Why did the Chinese Communist Party state collapse so rapidly during the Cultural Revolution? Consulting over 2,000 local annals chronicling some 34,000 revolutionary episodes across China, Andrew Walder offers a new answer, showing how the army, brought in to quiet brewing rebellions, escalated the violence that took nearly 1.6 million lives.
Mainstream notions of the “American Dream” usually revolve around the ownership of private property, a house of one’s own. Yet for the past 400 years, a large number of Americans have dared to dream bigger and bolder, choosing to live in intentional communities that pooled resources, and they worked to ensure the well-being of all their members.
American Community takes us inside forty of the most interesting intentional communities in the nation’s history, from the colonial era to the present day. You will learn about such little-known experiments in cooperative living as the Icarian communities, which took the utopian ideas expounded in a 1840 French novel and put them into practice, ultimately spreading to five states over fifty years. Plus, it covers more recent communities such as Arizona’s Arcosanti, designed by architect Paolo Soleri as a model for ecologically sustainable living.
In this provocative and engaging book, Mark Ferrara guides readers through an array of intentional communities that boldly challenged capitalist economic arrangements in order to attain ideals of harmony, equality, and social justice. By shining a light on these forgotten histories, it shows that far from being foreign concepts, communitarianism and socialism have always been vital parts of the American experience.
In Anthropology and Social Theory the award-winning anthropologist Sherry B. Ortner draws on her longstanding interest in theories of cultural practice to rethink key concepts of culture, agency, and subjectivity for the social sciences of the twenty-first century. The seven theoretical and interpretive essays in this volume each advocate reconfiguring, rather than abandoning, the concept of culture. Similarly, they all suggest that a theory which depends on the interested action of social beings—specifically practice theory, associated especially with the work of Pierre Bourdieu—requires a more developed notion of human agency and a richer conception of human subjectivity. Ortner shows how social theory must both build upon and move beyond classic practice theory in order to understand the contemporary world.
Some of the essays reflect explicitly on theoretical concerns: the relationship between agency and power, the problematic quality of ethnographic studies of resistance, and the possibility of producing an anthropology of subjectivity. Others are ethnographic studies that apply Ortner’s theoretical framework. In these, she investigates aspects of social class, looking at the relationship between race and middle-class identity in the United States, the often invisible nature of class as a cultural identity and as an analytical category in social inquiry, and the role that public culture and media play in the creation of the class anxieties of Generation X. Written with Ortner’s characteristic lucidity, these essays constitute a major statement about the future of social theory from one of the leading anthropologists of our time.
Many social scientists lament the increasing fragmentation of their discipline, the trend toward specialization and away from engagement with overarching issues. Opportunities to transcend established subdisciplinary boundaries are rare, but the extraordinary conference that gave rise to this volume was one such occasion. The W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki Memorial Conference on Social Theory, held at the University of Chicago, brought together an outstanding array of scholars representing a variety of contending approaches to social theory. In panels, presentations, and general discussions, these scholars confronted one another in the context of an entire range of approaches. But as readers of this deftly edited collection will discover, the conference was more than a forum for abstract theoretical debate. These papers and discussions represent original scholarly contributions that exemplify orientations to social theory by examining real problems in the functioning of society—from large-scale economic growth and decline to the dynamics of interpersonal interaction. By exploring a few central issues in different ways, this unique conference worked through some lively theoretical incompatibilities and established genuine potential for communication, for complementary and collaborative effort at the core of sociology. The excitement of that dialogue, and the intellectual vitality it generated, are captured for the reader in Approaches to Social Theory. "Meaty presentations and confrontations of ideas by people whose views we respect...Recommended to anyone interested in the current state of social theory." —Contemporary Sociology
The factions debating health care reform in the United States have gravitated toward one of two positions: that just health care is an individual responsibility or that it must be regarded as a national concern. Both arguments overlook a third possibility: that justice in health care is multilayered and requires the participation of multiple and diverse communities.
Communities of Health Care Justice makes a powerful ethical argument for treating communities as critical moral actors that play key roles in defining and upholding just health policy. Drawing together the key community dimensions of health care, and demonstrating their neglect in most prominent theories of health care justice, Charlene Galarneau postulates the ethical norms of community justice. In the process, she proposes that while the subnational communities of health care justice are defined by shared place, including those bound by culture, religion, gender, and race that together they define justice.
