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Integrative Journal of Conference Proceedings

The Actions of the Body

Paul C Mocombe*

West Virginia State University, The Mocombeian Foundation, USA

*Corresponding author: Paul C Mocombe, West Virginia State University, The Mocombeian Foundation Inc, USA

Submission: November 08, 2022;Published: November 29, 2022

Volume3 Issue2
November , 2022


In Mocombeian structuration theory, phenomenological structuralism, the understanding is that human action in the material world is a product of their mental stance arising from conflict, or not, between four structuring structures: 1) praxis associated with the phenomenal properties, i.e., qualia, of subatomic particles; 2) the anatomy and physiology of the body; 3) structural reproduction and differentiation; 4) actions driven by the deferment of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse. It is the mental stance of human beings in relation to these four structuring structures, which determine their actions in the material world. This article highlights this process.

Keywords: Structurationism; Praxis; Panpsychism; Social class language game; Phenomenological structuralism; ORCH-OR theory; Univon multiverse hypothesis; Free-will; Determinism; Haitian epistemology; Consciousness field theory; Conscious Electromagnetic Information Theory (CEMI)


The linguistic turn in meaning and identity constitution, which supplanted biological determinism in the early twentieth century, whether in linguistics or the social sciences, presupposes that meaning and the nature of human identity or consciousness is nothing more than the relationships which pertain within a given linguistic system, structure, culture, or social structure. Thus, such questions as those pertaining to matters of human agency, individual or shared interests, community, etc., have generally been ignored by so-called “structuralists” [1]. This in turn makes most structural approaches synchronic; that is, most structuralists approach a phenomenon at a single moment in history, or as something existing outside history, which is unchanging.

It is well known that Ferdinand de Saussure [2] in linguistics, Claude Lévi-Strauss [3] in anthropology, Talcott Parsons [4] and Louis Althusser [5] in sociology postulate this synchronic world ordered into an interconnected semiotic system. In Saussure and structuralism, which serves as the model for the social sciences, language “is viewed as a purely arbitrary system of signs in which parole or speech is subsidiary to language, the formal dimension of language. Parole is the world’s messiness that the semiotic order [or formal dimension] shuns” [6], subjecting social actors to its binary rules that gives them their conceptual framework, rather than the other way around [2,3,7].

In anthropology, Lévi Strauss [3] extends this idea to culture, and culture too becomes a system of external signs, which reflect the structure or categories of the mind, exercised in social relations to order experience [3]. Just the same, in sociology Talcott Parsons, and many others, employs the notion of structure or system to refer to modern capitalist society as an “organic” whole or totality consisting of interrelated parts (i.e., structurally differentiated) that perform specific functions in relation to each other and contribute to the maintenance of the whole, i.e., structural functionalism [4]. The structural Marxism of Louis Althusser, and many others, replaces both Parsons’s conservative holism and Levi-Strauss’s mental (cultural) categories by positions in modes of production and relations to the means of production for the structure or system that governs meaning and gives social actors their conceptual framework [5].

The logical consequence of the adoption of the Saussure [2] a position by Lévi Strauss [3], Parsons [4] and Althusser [5] in philosophy and the social sciences, however, is the implication that human action, or consciousness, lies in the reproduction of the relational (binary rules for inclusion and exclusion) objective models of society as either structured by our minds, or the external interrelated structures of signification as internalized by social actors. Therefore, to understand human social agency, one only needs to understand either how the mind structures reality (transcendental idealism), or the differentiating (relational) rules of a culture, social structure, or social system. Both positions, however, are problematic. In the psychologist of the former case, social structure reflecting the structure of the mind, social practice or action and its variability are inconceivable in that there is no analytical means to explain how the internal “binary” processes of the mind give rise to the external empirical phenomena of social structures, practices, and their variabilities. In the latter case, structure or social structure as a reflection of the internalization of external functional structures of signification, i.e., part/whole relationship, the possibility for, and the origins of, the variability of practices, which have ontological status in the world, amongst irreducibly situated subjects are inconceivable, as human subjects or social actors are only reproducing in their actions the relational meaning and representation of the external objective social world (society), without any alternative practices, deviations, or improvisations outside of the structural differentiation of the social structure.

