Der Topos "Nähe" : Ernst Blochs Eintrittsstelle in die Sozialwissenschaften : ein Beitrag zur Ontologie der modernen Gesellschaft

Sammanfattning: The present age is a time of major societal change in which the social sciences are again faced with three key problems: the relationship between the social science and societal reality, the elaboration of a meaningful concept of human agency, and the need to incorporate a temporal dimension into theories of the interaction between institutional structures and human agents.Against this background I discuss in the first part of the thesis the work of three theorists - Jiirgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, and Anthony Giddens - who all share the ambition to overcome traditional dichotomies In social and political thought: the social versus the individual, the static versus the dynamic, objectivism versus subjectivism, freedom versus determination. None of the three, I argue, succeeds in providing a satisfactory solution to these key problems. In particular, they fail to account adequately for the time factor.In the second part of the thesis I present an alternative point of departure for grasping reality, one based on Ernst Bloch’s ontology in which the notion of time holds a central position. This permits us to launch our conceptual strategy from a specific point in history, the present, which is the crucial point in the continual process of social becoming. Thus social reality, understood as a process, is constantly produced and reproduced through everyday human practice. Based on this ontological foundation, the concept of social context, the relation between structure and human agency, is an essentially open one and for this reason, it is possible to explain both social change and stability.