Multiple Normalities: Making Sense of Ways of Living by B. Misztal

By B. Misztal

A number of Normalities complements sociological understandings of normality through illustrating it with the aid of British novels. It demonstrates commonalities and ameliorations among the meanings of normality in those sessions, exemplifying the emergence of the a number of normalities and the transformation of how within which we provide desiring to the area.

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Consequently, there are diverse forms of normality among different types of societies and within societies over time. For example, in modern industrial society organic solidarity and social justice are normal, while economic anarchy and anomie are abnormal. Thus, the distinction between normal and pathological, as based on a functional analysis account of the persistence of social practices in 32 Multiple Normalities terms of the ‘general needs of the social organism’ (Durkheim 1966: 141–146), also offers a way of understanding the crisis inherent to a specific type.

So, as Gane (1998: 307) notes, ‘Comte’s theory of the metaphysical state (as one in transition) sits uneasily against his specifications for what counts as a state in his three state law’. In other words, the normal state is less steady and fixed than Comte’s social statistics suggested. Therefore, it can be argued that the transitional state is more ‘normal’ than Comte chose to admit. The resulting discrepancy between the unity of human history, which has a philosophical foundation, and the diversity of human societies, which is supported by historical evidence, reveals unresolved tensions in Comte’s normalcy thesis.

His proposed solution to the problem caused by the idea of continuity between a diseased condition and a natural one relies on arbitrary decisions about what constitutes deficiency or excess. By accepting Broussais’s conceptualization of disease as ‘essentially the same kind as those of health, from which they differed only in intensity’ (Hacking 1990: 160), Comte was able to argue that the pathological order obeys the same laws as those that ‘govern the normal state’. As Broussais’s principle enabled Comte ([1839] 1974: 186) to assert that ‘cases of social disturbance’ are capable of ‘revealing the fundamental laws of the political organism’, he declared it to be a perfect sociological law.

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