In conventional identity politics subjective differences are understood negatively, as gaps to be overcome, as lacks of sameness, as evidence of failed or incomplete unity. In Alterity Politics Jeffrey T. Nealon argues instead for a concrete and ethical understanding of community, one that requires response, action, and performance instead of passive resentment and unproductive mourning for a whole that cannot be attained.
While discussing the work of others who have refused to thematize difference in terms of the possibility or impossibility of sameness—Levinas, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, Zizek, Jameson, Heidegger, Bakhtin—Nealon argues that ethics is constituted as inexorable affirmative response to different identities, not through an inability to understand or totalize the other. Alterity Politics combines this theoretical itinerary with crucial discussions of specific and diverse sites of literary and cultural production—the work of William S. Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, Ishmael Reed, Rush Limbaugh, and Vincent Van Gogh—along with analyses of the social formation of subjects as found in identity politics, and in multicultural and whiteness studies. In the process, Nealon takes on a wide variety of issues including white male anger, the ethical questions raised by drug addiction, the nature of literary meaning, and the concept of “becoming-black.”
In seeking to build an ethical structure around poststructuralist discourse and to revitalize the applied use of theoretical concepts to notions of performative identity, Alterity Politics marks a decisive intervention in literary theory, cultural studies, twentieth-century philosophy, and performance studies.
In the West, "the Left," understood as a loose conglomeration of interests centered around the goal of a fairer and more equal society, still struggles to make its voice heard and its influence felt, even amid an overwhelming global recession. In Arts of the Political: New Openings for the Left, Ash Amin and Nigel Thrift argue that only by broadening the domain of what is considered political and what can be made into politics will the Left be able to respond forcefully to injustice and inequality. In particular, the Left requires a more imaginative and experimental approach to the politics of creating a better society. The authors propose three political arts that they consider crucial to transforming the Left: boosting invention, leveraging organization, and mobilizing affect. They maintain that successful Left political movements tend to surpass traditional notions of politics and open up political agency to these kinds of considerations. In other words, rather than providing another blueprint for the future, Amin and Thrift concentrate their attention on a more modest examination of the conduct of politics itself and the ways that it can be made more effective.
The potato famines of the nineteenth century were long attributed to Irish indolence. The Stalinist system was blamed on a Russian proclivity for autocracy. Muslim men have been accused of an inclination to terrorism. Is political behavior really the result of cultural upbringing, or does the vast range of human political action stem more from institutional and structural constraints?
This important new book carefully examines the role of institutions and civic culture in the establishment of political norms. Jackman and Miller methodically refute the Weberian cultural theory of politics and build in its place a persuasive case for the ways in which institutions shape the political behavior of ordinary citizens. Their rigorous examination of grassroots electoral participation reveals no evidence for even a residual effect of cultural values on political behavior, but instead provides consistent support for the institutional view. Before Norms speaks to urgent debates among political scientists and sociologists over the origins of individual political behavior.
Robert W. Jackman is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. Ross A. Miller is Associate Professor of Political Science at Santa Clara University.
The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu had a broader theoretical agenda than is generally acknowledged. Introducing this innovative collection of essays, Philip S. Gorski argues that Bourdieu's reputation as a theorist of social reproduction is the misleading result of his work's initial reception among Anglophone readers, who focused primarily on his mid-career thought. A broader view of his entire body of work reveals Bourdieu as a theorist of social transformation as well. Gorski maintains that Bourdieu was initially engaged with the question of social transformation and that the question of historical change not only never disappeared from his view, but re-emerged with great force at the end of his career.
