Loughborough University
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Love in sociological thought: a conceptual genealogy

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posted on 2015-02-23, 15:52 authored by Kuo-Kuei Kao
This thesis conducts a conceptual genealogy of love in sociological thought. lt traces the passage of a positive logic of love: a disappearing logic conceived in Goethe's art, cultivated from the social science of Comte and Marx to classical non/Marxist sociology, and finally extinguished by late/modern reflexive sociology. Recovering the lineage of Comte, Durkheim and Parsons, it defends an economic politics of love in the positivist tradition against the political culture of classical sociology and the bio-politics of current sociology. After the demise of Marxist political economy, it examines a new order of love transversal to the socialist and capitalist organizations. The tripartite thesis argues that the sociological tradition has been tarrying with a social order of love evolved from Goethe's ethic of death and renunciation. This order expresses a disorganizing phenomenology of fate as the modern world traverses from the fated causes. to fatal consequences of love. In the causal loop, the fated-fatal order of love encounters the act, freedom and risk in a multiple unfolding of reality with minimal difference. Part I explores how a religious-political belief of fetishism practiced by Comte and Marx comes across its fate in the historical act. Part 11 explicates why a cultural-political calling for fraternity theorized by classical non/Marxist sociologists runs up against its fate in sexual freedom. Part Ill reveals that a bio-political interest in reflexivity methodized by late/modern sociologists tumbles upon its fate in social risk. In conclusion, however, the thesis suggests that an event of posthumous life after the liberation of humanity continues to occur in a state of emergency because the passion for fate escalating from social science to sociology is driven by an unrequited love of Humanity.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Kuo-Kuei Kao

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of doctor of philosophy of Loughborough University.


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