Commentary McDonald


Kevin McDonald Middlesex University, London, UK

Paola Rebughini offers us a wide-ranging and perceptive discussion of the question of ‘the subject’ within social theory, highlighting the ways the question recurs across intellectual traditions and approaches. Significantly, most of the authors she engages with are working within or responding to philosophical traditions, where generally the question of the subject has been framed as a theoretical one. And as she notes, the overwhelming majority of these authors are working in continental European traditions. These once played a major role in structuring Sociology, with key figures shaping the discipline, from Pierre Bourdieu to Jürgen Habermas, having a philosophical formation. However over the past three decades English has established itself as the international scientific language of Sociology, and as the discipline’s intellectual centre of gravity has shifted to North America, the majority of professional sociologists have little training in philosophy, and may well find the term ‘the subject’ unintelligible, at best an arcane question for a minor and somewhat inward-looking current within theoretical sociology

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