The Poverty of Relativism
by Raymond Boudon
with a foreword by Bryan S. Turner
January 2005, hardback, 224pp.
Gemas Studies in Social Analysis
Series Editors: Mohamed Cherkaoui, Peter Hamilton & Bryan S. Turner
The Poverty of Relativism is a timely and critical evaluation of a dominant trend in modern social science, evident in a range of intellectual movements from structuralism to post-modernism and social constructionism. Raymond Boudon shows how the pervasive spread of relativism in social thought threatens intellectual life by corroding the concept of objectivity, leading to a social and political nihilism in which even the knowledge generated by science itself is seen as no more than a belief system. With an incisive analysis that uses a wide range of illustrative examples from the social organisation of science to the question of what constitutes a work of art, Raymond Boudon examines the consequences of relativism across a number of issues that are key to the future of sociology and the social sciences.