The contributors to Bourdieu and Historical Analysis explore this expanded understanding of Bourdieu's thought and its potential contributions to analyses of large-scale social change and historical crisis. Their essays offer a primer on his concepts and methods and relate them to alternative approaches, including rational choice, Lacanian psychoanalysis, pragmatism, Latour's actor-network theory, and the "new" sociology of ideas. Several contributors examine Bourdieu's work on literature and sports. Others extend his thinking in new directions, applying it to nationalism and social policy. Taken together, the essays initiate an important conversation about Bourdieu's approach to sociohistorical change. Contributors. Craig Calhoun, Charles Camic, Christophe Charle, Jacques Defrance, Mustafa Emirbayer, Ivan Ermakoff, Gil Eyal, Chad Alan Goldberg, Philip S. Gorski, Robert A. Nye, Erik Schneiderhan, Gisele Shapiro, George Steinmetz, David Swartz
In this important book, Jan Willem Duyvendak and James M. Jasper bring together an internationally acclaimed group of contributors to demonstrate the complexities of the social and political spheres in various areas of public policy. By breaking down the state into the players who really make decisions and pursue coherent strategies, these essays provide new perspectives on the interactions between political protestors and the many parts of the state“from courts, political parties, and legislators to police, armies, and intelligence services. By analyzing politics as the interplay of various players within structured arenas, Breaking Down the State provides an innovative look at law and order versus opposition movements in countries across the globe.
Legislative member organizations (LMOs)—such as caucuses in the U.S. Congress and intergroups in the European Parliament—exist in lawmaking bodies around the world. Unlike parties and committees, LMOs play no obvious, predefined role in the legislative process. They provide legislators with opportunities to establish social networks with colleagues who share common interests. In turn, such networks offer valuable opportunities for the efficient exchange of policy-relevant—and sometimes otherwise unattainable—information between legislative offices. Building on classic insights from the study of social networks, the authors provide a comparative overview of LMOs across advanced, liberal democracies. In two nuanced case studies of LMOs in the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress, the authors rely on a mix of social network analysis, sophisticated statistical methods, and careful qualitative analysis of a large number of in-depth interviews.
In looking at the remarkable proliferation of democracies since 1974, this volume offers important insight into the challenges and opportunities that democracy faces in the twenty-first century. Distinguished contributors detail difficulties that democracies face from within and how they deal with them. Among the contemporary threats to democracy emanating from internal sources are tensions arising over technology and its uses; ethnic, religious, and racial distinctions; and disparate access to resources, education, and employment. A democratically elected government can behave more or less democratically, even when controlling access to information, using legal authority to aid or intimidate, and applying resources to shape the conditions for the next election. With elections recently disputed in the United States, Mexico, Lebanon, and the Ukraine, debates about the future of democracy are inescapably debates about what kind of democracy is desired.
Contributors are W. Lance Bennett, Bruce Bimber, Jon Fraenkel, Brian J. Gaines, Bernard Grofman, Wayne V. McIntosh, Peter F. Nardulli, Mark Q. Sawyer, Stephen Simon, Paul M. Sniderman, and Jack Snyder.
Americans’ relationship to the federal government is paradoxical. Polls show that public opinion regarding the government has plummeted to all-time lows, with only one in five saying they trust the government or believe that it operates in their interest. Yet, at the same time, more Americans than ever benefit from some form of government social provision. Political scientist Suzanne Mettler calls this growing gulf between people’s perceptions of government and the actual role it plays in their lives the "government-citizen disconnect." In The Government-Citizen Disconnect, she explores the rise of this phenomenon and its implications for policymaking and politics.
Drawing from original survey data which probed Americans’ experiences of 21 federal social policies -- such as food stamps, Social Security, Medicaid, and the home mortgage interest deduction -- Mettler shows that 96 percent of adults have received benefits from at least one of them, and that the average person has utilized five. Overall usage rates transcend social, economic, and political divisions, and most Americans report positive experiences of their policy experiences. However, the fact that they have benefited from these policies has little positive effect on people’s attitudes toward government. Mettler finds that shared identities and group affiliations, as well as ideological forces, are more powerful and consistent influences. In particular, those who oppose welfare tend to extrapolate their unfavorable views of it to government in general. Deep antipathy toward the government has emerged as the result of a conservative movement that has waged a war on social welfare policies for over forty years, even as economic inequality and benefit use have increased.
Mettler finds that voting patterns exacerbate the government-citizen disconnect, as those holding positive views of federal programs and supporting expanded benefits have lower rates of political participation than those holding more hostile views of the government. As a result, the loudest political voice belongs to those who have benefited from policies but who give government little credit for their economic well-being, seeing their success more as a matter of their own deservingness. This contributes to the election of politicians who advocate cutting federal social programs. According to Mettler, the government-citizen disconnect frays the bonds of representative government and democracy.
