Theory, Methodology and History of the Social Sciences

This site contains some of my papers and theses related to the theoretical, methodological, and historical aspects of sociology and anthropology. My M.A. in Sociology entitled “On The Heterogeneity of Social Development” and supervised by Professor Slawomir Kapralski was not a success, but it does show an attempt to weave together such diverse thinkers as Niklas Luhmann and Erving Goffman. I like my essay on sociology/anthropology’s field methodology that prefigures the field techniques I used while conducting research among European Indianists. My paper on Anthony Giddens‘s theory of ontological security was meant to be published in a nascent student journal in Warsaw, Poland, but the journal has never seen the light of day. I am also interested in the roots, history and demise of kinship studies, in the future of anthropology (I had a chance to index the recent controversial volume “Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle: Essays on the Disciplining of Anthropology” edited by my Stanford advisor, Sylvia Yanagisako, and Dan Segal), in the history of Russian and East European social thought vis-a-vis Western traditions, in indigenous epistemologies, and in Jewish contributions to the social sciences. (At some point, my friend, Joshua Peskin, and myself were considering organizing a workshop at Stanford on the Jewish intellectual Enlightenment, but then we disagreed regarding the meaning of the word “Jewish.”)

There is a common theme behind all these theoretical interests, namely relationship between mainstream (urban Western European) epistemology and its several alternatives. The status of East European, indigenous and Judaic traditions as “alternatives” to Western epistemology should not, however, be understood as a dissociated critique of the latter, but as traditions that have been associated with it during the whole period of modernity. A serious weakness of the mainstream postmodernist critique of modernity has been precisely the ignorance of the diversity of fully modern expressions and the existence of long and sovereign traditions of challenging mainstream modernity. Claiming dissociation from modernity, postmodernism blends with its very essence. I view postmodernism as a shadow of its own deadly enemy.

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