Jenny Huberman provides an ethnographic study of encounters between western tourists and the children who work as unlicensed peddlers and guides along the riverfront city of Banaras, India. She examines how and why these children elicit such powerful reactions from western tourists and locals in their community as well as how the children themselves experience their work and render it meaningful.
Ambivalent Encounters brings together scholarship on the anthropology of childhood, tourism, consumption, and exchange to ask why children emerge as objects of the international tourist gaze; what role they play in representing socio-economic change; how children are valued and devalued; why they elicit anxieties, fantasies, and debates; and what these tourist encounters teach us more generally about the nature of human interaction. It examines the role of gender in mediating experiences of social change—girls are praised by locals for participating constructively in the informal tourist economy while boys are accused of deviant behavior. Huberman is interested equally in the children’s and adults’ perspectives; her own experiences as a western visitor and researcher provide an intriguing entry into her interpretations.
When we share or receive good or bad news, from ordinary events such as the birth of a child to public catastrophes such as 9/11, our "old" lives come to an end, and suddenly we enter a new world. In Bad News, Good News, Douglas W. Maynard explores how we tell and hear such news, and what's similar and different about our social experiences when the tidings are bad rather than good or vice versa.
Uncovering vocal and nonvocal patterns in everyday conversations, clinics, and other organizations, Maynard shows practices by which people give and receive good or bad news, how they come to realize the news and their new world, how they suppress or express their emotions, and how they construct social relationships through the sharing of news. He also reveals the implications of his study for understanding public affairs in which transmitting news may influence society at large, and he provides recommendations for professionals and others on how to deliver bad or good tidings more effectively.
For anyone who wants to understand the interactional facets of news delivery and receipt and their social implications, Bad News, Good News offers a wealth of scholarly insights and practical advice.
Conversation and Community is an examination of the speech community in an Internet 'virtual community'. Based on ethnographic research on a community of users of a MUD, or 'multi-user dimension', the book describes a close-knit community united in features of their language use, shared history, and relationships to other online communities. The author invokes the notion of register, or the variety of speech adapted to the communication situation, in her discussion of how users overcome the limitations of the typed, text medium and exploit its affordances for comfortable communication. Routines, conventional vocabulary and abbreviations, syntactic and semantic phenomena, and special turn-taking and repair strategies distinguish the MUD community's register. Because the MUD is programmable, commands may be added which reflect, alter, or reinforce the linguistic practices and culture of the community; competent speakers must also know the commands that produce the correct linguistic forms.
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.
Many Americans, holding fast to the American Dream and the promise of equal opportunity, claim that social class doesn't matter. Yet the ways we talk and dress, our interactions with authority figures, the degree of trust we place in strangers, our religious beliefs, our achievements, our senses of morality and of ourselves—all are marked by social class, a powerful factor affecting every domain of life. In Facing Social Class, social psychologists Susan Fiske and Hazel Rose Markus, and a team of sociologists, anthropologists, linguists, and legal scholars, examine the many ways we communicate our class position to others and how social class shapes our daily, face-to-face interactions—from casual exchanges to interactions at school, work, and home. Facing Social Class exposes the contradiction between the American ideal of equal opportunity and the harsh reality of growing inequality, and it shows how this tension is reflected in cultural ideas and values, institutional practices, everyday social interactions, and psychological tendencies. Contributor Joan Williams examines cultural differences between middle- and working-class people and shows how the cultural gap between social class groups can influence everything from voting practices and political beliefs to work habits, home life, and social behaviors. In a similar vein, Annette Lareau and Jessica McCrory Calarco analyze the cultural advantages or disadvantages exhibited by different classes in institutional settings, such as those between parents and teachers. They find that middle-class parents are better able to advocate effectively for their children in school than are working-class parents, who are less likely to challenge a teacher's authority. Michael Kraus, Michelle Rheinschmidt, and Paul Piff explore the subtle ways we signal class status in social situations. Conversational style and how close one person stands to another, for example, can influence the balance of power in a business interaction. Diana Sanchez and Julie Garcia even demonstrate that markers of low socioeconomic status such as incarceration or unemployment can influence whether individuals are categorized as white or black—a finding that underscores how race and class may work in tandem to shape advantage or disadvantage in social interactions. The United States has one of the highest levels of income inequality and one of the lowest levels of social mobility among industrialized nations, yet many Americans continue to buy into the myth that theirs is a classless society. Facing Social Class faces the reality of how social class operates in our daily lives, why it is so pervasive, and what can be done to alleviate its effects.
