Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Much of contemporary Anglo-American radical social criticism, although paying intellectual homage to the work of Karl Marx, is firmly rooted in the modern liberal ideological tradition - corporate liberalism that began to evolve with the development of monopoly capitalism. Left-Weberian critical sociology, represented in this thesis by the work of C. Wright Mills, Alvin W. Gouldner and Thomas B. Bottomore, is one form of Anglo-American social criticism, and is the focus of study for this work. It is contended that left-Weberian social criticism is a corporate liberal moral reaction to the absurdities and excesses of monopoly capitalism. Theorists of this school of radical thought acknowledge that liberal democracy is more or less a sham, that individuals lack the power of decision-making because their lives are dominated by huge rationalized social structures. They, as intellectuals who believe that ideas matter and should be instrumental in creating a rational, democratic society, are outraged to find themselves "on the outside looking in"; they are ineffectual and politically impotent. However, moral outrage is not sufficient to transcend the limitations of their epistemological and social bases. They firmly reject the apparent reality of corporate capitalism, yet, cannot go beyond it in thought because their radicalism depends not only on an actual adherence to corporate liberalism, but also on the social position of the intellectual within corporate capitalist society. That is to say, their radicalism depends on an ultimate acceptance of bourgeois society. It is in this sense that left-Weberian critical sociology is a form of bourgeois ideology, even though not sanctioning the power of the ruling class per se.
Constable, Mark Robert, "Left-Weberian Critical Sociology as Ideology" (1980). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2925.
McMaster University Library