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Theoretical Practice Journal

Sociology has always been modern. It was a reply for modernity, profound reorganisation of the human world and corresponding nature. A massive change brought by proliferating capitalism "melted all that is solid into air" (Marx, Engels). A pre-modern mindset was no longer up to date, and even the most conservative attitudes were no longer even close to the traditional self-obviousness of existence (Manheim). The space of experience was ceased to be co-extential with the horizon of expectations (Koselleck). Generations tossed by capitalist torsions sought to make themselves not only objects but also subjects of modernity. In the global history of multiple modernities (Eisenstadt) these tensions were rendered in countless vernacular ways and fuelled political struggles for centuries (Wittrock). How they did it is not without an imprint for our contemporaneity.
Therefore, we call for a critical historical sociology of the modern. We consider macro-structural processes traditionally related to modernization like industrialization, urbanization, democratization understood as challenges, tasks, threats and issues. Ergo: an object of discourse, being in the same time the very material of the said processes. In the forthcoming issue of "Theoretical Practice" we invite authors to scrutinise discursive responses, challenges and attempts towards process of modernization, seen as a crucial part of modernity as such.
Along with the demise of the pre-modern order a new radical contingency of the political was open (Marchart). It was no longer possible to refer the society to any permanent ground. But "this dissolution of the markers of certainty" (Lefort) actualised itself as well in most mundane issues being subject of modernization policies, rebuilding the common world. The challenge was intensified in the times of disruption of old orders and thresholds of social changes, as wars, revolutions and great crises. Opening of tomorrow, questionable horizon of expectations triggered massive discursive responses struggling to understand and change the world.
Confrontation with the unknown and uncontrolled social/economical/political processes and strives to reshape them fuelled intellectual debates, press disputes and political quarrels. These discourses framed our own thinking, coined concepts, set political agendas.
This issue of "Theoretical Practice" seeks to undertake an archaeology of modernity through investigating local intellectual and media discourses, vernacular attempts to modernise particular societies, conceptual changes brought by definite historical events. Therefore we encourage original submissions empirically scrutinising discourses on modernization and modernity in their countless localised pluralities and relevant theoretical contributions concerning critical historical sociology and effective history of the modern (Peter Wagner, Mitchell Dean). We particularly invite submissions focusing on the points of rupture in the historical narratives, dislocations caused when historical events intensified the contingent dimension of social life (Laclau), thus giving space for social experiments and rethinking of hitherto obvious here and now.
Some directions of research we find relevant are (albeit not limit to):
- historical sociology as scrutinising attempt to face modernisation and modernity,
- conceptual history (Koselleckian and other traditions),
- historical discourse analyses (Franz Eder, Reiner Keller),
- intellectual history,
- post-structuralist discourse theory with a historical focus (Ernesto Laclau, David Howarth, Jason Glynos),
- discursively oriented sociology of disruption and social change,
- sociology of knowledge of relevant focus.
Some possible topics might include (but are certainly not limited to):
- historical debates on definitions of modernity, modernisation, progress etc.,
- multiple modernities as rendered discursively in localised contexts,
- sociology as science considered in terms of specific discourse facing modernity,
- debates on modernization programs,
- varieties of attitudes toward modernization,
- political antagonisms concerning modernity,
- vernacular and popular discourses responsive to modernization,
- the emergence of new journalism and other genres facing modernity.
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 31 December 2013
Deadline for submitting articles: 31 June 2014
Estimated date of publication: December 2014