The book examines how ancient myths have developed and still survive in the collective public imagination in order to answer fundamental questions concerning the individual, society and historical heritage: On what basis do we form our opinion and develop attitudes about key issues? What is, and how should, the relationship between ourselves and nature be oriented? And what is the relationship between ourselves and others? Advancing a critical analysis of myths, Andrea Cerroni reveals the inconsistencies and consequences of our contemporary imagination, addressing neoliberalism in particular. The book elaborates a sociological theology from historical reconstruction, drawing together analytical concepts such as political theology and sociological imagination. It brings into focus a cultural matrix comprising ancient myths about nature, society and knowledge, in opposition to modern myths built around reductionism, individualism and relativism. Providing suggestions for deconstructing these myths, Contemporary Sociological Theology explores concepts of reflexive complexity, Gramscian democratic politics and a general relativisation of knowledge. Highly interdisciplinary, this book will be an insightful read for sociology and social policy scholars, for students with a particular interest in sociological theory, cultural sociology and innovation policy and for all those who seek awareness of the imagination that rules our world 1 Chapter 1.1 Introduction At the end of the very long process that took place over tens of thousands of years and culminated during the Axial Age, a first symbolic Canon took form. Starting from the so-called "matriarchy" of our origins to the development of the ancient patriarchy, three central myths developed, particularly within the Greek Olympus, but with a more general scope. In accordance with the general objectives of our investigation, we will therefore look for traces of these myths in the contemporary imagination. Keywords: Ancient myths, conquest of consciousness, Olympian nomos, historical sociology 2 Chapter 1.2 Pathos and harmony: The community within the Gaia-hypothesis The first myth took the form of Gaia, the Great Mother Earth representing the ambiguous cradle/prison that envelops and permeates an individual still struggling to be in-dividual, tending to tear it apart, to 'divide' it. The Beauty was an early ideal of pre/anti-social life, empathetically and harmoniously guided by the natural endowment and, since then, it has run underground throughout history in the foreground, up to Romanticism, environmentalism and the new regimes of contemporary secularised religions. Keywords: vitalism, holism, communitarianism, matriarchy, romanticism, environmentalism 3 Chapter 1.3 Nomos and Kronos: Slippery slopes After the Indo-European migrations during the last millennia BC throughout and around the Mediterranean Sea, social life became more differentiated and stratified. Then the myth of Kronos/Saturn appeared, the first paterfamilias of the ancient cosmogonies, benevolent but despotic king of the Golden Age, Lord of time and order. The Good became an ideal, although uncertain and unstable like any tyranny, requiring the individual to stand in the rightful, assigned place. Innovation can be admitted only if enforcing/restoring that equilibrium. Keywords: temporal order, despotism, golden age, patriarchy, technophobia 4 Chapter 1.4 Logos: Athena and the angelic science As the Aeschylean trilogy openly testifies, in the last centuries B.C. a historical development was underway leading to the Greek polis, especially in Athens with its enlightenment. Athena was indeed a new myth within the Ancient Canon, representing, at the same time, the first attempt at a democracy and a science.It survived during modernity as an ambition of power, but the True Logos from the 19th century started to appear as a Legend yet to be secularised and democracy as an ambiguous utopia if not a threat to be neutralized. Keywords: Logos, objectivism, democracy, Enlightenment 5 Chapter 2.1 Introduction In contrast to the myths analysed, emotions, beliefs, symbolic productions and, in some cases, even philosophies of an opposite sign were already thickening in antiquity. However, these remained marginal or, in any case, in the shadows, compared to the intellectual elaboration and sociological imagination of the time. Slowly, beginning in the Middle Ages, they came to constitute a new, Modern Canon. We will follow the parabola of modernity starting from the affirmation of individuals as Promethean subject dissecting Nature to understand its principles and squeezing out any possible utility, to the last consequences of contemporary society. Reductionism was the counter-myth of Gaia, as individualism of Eliasian homo clausus was the counter-myth of Kronos and relativism the counter-myth of Athena. Keywords: Modern myths, neoliberism, reductionism, objectivism, subjectivism. 6 Chapter 2.2 Scientistic reductionism: The mad race for the atom Modernity started killing the holism of Gaia, reducing Nature to nothing but a mechanistic sum of atoms (bits, genes, neurons…), that is a stuff that is not worth anything, inert matter indistinguishable, ready for the calculation of utility and substitution for the use and consumption of the little god of the world (Goethe), master and owner of nature (Descartes). The shattering of the apparent, natural order within nature (and society) creates room for the Great Instauration (Francis Bacon) of the modern, artificial, higher order from the scientific genius of the Promethean Man: a hybrid between a nobleman whose noblesse oblige allows him to be curious and theoretically oriented and a frenetic bourgeois just unleashed, animated by feral animal spirits practically oriented. Complexity was initially removed, but is the actual emergence, both theoretically and in the practical life: quantophrenia raises quantophobia from its cultural depths. Keywords: Reductionism, quantophrenia, mathematization, scientism. 7 Chapter 2.3 Sociological Narcissism: The wasted land of homo clausus The apex of reductionism is the cult of the individual (Durkheim) intended as a homo clausus (Elias) on which the methodological individualism strives to build a social theory that cannot go beyond the assertion that society does not exist. The development of a society of citizens, on one side, confers the undoubted merits of modernity, but on the other side raises the ambivalent mythologization of the individual: the sociological narcissism (Lasch) ends up being the damnation of hollow men to live in a wasted land (Eliot). Keywords: Singularism, individualism, homo clausus, narcissism. 8 Chapter 2.4 Absolute relativism: The fight for decision power A Modern Canon can be recognized, comprising the reductionism extracting each token from its context; the Homo clausus’ narcissism and individualism shattering the social nexus, and the absolute epistemological relativism with no reference at all. Ancient and Modern Canon taken together build what we can call the Classical Matrix: the pillars for a new paradigm are therefore settled as ways out of this matrix, towards an aware methodological approach comprising a comprehensive approach to reflexive complexity, a democratic politics-history frame for fully democratic policies and a general relativity of knowledge to defuse ideologies. Keywords: relativism, decisiveness, subjectivism, relativity, politics-history.

