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The sadness of being a sociologist in the 21st century

This article analyzes the limits of sociology in understanding recent transformations in modernity. Of particular interest are the epistemological difficulties found at the theoretical roots of sociology in dealing with the tasks arising from the biotechnological revolution currently under way and its eugenic impacts on future society. The paper’s argument is that the main task is an interdisciplinary review of relations between the concept of human nature and prevailing social and political values. In order to better comprehend the radical challenge of modernity in the 21st century vis-à-vis classical modernity’s values, two heuristic figures are presented: the dilemma of technical modernity and the contradiction of sociology.

social theory; modernity; human nature; eugenics

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil