Constructing Epochs: The Argumentative Structures of Sociological Epochalisms

Autor(en): Osrecki, Fran 
Stichwörter: AMERICAN-VALUES; DIAGNOSIS; epochalism; epochs; genre; historical; MODERNITY; narrative structure; RIESMAN; SCIENCE; social theory; SOCIETY; Sociology; sociology of knowledge; TRADITION
Erscheinungsdatum: 2015
Herausgeber: SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
Journal: CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY
Volumen: 9
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 131
Seitenende: 146
Zusammenfassung: 
This article examines the history and argumentative micro-structures of the much criticized genre of sociological epochalism. It is shown that sociological epochalisms have their historical roots in changed concepts of temporality in early modernity, particularly in the notion that the present marks an unprecedented epoch in human history. The interest in defining the characteristic features of the present is, however, shared by large parts of sociology, making epochalism a genre with contested boundaries. Thus it is proposed that sociological epochalisms can be outlined by analyzing their specific argumentative micro-structures. As the most evident one, retrospective realism' is presented - a narrative device that describes the present as a backdrop of the past by reifying well-established sociological ideal types. Against largely critical approaches to the genre, the article closes by presenting three functions it can fulfill: mass media attention for the social sciences, intra-disciplinary communication and the alleviation of paradigmatic dogmatisms.
ISSN: 17499755
DOI: 10.1177/1749975514566511

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