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SOCIAL THEORY and the Sociological Discipline(s) - page 29 / 44





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28 ESA Social Theory Conference, Innsbruck, September 11-13, 2008

Emiliana Mangone

Fisciano (SA), Italy

Sociological training as strategy for empowerment of healthcare’s professionals


Contemporary contexts of work, including healthcare, are characterized by the dichotomy rigidity/flexibility. The notion of flexibility must not be understood as passive adaptation rather the capability to built an active intervention. Healthcare organization can be represented as an organism whose parts mutually involve and interact. That leads to the interweaving between organization’s development and professional change, paying attention to the quality of work: in such situation, the training of healthcare’s professionals undertakes less the compensatory function rather the function of system’s regulation. The training that isn’t only the transfer of knowledge, but the promotion of capacity of learning by learning ( in other words learning by daily works experience and relations) makes the worker an active part in the productions’ processes of “good health” and in all development processes of healthcare organization.

In the prospective of improvement of health and socio-health services, the training should be an empowerment in which the integration between theory, research and effectiveness isn’t eliminable: in this direction the sociology should undertake a fundamental role to build and keep the integration of these aspects, by investing with responsability the work contexts. There, every professional with his knowledge and experience can be directly involved into choices concerning problematic situations.

The interaction between knowledge and intervention refers to a “relational approach” to social reality that consists of objective aspects (objects) and subjective aspects (symbols). Thus, sociology is a research about these connections that are at same time “actions” and “functioning”, “inter-subjectivity” and “organizational structure”.

Anastasia Marinopoulou

Athens, Greece

Politics for the sake of Rationality: problematics deriving from critical theory

The aim of this presentation is to suggest that when either communicative action as suggested by Habermas, or political organizations or institutions as criticized by Horkheimer and Habermas are losing their direction towards a defined political aim, that attempts to form and render social rationality innovative and timely for social needs, this constitutes then the lack of rational politics. The latter produces the profession of an irrational rationality that instrumentalises not only individual demands but also concrete collective interests and practices.

The question on the nature of politics should commence with communicative processes, whether these are uncoerced or obstructed, that take place within the social field. Communicative action can declare political problematics within any debate and reform any political organization that adopts it, for it hinges on the intention of a rational society.

Communicative processes do not provide any conciliatory theory and do not necessitate any final agreement of conflicting social parties. The issue for communicative action remains to identify political and social differences. That is why though communicative action is often misrepresented as a process of attempting to reach some unconditional agreement, in reality it discloses more disputes and ambiguities than what it identifies initially within the social and political realm.

An apolitical politics generates rule changing or even political boundaries’ realignment to the extent that this safeguards the reproduction of the existing political and social order. It does not necessitate though any alternative to the existing political resolutions or social construction in general that would render the latter viable for humans, innovative for social dialectics and open for multiple forms of political criticism and redefinition, according to reason expressed by social subjects.

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