The temporal horizons of sociology

I just came across a passage by James Meek in which he describes being drawn to,

the obscure realm of events that are too fresh for history, but too old for journalism; the murky gap of popular perception that covers the period from two years ago to about twenty-five years back, in which events are well remembered but patterns not easily perceived.

I’m struck by the realisation that so much of the sociology I’ve been drawn to (Giddens on late modernity, Bauman on liquid modernity, Castells on the information age, Rosa on social acceleration etc) similarly concerns itself with this ‘murky gap’ between current affairs and historical inquiry. It’s also the domain of ‘contemporary history’ but I’m drawn to social theoretical engagements because of their concern to discern those patterns “not easily perceived” in spite of the manifold inadequacies which characterise these bodies of work. Perhaps those inadequacies stem at least in part from the ‘murkiness’ inherent in this gap?

Categories: Outflanking Platitudes

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