"Kyung-Man Kim offers a comprehensive inventory of the obstacles the most powerful and influential thinkers of our time tried to overcome, the questions they asked without finding good answers, and the questions they've overlooked or avoided. No one concerned with the ethical impact of knowledge and the role it may play in winning the case of human freedom can neglect Kyung-Man Kim's analysis." -Zygmut Bauman "This is a powerful book, compelling for every reader who wants to know how current sociological theory can be used to change, not just interpret, the social world. Kyung-man Kim offers masterful readings of the main theoretical formations of the last century." -Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois "A lucid exposition and critique of Bourdieu, Giddens, and Habermas, and of the phenomenological ethnographies of Garfinkel and the ethnomethodologists who provided their starting point. Kim, who has honed his skills in his acute contributions to the hyper-reflexive sociology of scientific knowledge, now successfully takes on the big game of the emancipatory theory world. -Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania What binds the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, and Jurgen Habermas? Although these and other contemporary theorists offered major critiques of society, they stopped short of plausible proposals to achieve the liberation of individuals and societies. Kyung-Man Kim offers a new reading of contemporary critical theorists and explains how, by reading them together, we may find a practical basis for progressive social change.

chapter |13 pages


Rethinking Theory and Practice

chapter |22 pages

The Management of Temporality

Ethnomethodology as Historical/Theoretical Reconstruction of Practical Action

chapter |18 pages

Critical Theory Criticized

Giddens's Double Hermeneutic and the Problem of Language Game Change

chapter |11 pages

Is Social Theory an Interactive Kind?

chapter |6 pages


To Whom Do the Critical Theorists Address Themselves?