Richard TUCK Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress HB846.8.T78 2008 | Dewey Decimal 302.13
A proposition of contemporary economics and political science is that it would be an exercise of reason, not a failure of it, not to contribute to a collective project if the contribution is negligible, but to benefit from it nonetheless.Tuck makes careful distinctions between the prisone's dilemma problem, threshold phenomena such as voting, and free riding. He analyzes the notion of negligibility, and shows some of the logical difficulties in the idea - and how the ancient paradox of the sorites illustrates the difficulties.
The only ethnography devoted to the practice of gambling as its core subject, Gambling Life considers the stakes of social action in one community on the island of Crete.
Backgammon cafés, card clubs, and hidden gambling rooms in the city of Chania provide the context for Thomas M. Malaby to examine the ways in which people confront uncertainty in their lives. He shows how the dynamics of gambling -- risk, fate, uncertainty, and luck -- are reflected in other aspects of gamblers’ lives from courtship and mortality to state bureaucracy and national identity.
By moving beyond risk and fate as unexamined analytical categories, Malaby presents a new model for research concerning indeterminacy, seeing it as arising from stochastic, performative, and other sources. Gambling Life questions the longstanding valorization of order and pattern in the social sciences.
Getting other people to do what we want is a useful skill for anyone. Whether you’re seeking a job, negotiating a deal, or angling for that big promotion, you’re engaged in strategic thought and action. In such moments, you imagine what might be going on in another person’s head and how they’ll react to what you do or say. At the same time, you also try to pick the best way to realize your goals, both with and without the other person’s cooperation. Getting Your Way teaches us how to win that game by offering a fuller understanding of how strategy works in the real world.
As we all know, rules of strategy are regularly discovered and discussed in popular books for business executives, military leaders, and politicians. Those works with their trendy lists of pithy maxims and highly effective habits can help people avoid mistakes or even think anew about how to tackle their problems. But they are merely suggestive, as each situation we encounter in the real world is always more complex than anticipated, more challenging than we had hoped. James M. Jasper here shows us how to anticipate those problems before they actually occur—by recognizing the dilemmas all strategic players must negotiate, with each option accompanied by a long list of costs and risks. Considering everyday dilemmas in a broad range of familiar settings, from business and politics to love and war, Jasper explains how to envision your goals, how to make the first move, how to deal with threats, and how to employ strategies with greater confidence.
Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Rosa Parks, Hugo Chávez, and David Koresh all come into play in this smart and engaging book, one that helps us recognize and prepare for the many dilemmas inherent in any strategic action.
This volume of proceedings from the fourteenth biennial Southwest Symposium explores different kinds of social interaction that occurred prehistorically across the Southwest. The authors use diverse and innovative approaches and a variety of different data sets to examine the economic, social, and ideological implications of the different forms of interaction, presenting new ways to examine how social interaction and connectivity influenced cultural developments in the Southwest.
The book observes social interactions’ role in the diffusion of ideas and material culture; the way different social units, especially households, interacted within and between communities; and the importance of interaction and interconnectivity in understanding the archaeology of the Southwest’s northern periphery. Chapters demonstrate a movement away from strictly economic-driven models of social connectivity and interaction and illustrate that members of social groups lived in dynamic situations that did not always have clear-cut and unwavering boundaries. Social connectivity and interaction were often fluid, changing over time.
Interaction and Connectivity in the Greater Southwest is an impressive collection of established and up-and-coming Southwestern archaeologists collaborating to strengthen the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline. It will be of interest to professional and academic archaeologists, as well as researchers with interests in diffusion, identity, cultural transmission, borders, large-scale interaction, or social organization.
