Talk of love surrounds us, and romance is a constant concern of popular culture. Ann Swidler's Talk of Love is an attempt to discover how people find and sustain real love in the midst of that talk, and how that culture of love shapes their expectations and behavior in the process. To this end, Swidler conducted extensive interviews with Middle Americans and wound up offering us something more than an insightful exploration of love: Talk of Love is also a compelling study of how much culture affects even the most personal of our everyday experiences.
A leading psychologist explains why nearly all of us—including many of those who are persecuted and powerless—so often defend the social systems that cause misery and injustice.
Why do we so often defend the very social systems that are responsible for injustice and exploitation? In A Theory of System Justification, John Jost argues that we are motivated to defend the status quo because doing so serves fundamental psychological needs for certainty, security, and social acceptance. We want to feel good not only about ourselves and the groups to which we belong, but also about the overarching social structure in which we live, even when it hurts others and ourselves.
Jost lays out the wide range of evidence for his groundbreaking theory and examines its implications for our communities and our democracy. Drawing on twenty-five years of research, he provides an accessible account of system justification theory and its insights. System justification helps to explain deep contradictions, including the feeling among some women that they don’t deserve the same salaries as men and the tendency of some poor people to vote for policies that increase economic inequality.
The theory illuminates the most pressing social and political issues of our time—why has it been so hard to combat anthropogenic climate change?—as well as some of the most intimate—why do some black children prefer white dolls to black ones and why do some people stay in bad relationships? Jost’s theory has far-reaching implications, and he offers numerous insights that political activists and social justice advocates can use to promote change.
Americans have been shocked by media reports of the dismal working conditions in factories that make clothing for U.S. companies. But while well intentioned, many of these reports about child labor and sweatshop practices rely on stereotypes of how Third World factories operate, ignoring the complex economic dynamics driving the global apparel industry.
To dispel these misunderstandings, Jane L. Collins visited two very different apparel firms and their factories in the United States and Mexico. Moving from corporate headquarters to factory floors, her study traces the diverse ties that link First and Third World workers and managers, producers and consumers. Collins examines how the transnational economics of the apparel industry allow firms to relocate or subcontract their work anywhere in the world, making it much harder for garment workers in the United States or any other country to demand fair pay and humane working conditions.
Putting a human face on globalization, Threads shows not only how international trade affects local communities but also how workers can organize in this new environment to more effectively demand better treatment from their distant corporate employers.
According to the 1860 census, nearly 350,000 native northerners resided in a southern state by the time of the Civil War. Although northern in birth and upbringing, many of these men and women identified with their adopted section once they moved south. In this innovative study, David Ross Zimring examines what motivated these Americans to change sections, support (or not) the Confederate cause, and, in many cases, rise to considerable influence in their new homeland. By analyzing the lives of northern emigrants in the South, Zimring deepens our understanding of the nature of sectional identity as well as the strength of Confederate nationalism.
Focusing on a representative sample of emigrants, Zimring identifies two subgroups: “adoptive southerners,” individuals born and raised in a state above the Mason-Dixon line but who but did not necessarily join the Confederacy after they moved south, and “Northern Confederates,” emigrants who sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. After analyzing statistical data on states of origin, age, education, decade of migration, and, most importantly, the reasons why these individuals embarked for the South in the first place, Zimring goes on to explore the prewar lives of adoptive southerners, the adaptations they made with regard to slavery, and the factors that influenced their allegiances during the secession crisis. He also analyzes their contributions to the Confederate military and home front, the emergence of their Confederate identities and nationalism, their experiences as prisoners of war in the North, and the reactions they elicited from native southerners.
In tracing these journeys from native northerner to Confederate veteran, this book reveals not only the complex transformations of adoptive southerners but also the flexibility of sectional and national identity before the war and the loss of that flexibility in its aftermath. To Live and Die in Dixie is a thought-provoking work that provides a novel perspective on the revolutionary changes the Civil War unleashed on American society.
David Ross Zimring is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Montgomery College. He has published in West Virginia History and the Journal of Southern History.
After Stalin died a torrent of Western novels, films, and paintings invaded Soviet streets and homes. Soviet citizens invested these imports with political and personal significance, transforming them into intimate possessions. Eleonory Gilburd reveals how Western culture defined the last three decades of the Soviet Union, its death, and afterlife.