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The ‘Postmodern Turn’ in the Social Sciences

Authors: Susen, Simon

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  • ISBN 978-1-137-31823-7
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Hardcover $139.99
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  • ISBN 978-0-230-57929-3
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About this book

Simon Susen examines the impact of the 'postmodern turn' on the contemporary social sciences. On the basis of an innovative five-dimensional approach, this study provides a systematic, comprehensive, and critical account of the legacy of the 'postmodern turn', notably in terms of its continuing relevance in the twenty-first century.    

About the authors

Simon Susen is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City University London, UK. He previously held lectureships at Birkbeck College (University of London), Newcastle University, and Goldsmiths College (University of London). He is an Associate Member of the Bauman Institute and, together with Bryan S. Turner, Editor of the Journal of Classical Sociology.

Reviews

“By showing where to look and how to do it when talking about the ‘postmodern Turn’ in the social sciences and by underlining a nuanced perspective on the relationship between Modernity and Postmodernity, Susen fully succeeds to present a threefold analytical exigency … . The ‘Postmodern Turn’ in the Social Sciences will prove to be an indispensable reading for future social scientists.” (Stefan Nicolae, Human Studies, 2018)


“Susen's book makes clear that a spirit of inquiry with distinct affinities with certain features of postmodernism has become widespread in the social sciences. … the book makes clear that postmodernism will continue to be an influential part of the social-scientific story, though not the only or even the main part. This is why this fine book makes an important contribution to the development of future new horizons for the social sciences.” (Patrick O’Mahony, Constellations, Vol. 25 (1), 2018)

“It is clear from Susen’s account that significant residues remain, even if he embraces aspects of postmodernism that I would question and criticizes aspects that I find valuable. But whatever disagreement this ambitious, stimulating study might spark, its particular merit is in reminding us that we have not put the postmodern challenge behind us.” (David D. Roberts, History and Theory, Vol. 56 (1), March, 2017)

“Both the ambition and thoroughness of the new book are hailed by an array of prominent people in their supporting cover statements. … Susen’s intention to provide the sort of comprehensive thematic mapping that will get beneath the level of more accentuated or descriptive approaches to postmodernism, which tend to be couched in terms of individual thinkers, selective issues, and individual disciplines.” (Gregor McLennan, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, Vol. 4 (1), February, 2017)

“This book is researched well, and fulfils its postmodern function as a product by being a pleasure to hold, look at and read. … The book is useful for PhD students because it gives an overarching introduction to contemporary debates and critical thinking on epistemology and methodology in sociology, politics and history. … the book will serve as a useful reference source about contemporary critical thinking in the social sciences.” (Michael Rush, International Sociology Reviews, Vol. 32 (2), 2017)

“This is simple but both meaningful and useful analytical contribution, enhancing our understanding of the origins of postmodernism … . Pursuing the goal of investigating the impact of postmodern thought on contemporary sociological discourse, Susen provides a remarkably precise, fine-grained and detailed account of present status of the social sciences. … It should be noted, however, that Susen takes a clear and critical stance on postmodernism.” (Vincenzo Mele, Journal of Classical Sociology, Vol. 17 (1), 2017)

“The book could be read as an encyclopedia of postmodernism, as it explains the majority of the relevant concepts and theories … .” (Morteza Hashemi, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 47 (4-5), 2017)

“The ‘Postmodern Turn’ in the Social Sciences is a book that offers more than one would assume merely on the basis of the title. … What’s even more noteworthy is that the extension of the scope of research comes as a result of the author’s decision to deal with the ‘postmodern’ theory … .” (Ana Birešev, Sociologija, Vol. 59 (1), 2017)

“The postmodern still matters, and there is, Susen’s work demonstrates, room for returning to it at length – although, by the end of the book, the reader might never feel the need to read another on the subject. Because Susen encompasses just about everything written on this topic, and goes beyond it in a massive and dense work of synthesis and systematization.” (Chamsy el-Ojeili, Thesis Eleven, Vol. 140 (1), 2017)

“Simon Susen’s The ’Postmodern Turn’ in the Social Sciences achieves that inter alia in the domain of methodology through the exemplar of discourse analysis which is characterised by its eclecticism or pluralism of its sources in different disciplinary fields. … Susen leaves open the possibility that postmodern writing can be interpreted in non-idealist ways.” (Howard Feather, Journal of Political Power, Vol. 9 (2), June, 2016)

“When I initially read this my first thought was that this book was going to be a jargon packed and obscurantist rant by a social science historian with a chip on his shoulder against postmodernism. But this is not at all the case because for me it turns out to be a complex and thoughtful analysis of the most significant changes and challenges to social science thinking and practice in the past two generations of scholars.” (Alun Munslow, Rethinking History, Vol. 20 (4), January, 2016)

