Time to Change the Subject: A New Sociology of Praxis
R. A. Dello Buono
For at least half a century, social constructionism strongly marked the course of sociological studies of social problems. Its presence was felt in social problems textbooks, various dedicated book series, and within the discipline’s major professional associations, particularly the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) where many seminal constructionists served as presiding officers and/or as editors of the association’s journal Social Problems. After decades of glory, however, the winds of paradigmatic change may be blowing in new directions.
The deepening global crisis confronting the early 21st Century has shaken the social sciences. Powerful and increasingly transnational social movements have emerged in response to the dictates of global capital across the global North and South. The historical moment demands that we as academics, social scientists and social practitioners work in better tandem with these popular movements, channeling our efforts more directly to synergize and concretize emerging visions of another possible world. All of this requires a revitalized sociological imagination, a concerted reimagination that goes beyond critical analysis and places renewed emphasis on collective response and strategy building. Social constructionism, never well-suited for this task, has fallen ever further behind the curve of social change, leaving a theoretical vacuum in social problems research in its wake.