Postmodernism and a Sociology of the Absurd: Absurd And Other Essays on the "Nouvelle Vague" in American Social Science (Studies in American Sociology)
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In the fifth volume in the Studies in American Sociology Series, Stanford M. Lyman offers commentaries on and critiques of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction, posing questions concerning theoretical and epistemological problems arising from what appears to be a “nouvelle vague.”
Postmodernism, poststructuralism, and deconstructionism are interrelated aspects of the newest theoretical development in sociology and the social sciences. This new wave of thought challenges virtually all paradigms currently in use. In this, his fifth volume in the Studies in American Sociology Series, Stanford M. Lyman offers commentaries on and critiques of this new perspective, posing questions concerning theoretical and epistemological problems arising from what appears to be a nouvelle vague.
Among the basic themes and issues explored are the allegation that modernity has defaulted on the promise of the Enlightenment; the question of whether the rational basis for knowledge and action is still valid; the controversy over the place of metanarratives and macrosociological outlooks; and newer concerns over race, gender, sexual preferences, the self, and the “Other.”
Professor Lyman provides empirically based and historically specific analyses of the relation of the race question to the problem of otherness and to the legal construction of racial identity in American court proceedings. Focusing on the issues of citizenship affecting European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants; African Americans; and the special cases of the Chinese and Native Americans, he relates major public problems to the modern as well as the postmodern perspectives on justice. The debate over assimilation and multiculturalism, the dynamics of gender-specific emotions as expressed in six decades of Hollywood films, and the postmodern approach to deviance are each examined. He also offers proposals for a social science attuned to, but critical of, postmodernism and poststructuralism. Such a sociology might offer a perspective that treats the drama of social relations in the routine as well as the remarkable aspects of everyday life. Professor Lyman provides not only a new understanding of postmodernism but also a program of how to proceed with respect to its challenges.
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