Moreover, since the 1960’s with the advent of postmodern and post-structural theories, which emphasized Parole over langue for understanding human agential initiatives, into the theoretical discourses of social science academics a new struggle regarding the origins and nature of identity and consciousness vis-à-vis the aforementioned structural problematics has dominated social science and philosophical theories. The issue centers on several factors raised by postmodern and post-structural thinkers in the likes of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacan against the structuralism of the sciences,
A. They question the validity regarding the Cartesian rational individual, which Foucault and Derrida deny in favor of their attempt to dissolve the subject altogether.
B. They question the interdependency of the constitution of a stable structure and a distinct subject with agency, in denying the latter they undermine the former.
C. They question the status of science.
D. Finally, they question the possibility of the objectivity of any language of description or analysis.

Although these factors raised in the writings of Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault are theoretically legitimate and have posed tremendous problems for the social sciences and their constitution as a science based on the notion of a stable structure constituted by stable subjects with agency. These problems have not adequately been addressed by Marxist social theorists in the likes of Louis Althusser, Pierre Bourdieu, Jürgen Habermas, Anthony Giddens, and Marshall Sahlins working to resolve these issues in the social sciences, under the structure/agency problematic, by attempting to synthesize the rationality of the individual with the phenomenological discourses of the former theorists, and Marxist and structural Marxist philosophy and sociology.

The structure/agency debate in the social sciences, for these theorists, contrary to postmodern and post-structural thinkers whose overemphasis on parole is out rightly rejected given the impossibility of a decentered subject with a position from nowhere, emphasize the rational origins of the reproduced and transformed social actions of social actors that constitute a social structure: are social actors determined and driven by internal invariable structures of the mind [3,8], or are social actors automatons determined and driven by external relational structures of signification and their practical rationality [4,5] [1971]? Thus, in the social scientific form of the debate, biological determinism, i.e., innate senses of anything, as well as the Lévi Strauss [3] a sense, i.e., innate structure of the mind, were out rightly rejected. Also, the idea that social actors are irreducibly situated subjects who act and react based on rational calculations as they respond to particular external social processes (social structure) or stimuli, as introduced via the concept of parole by postmodernists and post-structuralists, was for the most part dismissed. Total rationality was viewed as an impossibility given the inability of social actors to either know all the choices available to them in the present or know the complete future outcomes of those choices. This made rationality necessarily relative to a frame of reference or structure of signification, which rejects the indeterminacy of meaning and decentered subject of postmodern/ post-structural theorizing.

Background of the problem

Hence, the focus in the study of action and interaction in the social sciences was thus not a matter of denying or minimizing the rational potential of social actors but expressed rather an urgent need to understand where ‘the system’ or structure that limits their knowledge and stabilizes society “comes from-how it is produced and reproduced, and how it may have changed in the past or be changed in the future” [9]. In other words, thinkers plagued by this debate, sought “to explain the relationship(s) that obtain between human action, on the one hand, and some global entity which we may call the system, [or social structure, structure, or culture] on the other” [9], when the latter (i.e., the system) is not a necessary reflection of neither biology, nor the structure of the mind, but an external force of rules of conduct, i.e., categorical boundaries, that stabilizes society and thereby constitute the identity of social actors as argued by Talcott Parsons and Louis Althusser.

