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WITH AN advent via FRANK H. VIZETELLY LITT.D. LL.D.
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Initially, however, the postmodernist idea that society is now shaped by a hyper-reality rather than a hyper-spirituality can be introduced as a particularly influential post-social perspective. Hyper-real society I have already noted that, if the conventional view of sociology as ‘the study of society’ is being challenged on a number of fronts, many of them tend to congregate around the idea that ‘society’ is an arbitrary construct of certain types of sociology, political ideologies and cultural theories, imposed upon the complex, shifting and infinitely variable patterns of social and cultural existence.
None the less, Touraine’s (1989, 1995) focus on social movements that render the idea of ‘society’ meaningless, and Urry’s manifesto for ‘sociology beyond societies’, clearly arise out of an engagement with postmodern philosophy. For Touraine (1989: 15), the complex and changing fields of social relations that mark the present seriously compromise any notion of an overarching totality to which individuals understand themselves to belong. Focusing on the need for a sociology of change, Touraine (1989: 11) argues that ‘the very idea of society should be eliminated’.
Qxd 10/09/2004 14:53 Page 31 Complex Society ulacra without originals’ (Braidotti, 1994: 112). Theological advocates of postmodern theorising often express similar views. Don Cupitt (1995: 117–20), for example, in attempting to outline a form of theology after the ‘end of Truth’, argues that the only thing left is language and the ‘scattering energies’ of the body. Here, the ‘body’ is simply a site for language ‘to ride upon or to modulate’, since the world is only a ‘stream of language-formed events’.
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