
social becoming which is revealed in a perspective of modernity purged of the
modernist tendency to metaphorize this continuity in terms such as `solidity'
(Durkheim) and `flow' (Tarde). This perspective is the irreducibly plural perspective
of the contemporary, which, I conclude Part I by suggesting, lies in a sense of
merging with a social outside.
In Part II, I turn to investigate the outside by discussing the social thought of Bergson
and Deleuze. Bergson's thought is presented as an alternative to the deductivesociologistic
approaches of Durkheim and Tarde, because it attempts to critically
affirm the smooth duration of social continuity. However, I argue that the notion of
`open society' that Bergson presents is still too tied to a model of rare spirituality and
hence to the messianic perspective. I then proceed to a social-theoretical analysis of
Deleuze's oeuvre, in order to show how he uses elements of a thought of continuity
from Tarde (microsociology) and from Bergson (multiplicity), but that he is able to
transcend the family-model-centeredness of Tarde and the rare-spiritual-modelcenteredness
of Bergson, by theorizing non-modelled figures of transformative
affective multiplicity inscribed within the actual, ie. `full particularities'.
In my concluding chapter, I show how the intellectual trajectory which takes us from
Durkheim to Deleuze can be analysed as a movement from a doctrine or relatively
passive notion of social externality towards a more active social image of the outside.
In particular, I am concerned to show how this image of the outside can be recontextualized
in terms of a movement of occupation that can be thought of as
always combining a sense of the contemporary with a sense of modernity.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Durkheim, Émile, 1858-1917 -- Criticism and interpretation, Tarde, Gabriel de, 1843-1904 -- Criticism and interpretation, Bergson, Henri, 1859-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation, Deleuze, Gilles, 1925-1995 -- Criticism and interpretation, Occupations -- Social aspects|
|Official Date:||August 2001|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Philosophy|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Wagner, Peter, 1956- ; Ansell-Pearson, Keith, 1960-|
|Sponsors:||Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)|
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