Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Sociology

Major Professor

Harry F. Dahms

Committee Members

Michelle Brown, Allen Dunn

Abstract

Modernity marks both a novel form of political and economic organization, and a transformation of reality through technological and spatial innovations. It marks a shift in the history of life on this planet, for the technological appendage—originally created by and for humans—has a cost that is shared by all life on the planet, whether it be ecological, biological, or mental. As a result, the weight of responsibility for the continuation of life itself can no longer be rationally displaced onto an omnipotent other. The knowledge that rational thought functions on fractal scales of space and time—which need not account for each other—crippled the power of the grand-narratives that prognosticated a future condition qualitatively superior than the historic human record. It was rather the dark side of modernity that came to hold a vice-like power over the human species and this knowledge rested its full weight on the conscience of the 20th century. In the 1960’s the fractal awareness of reality began to manifest itself in new spatial configurations, but the human narrative was no longer the driving force and decidedly anti- and post- humanist trajectories took hold of technologically advanced societies.

This text is an attempt to construct a theory that operates according to the rhythm of these modern epi-spaces and the beings that inhabit them. These spaces by and large imagine and operate as if they existed in a world after the human, a world-without-us. To construct a narrative that gives explanatory power to these spaces and the adaptation of life itself to fill them, a view of the universe that is decentered not only in space, but also in being is needed. Sociology finds itself in a position reminiscent of Copernicus’ in the 1500s. In order for knowledge to advance, he had to rupture the reified view of the Earth as a central and sacred space, so that new models could push the boundaries of the knowable and the possible. In order for sociology to advance it must decenter the Human; for in this world of technological mediation, artificial modes of being dominate.

Comments

Due to character limitations the percontation mark is missing from the title in electronic versions of this text.

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