From roughly 1975 to the present, an enormous strand of critical writings, expounding a great many strands of theoretical schools of thought, combined to challenge this post-World War II structuralist matrix which denied alternative agencies, outside the relational logic of a structure, system, or culture to social actors. Some were advanced by rationalist thinkers seeking to preserve the idea of individuals as solitary thinkers who act in a purposive rational way, while others were offered by theorists dedicated to preserving the tenets of structural-functionalism and structural- Marxism while explicating the functional role of difference or the variability of practices amongst social actors within social structure not as an invariable by-product of the mind but as an external unified structure of signification or system. Considering this action-oriented response to account for the different provinces of meaning within systems or structures of signification, the term praxis or structuration’s theorists, coined by Anthony Giddens, will serve as the dominant label for the arguments expounded in opposition to Parsonian structural-functionalism and variants of structural Marxism by prominent theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Marshall Sahlins, Anthony Giddens, and Jürgen Habermas in the social sciences [9,10]. These arguments are complex, and to examine them together is necessarily to do violence to the purity of notions advanced separately by various authors. The exercise is nevertheless useful at least for revealing their main and common objective, i.e., to resolve the structure/agency debate of the social sciences by collapsing structure with agency via the concept of duality.

In other words, for structure’s action is a result of the internalization of social structural rules, which are internalized and recursively organized and reproduced as the practical consciousness of social actors. This duality of structure is also problematic as it introduces the structure/agency problematic in a new form, how does duality, which is structural reproduction and differentiation, account for alternative practices outside of the structuring structure of a society, which is tied to the mode and means of production?

Theory and Method

Mocombe [11] phenomenological structuralism, which is a structuration’s theory that views the constitution of society, human identity, and social agency as a duality and dualism, fixes traditional structuration’s to account for alternative practices outside of structural reproduction and differentiation by accounting for three other (structuring structural) sources of action in the material world on top of structural reproduction and differentiation. Mocombe [11] an phenomenological structuralism posits that societal and agential constitution are a result of power relations, interpellation, and socialization or embourgeoisement via five systems, i.e., mode of production, language, ideology, ideological apparatuses, and communicative discourse, which are reified as a social structure or what Mocombe [11] calls a “social class language game” by persons, power elites, who control the means and modes of production in a material resource framework. Once interpellated and bourgeoise by these five systems, which are reified as a social structure and society (social class language game), social actors, for their ontological securities, recursively organize, reproduce, and are differentiated by the rules of conduct of the social structure, which are sanctioned by the power elites who control the means and modes of production, language, ideology, ideological apparatuses, and communicative discourse in a material resource framework. Hence, societal and agential constitution are both a duality and dualism: a dualism given the reification of the social structure or social class language game via the five systems; and a duality given the internalization of the rules of the five systems, which become the agential initiatives or praxes of social actors differentiated by the rules of conduct that are sanctioned based on the economic mode of production. Difference, or alternative social praxis, in Mocombe’s structuration theory, phenomenological structuralism, is not structural differentiation as articulated by traditional structuration’s such as Bourdieu, Sahlins, Habermas, and Giddens; instead, it is a result of actions arising from the deferment of meaning in ego-centered communication given the interaction of two other structuring structures (physiological drives of the body and brain; and phenomenal properties of subatomic particles that constitute the human subject) vis-à-vis the mental stance of the egounready- to-hand, ready-to-hand, or present-at-hand-, which arises out of conflict, or not, during the interpellation and socialization or embourgeoisement of social actors throughout their life span or cycle, which produces alternative praxis that is exercised at the expense of the threat these practices may pose to the ontological security of social actors in the social structure or society. Hence, for Mocombe [11], structuration’s account for only one aspect of social action, which is structural reproduction and differentiation. They overlook three other structuring structures in relation to the mental stance of the individual.

