Volume 38, 2021

Thirty Years of ProtoSociology

Vittorio Cotesta
Pages 273-278

The New Shape of the World
Note on “Sociology of the Next Society: Multiple Modernities, Glocalization and Membership Order”

Preyer and Krausse’s Sociology on Next Society proposes a new perspective on interpreting the global society of the future. In these Notes, the author discusses some of the key points of the volume. The paradigm shift in the sciences is often introduced by the creation of a new language, a new view of the relationship between words and things. The question is whether this semantic and epistemological feature also characterizes the approach proposed by Preyer and Krausse. The sociology of the Next Society – observes the author – is in fact the latest attempt to get rid of the sociology of social systems based on the analogy between society and living organism. This attempt has been underway for at least 50 years and this volume constitutes the final result. In reality, it is a question of freeing sociology (of social systems) from the hegemony of the socio-biological sciences. And it is not an easy task. The author asks whether this attempt has been successful and what the results are in terms of interpreting the new form of the world. On the one hand, the sociology of the Next society places itself in the sphere of the new theories on the world but, on the other, it still adopts a traditional model. In fact, it aims at overcoming the “society of individuals”, typical of the modern-bourgeois western society, with a society based on the membership of social, professional, etc. orders. The ordering of society should be based on the “membership order”. The authors themselves qualify the next society as a neo-feudal society. How prolific is its approach is still an open question. The numerous researches promoted and directly conducted by the authors are an attempt to give an empirical basis to their proposal. Compared to other theories of global society, the sociology of the next society shows its vitality in placing itself at the level of the “global” analysis of the world. Its limits, perhaps, are in not seeing that there are different “projects” or “forms of globality” competing with each other. Each civilization has a claim to universality and a project of hegemony over the world that could be better understood through an approach based on the concept and paradigm of social conflict, both within societies and between societies and civilizations.

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