The essay "Postmodernism and Social Science" discusses postmodernism and social science. Before tackling how some postmodern paradigms actually compliment emancipatory social science it is logical to consider what the features of this social science are. Perhaps one of the first, and most certainly one of the most influential, attempts at emancipatory social science can be seen within the work of Karl Marx. Marx, in his most famous work Das Kapital (1867), attempted to critique Capitalist societies in a manner that he claimed was both scientific and revolutionary. Whether he actually succeeded in doing this is perhaps besides the point, the fact remains that he sought to analyse society in a scientific manner and formulated a number of terms that are still in use today. Thus the “mode of production”, “base and superstructure” , “class consciousness”, “ideology” and “historical materialism” have all become the basis for a whole universe of scholarship, political movements, practical attempts at creating a Marxist economy and mixture of all three. Marx identified certain trends, groups and relationships within society in a “scientific” manner, and then attempted to place them within his revolutionary, or for our purposes, emancipatory context. At the core of Marxist thinking is the idea of exploitation. Exploitation involves one entire class or segment of society taking advantage of another. The profit gained by the Capitalist is the difference between the value of the product and the actual wage.
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The researcher of this essay explores how postmodernism threatens the very possibility of an emancipatory social science. The fact is that social sciences can learn from postmodernists and visa-versa. In the best postmodern fashion it is not a case of either/or but rather both/and. …
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17 pages (4250 words)Essay
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