The Government-Citizen Disconnect illuminates a paradox that increasingly shapes American politics. Mettler's examination of hostility toward government at a time when most Americans will at some point rely on the social benefits it provides helps us better understand the roots of today's fractious political climate.
Harold D. Lasswell's pioneering work in the field of political sociology is distinguished by his insistence on studying major contemporary problems, his willingness to try new methods of inquiry, and—above all—his conviction that, to understand events on the political stage, one must also analyze the social and historical context. From the huge corpus of Lasswell's work, Dwaine Marvick has chosen representative selections that demonstrate the wide range of his interests, the intellectual framework of this thought, the characteristics of his style, and the diversity of his methods. The volume is organized around the five fields of central interest to Lasswell: elite analysis in an contextual perspective, developmental constructs, political communications research, the use of psychoanalysis to explain political behavior, and the role of intellectuals in policy-making processes.
The essays in How Many Exceptionalisms? span the long history of the intellectual output of Aristide Zolberg, one of the most distinguished social scientists of our time. In this collection, Zolberg shows his originality, insights, and breadth of thought as he addresses subjects ranging from theories of immigration policy, the making of Belgium, and the origins of the modern world system.
Written over three decades, and featuring many essays that have not been in wide circulation, Zolberg here draws from political science, cultural anthropology, sociology, and history to provide a configurative analysis of and long-term approach to the cultural diversity in Africa, Europe, and the United States.
The concept of cultural identity has become for many a convenient explanation for most of the world's political problems. In The Illusion of Cultural Identity Jean-François Bayart offers a sustained critique of this rationalization by dispelling the notion that fixed cultural identities do, in fact, exist.
In this highly sophisticated book, Bayart shows that the very idea of cultural identity prevents us from grasping the cultural dimensions of political action and economic development. Identities, he argues, are fluid, never homogeneous, and sometimes invented. Political repertoires are instead created through imagined, highly ambiguous aspects of culture—what he calls "imaginaires." For instance, the long beards worn by men in some fundamentalist groups are thought to be key to their core identities and thus assumed to be in conflict with modern values. These beards, however, do not stand in the way of the men's use of technology or their embrace of capitalism—an example Bayart uses to demonstrate the equivocality of cultural identity. The theoretical implications of Bayart's analysis emerge from a fascinating collection of historical examples that often surprise and always instruct.
Increased interest in Indonesian culture and politics is reflected in this work's effort to advance and reject various notions of what it means to be Indonesian. It also addresses perceptions of how Indonesia's citizens and state officials should interact. Because, in recent times, the Indonesian state has been so strong, much of the book is about state-sanctioned and state-supported notions of Indonesian identity and culture and efforts to come to terms with—or sometimes to challenge these official or dominant notions.
The contributions presented here represent a wide range of disciplines, points of view, and ideological orientations. Taken together they convey the notion that much might be gained if the idea were abandoned that a single understanding of what constitutes Indonesian culture is possible or desirable.
Habermas is a hugely influential thinker, yet his writing can be dense and inaccessible. This critical introduction offers undergraduates a clear way into Habermas’s concept of the ‘public sphere’ and its relevance to contemporary society. Luke Goode’s lively account also sheds new light on the ‘public sphere’ debate that will interest readers already familiar with Habermas’s work.
For Habermas, the 'public sphere' was a social forum that allowed people to debate -- whether it was the town hall or the coffee house, maintaining a space for public debate was an essential part of democracy. Habermas’s controversial work examines the erosion of these spaces within consumer society and calls for new thinking about democracy today.
Drawing on Habermas’s early and more recent writings, this book examines the ‘public sphere’ in its full complexity, outlining its relevance to today’s media and culture. It will be of interest to students and scholars in a range of disciplines across the social sciences and humanities.
Politicians and pundits have long disparaged their opponents with polemicist cries of "leftist!" or "rightist!" But with the fall of communism and the recent conservative ascendancy in the United States and Europe, many commentators have flatly declared that the traditional left/right distinction has lost its relevance. Now, even as political players scramble to redefine themselves with freshly "spun" labels, Norberto Bobbio asserts that the demise of the left/right distinction has been greatly exaggerated.
Bobbio argues that left and right are not absolute terms, but represent a shifting map of the political spectrum, relative to the particular cultural and historical contexts of a given time. The distinction continues to endure because it reflects the essentially antithetical nature and dynamics of democratic politics. In his accessible yet provocative style, Bobbio constructs a historically informed, analytic division of the political universe along two foundational axes, from equality to inequality, from liberty to authoritarianism. He then charts the past and present tendencies of the left and the right, in both their more moderate and more virulently extreme forms. Ultimately, for Bobbio, the measure of post-modern democracy will indeed lie in where and how we situate ourselves relative to these critical left/right parameters, in whether we cast ourselves, our votes, and our era in terms of political expediency, social viability, or moral responsibility.
A bestseller in Italy, where it sold over three hundred thousand copies, Left and Right is an important contribution to our understanding of global political developments in the 1990s and beyond.
In Man Is by Nature a Political Animal, Peter K. Hatemi and Rose McDermott bring together a diverse group of contributors to examine the ways in which evolutionary theory and biological research are increasingly informing analyses of political behavior. Focusing on the theoretical, methodological, and empirical frameworks of a variety of biological approaches to political attitudes and preferences, the authors consider a wide range of topics, including the comparative basis of political behavior, the utility of formal modeling informed by evolutionary theory, the genetic bases of attitudes and behaviors, psychophysiological methods and research, and the wealth of insight generated by recent research on the human brain. Through this approach, the book reveals the biological bases of many previously unexplained variances within the extant models of political behavior.
The diversity of methods discussed and variety of issues examined here will make this book of great interest to students and scholars seeking a comprehensive overview of this emerging approach to the study of politics and behavior.
For three centuries, concepts of the state have been animated by one of the most powerful metaphors in politics: the body politic, a claustrophobic and bounded image of sovereignty. Climate change, neoliberalism, mass migration, and other aspects of the late Anthropocene have increasingly revealed the limitations of this metaphor. Just as the human body is not whole and separate from other bodies—comprising microbes, bacteria, water, and radioactive isotopes—Stefanie R. Fishel argues that the body politic of the state exists in dense entanglement with other communities and forms of life.
Drawing on insights from continental philosophy, science and technology studies, and international relations theory, this path-breaking book critiques the concept of the body politic on the grounds of its very materiality. Fishel both redefines and extends the metaphor of the body politic and its role in understanding an increasingly posthuman, globalized world politics. By conceiving of bodies and states as lively vessels, living harmoniously with multiplicity and the biosphere, she argues that a radical shift in metaphors can challenge a politics based on fear to open new forms of global political practice and community.
Reframing the concept of the body politic to accommodate greater levels of complexity, Fishel suggests, will result in new configurations for the political and social organization necessary to build a world in which the planet’s inhabitants do not merely live but actively thrive.
Although Haitian revolutionaries were not the intended audience for the Declaration of the Rights of Man, they heeded its call, demanding rights that were not meant for them. This failure of the French state to address only its desired subjects is an example of the phenomenon James R. Martel labels "misinterpellation." Complicating Althusser's famous theory, Martel explores the ways that such failures hold the potential for radical and anarchist action. In addition to the Haitian Revolution, Martel shows how the revolutionary responses by activists and anticolonial leaders to Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech and the Arab Spring sprang from misinterpellation. He also takes up misinterpellated subjects in philosophy, film, literature, and nonfiction, analyzing works by Nietzsche, Kafka, Woolf, Fanon, Ellison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others to demonstrate how characters who exist on the margins offer a generally unrecognized anarchist form of power and resistance. Timely and broad in scope, The Misinterpellated Subject reveals how calls by authority are inherently vulnerable to radical possibilities, thereby suggesting that all people at all times are filled with revolutionary potential.
Given their tendency to splinter over tactics and goals, social movements are rarely unified. Following the modern Western animal rights movement over thirty years, Corey Lee Wrennapplies the sociological theory of Bourdieu, Goffman, Weber, and contemporary social movement researchers to examine structural conditions in the animal rights movement, facilitating factionalism in today’s era of professionalized advocacy.
Modern social movements are dominated by bureaucratically oriented nonprofits, a special arrangement that creates tension between activists and movement elites who compete for success in a corporate political arena. Piecemeal Protest examines the impact of nonprofitization on factionalism and a movement’s ability to mobilize, resonate, and succeed. Wrenn’sexhaustive analysis of archival movement literature and exclusive interviews with movement leaders illustrate how entities with greater symbolic capital are positioned to monopolize claims-making, disempower competitors, and replicate hegemonic power, eroding democratic access to dialogue and decision-making essential for movement health.
Piecemeal Protest examines social movement behavior shaped by capitalist ideologies and state interests. As power concentrates to the disadvantage of marginalized factions in the modern social movement arena, Piecemeal Protest shines light on processes of factionalism and considers how, in the age of nonprofits, intra-movement inequality could stifle social progress.
For more than three decades, Rogers M. Smith has been one of the leading scholars of the role of ideas in American politics, policies, and history. Over time, he has developed the concept of “political peoples,” a category that is much broader and more fluid than legal citizenship, enabling Smith to offer rich new analyses of political communities, governing institutions, public policies, and moral debates.
This book gathers Smith’s most important writings on peoplehood to build a coherent theoretical and historical account of what peoplehood has meant in American political life, informed by frequent comparisons to other political societies. From the revolutionary-era adoption of individual rights rhetoric to today’s battles over the place of immigrants in a rapidly diversifying American society, Smith shows how modern America’s growing embrace of overlapping identities is in tension with the providentialism and exceptionalism that continue to make up so much of what many believe it means to be an American.
A major work that brings a lifetime of thought to bear on questions that are as urgent now as they have ever been, Political Peoplehood will be essential reading for social scientists, political philosophers, policy analysts, and historians alike.
Political change doesn’t always begin with a bang; it often starts with just a whisper. From the discussions around kitchen tables that led to the dismantling of the Soviet bloc to the more recent emergence of Internet initiatives like MoveOn.org and Redeem the Vote that are revolutionizing the American political landscape, consequential political life develops in small spaces where dialogue generates political power.
In The Politics of Small Things, Jeffrey Goldfarb provides an innovative way for understanding politics, a way of appreciating the significance of politics at the micro level by comparatively analyzing key turning points and institutions in recent history. He presents a sociology of human interactions that lead from small to large: dissent around the old Soviet bloc; life on the streets in Warsaw, Prague, and Bucharest in 1989; the network of terror that spawned 9/11; and the religious and Internet mobilizations that transformed the 2004 presidential election, to name a few. In such pivotal moments, he masterfully shows, political autonomy can be generated, presenting alternatives to the big politics of the global stage and the dominant narratives of terrorism, antiterrorism, and globalization.
The Politics of Social Protest was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Bringing together celebrated scholars from diverse traditions and backgrounds, The Politics of Social Protest focuses on the reciprocal relationships among social movements, states, and political parties. The volume is organized around three key questions: Why do citizens resort to the often risky and demanding strategy of using disruptive protest when other channels of political intervention appear to be available? What is the relationship between social protest movements and systems of political representation? And what is the impact of the structure and development of the state on social movements themselves?
Contributors include Ronald Aminzade, University of Minnesota; Paul Burstein, University of Washington; Russell J. Dalton, University of California, Irvine; Donatella della Porta, University of Florence; Henry Dietz, University of Texas, Austin; Rachel L. Einwohner, University of Washington; Steven E. Finkel, University of Virginia; Jerrold D. Green, University of Arizona; Jocelyn Hollander, University of Washington; Hanspeter Kriesi, University of Geneva; Diarmuid Maguire, University of Sydney; Bronislaw Misztal, Indiana University, Fort Wayne; Edward N. Muller, University of Arizona; Michael Nollert, University of Trier; Karl-Dieter Opp, University of Hamburg; Dieter Rucht, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin; Michael Wallace, Indiana University; and Gadi Wolfsfeld, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
J. Craig Jenkins is professor of sociology at The Ohio State University. He is the author of The Politics of Insurgency: The Farm Worker Movement of the 1960's (1985).
