David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoria 55 (116):1-21 (2008)
This essay presents a reading of the work of two central figures of modern social theory that locates their work within not simply mainstream Jewish thought, but a particular Hasidic tradition. Further, I argue that lying behind this, in a repressed form, is an even older tradition of Jewish alchemy. I make no claim to have evidence that either Freud or Durkheim were directly influenced by Hasidism or alchemy, but I examine the parallels between the structure of their thoughts and those of the two traditions. Both Freud and Durkheim display a social psychology that is analytically similar to the dualism of Hasidism's Tanya and the general transformational models of alchemy. This formal model is in opposition to the messianic tradition in Jewish thought and analyzes Freud and Durkheim as anti messianic social psychologists. Hasidism offers a template for modern theories of social psychology, social interaction and the relation between the social and the individual, that is, collective identity. This essay also considers more generally how modern social theory might make sense of contemporary social phenomena by opening itself to the messianic and mystical traditions in Jewish thought. I suggest that the social and structural transformation associated with the information or network society requires new analytic tools that allow us to explain social energy differently to the way Freud and Durkheim have guided social theory. Contemporary analyses of individualization, social movements and sacralization as forms of and reactions to alienation are inadequate. Instead, I ask whether we should not 'restore a messianic, truly utopian "lost unity", which the alchemical, secular gnosis of modern social science displaced, and so renew social theory?'.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
David Novak (1992). Jewish Social Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Michael Hammond (1983). The Sociology of Emotions and the History of Social Differentiation. Sociological Theory 1:90-119.
Daniel Jeremy Silver (1970). Judaism and Ethics. [New York]Ktav Pub. House.
David Toews, The Social Occupations of Modernity : Philosophy and Social Theory in Durkheim, Tarde, Bergson and Deleuze.
Kanakis Leledakis (1995). Society and Psyche: Social Theory and the Unconscious Dimension of the Social. Berg Publishers.
Howard L. Kaye (2003). Was Freud a Medical Scientist or a Social Theorist? The Mysterious "Development of the Hero". Sociological Theory 21 (4):375-397.
Mark S. Cladis (1995). Education, Virtue and Democracy in the Work of Emile Durkheim. Journal of Moral Education 24 (1):37-52.
Charles E. Marske (1987). Durkheim's "Cult of the Individual" and the Moral Reconstitution of Society. Sociological Theory 5 (1):1-14.
Howard L. Kaye (1991). A False Convergence: Freud and the Hobbesian Problem of Order. Sociological Theory 9 (1):87-105.
Charles C. Lemert (2006). Durkheim's Ghosts: Cultural Logics and Social Things. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads10 ( #208,340 of 1,696,625 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #346,146 of 1,696,625 )
How can I increase my downloads?