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Book cover: Current Perspectives in Social Theory

Current Perspectives in Social Theory

ISSN: 0278-1204
Series editor(s): Dr Harry Dahms

Subject Area: Sociology and Public Policy

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Pedagogy against “dis-utopia”: from conscientization to the education of desire

Document Information:
Title:Pedagogy against “dis-utopia”: from conscientization to the education of desire
Author(s):Sarah S. Amsler
Volume:25 Editor(s): Harry F. Dahms ISBN: 978-0-7623-1483-6 eISBN: 978-1-84950-538-3
Citation:Sarah S. Amsler (2008), Pedagogy against “dis-utopia”: from conscientization to the education of desire, in Harry F. Dahms (ed.) No Social Science without Critical Theory (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Volume 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.291-325
DOI:10.1016/S0278-1204(08)00010-8 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item

The commitments of critical sociology also hinge on another, often less-recognized assumption that the human condition itself is grounded in the existence or potentiality of a pre-theoretical and universal human need or desire to transcend, to self-determine, to be. Hence, while the project of struggling to create a better world is often framed as a problem of removing political, economic, cultural and psychological barriers to social change, for critical theorists it also begs questions about the social constitution of deep subjective impulses, the essence or contingency of ‘human nature’, and the possibility of educating people to need and desire differently than they presently do. The question of whether ‘another world is possible’, therefore, also communicates a new (and perhaps long overdue) ambivalence about basic sociological concepts of structure and agency, subjective and objective culture, and the definition of basic human needs and desires.

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