Discussion and Conclusion

According to Mocombe [11], the Heideggerian (mental) stances/analytics, “ready-to-hand,” “unready-to-hand,” and “present-at-hand,” which emerge as a result of conflict/tension (or lack thereof) between the embodied transcendental ego (psych ions and their qualia) vis-à-vis its different (structuring) systems,
a) The sensibilities and (chemical, biological, and physiological) drives of the body and brain,
b) Drives/impulses/frequencies of embodied residual memories or phenomenal properties of past/present/future recycled/entangled/superimposed subatomic/chemical particles.
c) The actions produced via the body in relation to the indeterminacy/deferment of meaning of linguistic and symbolic signifiers as they appear to individuate consciousnesses in egocentered communicative discourse.
d) The dialectical and differentiating effects, i.e., structural reproduction and differentiation, of the structures of signification, social class language game, of those who control the economic materials (and their distribution, i.e., mode of production) of a world are the origins of practical consciousnesses. All four types of actions, the drives and sensibilities of the body and brain, drives or phenomenal properties of embodied recycled/replicated/entangled/ superimposed past/ present/future consciousnesses, structural reproduction/differentiation stemming from the mode of production (which are variations of two ideal types), and deferential actions arising from the deferment of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse via the presentat- hand stance/ analytic, exist in the material world with the social class language game, i.e., the physical, mental, emotional, ideological, etc.
e) Powers of those who control the material resource framework as the causative agent for individual behaviors. In other words, our (mental) stances in consciousness vis-à-vis the conflict (or lack thereof) between the (chemical, biological, and physiological) drives and sensibilities of the body and brain, (societal) structural reproduction and differentiation, drives of embodied past/ present /future consciousnesses of recycled/entangled/superimposed subatomic/chemical particles and deferential actions arising as a result of the deferment of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse determines the practical consciousness we want to recursively reorganize and reproduce in the material world. The power, power positions and power relations of those who control (via the mode of production, language, ideology, ideological apparatuses, and communicative discourse) the resources (and their distribution, i.e., mode of production) of a material resource framework, and the threat it poses to the ontological security of an actor, in the end determines what actions and identities are allowed to organize and reproduce in the material world without the individual actor/agent facing marginalization or death. They (those in power, i.e., the power elites) encounter and choose, dialectically, anti-dialectically, and negative dialectically, amidst the class division of the social relations of production (which are of two ideal types, the Protestant Ethic and the spirit of capitalism or the Vodou Ethic and the spirit of communism), what other meaning constitutions and practices manifest themselves in the material world without facing alienation, marginalization, domination, or death.

Martin Heidegger in Being in Time is accurate in suggesting that three stances or modes of encounter (Analytic of Dasein), “presence-at-hand,” “readiness-to-hand,” and “un-readiness-tohand,” characterizes our views of the things of consciousness, which for Mocombe is of four structuring structures:
A. The phenomenal properties of recycled and entangled subatomic particles.
B. The anatomy and physiology of the body and brain.
C. Structural reproduction and differentiation.
D. The deferment of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse.

These four structuring structures are in constant conflict, or not, contingent on the mental stance of the ego as the individual actor becomes in the world. In “ready-to-hand,” which is the proctological mode of human existence thrown in the world, we accept and use the things in consciousness with no conscious experience of them, i.e., without thinking about them or giving them any meaning or signification outside of their intended usage. Heidegger’s example is that of using a hammer in hammering. We use a hammer without thinking about it or giving it any other condition of possibility outside of its intended usage as defined by those whose historicity presupposes our own. In “present-at-hand,” which, according to Heidegger, is the stance of science, we objectify the things of consciousness and attempt to determine and reify their meanings, usage, and conditions of possibilities as the nature of reality as such. Hence the hammer is intended for hammering by those who created it as a thing solely meant as such. The “unready-to-hand” outlook is assumed when something goes wrong in our usage of a thing of consciousness as defined and determined by those who adopt a “present-at-hand” view. As in the case of the hammer, the unready-to-hand view is assumed when the hammer breaks and we must objectify it, by then assuming a present-at-hand position and think about it in order to either reconstitute it as a hammer or give it another condition of possibility. Any other condition of possibility that we give the hammer outside of its initial condition of possibility which presupposed our historicity becomes relational, defined in relation to any of its other conditions of possibilities it may have been given by others we exist in the world with who either readyto- hand, unready-to-hand, or present-at-hand attempts to maintain the social class language game of power. In the ready-to-hand stance the latter unconsciously practices and attempts to reproduce the social class language game of power by discriminating against and marginalizing any other conditions of possibilities of their social class language as determined by those in ideological power positions.