As she constructs her innovative theorization of health care justice, Galarneau also reveals its firm grounding in the work of real-world health policy and community advocates. Communities of Health Care Justice not only strives to imagine a new framework of just health care, but also to show how elements of this framework exist in current health policy, and to outline the systemic, conceptual, and structural changes required to put these justice norms into fuller practice.
An urgent examination of the threat posed to social media by user disconnection, and the measures websites will take to prevent it
No matter how pervasive and powerful social media websites become, users always have the option of disconnecting—right? Not exactly, as Tero Karppi reveals in this disquieting book. Pointing out that platforms like Facebook see disconnection as an existential threat—and have undertaken wide-ranging efforts to eliminate it—Karppi argues that users’ ability to control their digital lives is gradually dissipating.
Taking a nonhumancentric approach, Karppi explores how modern social media platforms produce and position users within a system of coded relations and mechanisms of power. For Facebook, disconnection is an intense affective force. It is a problem of how to keep users engaged with the platform, but also one of keeping value, attention, and desires within the system. Karppi uses Facebook’s financial documents as a map to navigate how the platform sees its users. Facebook’s plans to connect the entire globe through satellites and drones illustrates the material webs woven to keep us connected. Karppi analyzes how Facebook’s interface limits the opportunity to opt-out—even continuing to engage users after their physical death. Showing how users have fought to take back their digital lives, Karppi chronicles responses like Web2.0 Suicide Machine, an art project dedicated to committing digital suicide.
For Karppi, understanding social media connectivity comes from unbinding the bonds that stop people from leaving these platforms. Disconnection brings us to the limit of user policies, algorithmic control, and platform politics. Ultimately, Karppi’s focus on the difficulty of disconnection, rather than the ease of connection, reveals how social media has come to dominate human relations.
Keith Tribe’s new translation presents Economy and Society as it stood when Max Weber died. One of the world’s leading experts on Weber’s thought, Tribe has produced a clear and faithful translation that will become the definitive English edition of one of the few indisputably great intellectual works of the past 150 years.
The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, “the theorist of beginnings,” whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations—from totalitarianism to revolution.
A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then—diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions—continue to confront us today. This new edition, published to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of its original publication, contains Margaret Canovan’s 1998 introduction and a new foreword by Danielle Allen.
A classic in political and social theory, The Human Condition is a work that has proved both timeless and perpetually timely.
In the 1930s, George Herbert Mead and other leading social scientists established the modern empirical analysis of social interaction and communication, enabling theories of cognitive development, language acquisition, interaction, government, law and legal processes, and the social construction of the self. However, they could not provide a comparably empirical analysis of human organization.
The theory in this book fills in the missing analysis of organizations and specifies more precisely the pragmatic analysis of communication with an adaptation of information theory to ordinary unmediated communications. The study also provides the theoretical basis for understanding the success of pragmatically grounded public policies, from the New Deal through the postwar reconstruction of Europe and Japan to the ongoing development of the European Union, in contrast to the persistent failure of positivistic and Marxist policies and programs.
While social scientists and historians have been exchanging ideas for a long time, they have never developed a proper dialogue about social theory. William H. Sewell Jr. observes that on questions of theory the communication has been mostly one way: from social science to history. Logics of History argues that both history and the social sciences have something crucial to offer each other. While historians do not think of themselves as theorists, they know something social scientists do not: how to think about the temporalities of social life. On the other hand, while social scientists’ treatments of temporality are usually clumsy, their theoretical sophistication and penchant for structural accounts of social life could offer much to historians.
Renowned for his work at the crossroads of history, sociology, political science, and anthropology, Sewell argues that only by combining a more sophisticated understanding of historical time with a concern for larger theoretical questions can a satisfying social theory emerge. In Logics of History, he reveals the shape such an engagement could take, some of the topics it could illuminate, and how it might affect both sides of the disciplinary divide.
Making History/Making Blintzes is a chronicle of the political and personal lives of progressive activists Richard (Dick) and Miriam (Mickey) Flacks, two of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). As active members of the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, and leaders in today’s social movements, their stories are a first-hand account of progressive American activism from the 1960s to the present.
