Jean-Sébastien Guy

Assistant Professor; Undergraduate Education Coordinator


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

  • (2018) “Are value-neutrality and value-engagement properties of social actors or social moments?” Canadian Review of Sociology, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 305-306.
  • (2017) “Functional systems as metric forms and institutions as nonmetric forms: a neo-Luhmannian approach”, Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, special issue on Institutional Theories and Functional Differentiation, , vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 32-47.
  • (2016) “Beyond global modernity, global consciousness and global governmentality: the symmetrical anthropology of globalization”, European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 451-467.
  • (2013) “Why does society describe itself as global? Re-examining the relation between globalization and the states from a second-order perspective” in Current Sociology, vol. 61, no. 7, pp. 1040-1057.
  • (2010) “Globalization in and out, or ‘How can there be a constructivist theory of globalization?’” in Harry F. Dahms, Lawrence Hazelrigg (ed.), Current Perspectives in Social Theory, vol. 27, Bingley, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 215-246.
  • (2009) “What is Global and What is Local? A Theoretical Discussion around Globalization” in Parsons Journal of Information Mapping, vol. 1. no. 2, pp. 1-16; reprinted in Barbara Bentagni, Michele La Rosa, Fernando Salvetti (ed.) (2010), Glocal working: Living and working across the world with cultural intelligence, Milano, Franco Angeli, pp. 322-353.