Cerroni, A. (2022). Contemporary Sociological Theology. The Imagination that rules the World. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar [10.4337/9781800882904].

Contemporary Sociological Theology. The Imagination that rules the World

Cerroni, A
2022

Abstract

The book examines how ancient myths have developed and still survive in the collective public imagination in order to answer fundamental questions concerning the individual, society and historical heritage: On what basis do we form our opinion and develop attitudes about key issues? What is, and how should, the relationship between ourselves and nature be oriented? And what is the relationship between ourselves and others? Advancing a critical analysis of myths, Andrea Cerroni reveals the inconsistencies and consequences of our contemporary imagination, addressing neoliberalism in particular. The book elaborates a sociological theology from historical reconstruction, drawing together analytical concepts such as political theology and sociological imagination. It brings into focus a cultural matrix comprising ancient myths about nature, society and knowledge, in opposition to modern myths built around reductionism, individualism and relativism. Providing suggestions for deconstructing these myths, Contemporary Sociological Theology explores concepts of reflexive complexity, Gramscian democratic politics and a general relativisation of knowledge. Highly interdisciplinary, this book will be an insightful read for sociology and social policy scholars, for students with a particular interest in sociological theory, cultural sociology and innovation policy and for all those who seek awareness of the imagination that rules our world 1 Chapter 1.1 Introduction At the end of the very long process that took place over tens of thousands of years and culminated during the Axial Age, a first symbolic Canon took form. Starting from the so-called "matriarchy" of our origins to the development of the ancient patriarchy, three central myths developed, particularly within the Greek Olympus, but with a more general scope. In accordance with the general objectives of our investigation, we will therefore look for traces of these myths in the contemporary imagination. Keywords: Ancient myths, conquest of consciousness, Olympian nomos, historical sociology 2 Chapter 1.2 Pathos and harmony: The community within the Gaia-hypothesis The first myth took the form of Gaia, the Great Mother Earth representing the ambiguous cradle/prison that envelops and permeates an individual still struggling to be in-dividual, tending to tear it apart, to 'divide' it. The Beauty was an early ideal of pre/anti-social life, empathetically and harmoniously guided by the natural endowment and, since then, it has run underground throughout history in the foreground, up to Romanticism, environmentalism and the new regimes of contemporary secularised religions. Keywords: vitalism, holism, communitarianism, matriarchy, romanticism, environmentalism 3 Chapter 1.3 Nomos and Kronos: Slippery slopes After the Indo-European migrations during the last millennia BC throughout and around the Mediterranean Sea, social life became more differentiated and stratified. Then the myth of Kronos/Saturn appeared, the first paterfamilias of the ancient cosmogonies, benevolent but despotic king of the Golden Age, Lord of time and order. The Good became an ideal, although uncertain and unstable like any tyranny, requiring the individual to stand in the rightful, assigned place. Innovation can be admitted only if enforcing/restoring that equilibrium. Keywords: temporal order, despotism, golden age, patriarchy, technophobia 4 Chapter 1.4 Logos: Athena and the angelic science As the Aeschylean trilogy openly testifies, in the last centuries B.C. a historical development was underway leading to the Greek polis, especially in Athens with its enlightenment. Athena was indeed a new myth within the Ancient Canon, representing, at the same time, the first attempt at a democracy and a science.It survived during modernity as an ambition of power, but the True Logos from the 19th century started to appear as a Legend yet to be secularised and