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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces Alain Touraine's ongoing quest for the theoretical means to grasp and illuminate the conflicts and ambiguities of the modern world through three 'moments' in his theoretical trajectory: the 'actionalist' sociology of Self-Production of Society, a transitional period of reflection on taken-for-granted but unacknowledged assumptions built into the conceptual infrastructure of the sociological tradition, and the ‘sociology of the subject’ contained within Critique of Modernity. Touraine's central meta-theoretical concern in this chapter remains the attempt to go beyond the over-integrated image of social life that finds its paradigmatic expression in Parsonian functionalism, and his main strategy still involves a more adequate conceptualisation of the problematic of action.

Keywords: actionalist sociology; Alain Touraine; cultural models; parsonian functionalism; proto-hermeneutics; transitional period



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