Bert Klandermans is professor of applied social psychology at Free University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has published widely on social movements in journals such as the American Sociological Review, Sociological Forum, and the European Journal of Social Psychology. He is the editor of the Social Movements, Protest, and Contention series for the University of Minnesota Press.
A scholarly gulf has tended to divide historians, political scientists, and social movement theorists on how people develop and act on their preferences. Rational choice scholars assumed that people—regardless of the time and place in which they live—try to achieve certain goals, like maximizing their personal wealth or power. In contrast, comparative historical scholars have emphasized historical context in explaining people's behavior. Recently, a common emphasis on how institutions—such as unions or governments—influence people's preferences in particular situations has emerged, promising to narrow the divide between the two intellectual camps. In Preferences and Situations, editors Ira Katnelson and Barry Weingast seek to expand that common ground by bringing together an esteemed group of contributors to address the ways in which institutions, in their wider historical setting, induce people to behave in certain ways and steer the course of history. The contributors examine a diverse group of topics to assess the role that institutions play in shaping people's preferences and decision-making. For example, Margaret Levi studies two labor unions to determine how organizational preferences are established. She discusses how the individual preferences of leaders crystallize and become cemented into an institutional culture through formal rules and informal communication. To explore how preferences alter with time, David Brady, John Ferejohn, and Jeremy Pope examine why civil rights legislation that failed to garner sufficient support in previous decades came to pass Congress in 1964. Ira Katznelson reaches back to the 13th century to discuss how the institutional development of Parliament after the signing of the Magna Carta led King Edward I to reframe the view of the British crown toward Jews and expel them in 1290. The essays in this book focus on preference formation and change, revealing a great deal of overlap between two schools of thought that were previously considered mutually exclusive. Though the scholarly debate over the merits of historical versus rational choice institutionalism will surely rage on, Preferences and Situations reveals how each field can be enriched by the other.
Daniel Lerner's 1958 book The Passing of Traditional Society was central in shaping Cold War–era ideas about the use of mass media and culture to promote social and economic progress in postcolonial nations. Based on a study of the effectiveness of propaganda in the Middle East, Lerner’s book claimed that exposure to American media messages could motivate “traditional” people in the postcolonial nations to become “modern” by cultivating empathy for American ideas, goods, and ways of life.
The Production of Modernization examines Lerner’s writings to construct the intellectual trajectory of his thinking about mass media and modernization up to and beyond the publication of his famous book. Shah has written not just an intellectual biography of Lerner but also a history of the discipline he shaped.
Those who study value conflicts have resisted rational choice approaches in the social sciences, contending that political conflict over cultural values is best explained by group loyalties, symbolic motives, and other "nonrational" factors. However, Chong shows that a single model can explain how people make decisions across both social and economic realms. He argues that our preferences result from a combination of psychological dispositions, which are shaped by social influences and developed over the life span.
Chong's book yields insights about the circumstances under which preferences, beliefs, values, norms and group identifications are formed. It offers a provocative explanation of how ingrained social norms and values can change over time despite the forces maintaining the status quo.
"Going beyond the tired polemics on both sides, [Chong] constructs a new interpretation of human behavior in which culture and individual rationality both matter. The synthesis is a more comprehensive and powerful explanatory framework than either side could have produced, and Chong's creativity should influence subsequent interpretations of our social life in fundamental ways."—Christopher H. Achen, University of Michigan
Selected Political Writings gathers Stuart Hall's best-known and most important essays that directly engage with political issues. Written between 1957 and 2011 and appearing in publications such as New Left Review and Marxism Today, these twenty essays span the whole of Hall's career, from his early involvement with the New Left, to his critique of Thatcherism, to his later focus on neoliberalism. Whether addressing economic decline and class struggle, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the politics of empire, Hall's singular commentary and theorizations make this volume essential for anyone interested in the politics of the last sixty years.
