chapter  3
22 Pages

José Saramago's Sociology

ByMichael S. Drake

This chapter considers some of the novels of Jose Saramago as critical sociology in another form. It takes up Wolf Lepemes challenge to recover our understanding of literature as sociology and to work our way back to a literary, or poetic, sociology, through an analytical overview of novels by the Jose Saramago. Saramago's sociology is not empiricist, but nor is it 'interpretive sociology. The chapter suggests that any narrative fiction will by its very nature undertake experimental sociology, and will do so regardless of genre, because the allegorical form is a function of its conditions of production. Attention to those conditions of production of fiction can therefore help people to read narrative fiction as sociology without requiring them to reduce the work to a symptomatic expression of those conditions. Seeing develops Saramago's critical political sociology beyond the vulgar anarchist opposition of community to the state.