Richard V. N. Ahlstrom, James R. Allison, Jean H. Ballagh, Catherine M. Cameron, Richard Ciolek-Torello, John G. Douglass, Suzanne L. Eckert, Hayward H. Franklin, Patricia A. Gilman, Dennis A. Gilpin, William M. Graves, Kelley A. Hays-Gilpin, Lindsay D. Johansson, Eric Eugene Klucas, Phillip O. Leckman, Myles R. Miller, Barbara J. Mills, Matthew A. Peeples, David A. Phillips Jr., Katie Richards, Heidi Roberts, Thomas R. Rocek, Tammy Stone, Richard K. Talbot, Marc Thompson, David T. Unruh, John A. Ware, Kristina C. Wyckoff
An Interpretation of Desire offers a bracing collection of major essays by John Gagnon, one of the leading and most inspiring figures in sexual research. Spanning his work from the 1970s, when he explored the idea that sexuality is mediated through social processes and categories—thus paving the way for Foucault—and then extending through his turn to issues of desire during the 1990s, these essays constitute an essential entrée to the study of sexuality in the twentieth century.
Gagnon may be best known as the coauthor of Sexual Conduct—a book that introduced the seminal concept of sexual scripting—and as one of the coauthors of The Social Organization of Sexuality, a foundational work that is widely considered to be the most important study of human sexual behavior since the Kinsey report. The essays collected here first trace the influence of scripting theory on Gagnon, outlining the radical departure he took from the dominant biological and psychiatric models of sex research. The volume then turns to more recent essays that consider such vexed issues as homosexuality, the theories of Sigmund Freud, HIV, hazardous sex, and the social aspects of sexually transmitted diseases.
Although the literary circle is widely recognized as a significant feature of Renaissance literary culture, it has received remarkably little examination. In this collection of essays, the authors attempt to explain literary circles and cultural communities in Renaissance England by exploring both actual and imaginary ways in which they were conceived and the various needs they fulfilled. The book also pays considerable attention to larger theoretical issues relating to literary circles.
The essayists raise important questions about the extent to which literary circles were actual constructs or fictional creations. Whether illuminating or limiting, the circle metaphor itself can be extended or reformulated. Some of the authors discuss how particular circles actually operated, and some question the very concept of the literary circle. Literary Circles and Cultural Communities in Renaissance England will be an important addition to seventeenth-century studies.
This book develops an original theory of group and organizational behavior that cuts across disciplinary lines and illustrates the theory with empirical and historical studies of particular organizations. Applying economic analysis to the subjects of the political scientist, sociologist, and economist, Mancur Olson examines the extent to which individuals who share a common interest find it in their individual interest to bear the costs of the organizational effort.
Moving beyond the traditional boundaries of sociological investigation,
Thomas J. Scheff brings together the study of communication and the social
psychology of emotions to explore the microworld of thoughts, feelings,
and moods. Drawing on strikingly diverse and rich sources—the findings of
artificial intelligence and cognitive science, and examples from literary
dialogues and psychiatric interviews—Scheff provides an inventive account
of the nature of social life and a theory of motivation that brilliantly
accounts for the immense complexity involved in understanding even the most
"A major contribution to some central debates in social theory at the
present time. . . . What Thomas Scheff seeks to develop is essentially a
quite novel account of the nature of social life, its relation to language
and human reflexivity, in which he insists upon the importance of a theory
of emotion. . . . A work of true originality and jolting impact. . . . Microsociology is of exceptional interest, which bears witness to the
very creativity which it puts at the center of human social contact."
—Anthony Giddens, from the Foreword
"Scheff provides a rich theory that can easily generate further exploration. And he drives home the message that sociological work on interaction, social bonds, and society cannot ignore human emotionality."—Candace Clark, American Journal of Sociology
"This outstanding and ground-breaking little volume contains a wealth of original ideas that bring together many insights concerning the relationship of emotion to motivation in a wide variety of social settings. It is strongly recommended to all serious students of emotion, of society, and of human nature."—Melvin R. Lansky, American Journal of Psychiatry
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.
Every May, for more than a decade, an ever-increasing number of motorcyclists have made the “Run for the Wall,” a cross-country journey from Southern California to the “Wall,” the Vietnam war memorial in Washington, D.C. While the journey’s avowed purpose is political — to increase public awareness about those who remain either prisoners of war or missing in action in Southeast Asia — it also serves as a healing pilgrimage for its participants and as a “welcome-home” ritual many veterans feel they never received.
Run for the Wall is a highly readable ethnographic account of this remarkable American ritual. The authors, themselves motorcyclists as well as Run participants, demonstrate that the event is a form of secular pilgrimage. Here key concepts in American culture— “freedom,” and “brotherhood,” for example—are constructed and deployed in a variety of rituals and symbols to enable participants to come to terms with the consequences of the Vietnam war. While the focus is the journey itself, the book also explores other themes related to American culture and history, including the nature of community, the Vietnam war, and the creation of American secular ritual.
