For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Touraine's Post-Industrial Society"

by Kivisto, Peter (1980)


Alain Touraine's sociological project is directed towards explicating the new societal contours of advanced industrial society from the stance of a politically engaged leftist. His work ranges from meta-theory to empirical studies of industrial enterprises and social movements. This paper analyzes his theory of post-industrial society, depicting his presentation of the historical backdrop leading to the advent of post-industrial society, and illustrating his unique contribution by locating his work within a context of intellectual discourse. A critique of his work is presented that questions two basic, and somewhat paradoxical, aspects of his theory. First, it questions the adequacy of adopting a theoretical framework derived from the nineteenth century Marxian corpus for use in a new historical context, particularly given the problematic nature of the Marxian heritage vis-a-vis its ambiguous class theory and its latent technological determinism. Secondly, it criticizes the theoretical closure resulting from his articulation of a radical rupture in historical development between industrial and post-industrial society. Such a foreclosure, it is argued, occludes from view the onerous weight of historical continuity.


Touraine, Sociology, Post-Industrial, Historical Context, Marxism, Technological Determinism


Touraine, Post-Industrial Society

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