Proceedings Journal Article — From the Editor: Can Social Theory Be Liberating? — by Siamak Movahedi

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Having been invited to present the opening statement to the first annual meeting of the Social Theory Forum, I found the title, Liberating Social Theory, paradoxical, speaking to some tension between the function of a theory as a restrictive mode of interpretation or perception of the world and its alleged function as liberating. It then occurred to me that a systematic reading, an exploration or excavation of the title as a text may exhibit its instability and conceptual tension which is behind the idea of deconstruction.

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Abstract

Having been invited to present the opening statement to the first annual meeting of the Social Theory Forum, I found the title, Liberating SocialTheory, paradoxical, speaking to some tension between the function of a theory as a restrictive mode of interpretation or perception of the world and its alleged function as liberating. It then occurred to me that a systematic reading, an exploration or excavation of the title as a text may exhibit its instability and conceptual tension which is behind the idea of deconstruction. This was behind titling my presentation: Can a Theory be liberating? And by liberation I am referring to epistemological liberation, the fantasy of “seeing’ the world the way it is rather than in a bracketed form. This may then entail the old radical phenomenological proposal of engaging with the world on the basis of no theory, no memory, and no desire.

Movahedi, Siamak. 2004. “From the Editor: Can Social Theory Be Liberating? .” Pp. 1-3 in Liberating Social Theory: Inspirations from Paulo Freire for Learning, Teaching, and Advancing Social Theory in Applied Settings: Proceedings of the First Annual Social Theory Forum, April 7, 2004, UMass Boston (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 6, Issues 2, Fall 2004). Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.


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