Harry F. Dahms
Dahms's primary research and teaching areas are theoretical sociology (social, sociological, and critical theory), economic sociology, globalization, social inequality, and social justice. He is the editor of Current Perspectives in Social Theory, and director of the International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC).
Education and career
Dahms obtained his master's degree in 1986 from the University of Konstanz, Germany, where he worked for and was supervised by Ralf Dahrendorf, and his PhD in 1993 from the New School for Social Research in New York, for a thesis entitled "The Entrepreneur in Western Capitalism: Schumpeter's Theory of Economic Development". While at the New School, he was supervised by Arthur Vidich and advised by Andrew Arato and José Casanova. He taught at Florida State University in Tallahassee from 1993 to 2004, and was a visiting professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany (1999–2000) and the University of Innsbruck, Austria (2011 and 2012).
Dahms's research and teaching pertains to the tensions in the modern age between economic change, on the one hand, and politics, culture and society, on the other. Interpreting the contributions of Marx and Weber, in particular, as foundations for a dynamic theory of modern society, he starts out from the proposition that it is only from the perspective of “globalization” (including the debates about restructuring, transnational corporations, and neo-imperialism) that the contradictions and paradoxes of modern society can be disentangled.
The spectrum of his theoretical reference points reach from the critical theory of the Frankfurt School at one end, to Joseph Schumpeter's social theory of capitalism, at the other. In modern society, a particular kind of social order fused with a specific type of social processes, into an inherently irreconcilable force-field that maintains stability by devising mechanisms designed to contain the destructive power of the contradictions, in the process continually deepening those contradictions. The consequence is a widening gap between the categories social scientists employ to “meaningfully” interpret present conditions, and the categories that would have to be developed and deployed to maintain the possibility of meaning—socially, culturally, and politically.
Dahms is also associate editor of Basic Income Studies, Soundings. An Interdisciplinary Journal, and a member of the editorial board of The Newfound Press, and imprint of the University of Tennessee Libraries.
- The Vitality of Critical Theory. Emerald, 2011.
- Nature, Knowledge, and Negation (ed.). Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 26, Emerald, 2009.
- No Social Science Without Critical Theory (ed.). Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 25, Emerald, 2008.
- Globalization Between the Cold War and Neo-Imperialism (Special Volume Editor). Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 24, Elsevier/JAI, 2006.
- Transformations of Capitalism: Economy, Society and the State in Modern Times. London: Palgrave, and New York: NYU Press, 2000.
- "Harry F. Dahms", Department of Sociology, University of Tennessee.
- Patricia Mooney Nickel (ed.), North American Critical Theory after Postmodernism. Contemporary Dialogues. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 199-200.
- Lauren Langman and Devorah Kalekin-Fishman, "Alienation: Critique and Alternative Futures", in The ISA Handbook in Contemporary Sociology. Conflict, Competition, Cooperation, ed. by Ann Denis and Devorah Kalekin-Fishman. Los Angeles: Sage, 2009, pp. 9-28; here: p. 16.
- http://socialtheory.org International Social Theory Consortium
- "Curriculum vitae", University of Tennessee.