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Von der gesteuerten Demokratie zum selbststeuernden Kapitalismus: Die Sozialwissenschaften in der Liberalisierung


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  • Streeck, Wolfgang
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    Das Papier, vorgetragen beim Institutstag 2008 des Max-Planck-Instituts für Gesellschaftsforschung, fragt nach dem Zusammenhang sozialwissenschaftlicher Theorieentwicklung und dem Wandel der politisch-ökonomischen Verhältnisse. Zentrale These ist, dass sozialwissenschaftliche Theorien sich ihrer Natur nach immer auf den Handlungshorizont eines vorgestellten Anwenders beziehen lassen und auch nur so völlig verstanden werden können. Dies wird am Beispiel der Entwicklung der politischen Makrosoziologie nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg ausgeführt. Danach werden fünf Tendenzen in den gegenwärtigen Sozialwissenschaften kurz betrachtet, die auf eine zunehmende Unsicherheit über den möglichen Verwendungszusammenhang sozialwissenschaftlicher Grundlagenforschung unter Bedingungen der globalen Expansion selbststeuernder Märkte zurückgeführt werden: der Übergang von der Steuerungs- zur 'Governance'- Forschung; die Abkehr von einem partizipatorischen Demokratiemodell; der Aufstieg der Ökonomie zur Leitwissenschaft der Politik; eine funktionalistisch-effizienztheoretische Wende in der Begründung von Sozialpolitik; sowie wachsende Zweifel an einem szientistischen Theoriemodell. Abschließend wird argumentiert, dass die heutigen Sozialwissenschaften ihre theorieleitende und identitätsstiftende Handlungsorientierung in der Aufgabe finden könnten, die Grenzen einer marktförmigen Organisation sozialer Beziehungen in öffentlicher Erinnerung zu halten. -- The paper is an expanded and revised version of a lecture given at the 2008 Annual Colloquium of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG). Its subject is the relationship between social theories and political-economic change. The paper's central claim is that theories of society can by nature be fully understood only if related to and interpreted in the horizon of action of a virtual user located in the social world that is being explained. This is illustrated with reference to the development of political macrosociology since the Second World War. Next, five tendencies in today's social sciences are briefly discussed, all of which seem to indicate growing uncertainty about the practical usefulness of basic research in social science, in light of the demise of the democratic nation-state: the transition from Steuerungstheorie to research on 'governance'; the departure from participatory models of democracy; the rise of economics to academic and political hegemony; a functionalist, efficiency-theoretical turn in theories of social policy; and growing doubts about the usefulness of a scientistic model of theory. In the final section it is suggested that the social sciences might find new theoretical orientation and practical self-confidence by defending in public discourse its fundamental insights on the limits of a market-driven organization of social life.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 08/7.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:087

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    1. Beckert, Jens & Streeck, Wolfgang, 2008. "Economic sociology and political economy: A programmatic perspective," MPIfG Working Paper 08/4, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Streeck, Wolfgang, 2008. "Industrial relations today: Reining in flexibility," MPIfG Working Paper 08/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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