Barrington Moore: Violence, morality and political change by Dennis Smith (auth.)

By Dennis Smith (auth.)

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To be more precise, they were arguing about the feasibility of creating a rational society under the conditions of industrial advance and with the human materials available at that time. For them "rational" had a definite social content and implied, even if loosely, the kind of society that would enable man to make the most of his creative capacities. 1l3) It is difficult, and perhaps pointless, to attempt to untangle the 'influence' of, say, Marx and Weber upon Moore from the 'influence' of the Enlightenment upon all three.

And cannot impose arbitrary uniformities where none exist'. Attempts to construct 'a grand analytical scheme' are no more than 'the mere ordering of words or symbols into categories'. 107, 108, 109). The diagnosis is developed further in 'Strategy in social science', a paper contained in Political Power and Social Theory which appeared three years later: When we set the dominant body of current thinking against important figures in the nineteenth century, the following differences emerge. First of all, the critical spirit has all but disappeared.

Third, modern social science tends to be abstract and formal. In research, social science today displays considerable technical virtuosity. But this virtuosity is at the expense of content. Modern sociology has less to say about society than it did fifty years ago. 123) Moore's views on the state of the social sciences in the 1950s make pertinent reading in the 1980s for two reasons. First, abstract and formal theorising is still common currency'- although in Europe at least its practitioners tend to think of themselves as radical rather than conservative, and quote Poulantzas, Althusser or Castells rather than Parsons.

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