The Sociology of Lament. an Existential Mode of Critique?

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Seminar 34 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Matthias SOMMER, TU Chemnitz, Germany
We are confronted with imposed relevance in many situations in our everyday life, be it when we face medical diseases or social norms. Often this relevance leads to a diminution of the body's capacity to act. The sociology of lament focuses on lamentation as a genuine social practice in which individual's struggle to come to terms with the world is revealed. First, lament can be analyzed as an embodied practice in which the individual tries to maintain its motivational relevance in resistance to the external world. Second, lament can be described as a performative act – a rite of interruption. The lament is not appropriately analyzed within a simple means-end relation. More than discursive reasoning it can be seen as a situational construction of reality with a focus on the potential openness of every social situation. It is a particular mode of critique which defers social selection and embodies spaces of possibilities. Lamentation is therefore a disintegration with regard to given social norms but open for collectivity. It is an existential experiment and one possible way of overcoming bodily alienation. The lamentation of the individual is not merely a response to the incongruity between the demands of (the external world's) social norms and the individual, limiting itself to the demands of a particular situation. On the contrary, with its goal to transform the circumstances, lamentation is an attempt to increase the abilities grounded within the individual. Based on qualitative research the presentation outlines a sociological theory of lament. The aim is to focus on the meaning of embodied critique. Following a conceptual localization of lament as a sociological phenomenon, a grounded theory based on the study of different types of practices of lament (i.e. persons dealing with experience of loss, suffering or social disturbances) will be presented.