Saturday, April 13, 2013

Only the Sociologist has Agency

In spite of the strenuous attempts by sociologists to preserve some autonomy for the acting subject — Bourdieu’s “habitus,” Latour’s “actor-network” theory — popularization has inevitably resulted in more weight being thrown on the structuring side of things, the network over the actor. The only quantum of freedom left then belongs to the sociologist himself. It is the sociologist who is uniquely qualified to provide explanations for us, which have to do with feelings of status or desire for recognition, sublimated self-interest. Ultimately, there can be no mixed motives, no swerving, no revisions, no “powerful attraction towards all that we conceive or fear or hope beyond ourselves,” as Shelley once tried to define love.

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