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Chapter Summary

Sociology was born as an attempt to delimit an object of investigation offered by society as a social reality. The ambition was that of “treating the social facts as things” (Durkheim) or of understanding and explaining the social relations by respecting an “axiological neutrality” (Max Weber). Today, however, we are in the presence of a new kind of sociologists, and they are by no means the less popular ones, who are not trying to avoid assessments in their analysis of the present social world. I have in mind especially two sociologists, Ulrich Beck (Munich) and David Held (London). I will discuss in particular the view of sociology presented in a recent book of Ulrich Beck (Macht und Gegenmacht im globalen Zeitalter, 2002, translated into French under the title Pouvoir et contre-pouvoir à l’ère de la mondialisation, 2003), and I will show some analogies between Beck and Held. Finally, I will try to identify the points hat make the present sociological epistemology different from that of the great founders of this science.



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