Reflexive historical sociology: Consciousness, experience and the author

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This article examines the recent work of the sociologist Arpad Szakolczai as he attempts to conceptualize the programme of 'reflexive historical sociology' in the 'life-works' of Max Weber, Eric Voegelin and Michel Foucault as well as Norbert Elias, Lewis Mumford and Franz Borkenau. Particular attention is paid to the innovative manner in which the work of the anthropologist Victor Turner is used to explore the biographies of these social theorists as in effect performative life-works in which crucial liminal periods and experiences are seen as facilitating new understandings. It is suggested that the life-work approach to social theory adds an important reflexive dimension to the analysis of social thought. © 2005 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-160
Number of pages19
JournalHistory of the Human Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Arpad Szakolczai
  • Biography
  • Historical sociology
  • Reflexivity
  • Victor Turner


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