Political, intellectual, and academic discourse in the United States has been awash in political correctness, which has itself been berated and defended -- yet little understood. As a corrective, Nelson and Greene look at a more general process: adopting political positions to enhance one's reputation for trustworthiness both to others and to oneself.
Phillip Nelson and Kenneth Greene are Professors of Economics in the Department of Economics at the State University of New York, Binghamton.
Sociability and Its Enemies contributes both to contemporary studies of political theory and to discourse on postwar Germany by reconstructing the arguments concerning the nature and value of sociability as a form of interaction and interconnection particular to modern bourgeois society. Jakob Norberg argues that the writings of Hannah Arendt, Jürgen Habermas, Carl Schmitt, and the historian Reinhart Koselleck present conflicting responses to a hitherto neglected question or point of contention: whether bourgeois sociability should serve as a therapeutic practice and politically relevant ideal for postwar Germany. The book sheds light on previously neglected historical and conceptual connections among political theorists, and it enriches established narratives of postwar intellectual history.
Using classic theories and methodologies, this collection maintains that individuals make political choices by taking into account the views, preferences, evaluations, and actions of other people who comprise their social networks. These include family members, friends, neighbors, and workmates, among others. The volume re-establishes the research of the Columbia School of Electoral Sociology from several decades ago, and contrasts it with rational choice theory and the Michigan School of Electoral Analysis. Written by political scientists with a range of interests, this volume returns the social logic of politics to the heart of political science.
The Sociology of the State
Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaum University of Chicago Press, 1983 Library of Congress JC325.B2713 1983 | Dewey Decimal 306.2
Too often we think of the modern political state as a universal institution, the inevitable product of History rather than a specific creation of a very particular history. Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaum here persuasively argue that the origin of the state is a social fact, arising out of the peculiar sociohistorical context of Western Europe. Drawing on historical materials and bringing sociological insights to bear on a field long abandoned to jurists and political scientists, the authors lay the foundations for a strikingly original theory of the birth and subsequent diffusion of the state.
The book opens with a review of the principal evolutionary theories concerning the origin of the institution proposed by such thinkers as Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. Rejecting these views, the authors set forward and defend their thesis that the state was an "invention" rather than a necessary consequence of any other process. Once invented, the state was disseminated outside its Western European birthplace either through imposition or imitation. The study concludes with concrete analyses of the differences in actual state institutions in France, Prussia, Great Britain, the United States, and Switzerland.
Stuart Hall’s Voice explores the ethos of style that characterized Stuart Hall’s intellectual vocation. David Scott frames the book—which he wrote as a series of letters to Hall in the wake of his death—as an evocation of friendship understood as the moral and intellectual medium in which his dialogical hermeneutic relationship with Hall’s work unfolded. In this respect, the book asks: what do we owe intellectually to the work of those whom we know well, admire, and honor? Reflecting one of the lessons of Hall’s style, the book responds: what we owe should be conceived less in terms of criticism than in terms of listening.
Hall’s intellectual life was animated by voice in literal and extended senses: not only was his voice distinctive in the materiality of its sound, but his thinking and writing were fundamentally shaped by a dialogical and reciprocal practice of speaking and listening. Voice, Scott suggests, is the central axis of the ethos of Hall’s style.
Against the backdrop of the consideration of the voice’s aspects, Scott specifically engages Hall’s relationship to the concepts of "contingency" and "identity," concepts that were dimensions less of a method as such than of an attuned and responsive attitude to the world. This attitude, moreover, constituted an ethical orientation of Hall’s that should be thought of as a special kind of generosity, namely a "receptive generosity," a generosity oriented as much around giving as receiving, as much around listening as speaking.
Power is the central organizing principle of all social life, from culture and education to stratification and taste. And there is no more prominent name in the analysis of power than that of noted sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Throughout his career, Bourdieu challenged the commonly held view that symbolic power—the power to dominate—is solely symbolic. He emphasized that symbolic power helps create and maintain social hierarchies, which form the very bedrock of political life. By the time of his death in 2002, Bourdieu had become a leading public intellectual, and his argument about the more subtle and influential ways that cultural resources and symbolic categories prevail in power arrangements and practices had gained broad recognition.