In moving, first-hand accounts, the book tells how participation in the POW-MIA social movement helps individuals find personal and collective meaning in America’s longest and most divisive conflict. Above all, this is a story of a uniquely American form of political action, ritual, pilgrimage, and the social construction of memory.
Signs orient, inform, persuade, and regulate. They help give meaning to our natural and human-built environment, to landscape and place. In Signs in America’s Auto Age, cultural geographer John Jakle and historian Keith Sculle explore the ways in which we take meaning from outdoor signs and assign meaning to our surroundings—the ways we “read” landscape. With an emphasis on how the use of signs changed as the nation’s geography reorganized around the coming of the automobile, Jakle and Sculle consider the vast array of signs that have evolved since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Gary S. Becker Harvard University Press, 2000 Library of Congress HM548.B43 2000 | Dewey Decimal 306.3
Economists assume that people make choices based on their preferences and their budget constraints. The preferences and values of others play no role in the standard economic model. This feature has been sharply criticized by other social scientists, who believe that the choices people make are also conditioned by social and cultural forces. Economists, meanwhile, are not satisfied with standard sociological and anthropological concepts and explanations because they are not embedded in a testable, analytic framework.
In this book, Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy provide such a framework by including the social environment along with standard goods and services in their utility functions. These extended utility functions provide a way of analyzing how changes in the social environment affect people's choices and behaviors. More important, they also provide a way of analyzing how the social environment itself is determined by the interactions of individuals.
Using this approach, the authors are able to explain many puzzling phenomena, including patterns of drug use, how love affects marriage patterns, neighborhood segregation, the prices of fine art and other collectibles, the social side of trademarks, the rise and fall of fads and fashions, and the distribution of income and status.
Table of Contents:
Part I The Effect of Social Capital on Market Behavior 1. The Importance of Social Interactions 2. Social Forces, Preferences, and Complementarity 3. Are Choices "Rational" When Social Capital Is Important?
Part II The Formation of Social Capital 4. Sorting by Marriage 5. Segregation and Integration in Neighborhoods 6. The Social Market for the Great Masters and Other Collectibles with William Landes 7. Social Markets and the Escalation of Quality: The World of Veblen Revisited with Edward Glaeser 8. Status and Inequality with IvÃƒÂ¡n Werning
Part III Fads, Fashions, and Norms 9. Fads and Fashion 10. The Formation of Norms and Values
References Author Index Subject Index
Reviews of this book: [Becker and Murphy] are pioneers in the quest to extend the boundaries of rational choice theory in economics...They depict human beings not as isolated individuals but as members of society, shaped by social and cultural forces...This book marks another step in bringing economic theory closer to social reality. --David Throsby, Times Literary Supplement
Reviews of this book: This fascinating short book seeks to advance a 'social economics' field that would tackle such interpersonal issues head-on. It does so by addressing a diverse set of issues that includes social capital, habits and social interactions, sorting and marriage markets, segregation and integration of neighborhoods, escalation in product quality, status and inequality, and the modeling of fashions, norms, and values. --Stephen R. G. Jones, Journal of Economic Literature
Space, Place, and Gender
Doreen Massey University of Minnesota Press, 1994 Library of Congress GF95.M37 1994 | Dewey Decimal 304.23
A leading feminist geographer puts forth new ways of thinking about space and place.
In these days of global acceleration on the one hand and intensifying local nationalisms on the other, how should we be thinking about space and place? This new book brings together Doreen Massey's key writings on this debate. In it she argues that we have seen some problematical readings of both terms in recent years, and she proposes an alternative approach more adequate to the issues facing the social sciences today.
Massey has organized these debates around the three themes of space, place, and gender. She traces the development of ideas about the social structure of space and place, and the relation of both to issues of gender and certain debates within feminism. Beginning with the economy and social structures of production, Massey develops a wider notion of spatiality as the product of intersecting social relations. On this basis she proposes an approach to "places" that is essentially open and hybrid while always provisional and contested. The themes intersect with much current thinking about identity within feminism and cultural studies.
The chapters range from studies of the concepts of place employed in debates on uneven regional development and inner-city problems to arguments about the relationship between the conceptualization of space/place and the social construction of gender relations.
"This book presents a collection of Massey's writings that have appeared over the last two decades. The volume is, however, more than a sum of its parts, in that Massey uses commentaries throughout the book to delineate an intellectual trajectory in Anglo geography that connects the concerns of economic geography with critiques and extensions by feminist and postcolonial writers. Massey builds a multifaceted argument of the richness of geographical analysis and its centrality for contemporary social theory debates." Professional Geographer
"In a compilation of essays spanning over fifteen years, Space, Place and Gender, Doreen Massey explores the intricate and profound connection of space and place with gender and the construction of gender relations. Spaces and places are gendered, she argues, at once reflecting and affecting how gender is understood." Harvard Design Magazine
Doreen Massey is professor of geography at the Open University in the United Kingdom. She is the author of five books, including Spatial Divisions of Labour (1984) and, with David Weild and Paul Quintas, High-Tech Fantasies (1991).
National news reports periodically proclaim that American life is lonelier than ever, and new books on the subject with titles like Bowling Alone generate considerable anxiety about the declining quality of Americans' social ties. Still Connected challenges such concerns by asking a simple yet significant question: have Americans' bonds with family and friends changed since the 1970s, and, if so, how? Noted sociologist Claude Fischer examines long-term trends in family ties and friendships and paints an insightful and ultimately reassuring portrait of Americans' personal relationships. Still Connected analyzes forty years of survey research to address whether and how Americans' personal ties have changed—their involvement with relatives, the number of friends they have and their contacts with those friends, the amount of practical and emotional support they are able to count on, and how emotionally tied they feel to these relationships. The book shows that Americans today have fewer relatives than they did forty years ago and that formal gatherings have declined over the decades—at least partially as a result of later marriages and more women in the work force. Yet neither the overall quantity of personal relationships nor, more importantly, the quality of those relationships has diminished. Americans' contact with relatives and friends, as well as their feelings of emotional connectedness, has changed relatively little since the 1970s. Although Americans are marrying later and single people feel lonely, few Americans report being socially isolated and the percentage who do has not really increased. Fischer maintains that this constancy testifies to the value Americans place on family and friends and to their willingness to adapt to changing circumstances in ways that sustain their social connections. For example, children now often have schedules as busy as their parents. Yet today's parents spend more quality time with their children than parents did forty years ago—although less in the form of organized home activities and more in the form of accompanying them to play dates or sports activities. And those family meals at home that seem to be disappearing? While survey research shows that families dine at home together less often, it also shows that they dine out together more often. Americans are fascinated by the quality of their relationships with family and friends and whether these bonds fray or remain stable over time. With so many voices heralding the demise of personal relationships, it's no wonder that confusion on this topic abounds. An engrossing and accessible social history, Still Connected brings a much-needed note of clarity to the discussion. Americans' personal ties, this book assures us, remain strong.
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.
Thomas Spence Smith University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress HM131.S574 1992 | Dewey Decimal 302
This book brings the body and its passions back into a new theory of social interaction and social order. Building on innovative conceptions of order, change, and organization, Thomas Spence Smith dramatically expands the definition of human interactions that hold societies together. Here he examines the "strong interactions," such as love relationships, attachments, and addictive behaviors, that are inherently unstable—but are integral parts of any social order.
Blending physiology and psychology with historical examples of social change and a sophisticated new model of social systems, this book contributes to our understanding how societies are possible.
A unique dataset for studying past social interactions comes from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery that linked sites throughout much of the Eastern Woodlands but that was primarily distributed over the lower Southeast. Although connections have been demonstrated, their significance has remained enigmatic. How and why were apparently utilitarian vessels, or the wooden tools used to make them, distributed widely across the landscape?
This book assesses Woodland Period interactions using technofunctional, mineralogical, and chemical data derived from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped sherds whose provenience is fully documented from both mortuary mounds and village middens along the Atlantic coast. Together, these data demonstrate formal and functional differences between mortuary and village assemblages along with the nearly exclusive occurrence of foreign-made cooking pots in mortuary contexts. The Swift Creek Gift provides insight into the unique workings of gift exchanges to transform seemingly mundane materials like cooking pots into powerful tools of commemoration, affiliation, and ownership.
