Abraham Lincoln has long dominated the pantheon of American presidents. From his lavish memorial in Washington and immortalization on Mount Rushmore, one might assume he was a national hero rather than a controversial president who came close to losing his 1864 bid for reelection. In Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory, Barry Schwartz aims at these contradictions in his study of Lincoln's reputation, from the president's death through the industrial revolution to his apotheosis during the Progressive Era and First World War.
Schwartz draws on a wide array of materials—painting and sculpture, popular magazines and school textbooks, newspapers and oratory—to examine the role that Lincoln's memory has played in American life. He explains, for example, how dramatic funeral rites elevated Lincoln's reputation even while funeral eulogists questioned his presidential actions, and how his reputation diminished and grew over the next four decades. Schwartz links transformations of Lincoln's image to changes in the society. Commemorating Lincoln helped Americans to think about their country's development from a rural republic to an industrial democracy and to articulate the way economic and political reform, military power, ethnic and race relations, and nationalism enhanced their conception of themselves as one people.
Lincoln's memory assumed a double aspect of "mirror" and "lamp," acting at once as a reflection of the nation's concerns and an illumination of its ideals, and Schwartz offers a fascinating view of these two functions as they were realized in the commemorative symbols of an ever-widening circle of ethnic, religious, political, and regional communities. The first part of a study that will continue through the present, Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory is the story of how America has shaped its past selectively and imaginatively around images rooted in a real person whose character and achievements helped shape his country's future.
In her forceful social history, Bullying, Laura Martocci explores the “bully culture” that has claimed national attention since the late 1990s.
Moving beyond the identification of aggressive behaviors to an analysis of how and why we have arrived at a culture that thrives on humiliation, she critiques the social forces that gave rise to, and help maintain, bullying. Martocci’s analysis of gossip, laughter, stereotyping, and competition—dynamics that foment bullying and prompt responses of shame, violence, and depression—is positioned within a larger social narrative: the means by which we negotiate damaged social bonds and the role that bystanders play in the possibility of atonement, forgiveness, and redemption.
Martocci’s fresh perspective on bullying positions shame as pivotal. She urges us to acknowledge the pain and confusion caused by social disgrace; to understand its social, psychological, and neurological nature; and to address it through narratives of loss, grief, and redemption—cultural supports that are already in place.
The Creativity of Action
Hans Joas University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress HM291.J56213 1996 | Dewey Decimal 302
Hans Joas is one of the foremost social theorists in Germany today. Based on Joas’s celebrated study of George Herbert Mead, this work reevaluates the contribution of American pragmatism and European philosophical anthropology to theories of action in the social sciences. Joas also establishes direct ties between Mead’s work and approaches drawn from German traditions of philosophical anthropology.
Joas argues for adding a third model of action to the two predominant models of rational and normative action—one that emphasizes the creative character of human action. This model encompasses the other two, allowing for a more comprehensive theory of action. Joas elaborates some implications of his model for theories of social movements and social change and for the status of action theory in sociology in the face of competition from theories advanced by Luhmann and Habermas.
The problem of action is of crucial importance in both sociology and philosophy, and this book—already widely debated in Germany—will add fresh impetus to the lively discussions current in the English-speaking world.
Dilemmas Of American Self
John P. Hewitt Temple University Press, 1991 Library of Congress HM251.H493 1989 | Dewey Decimal 302
Charles Horton Cooley Award of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 1990
"According to Hewitt, the essence of modernity is tension between community and society. This ambitious, sophisticated, and well-written book is a tonic for those who weary of simplistic sermons on the condition of American culture."
This book explores stability and change in American social character and identity, and offers a theory about what it means to be an individual within contemporary American society. Skeptical of the widely-accepted thesis that the self, at least in America, has drastically changed, John P. Hewitt assumes that there is more historical continuity and that the culture is filled with internal contradictions. Combining the insights of social psychology, with those of writers who have offered critiques of the larger society and its influences on the individual, he revises our understanding of the person in American society.
Hewitt examines the theories of such authors as David Riesman, Allen Wheelis, Christopher Lasch, Erving Goffman, Carl Rogers, Ralph Turner, and others. He treats their emphasis on the decline of transformation of the self not as social theory to be tested, but as cultural text that reveals some of the main historical and contemporary features and fault lines of American culture.
"American culture is best characterized not as relentlessly individualistic or as lacking in the capacity to conceive of or discuss community, but as torn between individualism and communitarianism, thus creating serious felt difficulties of social adjustment and personal meaning." Proposing a symbolic interactionist theory of culture, Hewitt emphasizes inherent polarities of meaning and dilemmas of conduct that shape the experience of self: conformity versus rebellion, staying versus leaving, and dependence versus independence. He constructs a theory of identity that views personal identity and social identity as contending means for securing the continuity and integration of the self, and applies the theory to American society by depicting autonomous, exclusivist, and pragmatic strategies of self-construction.
"This theoretically sophisticated work is very ably organized and marked by superior scholarly and expository craftsmanship. It will be hailed, I believe, as an important contribution to symbolic interactionism and the sociology and social psychology of everyday life. Hewitt's treatment of self, identity, conformity, differentiation, community, and modernity is a fine example of creative scholarship."
--Charles H. Page, University of Massachusetts (Emeritus)
"Hewitt has set himself the ambitious task of providing a symbolic interactionist analysis of culture, society, and self, and has succeeded admirably in the effort. I found his rich description of cultural types to be especially insightful. It is no exaggeration to characterize this book as a landmark work in the development of symbolic interactions."
--Morris Rosenberg, University of Maryland-College Park
This literary-historical study seeks to dismantle the prevailing notion that Germany, in the period following the Second World War, exhibited an “inability to mourn,” arguing that in fact this period experienced a surge of affect. Anna Parkinson examines the emotions explicitly manifested or addressed in a variety of German cultural artifacts, while also identifying previously unacknowledged (and undertheorized) affective structures implicitly at work during the country’s national crisis. Much of the scholarship in the expanding field of affect theory distrusts Freudian psychoanalysis, which does not differentiate between emotion and affect.
One of the book’s major contributions is that it offers an analytical distinction between emotion and affect, finding a compelling way to talk about affect and emotion that is informed by affect theory but that integrates psychoanalysis. The study draws on the psychoanalytic writings of Freud, Margarete and Alexander Mitscherlich, and André Green, while engaging with interdisciplinary theorists of affect including Barbara Rosenwein, Lauren Berlant, Ann Cvetkovich, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick among many others.
Leon Festinger's forty-year scrutiny of that "curious animal, the modern human being" fundamentally transformed psychological thinking and shaped an entire scientific field, that of social psychology. The twenty-four papers brought together for the first time in Extending Psychological Frontiers encompass the classic contributions and critical turning points of Festinger's long career. Spanning the post-war decades, this unprecedented volume reveals the full scope, diversity, and import of Festinger's work. Its thematic arrangement clarifies the complex network of problems that preoccupied Festinger and the unique imaginative style that characterized his intellect. Whether examining the voting behavior of Catholics and Jews, the meaning of minute eye movements, the decisions of maze-running rats, or the proselytizing behavior of cultists, Festinger consistently transcended the traditional bounds of the discipline. His theory of cognitive dissonance, which describes how people attempt to resolve the tensions that result when they hold simultaneously two inconsistent beliefs, challenged preexisting psychological theories and produced more important ideas and experimentation than any other development in social psychology. Major writings on group dynamics, decision making, and perceptual processes further underscore the impact of Festinger's research not only on psychology, but also on a wide range of intellectual fronts, from literary theory to ethnology and from historical studies to contemporary political analysis. Extending Psychological Frontiers is an invaluable resource, providing a comprehensive and coherent picture of an extraordinary body of work.
