November 27, 1948 |
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Joas is a Permanent Fellow at the University of Freiburg in Germany and Professor of Sociology and a Member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He was the Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt from 2002-2011. He served as the Vice-President of the International Sociological Association from 2006-2010. Joas has taught at many institutions, most recently in Berlin, and has published several books on social theory, most notably The Creativity of Action.
Joas' work has focused primarily on reconstructing the tradition of American pragmatism, defending its philosophical interest and explicating its significance for social theory.
For Joas, pragmatism offers a novel solution to the problem of value, bridging between the normative concerns of philosophy and the sociological investigation of norms. Starting from an early study of George Herbert Mead (G.H. Mead: A Contemporary Re-examination of His Thought, 1983), Joas has gone on to explore the European reception of pragmatism in Pragmatism and Social Theory (1993) and to reconstruct the sociological theory of action based on the pragmatist conception of creativity (The Creativity of Action, 1996). A wide-ranging examination of ideas about The Genesis of Values (2000) draws heavily on William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience.
- 2010: Bielefelder Wissenschaftspreis
- 2012: Werner Heisenberg-Medal of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
- 2012: Doctor honoris causa - University of Tübingen
- 2013: Doctor honoris causa - Uppsala University
- 2013: Hans-Kilian-Award
Books in English
- George Herbert Mead. A Contemporary Re-examination of His Thought (MIT Press 1985)
- Social Action and Human Nature (with Axel Honneth) (Cambridge University Press 1988)
- Pragmatism and Social Theory (University of Chicago Press 1993)
- The Creativity of Action (University of Chicago Press 1996)
- The Genesis of Values (University of Chicago Press 2000)
- War and Modernity (Blackwell 2003)
- Social Theory (with Wolfgang Knoebl) (Cambridge University Press 2009)
- Do We Need Religion? On the Experience of Self-Transcendence (Paradigm 2009)
- War in Social Thought: A History (with Wolfgang Knoebl) (Princeton University Press 2012)
- The Sacredness of the Person: A New Genealogy of Human Rights (Georgetown University Press 2012)
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