Critical Socioanalysis and the Critique of Religion, or, Why I Read Theory: Gloria Anzaldúa, Jacques Lacan, and Memories of Latin America


Sociology and Criminal Justice

Document Type


Publication Date



This essay is not a typical essay that follows the norms of academic discourse which have become standardized by the bureaucratization of the academy and academic publishers in the name of neoliberal economic policies. The abstract is a function of that bureaucratization. It provides a summary taste of what follows so that the reader can make a quick judgment as to whether the words contained therein are worthy of their time. The typical scholarly article gets few readers beyond the author, editor, and reviewers. If and when the abstract succeeds in making a reader turn to the pages, all too often today, this means only reading the introduction and conclusion, with a cursory scanning of the intermediate pages for “data.” Theory resists this informationalization. Rather, theory must reside within the realm of knowledge; and knowledge takes time and effort. It forces the reader to make a choice, to use their agency to decide to spend their time on this mental task and to decide what to do with the knowledge they gain. Planetary sociology contends that working toward knowing our self and society, their interconnections and coconstructions, is a necessary precondition for confronting the global endgame on our horizon. Critical socioanalysis provides a model for how to engage in this practice. In the following pages I offer my own life as a brief example of the process while demonstrating the role that theory must play. It cannot be summarized in an abstract. It must be read and digested. It must be the subject of thought, the cause of our engaging in thinking. Theory makes demands of its readers, and it forces us to choose. You cannot be a passive reader of theory. This abstract provides the first chance for the reader to act as an agent, to reject theory’s demands or to keep seeking and discover for one’s self if it is worth the effort.

Journal Title

Current Perspectives in Social Theory

Journal ISSN




First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)