Associate Professor, Sociology


Ph.D New School for Social Research, 2008


Reha Kadakal is a critical social theorist teaching in the Sociology Program. His current research examines paradigms of normativity in social theory. Can social theory inform us on what constitutes a good life? What is a good society? How are normative foundations of social theory possible? These and other similar questions of normativity have been central to debates over ‘modernity’ and modern life within diverse theoretical standpoints and paradigms across the disciplines. Building on the original project of critical social theory, his work investigates the normative foundations of social theory not only in order to evaluate those different paradigms, but also as a means to address the unresolved dilemma of modernity, namely the relationship between knowledge, truth, and good society.

In his secondary, empirically oriented research agenda Kadakal brings the analysis of those questions to bear on the rise of religious politics in Turkey within the larger, global context of populist and authoritarian politics. How can we understand the success of religious politics in Turkey? Is the rise of Islamism a popular reaction against Western secularist ideologies? What are the causes underlying current, global rise of authoritarian politics and conflicts? His research investigates the success of Islamism in Turkey through a twofold analyses of national cultural projects, economic development plans and administration of the political public sphere on the one hand, and the historical specificity of Islam and its distinctive religio-political discourse on the other.

Representative Courses taught

  • SOC 311 Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOC 315 Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • SOC 322 Sociology of Popular Culture

Select Publications


Critical theory, normative social theory, critical ontology, truth, populism, Islamism

Additional Teaching and Research Information:

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