By S. Aronowitz
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Additional info for Against Orthodoxy: Social Theory and Its Discontents
Perhaps more to the point, positivism was unable to ask some of the searching questions endemic to a critical theory of science: to what extent does the culture A Critique of Methodological Reason 39 ● of science (that is, its profound belief in the sovereignty of method) regulate what is studied, by what means, and its results? Nor can it ask whether the politics and economics of scientific authority—the imperative that investigation be legitimated by powerful leaders in the field—encourage or discourage lines of research.
Wright Mills termed the “labor metaphysic,” his theoretical range remained limited. It was as if hanging on to the primacy of class was a shield against the dissolution of his socialist faith. ” For many who were theoretically lighter on their feet than Williams, including some of his students and erstwhile admirers, have drifted 30 Against Orthodoxy ● away from socialism, let alone Marxism. It may be said that they have confused the concept of “crisis,” which indeed suffuses the contemporary socialist and workers’ movements, with their obsolescence.
This idea seems to me to repeat, in new and important idiom, the concepts of learning and of popular democratic culture that underlie the present book. What it valuably stresses is the educational force (education as distinct from enseignement) of whole social and cultural experience. It is therefore concerned, not only with continuing education of a formal or informal kind, but with what the whole environment, its institutions and relationships, actively and profoundly teaches. To consider the problems of families or town planning is then an educational enterprise, for these, also, is where teaching occurs.