Throughout this memoir, the couple demonstrates that their lifelong commitment to making history through social activism cannot be understood without returning to the deeply personal context of their family history—of growing up “Red Diaper babies” in 1950s New York City, using folk music as self-expression as adolescents in the 1960s, and of making blintzes for their own family through the 1970s and 1980s. As the children of immigrants and first generation Jews, Dick and Mickey crafted their own religious identity as secular Jews, created a critical space for American progressive activism through SDS, and ultimately, found themselves raising an “American” family.
Whenever Bakhtin, in his final decade, was queried about writing his memoirs, he shrugged it off. Unlike many of his Symbolist generation, Bakhtin was not fascinated by his own self-image. This reticence to tell his own story was the point of access for Viktor Duvakin, Mayakovsky scholar, fellow academic, and head of an oral history project, who in 1973 taped six interviews with Bakhtin over twelve hours. They remain our primary source of Bakhtin’s personal views: on formative moments in his education and exile, his reaction to the Revolution, his impressions of political, intellectual, and theatrical figures during the first two decades of the twentieth century, and his non-conformist opinions on Russian and Soviet poets and musicians. Bakhtin's passion for poetic language and his insights into music also come as a surprise to readers of his essays on the novel. One remarkable thread running through the conversations is Bakhtin's love of poetry, masses of which he knew by heart in several languages. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Duvakin Interviews, 1973, translated and annotated here from the complete transcript of the tapes, offers a fuller, more flexible image of Bakhtin than we could have imagined beneath his now famous texts.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
In today’s fast-paced, fast food world, everyone seems to be eating alone, all the time—whether it’s at their desks or in the car. Even those who find time for a family meal are cut off from the people who grew, harvested, distributed, marketed, and sold the foods on their table. Few ever break bread with anyone outside their own socioeconomic group. So why does Michael Carolan say that that no one eats alone? Because all of us are affected by the other people in our vast foodscape. We can no longer afford to ignore these human connections as we struggle with dire problems like hunger, obesity, toxic pesticides, antibiotic resistance, depressed rural economies, and low-wage labor.
Carolan argues that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food. While researching No One Eats Alone, he interviewed more than 250 individuals, from flavorists to Fortune 500 executives, politicians to feedlot managers, low-income families to crop scientists, who play a role in the life of food. Advertising consultants told him of efforts to distance eaters and producers—most food firms don’t want their customers thinking about farm laborers or the people living downstream of processing plants. But he also found stories of people getting together to change their relationship to food and to each other.
There are community farms where suburban moms and immigrant families work side by side, reducing social distance as much as food miles. There are entrepreneurs with little capital or credit who are setting up online exchanges to share kitchen space, upending conventional notions of the economy of scale. There are parents and school board members who are working together to improve cafeteria food rather than relying on soda taxes to combat childhood obesity.
Carolan contends that real change only happens when we start acting like citizens first and consumers second. No One Eats Alone is a book about becoming better food citizens.
Out of Sync & Out of Work explores the representation of obsolescence, particularly of labor, in film and literature during a historical moment in which automation has intensified in capitalist economies. Joel Burges analyzes texts such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wreck-It Ralph, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Iron Council, and examines their “means” of production. Those means include a range of subjects and narrative techniques, including the “residual means” of including classic film stills in a text, the “obstinate means” of depicting machine breaking, the “dated means” of employing the largely defunct technique of stop-motion animation, and the “obsolete” means of celebrating a labor strike. In every case, the novels and films that Burges scrutinizes call on these means to activate the reader’s/viewer’s awareness of historical time. Out of Sync & Out of Work advances its readers’ grasp of the complexities of historical time in contemporary culture, moving the study of temporality forward in film and media studies, literary studies, critical theory, and cultural critique.
Peregrinate: To travel or wander around from place to place.
The land of the United States is defined by vast distances encouraging human movement and migration on a grand scale. Consequently, American stories are filled with descriptions of human bodies walking through the land.
In Peregrinations, Amy T. Hamilton examines stories told by and about Indigenous American, Euroamerican, and Mexican walkers. Walking as a central experience that ties these texts together—never simply a metaphor or allegory—offers storytellers and authors an elastic figure through which to engage diverse cultural practices and beliefs including Puritan and Catholic teachings, Diné and Anishinaabe oral traditions, Chicanx histories, and European literary traditions.
