The Soul-less Souls of Black Folk: A Sociological Reconsideration of Black Consciousness as Du Boisian Double Consciousness
Since the 1960s, there have been two schools of thought on the origins and nature of black consciousness: the adaptive-vitality school and the pathological-pathogenic school. The latter argues that in its divergences from white American norms and values, black American consciousness is nothing more than a pathological form of and reaction to American consciousness, rather than a dual (both African and American) counter hegemonic opposing 'identity-in-differential' (the term is Gayatri Spivak's) to the American one. Proponents of the adaptive-vitality school argue that the divergences are not pathologies but African 'institutional transformations' preserved on the American landscape. The purpose of this work is to understand black consciousness by working out the theoretical and methodological problems from which these two divergent schools are constructed, in order to arrive at a more sociohistorical, rather than racial, understanding of black consciousness. Using a variant of structuration theory to account for the sociohistorical development of black consciousness formation within the American social structure, author Paul Mocombe concludes that black American life is dual and pathological only in relation to a particular interpretive community, the black bourgeoisie or liberal middle class.
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adaptive-vitality school African American agential moments agents ambivalence American capitalist American Protestant American social structure American society attempt being-in-the-world bicultural biological black American black American consciousness black consciousness black nation Blassingame Bois’s double consciousness capitalist century racial class racism class-in-itself constitution defined discriminated distinct dominant double consciousness construct double-consciousness economic gain enslavement equality of opportunity ethos Fisk forms of being-in-the-world Franklin Frazier Frazier fully visible Habermas historical ideological apparatuses institutional regulators Jürgen Habermas Karenga liberal black bourgeoisie marginalized material conditions material practice mechanical solidarity middle class nationalist obtain equality one’s ontology organized and reproduced pathological-pathogenic school position predestined Protestant bourgeois Protestant ethic Protestantism purposive-rationality race racial and national racial class racial science recognition recursively organized relations of production sciousness slave slavery social actors sociohistorical Souls of Black spirit of capitalism structurally differentiated Talented Tenth tion understanding University Press W.E.B. Du Bois white American white counterparts white Protestant York