“Simon Susen’s new book on discourses of the postmodern and postmodernism aims to provide an original, systematic, exhaustive, critical and – most audaciously – definitive statement of their impact in the social sciences. … Accessibly written, Susen’s book treats the topic of postmodernism by theme rather than by author – though one will find innumerable references to a wide range of authors associated with the postmodern.” (David Toews, Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 41 (1), 2016)

“Simon Susen has produced what is surely the definitive account of postmodern social, political, and cultural theory … The achievement of this book is to document, with meticulous accuracy and precision, the vast variety of ways in which social theory has responded to these changes in the course of the to-and-fro over ‘the postmodern.’” (William Outhwaite, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 29 (3), 2016)

“This book supplies a remarkably researched and painstakingly detailed descriptive narrative of a putative shift from modern to postmodern. … It is full of fine-grained description and is extremely comprehensive. It is a book that could find a thankful reader in anyone requiring a systematic review of the projects of modernity and postmodernism, and their relative strengths and weaknesses.” (Sarah Burton, LSE Review of Books, blogs.lse.ac.uk, November, 2015)


“The 'Postmodern Turn' in the Social Sciences presents an authoritative treatment of a significant phenomenon. Simon Susen's book is a real tour de force: it is remarkably comprehensive, analytically rigorous, and it develops a thorough critique of postmodern thought.” (Patrick Baert, University of Cambridge, UK)

“Simon Susen has done a first-class job in bringing some order into postmodern thought, which is notorious for its programmatic disorderliness. He has succeeded in doing so on the basis of research that is of unprecedented width and depth. The resulting compendium of thoughts and thinkers may well serve as a crucial point of reference for people contributing to or affected by the 'postmodern turn' – that is, the rest of us.” (Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds, UK)

“More commonly associated with the humanities, postmodernism has also had major impacts in the social sciences. Rather than choosing one narrow interpretation, Simon Susen takes a broad and inclusive look at a whole series of important debates and shifts of direction. The result is a timely account not just of past controversies but also of changing presuppositions shaping future scholarship.” (Craig Calhoun, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

“Simon Susen's magisterial critical organization of diverse insights, ambiguities, and problems in the fields of both modern and postmodern thought is a great gift. He provides a solid conceptual platform from which to launch tomorrow's progressive (yes!) social theories, policies, and practices.”  (Sandra Harding, University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

“Simon Susen has written an original and comprehensive review and critique of the 'postmodern turn' in the social sciences – an investigative project that is particularly important in relation to current intellectual developments in the United States. This work's depth and systematicity promise to play a major role in reversing the unfortunate decline in interest in, and attention to, postmodern thinking since the late 1990s. Early-21st-century social science, especially sociology, needs the insights and correctives of postmodern thinking more than ever. A careful reading of this book will make that clear and hopefully spawn a much-needed revival of interest in this important body of work.” (George Ritzer, University of Maryland, USA)

“Postmodernism may no longer be the provocation it was two decades ago, but it remains a profound challenge to the enlightenment dreams of 'reason' and 'progress'. Simon Susen's The 'Postmodern Turn' in the Social Sciences provides a smart and reader-friendly account of this transformational shift in contemporary critical thought.” (Steven Seidman, State University of New York, USA)

The 'Postmodern Turn' in the Social Sciences offers a lucid account of relevant debates and developments in epistemology, social research methodology, sociology, historiography, and politics and provides an insightful discussion of the work of thinkers who have been closely associated with postmodernism.” (Barry Smart, University of Portsmouth, UK)

“Simon Susen's detailed, systematic, and precise description of the 'postmodern turn' in all its dimensions – from identity politics to cultural studies – provides a diagnosis of where we stand today in the social sciences. We all need this book in order to engage in a serious assessment of our theoretical (and practical) predicament. There is no excuse – everyone has to read it!” (Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, UK; New York University, USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Susen, Simon

    Pages 1-39

  • From Modern to Postmodern Epistemology? The ‘Relativist Turn’

    Susen, Simon

    Pages 40-63

  • From Modern to Postmodern Methodology? The ‘Interpretive Turn’

    Susen, Simon

    Pages 64-82

  • From Modern to Postmodern Sociology? The ‘Cultural Turn’

    Susen, Simon

    Pages 83-135

  • From Modern to Postmodern Historiography? The ‘Contingent Turn’

    Susen, Simon

    Pages 136-170

Buy this book

eBook $109.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-31823-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $139.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-230-57929-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The ‘Postmodern Turn’ in the Social Sciences
Authors
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Simon Susen
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-31823-7
DOI
10.1057/9781137318237
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-230-57929-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
522
Topics