Hamilton argues that walking bodies alert readers to the ways the physical world—more-than-human animals, trees, rocks, wind, sunlight, and human bodies—has a hand in creating experience and meaning. Through material ecocriticism, a reading practice attentive to historical and ongoing oppressions, exclusions, and displacements, she reveals complex layerings of narrative and materiality in stories of walking human bodies.
This powerful and pioneering methodology for understanding place and identity, clarifies the wide variety of American stories about human relationships with the land and the ethical implications of the embeddedness of humans in the more-than-human world.
Why a Feminist Volume on Pluralism? – Bonnie Mann and Jean Keller
PLURALISM ’S FAILURES AND CERTAIN CONDITIONS FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCCESS
Indigenous Agencies and the Pluralism of Empire – Scott L. Pratt
What Would Philosophic Pluralism Look Like?: True Dialogue, Epistemic Credibility, Rational Parity, and Death in the University – Jennifer Lisa Vest
Asking Too Much? Civility vs. Pluralism – Alison Reiheld
Attending to Others: Simone Weil and Epistemic Pluralism – Shari Stone-Mediatore
FEMINIST PLURALISM AND RELIGIOUS WORLDVIEWS
Islamic Feminisms and Freedom – Allison Weir
Is an “Islamic Feminism” Possible?: Gender Politics in the Contemporary Islamic Republic of Iran – Paria Gashtili
Beyond the Modern/Religious Dichotomy: The Veil and Feminist Solidarity in Contemporary Turkey – Fulden Ibrahimhakkioglu
Philosophy, Religion, Race, and Queerness: A Question of Accommodation or Access – Kim Q. Hall
FEMINIST PLURALISM AND FUNDAMENTAL VALUES
Value Pluralism, Intuitions, and Reflective Equilibrium – Lisa Tessman
Radical-cum-Relation: Bridging Feminist Ethics and Native Individual Autonomy – Shay Welch
Concentrating on Weber's engagement with political issues and their influence over his more theoretical concepts, Mommsen offers a critical analysis of Weber's notion of democracy, distinguishing its liberal and elitist features.
Rising concerns among scholars about the intellectual and cultural foundations of democracy have led to a revival of interest in the American philosophical tradition of pragmatism. In this book, Hans Joas shows how pragmatism can link divergent intellectual efforts to understand the social contexts of human knowledge, individual freedom, and democratic culture.
Along with pragmatism's impact on American sociology and social research from 1895 to the 1940s, Joas traces its reception by French and German traditions during this century. He explores the influences of pragmatism—often misunderstood—on Emile Durkheim's sociology of knowledge, and on German thought, with particularly enlightening references to its appropriation by Nazism and its rejection by neo-Marxism. He also explores new currents of social theory in the work of Habermas, Castoriadis, Giddens, and Alexander, fashioning a bridge between Continental thought, American philosophy, and contemporary sociology; he shows how the misapprehension and neglect of pragmatism has led to systematic deficiencies in contemporary social theory.
From this skillful historical and theoretical analysis, Joas creates a powerful case for the enduring legacy of Peirce, James, Dewey, and Mead for social theorists today.
In this path-breaking book, David Garland argues that punishment is a complex social institution that affects both social relations and cultural meanings. Drawing on theorists from Durkheim to Foucault, he insightfully critiques the entire spectrum of social thought concerning punishment, and reworks it into a new interpretive synthesis.
"Punishment and Modern Society is an outstanding delineation of the sociology of punishment. At last the process that is surely the heart and soul of criminology, and perhaps of sociology as well—punishment—has been rescued from the fringes of these 'disciplines'. . . . This book is a first-class piece of scholarship."—Graeme Newman, Contemporary Sociology
"Garland's treatment of the theorists he draws upon is erudite, faithful and constructive. . . . Punishment and Modern Society is a magnificent example of working social theory."—John R. Sutton, American Journal of Sociology
"Punishment and Modern Society lifts contemporary penal issues from the mundane and narrow contours within which they are so often discussed and relocates them at the forefront of public policy. . . . This book will become a landmark study."—Andrew Rutherford, Legal Studies
"This is a superbly intelligent study. Its comprehensive coverage makes it a genuine review of the field. Its scholarship and incisiveness of judgment will make it a constant reference work for the initiated, and its concluding theoretical synthesis will make it a challenge and inspiration for those undertaking research and writing on the subject. As a state-of-the-art account it is unlikely to be bettered for many a year."—Rod Morgan, British Journal of Criminology
Winner of both the Outstanding Scholarship Award of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section
Marxism was the loser in the Cold War, but Oleg Kharkhordin is not surprised that liberal democracy failed to take root after the Soviet Union’s dissolution. He suggests that Russians find a path to freedom by looking to the classical tradition of republican self-government and civic engagement already familiar from their history and literature.
Sex and Gender Section Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Study of Sex and Gender, American Sociological Association, 1995
This volume of essays sharply questions current knowledge and ideas about sexuality, social theory, and public policy research on sexuality. The contributors, internationally recognized scholars and activists from Australia, examine the dominant research models from the United States and Western Europe and propose a new perspective, one sensitive to the social construction of sexuality and its research and to variation in sexual practices across cultures.
Addressing the debates over sexual conduct from contraception to AIDS prevention, Rethinking Sex provides a systematic examination of the social dimensions of sexuality. Social theory, public policy analysis, and historical and survey research are applied to issues ranging from AIDS and gay identity to perceptions of women's sexuality and relations between the state and private sexual behavior.
"Sexuality is a major theme in our culture, from the surf video to the opera stage to the papal encyclical. It is, accordingly, one of the major themes of the human sciences, and figures as weighty as Darwin and Freud have made major contributions to it. Social research has, over the last hundred years, produced crucially important evidence for the understanding of sexuality. But social theory has been slow to grapple with the issue, to give it the sophisticated attention that has been devoted to questions of production or of communication.
"We are convinced that an adequate social theory of sexuality is essential for progress on 'applied' issues, such as the design of research on the social transmission of human immunodefiency virus (HIV). This chapter attempts a mapping exercise, sorting out the major intellectual frameworks that have governed Western thinking about sexuality. We discuss first the religious and scientific nativism that dominated the field into the twentieth century, the problems this approach ran into, and the rise of social construction approaches to sexuality. We discuss the impasse that social constructionism has reached. In the final part of the chapter we sketch the outline of an approach which can move past these difficulties."
--From Chapter 3, "'The Unclean Motion of the Generative Parts': Frameworks in Western Thought on Sexuality"
Offering insights into the origins, successes, and threats to revolutionary constitutionalism, Bruce Ackerman takes us to India, South Africa, Italy, France, Poland, Burma, Israel, Iran, and the U.S. and provides a blow-by-blow account of the tribulations that confronted popular movements in their insurgent campaigns for constitutional democracy.
Much of what we could do, we shouldn’t—and we don’t. Mark Osiel shows that common morality—expressed as shame, outrage, and stigma—is society’s first line of defense against transgressions. Social norms can be indefensible, but when they complement the law, they can save us from an alternative that is far worse: a repressive legal regime.
Risk is a part of life. How we handle uncertainty and deal with potential threats influence decision making throughout our lives. In The Risk Society Revisited, Eugene A. Rosa, Ortwin Renn, and Aaron M. McCright offer the first book to present an integrated theory of risk and governance.
The authors examine our sociological understanding of risk and how we reconcile modern human conditions with our handling of risk in our quest for improved quality of life. They build a new framework for understanding risk—one that provides an innovative connection between social theory and the governance of technological and environmental risks and the sociopolitical challenges they pose for a sustainable future.
Showing how our consciousness affects risk in the decisions we make—as individuals and as members of a democratic society—The Risk Society Revisited makes an important contribution to the literature of risk research.
With audacious dexterity, David Howes weaves together topics ranging from love and beauty magic in Papua New Guinea to nasal repression in Freudian psychology and from the erasure and recovery of the senses in contemporary ethnography to the specter of the body in Marx. Through this eclectic and penetrating exploration of the relationship between sensory experience and cultural expression, Sensual Relations contests the conventional exclusion of sensuality from intellectual inquiry and reclaims sensation as a fundamental domain of social theory.
David Howes is Professor of Anthropology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.
What does it mean for Black women to organize in a political context that has generally ignored them or been unresponsive although Black women have shown themselves an important voting bloc? How for example, does #sayhername translate into a political agenda that manifests itself in specific policies? Shadow Bodies focuses on the positionality of the Black woman’s body, which serves as a springboard for helping us think through political and cultural representations. It does so by asking: How do discursive practices, both speech and silences, support and maintain hegemonic understandings of Black womanhood thereby rendering some Black women as shadow bodies, unseen and unremarked upon?
Grounded in Black feminist thought, Julia S. Jordan-Zachery looks at the functioning of scripts ascribed to Black women’s bodies in the framing of HIV/AIDS, domestic abuse, and mental illness and how such functioning renders some bodies invisible in Black politics in general and Black women’s politics specifically.
An eye for an eye, the balance of the scales – for centuries, these and other traditional concepts exemplified the public’s perception of justice. Today, popular culture, including television shows like Law and Order, informs the public’s vision. But do age-old symbols, portrayals in the media, and existing systems truly represent justice in all of its nuanced forms, or do we need to think beyond these notions? The second edition of Social Justice: Theories, Issues, and Movements responds to the need for a comprehensive introduction to these issues.
Theories of social justice are presented in an accessible fashion to encourage engagement of students, activists, and scholars with these important lines of inquiry. Issues are analyzed utilizing various theories for furthering engagement in possibilities. Struggles for justice from legal to on the ground movements are presented for historical context and to inform the way forward.
This volume assesses past, theoretically engaged work on Israelite religion and presents new approaches to particular problems and larger interpretive and methodological questions. It gathers previously unpublished research by senior and mid-career scholars well known for their contributions in the area of social theory and the study of Israelite religion and by junior scholars whose writing is just beginning to have a serious impact on the field. The volume begins with a critical introduction by the editor. Topics of interest to the contributors include gender, violence, social change, the festivals, the dynamics of shame and honor, and the relationship of text to ritual. The contributors engage theory from social and cultural anthropology, sociology, postcolonial studies, and ritual studies. Theoretical models are evaluated in light of the primary data, and some authors modify or adapt theory to increase its utility for biblical studies. The contributors are Susan Ackerman, Stephen L. Cook, Ronald Hendel, T. M. Lemos, Nathaniel B. Levtow, Carol Meyers, Saul M. Olyan, Rüdiger Schmitt, Robert R. Wilson, and David P. Wright.
Social Theory In Archaeology
Michael Brian Schiffer University of Utah Press, 2000 Library of Congress CC72.4.S63 2000 | Dewey Decimal 930.1
Since the debut of the New Archaeology in the 1960s, approaches to the science of interpreting the material past have proliferated.
Seeking to find common ground in an increasingly fractious and polarized discipline, a group of archaeological theorists representing various schools of thought gathered in a roundtable, during the fall of 1997. As organizer, Michael Schiffer sought to build bridges that might begin to span the conceptual chasms that have formed in archaeology during the past few decades. Many participants in the roundtable accepted the challenge of building bridges, but some rejected the premise that bridge building is desirable or feasible. Even so, every chapter in the resulting volume contributes something provocative or significant to the enterprise of constructing social theory in archaeology and setting the agenda for future social-theoretic research.
With contributions from every major school of thought, whether informed by evolutionary theory, feminism, chaos theory, behavioralism, or post-processualism, this volume serves as both handbook to an array of theoretical approaches and as a useful look at each school’s response to criticism.
The concept of "practices"—whether of representation, of political or scientific traditions, or of organizational culture—is central to social theory. In this book, Stephen Turner presents the first analysis and critique of the idea of practice as it has developed in the various theoretical traditions of the social sciences and the humanities.
Understood broadly as a tacit understanding "shared" by a group, the concept of a practice has a fatal difficulty, Turner argues: there is no plausible mechanism by which a "practice" is transmitted or reproduced. The historical uses of the concept, from Durkheim to Kripke's version of Wittgenstein, provide examples of the contortions that thinkers have been forced into by this problem, and show the ultimate implausibility of the idea.
Turner's conclusion sketches a picture of what happens when we do without the notion of a shared practice, and how this bears on social theory and philosophy. It explains why social theory cannot get beyond the stage of constructing fuzzy analogies, and why the standard constructions of the contemporary philosophical problem of relativism depend upon this defective notion. This first book-length critique of practice theory is sure to stir discussion and controversy in a wide range of fields, from philosophy and science studies to sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and political and legal theory.
Larry May argues that socially responsive individuals need not be self-sacrificing or overly conscientious. According to May, a person's integrity and moral responsibility are shaped and limited not just by conscience but also by socialization and moral support from the communities to which he or she belongs.
Applying his theory of responsibility to professional ethics, May contends that current methods of professional socialization should be changed so that professionals are not expected to ignore considerations of personal well-being, family, or community. For instance, lawyers should not place client loyalty above concerns for the common good; doctors should not place the physical well-being of patients above their mental and spiritual well-being; scientists and engineers should not feel obliged to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption unless their professional groups protect them from retaliation.
This book should prove provocative reading for philosophers, political scientists, social theorists, professionals of many stripes, and ethicists.
Society and Economy
Mark Granovetter Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HM548.G73 2016 | Dewey Decimal 306
A work of exceptional ambition by the founder of modern economic sociology, this first full account of Mark Granovetter’s ideas stresses that the economy is not a sphere separate from other human activities but is deeply embedded in social relations and subject to the same emotions, ideas, and constraints as religion, science, politics, or law.
The moving body—pervasively occupied by fitness activities, intense training and dieting regimes, recreational practices, and high-profile sporting mega-events—holds a vital function in contemporary society. As the body moves—as it performs, sweats, runs, and jumps—it sets in motion an intricate web of scientific rationalities, spatial arrangements, corporate imperatives, and identity politics (i.e. politics of gender, race, social class, etc.). It represents vitality in its productive and physiological capacities, it drives a complex economy of experiences and products, and it is a meaningful site of cultural identities and politics.
Contributors to Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body work from a simple premise: as it moves, the material body matters. Adding to the burgeoning fields of sport studies and body studies, the works featured here draw upon the traditions of feminist theory, posthumanism, actor network theory, and new materialism to reposition the physical, moving body as crucial to the cultural, political, environmental, and economic systems that it constitutes and within which is constituted. Once assembled, the book presents a study of bodies in motion—made to move in contexts where technique, performance, speed, strength, and vitality not only define the conduct therein, but provide the very reason for the body’s being within those economies and environments. In so doing, the contributors look to how the body moving for and about rational systems of science, medicine, markets, and geopolity shapes the social and material world in important and unexpected ways.
In Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body, contributors explore the extent to which the body, when moving about both ostensibly active body spaces (i.e., the gymnasium, the ball field, exercise laboratory, the track or running trail, the beach, or the sport stadium) and those places less often connected to physical activity (i.e. the home, the street, the classroom, the automobile), is bounded to technologies of life and living; and to the political arrangements that seek to capitalize upon such frames of biological vitality. To do so, the authors problematize the rise of active body science (i.e. kinesiology, sport and exercise sciences, performance biotechnology) and the effects these scientific interventions have on embodied, lived experience.
Contributors to Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body will be engaging a range of new and emerging theoretical perspectives, including new materialist, political ecology, developmental systems theory, and new material feminist approaches, to examine the actors and assemblages of movement-based material, political, and economic production. In so doing, contributors will vividly and powerfully illustrate the extent to which a focus on the fleshed body and its material conditions can bring forth new insights or ontological and epistemological innovation to the sociology of sport and physical activity. They will also explore the agency of the body as and amongst things. Such a performative materialist approach explicates how complex assemblages of sport and physical activity—bringing into association everything from muscle fibers and dietary proteins to stadium concrete or regional aquifers—are not only meaningful, but ecological.
By focusing on the confluence of agentive materialities, disciplinary technologies, vibrant assemblages, speculative realities, and vital performativities, Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body promises to offer a groundbreaking departure from representationalist tendencies and orthodoxies brought about by the cultural turn in sport and physical cultural studies. It brings the moving body and its physics back into focus: recentering moving flesh and bones as locus of social order, environmental change, and the global political economy.
Status is ubiquitous in modern life, yet our understanding of its role as a driver of inequality is limited. In Status, sociologist and social psychologist Cecilia Ridgeway examines how this ancient and universal form of inequality influences today’s ostensibly meritocratic institutions and why it matters. Ridgeway illuminates the complex ways in which status affects human interactions as we work together towards common goals, such as in classroom discussions, family decisions, or workplace deliberations.
Ridgeway’s research on status has important implications for our understanding of social inequality. Distinct from power or wealth, status is prized because it provides affirmation from others and affords access to valuable resources. Ridgeway demonstrates how the conferral of status inevitably contributes to differing life outcomes for individuals, with impacts on pay, wealth creation, and health and wellbeing. Status beliefs are widely held views about who is better in society than others in terms of esteem, wealth, or competence. These beliefs confer advantages which can exacerbate social inequality. Ridgeway notes that status advantages based on race, gender, and class—such as the belief that white men are more competent than others—are the most likely to increase inequality by facilitating greater social and economic opportunities.
Ridgeway argues that status beliefs greatly enhance higher status groups’ ability to maintain their advantages in resources and access to positions of power and make lower status groups less likely to challenge the status quo. Many lower status people will accept their lower status when given a baseline level of dignity and respect—being seen, for example, as poor but hardworking. She also shows that people remain willfully blind to status beliefs and their effects because recognizing them can lead to emotional discomfort. Acknowledging the insidious role of status in our lives would require many higher-status individuals to accept that they may not have succeeded based on their own merit; many lower-status individuals would have to acknowledge that they may have been discriminated against.
Ridgeway suggests that inequality need not be an inevitable consequence of our status beliefs. She shows how status beliefs can be subverted—as when we reject the idea that all racial and gender traits are fixed at birth, thus refuting the idea that women and people of color are less competent than their male and white counterparts. This important new book demonstrates the pervasive influence of status on social inequality and suggests ways to ensure that it has a less detrimental impact on our lives.
Is wealth inequality a universal feature of human societies, or did early peoples live an egalitarian existence? How did inequality develop before the modern era? Did inequalities in wealth increase as people settled into a way of life dominated by farming and herding? Why in general do such disparities increase, and how recent are the high levels of wealth inequality now experienced in many developed nations? How can archaeologists tell?
Ten Thousand Years of Inequality addresses these and other questions by presenting the first set of consistent quantitative measurements of ancient wealth inequality. The authors are archaeologists who have adapted the Gini index, a statistical measure of wealth distribution often used by economists to measure contemporary inequality, and applied it to house-size distributions over time and around the world. Clear descriptions of methods and assumptions serve as a model for other archaeologists and historians who want to document past patterns of wealth disparity.
The chapters cover a variety of ancient cases, including early hunter-gatherers, farmer villages, and agrarian states and empires. The final chapter synthesizes and compares the results. Among the new and notable outcomes, the authors report a systematic difference between higher levels of inequality in ancient Old World societies and lower levels in their New World counterparts.
For the first time, archaeology allows humanity’s deep past to provide an account of the early manifestations of wealth inequality around the world.
Meredith S. Chesson
Timothy J. Dennehy
Robert D. Drennan
Laura J. Ellyson
Ronald K. Faulseit
Gary M. Feinman
Thomas A. Foor
Vishwas D. Gogte
Timothy A. Kohler
Chapurukha M. Kusimba
Linda M. Nicholas
Rahul C. Oka
Christian E. Peterson
Anna Marie Prentiss
Michael E. Smith
Elizabeth C. Stone
How should we think about the “shape” of human history since the birth of cities, and where are we headed? Sociologist and historian John Torpey proposes that the “Axial Age” of the first millennium BCE, when some of the world’s major religious and intellectual developments first emerged, was only one of three such decisive periods that can be used to directly affect present social problems, from economic inequality to ecological destruction.
Torpey’s argument advances the idea that there are in fact three “Axial Ages,” instead of one original Axial Age and several subsequent, smaller developments. Each of the three ages contributed decisively to how humanity lives, and the difficulties it faces. The earliest, or original, Axial Age was a moral one; the second was material, and revolved around the creation and use of physical objects; and the third is chiefly mental, and focused on the technological. While there are profound risks and challenges, Torpey shows how a worldview that combines the strengths of all three ages has the potential to usher in a period of exceptional human freedom and possibility.
In Unselfishness, Nicholas Rescher criticizes the stance of many contemporary moral philosophers and social theorists-that rationality conflicts with morality, and instead defends the position of historical thinkers who believed that the worth of altruism is irreducible and that its rationalization does not require recourse to prudential self-interest. To support his position, Rescher provides detailed examples, and a theoretical critique of utilitarian morality.
Society needs whistleblowers, yet to speak up and expose wrongdoing often results in professional and personal ruin. Drawing on the stories of men and women who reported unethical and illegal conduct in corporations, Kate Kenny explains why this is so, and what must be done to protect those who have the courage to expose the truth.