Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Douglas V. Davidson
Dr. Lewis Walker
Dr. Rudolph Siebert
Dr. Gerald Markle
In examining the history and development of existential sociology, it becomes clear that in its initial phases it was not intended to oppose traditional sociological research, but to complement it. I intend to show that the contemporary chasm between the methodologies can be narrowed with a reconsideration of their common roots in the work of G.H. Mead and the symbolic interactionists. Existential sociologists today offer a practical synthesis that combines that theoretical heritage with philosophic ontology dating back to the writings of Soren Kierkegaard.
My conceptual goal is reveal how the existential philosophy of Kierkegaard, while not irrational or solipsistic, provides a more refined model for understanding the dialectic between society and the alienated self. Contrary to the standard conception, I propose that Kierkegaard was engaged directly in social theory. Moreover, his developmental stages of the individual can be effectually applied to society, with authentic individuality as requisite for a community with genuine equality. Those existential ideas may provide a theoretical setting conducive to the implementation of programs for social change.
Jakway, Chris L., "A Kierkegaardian Understanding of Self and Society: An Existential Sociology" (1998). Dissertations. 1557.