Assistant Professor, Sociology


Ph.D New School for Social Research, 2008


Reha Kadakal's 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.

Kadakal's research on the question of normativity is not limited solely to theoretical questions. In his secondary, empirically oriented research, he brings the analysis those questions to bear on the rise of Islamism in Turkey within the larger, global context of religious politics. How can we understand the political success of Islam in Turkey? Is the rise of Islamism a popular reaction against Western secularist ideologies? What are the causes underlying current, global rise of religious 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.

Prior to joining the Sociology Program at California State University Channel Islands, he was a Harper Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in the Social Sciences Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago. He enjoys oil painting, and as a native of Turkey, he takes delight in cooking Mediterranean specialties for family and friends.

Representative Courses taught

  • SOC 311 Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOC 315 Contemporary Sociological Theory

Select Publications


Critical theory, social theory, normative social theory, truth, neoliberalism, Islamism

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