The Promise of Poststructuralist Sociology: Marginalized Peoples and the Problem of Knowledge

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State University of New York Press, May 8, 2008 - Social Science - 234 pages
In this fresh look at the serious challenges posed to sociology by poststructuralist philosophy, Clayton W. Dumont Jr. maintains that disempowered, marginalized peoples have much to gain from a poststructuralist interrogation of sociology's philosophical and theological presuppositions. He argues that debates among American sociologists in the 1980s and 1990s over the value of difficult poststructuralist writings failed to examine cultural assumptions rooted in the discipline's extended Greek and Christian inheritances. Writing in an accessible style, the author situates complex poststructuralist ideas in tangible examples drawn from everyday life. The book concludes with analyses of the heated political conflict surrounding the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 and affirmative action programs, illustrating the promise of increased political efficacy and civic responsibility of a poststructuralist-informed sociology.

From inside the book


Understanding Poststructuralist Assumptions
2 A genealogy of the scientific self
3Toward apostchristian ethic of responsibility insociology
4The american debate on postmodernism
5Whos understanding whose past?Telling the Truth about Native Dead
Social Science and Racial Justice
Parting thoughts

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Page 154 - You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.
Page 56 - Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Page 43 - You err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God ; laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error ; first the scriptures, revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing his power...
Page 45 - For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence ; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.
Page 154 - Labor may prescribe. (b) Bidders or prospective contractors or subcontractors may be required to state whether they have participated in any previous contract subject to the provisions of this Order...
Page 72 - Where the soul pretends unification or the self fabricates a coherent identity, the genealogist sets out to study the beginning - numberless beginnings whose faint traces and hints of color are readily seen by an historical eye.
Page 12 - This is why classical thought concerning structure could say that the center is, paradoxically, within the structure and outside it. The center is at the center of the totality, and yet, since the center does not belong to the totality (is not part of the totality), the totality has its center elsewhere.
Page 75 - ... a historical investigation into the events that have led us to constitute ourselves and to recognize ourselves as subjects of what we are doing, thinking, saying.

About the author (2008)

Clayton W. Dumont Jr. is Associate Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University.

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