Liberation Theory and Liberating Action: The Contemporary Scene
In this chapter, the authors turn our attention to some contemporary theorists engaged in critical social theory, those social scientists who choose to centrally elaborate theories that aid in action to build a better social world. Liberation theorizing aims at human emancipation through the development of “knowledge that helps persons locate their experiences, discontents, and troubles as aspects of processes that are subject to human intervention and transformation.” Liberation theorizing also means reflecting on the methodological and normative principles governing the contemporary practice of sociology. Emancipatory sociological theories are important to those engaged in transforming the world into a more just place for principal reasons. A crucial element of much liberation sociology thinking is the ancient belief of numerous prophetic traditions that the world can be changed in fundamental ways through intentional human effort. In US sociology, “symbolic interactionism” is the common term for theories that call attention to the role that meaning and communication play in everyday life.