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
Trust is essential to economic and social transactions of all kinds, from choosing a marriage partner, to taking a job, and even buying a used car. The benefits to be gained from such transactions originate in the willingness of individuals to take risks by placing trust in others to behave in cooperative and non-exploitative ways. But how do humans decide whether or not to trust someone? Using findings from evolutionary psychology, game theory, and laboratory experiments, Trust and Reciprocity examines the importance of reciprocal relationships in explaining the origins of trust and trustworthy behavior. In Part I, contributor Russell Hardin argues that before one can understand trust one must account for the conditions that make someone trustworthy. Elinor Ostrom discusses evidence that individuals achieve outcomes better than those predicted by models of game theory based on purely selfish motivations. In Part II, the book takes on the biological foundations of trust. Frans de Waal illustrates the deep evolutionary roots of trust and reciprocity with examples from the animal world, such as the way chimpanzees exchange social services like grooming and sharing. Other contributors look at the links between evolution, cognition, and behavior. Kevin McCabe examines how the human mind processes the complex commitments that reciprocal relationships require, summarizing brain imaging experiments that suggest the frontal lobe region is activated when humans try to cooperate with their fellow humans. Acknowledging the importance of game theory as a theoretical model for examining strategic relationships, in Part III the contributors tackle the question of how simple game theoretic models must be extended to explain behavior in situations involving trust and reciprocity. Reviewing a range of experimental studies, Karen Cook and Robin Cooper conclude that trust is dependent on the complex relationships between incentives and individual characteristics, and must be examined in light of the social contexts which promote or erode trust. As an example, Catherine Eckel and Rick Wilson explore how people's cues, such as facial expressions and body language, affect whether others will trust them. The divergent views in this volume are unified by the basic conviction that humans gain through the development of trusting relationships. Trust and Reciprocity advances our understanding of what makes people willing or unwilling to take the risks involved in building such relationships and why. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
Sociologists have long been curious about the ways in which city dwellers negotiate urban public space. How do they manage myriad interactions in the shared spaces of the city? In Urban Nightlife, sociologist Reuben May undertakes a nuanced examination of urban nightlife, drawing on ethnographic data gathered in a Deep South college town to explore the question of how nighttime revelers negotiate urban public spaces as they go about meeting, socializing, and entertaining themselves.
May’s work reveals how diverse partiers define these spaces, in particular the ongoing social conflict on the streets, in bars and nightclubs, and in the various public spaces of downtown. To explore this conflict, May develops the concept of “integrated segregation”—the idea that diverse groups are physically close to one another yet rarely have meaningful interactions—rather, they are socially bound to those of similar race, class, and cultural backgrounds. May’s in-depth research leads him to conclude that social tension is stubbornly persistent in part because many participants fail to make the connection between contemporary relations among different groups and the historical and institutional forces that perpetuate those very tensions; structural racism remains obscured by a superficial appearance of racial harmony.
Through May’s observations, Urban Nightlife clarifies the complexities of race, class, and culture in contemporary America, illustrating the direct influence of local government and nightclub management decision-making on interpersonal interaction among groups.
In this thought-provoking work, Tony D. Sampson presents a contagion theory fit for the age of networks. Unlike memes and microbial contagions, Virality does not restrict itself to biological analogies and medical metaphors. It instead points toward a theory of contagious assemblages, events, and affects. For Sampson, contagion is not necessarily a positive or negative force of encounter; it is how society comes together and relates.
Sampson argues that a biological knowledge of contagion has been universally distributed by way of the rhetoric of fear used in the antivirus industry and other popular discourses surrounding network culture. This awareness is also detectable in concerns over too much connectivity, such as problems of global financial crisis and terrorism. Sampson’s “virality” is as established as that of the biological meme and microbe but is not understood through representational thinking expressed in metaphors and analogies. Rather, Sampson interprets contagion theory through the social relationalities first established in Gabriel Tarde’s microsociology and subsequently recognized in Gilles Deleuze’s ontological worldview.
According to Sampson, the reliance on representational thinking to explain the social behavior of networking—including that engaged in by nonhumans such as computers—allows language to overcategorize and limit analysis by imposing identities, oppositions, and resemblances on contagious phenomena. It is the power of these categories that impinges on social and cultural domains. Assemblage theory, on the other hand, is all about relationality and encounter, helping us to understand the viral as a positively sociological event, building from the molecular outward, long before it becomes biological.