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Title: The Ways Hypothesis : An alternative approach to Society
Author: Kastritis, Athanasios A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2680 965X
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2009
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UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX ATHANASIOS A. KASTRITIS DPHIL IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT THE WAYS HYPOTHESIS: AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO SOCIETY SUMMARY There has been a tendency in theories of social constitution to regard the person-society connection as a partial overlap, whereby certain properties of one would be either interdependent with, or over-determined by, those of the other. An attempt to see one totally immersed in the other would be bound to end up with either a reductionist view of society followed, all too rightly, by its rejection as a category altogether, or a vanquishing of human individuality in a mirror house of oppressive inter-subjectivity. Yet intuition would indicate that each one of us is born in a coming together of worldly possibilities whereby the most private phenomenon, the perspective itself, is formed out of the very flesh of social life. Could this intuition be extended past this delicate moment to allow for a constitution of society which, while able to deliver and sustain distinct human perspectives, still extends past their presupposition for its constitution? The Ways Hypothesis presents its reader with a thought experiment which explores the possibility and implications of conceptualising a different type of social constituent as an alternative to the human individual. The thesis introduces the notion of ‘way’ in its variety of significances and applications and gradually narrows it down to a restricted definition. Engaging in a discussion of existing propositions on the character of, as well as the need for, a concept of society, it uses this restricted definition to introduce an intertwining of ways as a socially specific aspect of reality. It concludes by exploring two implications of this proposition: an understanding of the human self as a sense of place constituted in the intertwining of ways; and a complementary view of theory formation that extends the former to a sense of space. The thesis adopts a minimalist approach to realism, introducing a lightweight ontology that lends itself openly to a pluralist epistemology. It does not set out to replace the task of research, but actually strives to develop its proposition without stepping on the toes of theoretical explanation and empirical work. The liquidity of its key concept allows the argument to trade insights with a wide range of theoretical works including: Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception and Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of practice; Bruno Latour’s ANT sociology and the philosophy of Michel Serres; the sociologies of Émile Durkheim, and Norbert Elias; Georg Simmel’s sociology of space; William James’ radical empiricism.
Supervisor: Outhwaite, William; Schecter, Darrow Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available