They may move to the unready-to-hand stance in response to those who they encounter that attempts, present-at-hand, to alter the nature of the dominant social class language game they recursively reorganize and reproduce as outlined by those in power positions who are present-at-hand of the dominant social class language game. In either case, not all beings achieve the present-at-hand stance. The latter is the stance of science and ideologies, which are tautologies when they profess that their stances represent the nature of reality as such, and those in power positions, who encounter (historically) and choose, dialectically, anti-dialectically, and negative dialectically, among a plethora of alternative present-at-hand social class language games, what alternative practical consciousnesses outside of their social class language game, which are allowed to manifest in the material world. They can dialectically attempt to resolve the contradictions of their social class language games against alternatives; anti dialectically reject them (alternatives) outright for the veracity of their language games despite its contradictions; or negative dialectically think against the praxis and contradictions of their language games to exercise it more universally.

The individual being is initially constituted as superimposed, entangled, recycled, and embodied subatomic particles, psych ion, of multiple worlds of the multiverse, which have their own predetermined form of understanding and cognition, phenomenal properties, qualia, based on previous or simultaneous experiences as aggregated matter (this is akin to what the Greek philosopher Plato refers to when he posits knowledge as recollection of the Soul; and Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence). Again, the individual’s actions are not necessarily determined by the embodiment and drives (resonance) of these recycled (replicated)/ entangled/superimposed subatomic particles, which are psyched on once embodied. It is conflict/tension and an individual’s stance, ready-to-hand, unready-to-hand, and present-at-hand, when the subatomic particles become aggregated matter or embodied, which determines whether or not they become aware, present-athand, of the subatomic particle drives and choose to recursively reorganize and reproduce the content of the drives as their practical consciousness [12-55].

This desire to reproduce the cognition and understanding of the drives of the recycled/ replicated/ entangled/superimposed subatomic particles, however, may be limited by the structuring structure of the aggregated body and brain (chemical, biological, and physiological) of the individual subject. That is to say, the second origins and basis of an individual’s actions are the structuring chemical and biological drives and desires, for food, clothing, shelter, social interaction, entertainment, and sex, of the aggregated body and brain, which the subatomic particles constitute and embody. In other words, the aggregated body and brain is preprogrammed with its own (biological, chemical, and physiological) forms of sensibility, understanding, and cognition, structuring structure, by which it experiences being-in-the-world as aggregated embodied subatomic particles. These bodily forms of sensibility, understanding, and cognition, such as the drive and desire for food, clothing, shelter, social interaction, linguistic communication, and sex, are tied to the material embodiment and survival of the embodied individual actor, and may or may not supersede or conflict with the desire and drive of an individual to recursively (re) organize and reproduce the structuring structure of the superimposed, entangled, and recycled (phenomenal properties of) subatomic particles. If these two initial structuring structures are in conflict, the individual moves from the ready-tohand to the unready-to-hand stance or analytics where they may begin to reflect upon and question their being-in-the-world prior to acting. Hence just as in the case of the structuring structure of the subatomic particles it is an individual being’s analytics vis-à-vis the drives of its body and brain in relation to the impulses of the subatomic particles, which determines whether or not they become driven by the desire to solely fulfill the material needs of their body and brain at the expense of the drives/desires of the subatomic particles or the social class language game of the material resource framework they find their existence unfolding in. The latter is the third structuring structure of the individual being.

