Autoanalysis, with particular reflections on sociology

Fowler, B. (2021) Autoanalysis, with particular reflections on sociology. Journal of Classical Sociology, 21(3-4), pp. 263-279. (doi: 10.1177/1468795X211032418)

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This article aims to contribute to a sociology of knowledge via an autoanalysis of a marginalised member of the British upper-middle class, who moved first from the South to the North of England and then from England to Scottish society as an immigrant: a ‘stranger who stayed’. Written in the first person, Bridget Fowler’s reflections move between different religious and political worlds, focusing especially on her reception of conflicting sociological theories and her own development through these. Influenced by five exceptionally learned and lucid sociologists – John Rex, Herminio Martins, Raymond Williams, Pierre Bourdieu and Terry Lovell – she has spent her sociological career contributing to the demystification of power in various forms. In particular she has focused on the significance of secular culture – notably literature – in creating hegemonic domination. She has also analysed the role of symbolic revolutions in social transformation, avoiding in this respect falling either into idealism or simplistic class reductionism. Arguing that sociological theory still needs to teach Marx, Weber and Durkheim, these founding figures should not be seen as creating – in social scientific terms – a unified architectural construction, but should be read with and against one another; further, they need also to be combined with other, more contemporary, influences. Finally whilst noting the existential salience of movements around identity – nation, gender, sexuality and disability – she argues that the discipline must continue to reach out ‘beyond the fragments’, to address social totalities more broadly, including wider issues of social space and structures of power.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fowler, Professor Bridget
Authors: Fowler, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Classical Sociology
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-2897
Published Online:16 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author
First Published:First published in Journal of Classical Sociology 21(3-4): 263-279
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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