Jean-Sébastien Guy

Assistant Professor


Phone: 902-494-6759
Mailing Address: 
Room 3127, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Economy, work and development
  • Globalization
  • Modernity and modernization
  • Political sociology
  • Popular culture
  • Social theory


  • BA Hons, MA, Université Laval
  • PhD, UQÀM

Research interests

Jean-Sébastien Guy is a sociologist interested in sociological theory in general, whether classical (Durkheim, Marx, Simmel, Weber) or contemporary (Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, Luhmann) or anything in between (Garfinkel, Goffman, Lévi-Strauss, Parsons) or even off to the side (Deleuze, Wittgenstein). Rather than studying theory through an author’s life or context, Dr. Guy approaches theory as revolving around a set of abstract problems, including central oppositions like individual/society, micro/macro, structure/agency, continuity/change, order/disorder, modernity/tradition, power/freedom, and so on.  

Following this strategy, Dr. Guy has been using Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory to develop a new way to look at globalization - specifically, globalization as society’s self-description - and the issues linked to it, such as the global/local interface, the role of the state, and the influence of culture. More recently, he started working on formulating a new conceptual distinction aiming at replacing some of the older oppositions mentioned aboveL: the metric/nonmetric distinction, which is inspired by the work of Manuel DeLanda.

Selected publications

  • (2019) Theory beyond Structure and Agency: Introducing the Metric/Nonmetric Distinction, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 287 pages.
  • (2019) “Digital technology, digital culture and the metric/nonmetric distinction” in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 145, pp. 55-61.
  • (2019) “Problems and differentiation: a Deleuze-Luhmann encounter” in Cybernetics and Human Knowing, vol. 26, no. 1-2, pp. 29-45.
  • (2018) “Bourdieu in Hyperspace: from social topology to the space of flows” in International Review of Sociology, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 510-523.
  • (2018) “Niklas Luhmann before relational sociology: the cybernetics roots of systems theory” in Systems Research and Behavioral Science, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 856-868.
  • (2018) “Is Niklas Luhmann a Relational Sociologist?” in François Dépelteau (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Relational Sociology, Cham, Palgrave McMillan, pp. 289-304.