The social class language game, i.e., social structure, and its differentiating effects, an individual find their existence unfolding in is the third structuring structure, which attempts to determine the actions of individual beings as they experience being-in-the-world as embodied subatomic particles. The aggregated individual finds themselves objectified and unfolding within a material resource framework controlled by the actions of other bodies, which presuppose their existence, via the actions of their bodies (practical consciousness), language, communicative discourse, ideology and ideological apparatuses stemming from how they satisfy the desires of their bodies and subatomic particle drives (means and mode of production). What is aggregated as a social class language game by those in power positions via and within its mode of production, language, ideology, ideological apparatuses and communicative discourse attempts to interpellated and subjectify other beings to its interpretive frame of satisfying their bodily needs, fulfilling the impulses of their subatomic particles, and organizing a material resource framework at the expense of all others, and becomes a third form of structuring individual action based on the mode of production and how it differentiates individual actors. The latter is of two ideal types based either on promoting individualism (as presently constituted via the Protestant Ethic and the spirit of capitalism), or communalism (as highlighted by what Mocombe calls the Vodou Ethic and the spirit of communism) and emerges from the material conditions the first group of individuals sought to find balance and harmony in in order to satisfy their needs.

That is to say, an individual’s interpellation, subjectification, and differentiation within the social class language game that presupposes their being-in-a-world attempts to determine their actions or practical consciousness via the reified language, ideology, etc., of the social class language game, the meaning of which can be deferred, via the communicative discourse of the individual actors, vis-à-vis the other two structuring structures, allowing them to form (alternative) social groups or heterogeneous communities (based on these deferred meanings) tied to the dominant social order because of their control over some aspects of the materials of the material resource framework. Hence, the deferment of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse of the language and ideology of a social class language game is the final means of determining an individual’s action or practical consciousness outside of, and in relation to, its stance, i.e., analytics, vis-à-vis the drives of subatomic particles, drives and desires (anatomy and physiology) of the body and brain, and structural reproduction and differentiation. The (mental) stance of the transcendental ego and the ability to defer meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse within a social class language game are what accounts for the feeling or illusion of free-will.

In other words, whereas the practical consciousness of the transcendental ego stemming from the impulses/drives/ frequency of embodied subatomic particles are indeterminant as with its neuronal processes involved with the constitution of meaning in ego-centered communicative discourse. The form of the understandings and sensibilities of the body and brain (neural correlates of consciousness) are determinant as with structural reproduction and differentiation of the mode of production, and therefore can be mapped out by neuroscientists, biologists, and sociologists to determine the nature, origins, and directions of societal constitution and an individual actor’s practical consciousness unfolding.

The interaction of all four elements or structuring processes in relation to the (mental) stance of the transcendental ego of the individual actor is the basis for human action, praxis/practical consciousness, and cognition/mind in a world. However, in the end, consequently, the majority of practical consciousness will be a product of an individual actor’s embodiment and the structural reproduction and differentiation of a social class language game/ social structure given 1) the determinant nature of embodiment, (anatomical and physiological) form of understanding and sensibility of the body and brain amidst, paradoxically, the indeterminacy of impulses of embodied subatomic particles and the neuronal processes involved in ego-centered communicative discourse; and 2) the consolidation of power of those who control the material resource framework wherein a society, the social class language game, is ensconced and the threat that power (consolidated and constituted via the actions of bodies, mode of production, language, ideology, ideological apparatuses, and communicative discourse) poses to the ontological security of an aggregated individual actor who chooses (or not) either ready-to-hand or present-at-hand to recursively reorganize and reproduce the ideals of the society as their practical consciousness. It should be mentioned that in response to this latter process, those in power positions who internalize the ideals of the social structure and recursively (re) organize and reproduce them as their practical consciousness are in the unready-to-hand stance when they encounter alternative forms of being-in-the-world within their social class language game. They dialectically, anti-dialectically, or negative dialectically, attempt to reconcile the practical consciousness of their social class language game with the reified practical consciousness of those who have deferred their meanings for alternative forms of being-inthe- world within their social class language. They can either accept, marginalize, or seek to eradicate the deferred or decentered subject or their practices.

Future research must 1) continue to search for evidence of multiverses and other forms of existence tied to our present world, which will be similarly constituted as our own universe, and 2) proofs for the existence of the field of consciousness or consciousness field and its force, psych ion, in order to falsify or verify Mocombe’s overall theories of phenomenological structuralism and consciousness fields.


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