A. N. Whitehead and Social Theory: Tracing a Culture of Thought

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Anthem Press, Sep 1, 2011 - Philosophy - 198 pages
The contemporary importance of A. N. Whitehead (1861–1947) lies in his direct yet productive challenge to the culture of thought inherent in modernity, a challenge that suffuses science, social theory and philosophy alike. Unlike some of the more destructive aspects of postmodernism and poststructuralism, Whitehead’s diagnosis of the conceptual fault lines of the modern era does not entail a passive relativism. Instead, he calls for a renewal of our concepts, offering a positive, philosophical approach based on becoming, relativity, and a reconception of subjectivity and the social. This book outlines Whitehead’s philosophy, using it to reorient a range of specific questions and topics within contemporary social theory.

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Chapter Three
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Chapter Five
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About the author (2011)

Michael Halewood is a lecturer in social theory at the University of Essex.  His main area of research is the relationship of philosophy to social theory, especially with regard to the work of Alfred North Whitehead. He has published articles and chapters on Whitehead’s relation to Deleuze, Badiou and Butler and on topics such as John Dewey, subjectivity and materiality, the body, language and sociality. He has also edited a special section of the journal ‘Theory, Culture and Society’ dedicated to Whitehead, and he is an International Academic Advisor to the Whitehead Research Project.

His full research and teaching interests include social theory (classical and contemporary), the philosophy of social science, subjectivity, the body, Marx, abstraction, pragmatism, the metaphysics of the social, materialism and ontology. His recent publications include: ‘On Whitehead and Deleuze – The Process of Materiality’ in ‘Configurations’ (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) 13.1: 57-76; ‘Being a Sociologist and Becoming a Whiteheadian: Concrescing Methodological Tactics’ [co-authored with M. Michael] in ‘Theory, Culture and Society’ (Sage, 2008) 25.4: 31-56; ‘Language, Subjectivity and Individuality’ in ‘Deleuze, Whitehead, Bergson: Rhizomatic Connections’, ed. K. Robinson (London: Palgrave, 2009); and ‘Butler and Whitehead on the (Social) Body’ in ‘Secrets of Becoming: Negotiating Whitehead, Deleuze, and Butler’, ed. R. Faber and A. Stephenson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010).

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