Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (3):313-336 (1992)

Apart from a few notable exceptions, the current retreat from Grand Theory has been accompanied by a reluctance to think about how we might theorize different forms of social formation. The present study began as an attempt to understand one such community form, the nation. However, in delineating an analytical method that allowed the theoretical space for exploring the ontological contradictions endemic to living as part of a national community, it became necessary to work comparatively across history and across different social forms. In doing so, the article argues for a method that conceives of the various kinds of human community as formed in the changing and contradictory intersections of levels of integration—from the most embodied ties of face-to-face reciprocity to the most abstract relations of strangers-in-association such as exemplified in the electronic communications of "information capitalism."
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DOI 10.1177/004839319202200302
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