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Estudios sociológicos

versión On-line ISSN 2448-6442versión impresa ISSN 0185-4186


LINDEMAN, Gesa. Reflecting on the Social from its Limits. Estud. sociol [online]. 2023, vol.41, n.121, pp.7-35.  Epub 09-Jun-2023. ISSN 2448-6442.

The analysis of the limits of the social world leads to a new kind of sociological research that integrates an epistemological reflection on the approach adopted. The text develops the outlines of this strategy in four steps. First, the relationship between sociology and (implicit) anthropological assumptions is discussed. The thesis is that this relationship has the features of a positive anthropology and argues that the analysis of the limits of the social informed by Plessner’s anthropological reflections forces its replacement by a reflexive anthropology. Second, the epistemological problem of the link between social theory and empirical research is discussed in connection with Simmel’s theory of the social, and two characteristics of the former are identified: its claim to universal knowledge and its unfalsifiability when faced with empirical data. Third, it is proposed that the empirical reference of theory should be based on the irritation/precision distinction to overcome (aufheben) the immunity of social theories and guide their development towards empirical research. Finally, the fourth step addresses the problem that self-relativization in terms of the sociology of knowledge poses as regards the universal claim of knowledge of social theories.

Palabras llave : limits of the social world; reflexive anthropology; social theory; empirical research; sociology of knowledge; self-relativization.

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