democracy as an ambiguous utopia if not a threat to be neutralized. Keywords: Logos, objectivism, democracy, Enlightenment 5 Chapter 2.1 Introduction In contrast to the myths analysed, emotions, beliefs, symbolic productions and, in some cases, even philosophies of an opposite sign were already thickening in antiquity. However, these remained marginal or, in any case, in the shadows, compared to the intellectual elaboration and sociological imagination of the time. Slowly, beginning in the Middle Ages, they came to constitute a new, Modern Canon. We will follow the parabola of modernity starting from the affirmation of individuals as Promethean subject dissecting Nature to understand its principles and squeezing out any possible utility, to the last consequences of contemporary society. Reductionism was the counter-myth of Gaia, as individualism of Eliasian homo clausus was the counter-myth of Kronos and relativism the counter-myth of Athena. Keywords: Modern myths, neoliberism, reductionism, objectivism, subjectivism. 6 Chapter 2.2 Scientistic reductionism: The mad race for the atom Modernity started killing the holism of Gaia, reducing Nature to nothing but a mechanistic sum of atoms (bits, genes, neurons…), that is a stuff that is not worth anything, inert matter indistinguishable, ready for the calculation of utility and substitution for the use and consumption of the little god of the world (Goethe), master and owner of nature (Descartes). The shattering of the apparent, natural order within nature (and society) creates room for the Great Instauration (Francis Bacon) of the modern, artificial, higher order from the scientific genius of the Promethean Man: a hybrid between a nobleman whose noblesse oblige allows him to be curious and theoretically oriented and a frenetic bourgeois just unleashed, animated by feral animal spirits practically oriented. Complexity was initially removed, but is the actual emergence, both theoretically and in the practical life: quantophrenia raises quantophobia from its cultural depths. Keywords: Reductionism, quantophrenia, mathematization, scientism. 7 Chapter 2.3 Sociological Narcissism: The wasted land of homo clausus The apex of reductionism is the cult of the individual (Durkheim) intended as a homo clausus (Elias) on which the methodological individualism strives to build a social theory that cannot go beyond the assertion that society does not exist. The development of a society of citizens, on one side, confers the undoubted merits of modernity, but on the other side raises the ambivalent mythologization of the individual: the sociological narcissism (Lasch) ends up being the damnation of hollow men to live in a wasted land (Eliot). Keywords: Singularism, individualism, homo clausus, narcissism. 8 Chapter 2.4 Absolute relativism: The fight for decision power A Modern Canon can be recognized, comprising the reductionism extracting each token from its context; the Homo clausus’ narcissism and individualism shattering the social nexus, and the absolute epistemological relativism with no reference at all. Ancient and Modern Canon taken together build what we can call the Classical Matrix: the pillars for a new paradigm are therefore settled as ways out of this matrix, towards an aware methodological approach comprising a comprehensive approach to reflexive complexity, a democratic politics-history frame for fully democratic policies and a general relativity of knowledge to defuse ideologies. Keywords: relativism, decisiveness, subjectivism, relativity, politics-history.
Monografia o trattato scientifico - Monografia di Ricerca - Riedizione/traduzione
Neoliberalism, Ordoliberalism, Sociological imagination, Myths, Antiquity, Modernity, Nomos, Pathos, Communitarism, Technophobia, Objectivism, Reductionism, Quantophrenia, Scientism, Individualism, Singularism, Narcissism, Relativism
English
978-1-80088-289-8
Cerroni, A. (2022). Contemporary Sociological Theology. The Imagination that rules the World. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar [10.4337/9781800882904].
Cerroni, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/396871
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