Sorel, Georges

(1847-1922)
After a long career as an engineer in France, Sorel resigned to become an independent scholar, and in the thirty-five years before his death published a stream of books and articles on social theory, Marxism, and the philosophy of the social sciences (most notably Reflections on Violence, 1908, and The Illusions of Progress, 1908). As editor of Le Devenir social, he introduced theoretical Marxism into France, and sided with Eduard Bernstein in rejecting Marxism's pretensions to be scientific. However, rather than abandon revolutionary activity for reformism, he argued for an extreme form of anarcho- syndicalism . His significance for sociology lies in his writings on myth and violence. His analysis of the functions of myth in society complements Karl Mannheim's later writings on utopia. There is, in fact, a developed (though largely unacknowledged) theory of ideology in his writings. According to Sorel, many of the central tenets of Marxism were themselves myths, aimed at, and capable of, mobilizing working-class mass action against capitalism (most notably in the case of the ‘myth of the general strike’). His arguments that violent confrontation can be noble and civilizing, that the future is unknowable, and that there is nothing to suggest civilized men and women will ever wholly renounce violence to advance estimable causes, punctured the Edwardian belief that progress would necessarily lead to peaceful settlement of all disputes, and more generally are still a powerful counter to the tendency among some social theorists towards an optimistic historicism.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Sorel, Georges — ▪ French revolutionary born Nov. 2, 1847, Cherbourg, France died Aug. 30, 1922, Boulogne sur Seine       French Socialist and revolutionary syndicalist who developed an original and provocative theory on the positive, even creative, role of myth… …   Universalium

  • Sorel, Georges — (1847 1922)    social philosopher, journalist    Born in Cherbourg and educated at the École polytechnique in Paris, Georges Sorel was a civil engineer until 1892, when he became a contributor to several socialist journals. Denouncing the… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Sorel, Georges — (1847–1922) French engineer, philosopher, and social theorist. Sorel is principally remembered for Réflexions sur la violence (1908, trs. as Reflections on Violence, 1914). Sorel argues that one cannot deplore violence in the hands of opponents… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Sorel, Georges — (1847–1922)    One of the most original and controversial thinkers linked to the Marxist tradition, Sorel was for a time the leading theoretician of revolutionary syndicalism. Born in Cherbourg, France and educated at the École Polytechnique in… …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • SOREL, Georges — (1847 1922)    French Marxist journalist, philosopher, anarchist and revolutionary syndicalist who rejected RATIONALISM and through the work of BERGSON eventually developed a MYSTICAL NATIONALISM. Praising both STALIN and MUSSOLINI, he was… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Sorel, Georges — See Marxism ( …   History of philosophy

  • Sorel, Georges — ► (1847 1922) Economista, historiador, filósofo y político francés. Obras: El futuro socialista de los sindicatos (1898) y Reflexiones sobre la violencia (1908), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sorel, Georges (-Eugène) — born Nov. 2, 1847, Cherbourg, France died Aug. 30, 1922, Boulogne sur Seine French author and revolutionary. Trained as a civil engineer, he was 40 before he became interested in social issues. He discovered Marxism in 1893 but was disgusted by… …   Universalium

  • Sorel, Georges (-Eugène) — (2 nov. 1847, Cherburgo, Francia–30 ago. 1922, Boulogne sur Seine). Autor y revolucionario francés. Formado como ingeniero civil, cumplió los 40 años de edad antes de interesarse en temas sociales. Descubrió el marxismo en 1893, pero le repugnó… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sorel — Sorel, Georges …   Philosophy dictionary

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