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Journal Article

On Transcending the Absurd: An Inquiry in the Sociology of Meaning

Glenn A. Goodwin
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 76, No. 5 (Mar., 1971), pp. 831-846
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2776537
Page Count: 16
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On Transcending the Absurd: An Inquiry in the Sociology of Meaning
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Abstract

The literature of the absurd, represented by the works of Camus, Beckett, Sartre, and others is analyzed for its heuristic value in generating sociological theory. Drawing upon this literature it is argued that rebellion in the face of "institutional absurdity" may be a source of meaning for students and blacks in contemporary American Society. Further, it is suggested that we cast off our traditional perspective of viewing man as a "consonance seeker" in favor of viewing him, theoretically, as a "creator of dissonance" to which he can react, the end result of which is the acquisition of meaning The framework of the absurd is used to offer a critical appraisal of American Sociology. The paper concludes in support of an action orientation on the part of American sociologist.

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