We humans are difficult animals. We are the source of environmental degradation, the culprits of resource decline. We are reluctant to trust and easily angered. However, we are also the source of inspiration, compassion, and creative solutions. What brings out the reasonable side of our capacity? The Reasonable Person Model (RPM) offers a simple framework for considering essential ingredients in how people, at their best, deal with one another and the resources on which we all rely. RPM is a hopeful and engaging framework that helps us understand and address a wide diversity of issues. The 20 chapters of Fostering Reasonableness provide the conceptual foundations of the framework and applications examining contexts as diverse as a region, organization, the classroom, finding common ground in resource planning, education in the prison environment, greening in the inner city. Our collective hope in putting the book together is to encourage a way of seeing, a way of understanding and examining circumstances that might lead to more wholesome, adaptive, and effective means of addressing the big and little issues that depend on humanity’s reasonableness.
"Of those who created the intellectual capital used to launch the enterprise of professional sociology, Georg Simmel was perhaps the most original and fecund. In search of a subject matter for sociology that would distinguish it from all other social sciences and humanistic disciplines, he charted a new field for discovery and proceeded to explore a world of novel topics in works that have guided and anticipated the thinking of generations of sociologists. Such distinctive concepts of contemporary sociology as social distance, marginality, urbanism as a way of life, role-playing, social behavior as exchange, conflict as an integrating process, dyadic encounter, circular interaction, reference groups as perspectives, and sociological ambivalence embody ideas which Simmel adumbrated more than six decades ago."—Donald N. Levine
Half of the material included in this edition of Simmel's writings represents new translations. This includes Simmel's important, lengthy, and previously untranslated "Group Expansion and Development of Individuality," as well as three selections from his most neglected work, Philosophy of Money; in addition, the introduction to Probleme der Geschichtsphilosophie, chapter one of the Lebensanschauung, and three essays are translated for the first time.
This groundbreaking study details the intellectual development of George Herbert Mead as a thinker of great originality and as a practitioner of social reform. Gary Cook traces the genesis of Mead's social psychological and philosophical ideas by analyzing his journal articles and posthumously published writings.
Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USX-NONEX-NONEMicrosoftInternetExplorer4The transnational movement of people and ideas has led scholars throughout the humanities to reconsider many core concepts. Among them is the notion of public memory and how it changes when collective memories are no longer grounded within the confines of the traditional nation-state. An introduction by coeditors Kendall Phillips and Mitchell Reyes provides a context for examining the challenges of remembrance in a globalized world. In their essay they posit the idea of the “global memoryscape,” a sphere in which memories circulate among increasingly complex and diffused networks of remembrance.
The essays contained within the volume--by scholars from a wide range of disciplines including American studies, art history, political science, psychology, and sociology--each engage a particular instance of the practices of memory as they are complicated by globalization.
Subjects include the place of nostalgia in post-Yugoslavia Serbian national memory, Russian identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union, political remembrance in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the role of Chilean mass media in forging national identity following the arrest of Augusto Pinochet, American debates over memorializing Japanese internment camps, and how the debate over the Iraq war is framed by memories of opposition to the Vietnam War.
Do you put family photos on your desk at work? Are your home and work keys on the same chain? Do you keep one all-purpose calendar for listing home and work events? Do you have separate telephone books for colleagues and friends? In Home and Work, Christena Nippert-Eng examines the intricacies and implications of how we draw the line between home and work.
Arguing that relationships between the two realms range from those that are highly "integrating" to those that are highly "segmenting," Nippert-Eng examines the ways people sculpt the boundaries between home and work. With remarkable sensitivity to the symbolic value of objects and actions, Nippert-Eng explores the meaning of clothing, wallets, lunches and vacations, and the places and ways in which we engage our family, friends, and co-workers. Commuting habits are also revealing, showing how we make the transition between home and work selves though ritualized behavior like hellos and goodbyes, the consumption of food, the way we dress, our choices of routes to and from work, and our listening, working, and sleeping habits during these journeys.
The ways each of us manages time, space, and people not only reflect but reinforce lives that are more "integrating" or "segmenting" at any given time. In clarifying what we take for granted, this book will leave you thinking in different ways about your life and work.
Why do men talk and women gossip, and which is better for you? Why is monogamy a drain on the brain? And why should you be suspicious of someone who has more than 150 friends on Facebook? We are the product of our evolutionary history, and this history colors our everyday lives—from why we joke to the depth of our religious beliefs. In How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Robin Dunbar uses groundbreaking experiments that have forever changed the way evolutionary biologists explain how the distant past underpins our current behavior. We know so much more now than Darwin ever did, but the core of modern evolutionary theory lies firmly in Darwin’s elegantly simple idea: organisms behave in ways that enhance the frequency with which genes are passed on to future generations. This idea is at the heart of Dunbar’s book, which seeks to explain why humans behave as they do. Stimulating, provocative, and immensely enjoyable, his book invites you to explore the number of friends you have, whether you have your father’s brain or your mother’s, whether morning sickness might actually be good for you, why Barack Obama’s 2008 victory was a foregone conclusion, what Gaelic has to do with frankincense, and why we laugh. In the process, Dunbar examines the role of religion in human evolution, the fact that most of us have unexpectedly famous ancestors, and why men and women never seem able to see eye to eye on color.
Islands of Privacy
Christena E. Nippert-Eng University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BF637.P74N566 2010 | Dewey Decimal 302.5
Everyone worries about privacy these days. As corporations and governments devise increasingly sophisticated data gathering tools and joining Facebook verges on obligatory, concerns over the use and abuse of personal information are undeniable. But the way privacy functions on the virtual frontier of the Internet is only a subset of the fascinating ways we work to achieve it throughout our everyday lives. In Islands of Privacy, Christena Nippert-Eng pries open the blinds, giving us an intimate view into the full range of ordinary people’s sometimes extraordinary efforts to preserve the border between themselves and the rest of the world.
Packed with stories that are funny and sad, familiar and strange, Islands of Privacy tours the myriad arenas where privacy battles are fought, lost, and won. Nippert-Eng explores how we manage our secrets, our phone calls and e-mail, the perimeters of our homes, and our interactions with neighbors. She discovers that everybody practices the art of selectively concealing and disclosing information on a daily basis. This important balancing act governs a wide range of behaviors, from deciding whether to give our bosses our cell phone numbers to choosing what we carry in our wallets or purses. Violations of privacy and anxiety about how we grant it to each other also come under Nippert-Eng’s microscope as she crafts a compelling argument that successfully managing privacy is critical for successfully maintaining our relationships with each other and our selves.
Roaming from the beach to the bank and from the bathroom to the bus, Nippert-Eng’s keenly observed and vividly told book gives us the skinny on how we defend our shrinking islands of privacy in the vast ocean of accessibility that surrounds us.
Mieres Reborn reveals how patient observation and an analysis of one small community have much to tell us about human progress more generally.
Not long ago Mieres, a village in the eastern foothills of the Pyrenees, seemed destined to die. As in countless thousands of rural communities around the world, young people in Mieres over the years have moved to the towns and cities, leaving behind abandoned fields and meadows, derelict houses, and their aging and disconsolate parents and grandparents.
Close observation of this social microcosm over two decades reveals the capacity of ordinary people in a locality to reinvent themselves, reconstruct relationships with the wider world, and confront new threats to their collective survival. A. F. Robertson describes how the determination that Mieres should survive is most evident in a vigorous round of fiestas, fairs, and other public events in which natives, exiles, and newcomers work to create a lively sense of belonging. Since the 1980s, Mieres has been enlivened by a reverse flow of migrants from the cities, new settlers who have brought an infusion of youth to the community, devised new livelihoods, revitalized the village school, energized the native ”Mierencs,” and provided the impetus for a rediscovery of historical roots and political identity.
The regeneration of life in the countryside, in part a reaction to urban expansion and decay, is a global phenomenon of increasing political, economic, and social significance.
Written from the standpoint of the social behaviorist, this treatise contains the heart of Mead's position on social psychology. The analysis of language is of major interest, as it supplied for the first time an adequate treatment of the language mechanism in relation to scientific and philosophical issues.
"If philosophical eminence be measured by the extent to which a man's writings anticipate the focal problems of a later day and contain a point of view which suggests persuasive solutions to many of them, then George Herbert Mead has justly earned the high praise bestowed upon him by Dewey and Whitehead as a 'seminal mind of the very first order.'"—Sidney Hook, The Nation
George Herbert Mead is widely recognized as one of the most brilliantly original American pragmatists. Although he had a profound influence on the development of social philosophy, he published no books in his lifetime. This makes the lectures collected in Mind, Self, and Society all the more remarkable, as they offer a rare synthesis of his ideas.
This collection gets to the heart of Mead’s meditations on social psychology and social philosophy. Its penetrating, conversational tone transports the reader directly into Mead’s classroom as he teases out the genesis of the self and the nature of the mind. The book captures his wry humor and shrewd reasoning, showing a man comfortable quoting Aristotle alongside Alice in Wonderland.
Included in this edition are an insightful foreword from leading Mead scholar Hans Joas, a revealing set of textual notes by Dan Huebner that detail the text’s origins, and a comprehensive bibliography of Mead’s other published writings. While Mead’s lectures inspired hundreds of students, much of his brilliance has been lost to time. This new edition ensures that Mead’s ideas will carry on, inspiring a new generation of thinkers.
Book of the Year--Foundation Bosnian-Herzegovinian Book and the Journal Human Rights Review
How did Bosnia, once a polity of intersecting and overlapping identities, come to be understood as an intractable ethnic problem? David Campbell pursues this question--and its implications for the politics of community, democracy, justice, and multiculturalism--through readings of media and academic representations of the conflict in Bosnia. National Deconstruction is a rethinking of the meaning of "ethnic/nationalist" violence and a critique of the impoverished discourse of identity politics that crippled the international response to the Bosnian crisis.
Rather than assuming the preexistence of an entity called Bosnia, Campbell considers the complex array of historical, statistical, cartographic, and other practices through which the definitions of Bosnia have come to be. These practices traverse a continuum of political spaces, from the bodies of individuals and the corporate body of the former Yugoslavia to the international bodies of the world community.
Among the book's many original disclosures, arrived at through a critical reading of international diplomacy, is the shared identity politics of the peacemakers and paramilitaries. Equally significant is Campbell's conclusion that the international response to the Bosnian war was hamstrung by the poverty of Western thought on the politics of heterogeneous communities. Indeed, he contends that Europe and the United States intervened in Bosnia not to save the ideal of multiculturalism abroad but rather to shore up the nationalist imaginary so as to contain the ideal of multiculturalism at home.
By bringing to the fore the concern with ethics, politics, and responsibility contained in more traditional accounts of the Bosnian war, this book is a major statement on the inherently ethical and political assumptions of deconstructive thought-and the reworkings of the politics of community it enables.
"David Campbell has provided not only the first book-length poststructuralist study of the Bosnian war and the international policy toward it, but also the formulation of a deconstructivist ethics of international relations. National Deconstruction is not only a well-argued formulation of a deconstructivist international ethics, it is also a wide-ranging and relentless critique that will leave few unprovoked." --Ethics & International Affairs
David Campbell is professor of international politics at the University of Newcastle, UK, and the author of Writing Security.
People—especially Americans—are by and large optimists. They're much better at imagining best-case scenarios (I could win the lottery!) than worst-case scenarios (A hurricane could destroy my neighborhood!). This is true not just of their approach to imagining the future, but of their memories as well: people are better able to describe the best moments of their lives than they are the worst.
Though there are psychological reasons for this phenomenon, Karen A.Cerulo, in Never Saw It Coming, considers instead the role of society in fostering this attitude. What kinds of communities develop this pattern of thought, which do not, and what does that say about human ability to evaluate possible outcomes of decisions and events?
Cerulo takes readers to diverse realms of experience, including intimate family relationships, key transitions in our lives, the places we work and play, and the boardrooms of organizations and bureaucracies. Using interviews, surveys, artistic and fictional accounts, media reports, historical data, and official records, she illuminates one of the most common, yet least studied, of human traits—a blatant disregard for worst-case scenarios. Never Saw It Coming, therefore, will be crucial to anyone who wants to understand human attempts to picture or plan the future.
“In Never Saw It Coming, Karen Cerulo argues that in American society there is a ‘positive symmetry,’ a tendency to focus on and exaggerate the best, the winner, the most optimistic outcome and outlook. Thus, the conceptions of the worst are underdeveloped and elided. Naturally, as she masterfully outlines, there are dramatic consequences to this characterological inability to imagine and prepare for the worst, as the failure to heed memos leading up to both the 9/11 and NASA Challenger disasters, for instance, so painfully reminded us.”--Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Swarthmore College
“Katrina, 9/11, and the War in Iraq—all demonstrate the costliness of failing to anticipate worst-case scenarios. Never Saw It Coming explains why it is so hard to do so: adaptive behavior hard-wired into human cognition is complemented and reinforced by cultural practices, which are in turn institutionalized in the rules and structures of formal organizations. But Karen Cerulo doesn’t just diagnose the problem; she uses case studies of settings in which people effectively anticipate and deal with potential disaster to describe structural solutions to the chronic dilemmas she describes so well. Never Saw It Coming is a powerful contribution to the emerging fields of cognitive and moral sociology.”--Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University
Cultural changes over the past two decades have led to a proliferation of new social movements in Europe and the United States. New social movements such as ecology, peace, ethnicity, New Age philosophies, alternative medicine, and gender and sexual identity are among those that are emerging to challenge traditional categories in social movement theory. Synthesizing classic and modern perspectives the contributors help to redefine the field of social movements and advance an understanding of them through cross-cultural research, comparison with older movements, and an examination of the dimensions of identity—individual, collective, and melding of the two.
It is almost impossible now to imagine the prestigious position Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) held within the founding generation of American sociologists. His seminal work on human communication, social organization, and public opinion stimulated and guided much of early American sociological thought.
Cooley's work relating self and community is now more relevant than ever to the problems of understanding and directing modern democratic societies. Cooley applied the ideas of pragmatism to developing a systematic way of approaching social action, social change, and social order; he used these interrelated theories to analyze the social problems and cultural crises of the age. According to Cooley, social change is a fragile, interactive process that, due to constantly arising problems of action, requires ongoing scrutiny by the public. This collection of Cooley's best work is an important contribution not only to the history of ideas—especially to the origin of modern sociological theory— but also to the current public debate on civil society, community, and democracy.
Kathleen Stewart Duke University Press, 2007 Library of Congress HM1027.U6S74 2007 | Dewey Decimal 302.12
Ordinary Affects is a singular argument for attention to the affective dimensions of everyday life and the potential that animates the ordinary. Known for her focus on the poetics and politics of language and landscape, the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart ponders how ordinary impacts create the subject as a capacity to affect and be affected. In a series of brief vignettes combining storytelling, close ethnographic detail, and critical analysis, Stewart relates the intensities and banalities of common experiences and strange encounters, half-spied scenes and the lingering resonance of passing events. While most of the instances rendered are from Stewart’s own life, she writes in the third person in order to reflect on how intimate experiences of emotion, the body, other people, and time inextricably link us to the outside world.
Stewart refrains from positing an overarching system—whether it’s called globalization or neoliberalism or capitalism—to describe the ways that economic, political, and social forces shape individual lives. Instead, she begins with the disparate, fragmented, and seemingly inconsequential experiences of everyday life to bring attention to the ordinary as an integral site of cultural politics. Ordinary affect, she insists, is registered in its particularities, yet it connects people and creates common experiences that shape public feeling. Through this anecdotal history—one that poetically ponders the extremes of the ordinary and portrays the dense network of social and personal connections that constitute a life—Stewart asserts the necessity of attending to the fleeting and changeable aspects of existence in order to recognize the complex personal and social dynamics of the political world.
The Primate Mind
Frans B. M. de Waal Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QL737.P9P67259 2011 | Dewey Decimal 599.81513
Prominent neuroscientists, psychologists, ethologists, and primatologists from around the world take a bottom-up approach to primate social behavior by investigating how the primate mind connects with other minds and exploring the shared neurological basis for imitation, joint action, and empathy as well as their evolutionary foundations.
The wage arrears crisis has been one of the biggest problems facing contemporary Russia. At its peak, it has involved some $10 billion worth of unpaid wages and has affected approximately 70 percent of the workforce. Yet public protest in the country has been rather limited. The relative passivity of most Russians in the face of such desperate circumstances is a puzzle for students of both collective action and Russian politics. In Protest and the Politics of Blame, Debra Javeline shows that to understand the Russian public's reaction to wage delays, one must examine the ease or difficulty of attributing blame for the crisis.
Previous studies have tried to explain the Russian response to economic hardship by focusing on the economic, organizational, psychological, cultural, and other obstacles that prevent Russians from acting collectively. Challenging the conventional wisdom by testing these alternative explanations with data from an original nationwide survey, Javeline finds that many of the alternative explanations come up short. Instead, she focuses on the need to specify blame among the dizzying number of culprits and potential problem solvers in the crisis, including Russia's central authorities, local authorities, and enterprise managers. Javeline shows that understanding causal relationships drives human behavior and that specificity in blame attribution for a problem influences whether people address that problem through protest.
Debra Javeline is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rice University.
Human beings evolved in the company of others. Mutually reinforcing connections between brains, minds, and societies have profound implications for physical and emotional health. Social Neuroscience offers a comprehensive new framework for studying human brain development and human behavior in their social context.
The Stone Soup Experiment is a remarkable story of cultural difference, of in-groups, out-groups, and how quickly and strongly the lines between them are drawn. It is also a story about simulation and reality, and how quickly the lines between them can be dismantled. In a compulsively readable account, Deborah Downing Wilson details a ten-week project in which forty university students were split into two different simulated cultures: the carefree Stoners, and the market-driven Traders. Through their eyes we are granted intimate access to the very foundations of human society: how group identities are formed and what happens when opposing ones come into contact.
The experience of the Stoners and Traders is a profound testament to human sociality. Even in the form of simulation, even as a game, the participants found themselves quickly—and with real conviction—bound to the ideologies and practices of their in-group. The Stoners enjoyed their days lounging, chatting, and making crafts, while the Traders—through a complex market of playing cards—competed for the highest bankrolls. When they came into contact, misunderstanding, competition, and even manipulation prevailed, to the point that each group became so convinced of its own superiority that even after the simulation’s end the students could not reconcile.
Throughout her riveting narrative, Downing Wilson interweaves fascinating discussions on the importance of play, emotions, and intergroup interaction in the formation and maintenance of group identities, as well as on the dynamic social processes at work when different cultural groups interact. A fascinating account of social experimentation, the book paints a vivid portrait of our deepest social tendencies and the powers they have over how we make friends and enemies alike.
The Temptation of Despair
Werner Sollors Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress D829.G3S56 2014 | Dewey Decimal 940.554
In Germany the end of World War II calls forth images of obliterated cities, hungry refugees, and ghostly monuments to Nazi crimes. Drawing on diaries, photographs, essays, reports, fiction and film, Werner Sollors makes visceral the sorrow and anger, guilt and pride, despondency and resilience of a defeated people--and the paradoxes of occupation.
If all politics is local, then so is almost everything else, argues sociologist Gary Alan Fine. We organize our lives by relying on those closest to us—family members, friends, work colleagues, team mates, and other intimates—to create meaning and order. In this thoughtful and wide-ranging book, Fine argues that the basic building blocks of society itself are forged within the boundaries of such small groups, the "tiny publics" necessary for a robust, functioning social order at all levels. Action, meaning, authority, inequality, organization, and institutions all have their roots in small groups. Yet for the past twenty-five years social scientists have tended to ignore the power of groups in favor of an emphasis on organizations, societies, or individuals. Based on over thirty-five years of Fine's own ethnographic research across an array of small groups, Tiny Publics presents a compelling new theory of the pivotal role of small groups in organizing social life. No social system can thrive without flourishing small groups. They provide havens in an impersonal world, where faceless organizations become humanized. Taking examples from such diverse worlds as Little League baseball teams, restaurant workers, high school debate teams, weather forecasters, and political volunteers, Fine demonstrates how each group has its own unique culture, or idioculture—the system of knowledge, beliefs, behavior, and customs that define and hold a group together. With their dense network of relationships, groups serve as important sources of social and cultural capital for their members. The apparently innocuous jokes, rituals, and nicknames prevalent within Little League baseball teams help establish how teams function internally and how they compete with other teams. Small groups also provide a platform for their members to engage in broader social discourse and a supportive environment to begin effecting change in larger institutions. In his studies of mushroom collectors and high school debate teams, Fine demonstrates the importance of stories that group members tell each other about their successes and frustrations in fostering a strong sense of social cohesion. And Fine shows how the personal commitment political volunteers bring to their efforts is reinforced by the close-knit nature of their work, which in turn has the power to change larger groups and institutions. In this way, the actions and debates begun in small groups can eventually radiate outward to affect every level of society. Fine convincingly demonstrates how small groups provide fertile ground for the seeds of civic engagement. Outcomes often attributed to large-scale social forces originate within such small-scale domains. Employing rich insights from both sociology and social psychology, as well as vivid examples from a revealing array of real-work groups, Tiny Publics provides a compelling examination of the importance of small groups and of the rich vitality they bring to social life. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
One of the major questions of cultural psychology is how to take diversity seriously while acknowledging our shared humanity. This collection, edited by Julia L. Cassaniti and Usha Menon, brings together leading scholars in the field to reconsider that question and explore the complex mechanisms that connect culture and the human mind.
The contributors to Universalism without Uniformity offer tools for bridging silos that have historically separated anthropology’s attention to culture and psychology’s interest in universal mental processes. Throughout, they seek to answer intricate yet fundamental questions about why we are motivated to find meaning in everything around us and, in turn, how we constitute the cultural worlds we inhabit through our intentional involvement in them. Laying bare entrenched disciplinary blind spots, this book offers a trove of insights on issues such as morality, emotional functioning, and conceptions of the self across cultures. Filled with impeccable empirical research coupled with broadly applicable theoretical reflections on taking psychological diversity seriously, Universalism without Uniformity breaks new ground in the study of mind and culture.
Ethnocentrism—our tendency to partition the human world into in-groups and out-groups—pervades societies around the world. Surprisingly, though, few scholars have explored its role in political life. Donald Kinder and Cindy Kam fill this gap with Us Against Them, their definitive explanation of how ethnocentrism shapes American public opinion.
Arguing that humans are broadly predisposed to ethnocentrism, Kinder and Kam explore its impact on our attitudes toward an array of issues, including the war on terror, humanitarian assistance, immigration, the sanctity of marriage, and the reform of social programs. The authors ground their study in previous theories from a wide range of disciplines, establishing a new framework for understanding what ethnocentrism is and how it becomes politically consequential. They also marshal a vast trove of survey evidence to identify the conditions under which ethnocentrism shapes public opinion. While ethnocentrism is widespread in the United States, the authors demonstrate that its political relevance depends on circumstance. Exploring the implications of these findings for political knowledge, cosmopolitanism, and societies outside the United States, Kinder and Kam add a new dimension to our understanding of how democracy functions.
Democrat and Republican. Meat Eaters and Vegetarians. Black and White. As human beings we sort ourselves into groups. And once we identify ourselves as a member of a particular group—say, Red Sox fans—we tend to feel more comfortable with others of our own kind, rather than, say, Yankees fans. Yet we all belong to multiple groups at the same time—one might be a woman, a mother, an American, a violinist. How do we decide which identities matter and why they matter so much? And what makes us willing to die for, or to kill for, a religion, a nation, or a race?
In this award-winning book, David Berreby describes how twenty-first-century science is addressing these age-old questions. Ably linking neuroscience, social psychology, anthropology, and other fields, Us and Them investigates humanity’s “tribal mind” and how this alters our thoughts, affects our health, and is manipulated for good and ill. From the medical effects of stress to the rhetoric of politics, our perceptions of group identity affect every part of our lives. Science, Berreby argues, shows how this part of human nature is both unexpectedly important and surprisingly misunderstood.
Humans need our tribal sense—it tells us who we are, how we should behave, and links us to others as well as the past and future. Some condemn this instinct, while others celebrate it. Berreby offers in Us and Them a third alternative: how we can accept and understand our inescapable tribal mind.
“[A] brave book. . . . Berreby’s quest is to understand what he sees as a fundamental human urge to classify and identify with ‘human kinds.’”—Henry Gee, Scientific American