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Contemporary Sociology - Book Report/Review Example

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Jurgen Habermas's critique of the Frankfurt School's ideological commitments regarding the onto-teleological unfolding of history was the basis of his more general critique against the normative foundations from which they used to launch their attack against the culture industry and capitalism…
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Contemporary Sociology
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Contemporary Sociology

Download file to see previous pages... A proper explication of communicative rationality is embedded in his analysis of life-world and its fundamental tension to system in contemporary civilization. Moreover, his sociological interpretation of the role of agency and the problems of structure offers insight to the fundamental importance of the public sphere a fundamental element of Habermas's positive program vis--vis communicative action/rationality. In this paper, I will provide a summary of communicative rationality as regards the Problems of Agency and Structure coupled with my own reflexive commentary on the readings associated with these topics.
Niemi (2005) and others offer that the immersive nature of language, that is, language is that which we are born into, usually into the language of our parents or culture, and this fundamentally structures rationality and not merely the evidence of our application of reason or the instrument of that reason. Other accounts of rationality such as Kant's depend on a transcendental process, which fundamentally massages and mediates our structures of thought. These transcendental structures offer the "view from no-where" perspective of reason which is mediated through our manifold of sensible intuition. Habermas's model depends on coordinating social action, that is, action between at a minimum two agents. Habermas reasons that this is only possible if and only if there is a shared set of rules of linguistic interaction plus some recognized, if only implicitly, agreement on meaning and syntax. This sort of conclusion devalues or finds insufficient the sort of strategic or instrumental reasoning that seeks to manipulate natural laws and social facts that is indicative of the natural or pure sciences. This reasoning furthermore does not evaluate normatively the goals of it manipulation, or seeks to develop a basis from which to judge the efficacy of its ends. This rationality is the hallmark of system-rationality, which occurs "from above" and seeks to dominate by functioning as a machine which implements mass conformity.
Communicative Rationality depends on the interaction of two agents through language, with the intention of achieving something other than a desired result, though a desired result can be had in the offing, but something like what might be called "understanding" or agreement (Nemi 2005, p. 218). In other words for communicative rationality to be effective in must occur wherein neither agent is interested in "influencing" the other. This type of rationality lies in distinction to instrumental or strategic reasoning, which almost exclusively requires that language be implemented to achieve a desired result or cause an action. Communicative rationality is not a method to reach veridical statements of fact, but instead a process or an interaction in which language is used to create agreement or disagreement, but at least some shared understanding which can be carried forward to other engagements with other interlocutors. Communicative Rationality works coordinatively and not hierarchically.
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