The civic sociology of Herbert Blumer speaks to the fundamental problem of modernity: how freedom and equity can be ensured when institutional and personal relations are threatened by disparate groups and factions--in short, by difference.
Balancing essays on Herbert Blumer with Blumer's own writings on race relations, labor and management conflict, urbanization, and popular culture, this volume--originally published as Social Order and the Public Philosophy--establishes Blumer's thought as a basis for a public policy that remains faithful to the essential character of human life in a permanently pluralized and segmented society.
Stanford M. Lyman and Arthur J. Vidich situate Blumer's ideas in the context of earlier public philosophers, such as William Graham Sumner, Herbert Croly, and Walter Lippmann. They consider the implications of Blumer's works for America's most pressing social issues and propose a sophisticated civic sociology of their own based on his studies and methods. Their new afterword affirms the rich harvest Blumer's philosophy continues to yield for postmodern society.
First published in 1958, Small Town in Mass Society set community studies on a new course by placing the small town within the framework of large-scale, bureaucratic mass society. Drawing attention to the dynamics of class and ethnicity in relation to economics and politics, this landmark work was among the first to document the consequences of centralized administration on life in American communities.
Through a close study of "Springdale, New York," Arthur J. Vidich and Joseph Bensman depict the small town as continuously and increasingly drawn into the central institutions and processes of the total society. Vidich and Bensman based their conclusions on extensive interviews with and close observation of the inhabitants of one community. The original publication of the book caused a sharp response among the town's citizens who felt their trust had been violated and their town misrepresented.
The present volume includes the editorials and correspondence evoked by that controversy, the authors' articles describing their methodology, a new foreword by Michael W. Hughey, and a new afterword in which Arthur J. Vidich recounts the creation and history of the book.
Internationally renowned sociologist, Arthur J. Vidich (1922-2006), was an active researcher and teacher whose career spanned the second half of the twentieth century. With a Critical Eye: An Intellectual and His Times recounts Vidich’s career in the wider cultural context of his life and work. Providing a window into post-World War II intellectual life, the richness of the autobiography lies not only in Vidich’s perspectives on the academic world, but also in his personal and sociological observations about the world around him.
Best known for his book, Small Town in Mass Society (co-authored with Joseph Bensman, 1958), Vidich taught for more than forty years at the New School for Social Research in New York. He published eighteen books, co-edited a book series with Robert Jackall, and was the founding editor of the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.