In Symbolic Power, Politics, and Intellectuals, David L. Swartz delves deeply into Bourdieu’s work to show how central—but often overlooked—power and politics are to an understanding of sociology. Arguing that power and politics stand at the core of Bourdieu’s sociology, Swartz illuminates Bourdieu’s political project for the social sciences, as well as Bourdieu’s own political activism, explaining how sociology is not just science but also a crucial form of political engagement.
Whether at parties, around the dinner table, or at the office, people talk about politics all the time. Yet while such conversations are a common part of everyday life, political scientists know very little about how they actually work. In Talking about Politics, Katherine Cramer Walsh provides an innovative, intimate study of how ordinary people use informal group discussions to make sense of politics.
Walsh examines how people rely on social identities—their ideas of who "we" are—to come to terms with current events. In Talking about Politics, she shows how political conversation, friendship, and identity evolve together, creating stronger communities and stronger social ties. Political scientists, sociologists, and anyone interested in how politics really works need to read this book.
Constance A. Flanagan Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress HQ799.2.P6F65 2013 | Dewey Decimal 303.484
Too young to vote or pay taxes, teenagers are off the radar of political scientists. Yet civic identities form during adolescence and are rooted in experiences as members of families, schools, and community organizations. Flanagan helps us understand how young people come to envisage civic engagement, and how their political identities take form.
Trust and Governance
Valerie Braithwaite Russell Sage Foundation, 1998 Library of Congress JA79.T78 1998 | Dewey Decimal 306.2
An effective democratic society depends on the confidence citizens place in their government. Payment of taxes, acceptance of legislative and judicial decisions, compliance with social service programs, and support of military objectives are but some examples of the need for public cooperation with state demands. At the same time, voters expect their officials to behave ethically and responsibly. To those seeking to understand—and to improve—this mutual responsiveness, Trust and Governance provides a wide-ranging inquiry into the role of trust in civic life. Trust and Governance asks several important questions: Is trust really essential to good governance, or are strong laws more important? What leads people either to trust or to distrust government, and what makes officials decide to be trustworthy? Can too much trust render the public vulnerable to government corruption, and if so what safeguards are necessary? In approaching these questions, the contributors draw upon an abundance of historical and current resources to offer a variety of perspectives on the role of trust in government. For some, trust between citizens and government is a rational compact based on a fair exchange of information and the public's ability to evaluate government performance. Levi and Daunton each examine how the establishment of clear goals and accountability procedures within government agencies facilitates greater public commitment, evidence that a strong government can itself be a source of trust. Conversely, Jennings and Peel offer two cases in which loss of citizen confidence resulted from the administration of seemingly unresponsive, punitive social service programs. Other contributors to Trust and Governance view trust as a social bonding, wherein the public's emotional investment in government becomes more important than their ability to measure its performance. The sense of being trusted by voters can itself be a powerful incentive for elected officials to behave ethically, as Blackburn, Brennan, and Pettit each demonstrate. Other authors explore how a sense of communal identity and shared values make citizens more likely to eschew their own self-interest and favor the government as a source of collective good. Underlying many of these essays is the assumption that regulatory institutions are necessary to protect citizens from the worst effects of misplaced trust. Trust and Governance offers evidence that the jurisdictional level at which people and government interact—be it federal, state, or local—is fundamental to whether trust is rationally or socially based. Although social trust is more prevalent at the local level, both forms of trust may be essential to a healthy society. Enriched by perspectives from political science, sociology, psychology, economics, history, and philosophy, Trust and Governance opens a new dialogue on the role of trust in the vital relationship between citizenry and government. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Series on Trust.
Leading sociologist Irving Louis Horowitz examines the response social science has made to contemporary subjects and issues: the so-called "new class" of the intelligentsia, the ecology movement, social planning, alienation, privatization, anomie, the threat of nuclear war. Horowitz evaluates as a social scientist the question of values—those disclosed through analysis, and those threatened by it—and discusses the overall political and moral impact of knowledge and methodology in social science.