The principal purpose of the present volume is to analyse critically one of the major contemporary interpretations of the origin of support for radical or extremist political behaviour - the political theory of masssociety. Mass political theory is one of several major perspectives on political extremism which share a stress on the social psychological, emotional and irrational origins of dissidence. The present work may be seen as part of a growing scholarly effort reassessing such theories and (...) urging the importance of increased attention to the social structure origins, cognitive nature and rational properties of dissident support. The present work should be of interest to a fairly broad professional community and student audience, as well as to the informed and more literate layman. Of particular interest may be the detailed summary of the origins of mass political theory and of the properties of the theory itself and the lengthy case study chapter stressing the purposive, reasonable and non-exceptional character of several familiar radical political movements. (shrink)
This article argues that Hegel’s dialectic of wealth and power in the stage of social development called ‘culture’ (Bildung) reveals that even in moments of profound social alienation, Spirit (Geist)—the labor of constructing identity and freedom— remains. This stands in sharp contrast to Heidegger’s theory of alienation and Dasein’s ‘publicity’ (Offentlichkeit), which paints modern social existence as a profound threat to the very ‘Being’ and ‘possibilities’ of human life. The supposed threats of inauthenticity and mass existence are, from a (...) Hegelian perspective, failures of adequate social phenomenology. The desiring, affective subject is not absorbed in ‘they’ (das Man) but is, instead, the negativity that constantly transforms culture and the structure of social selfhood. (shrink)
This paper is confined to Indian, more specifically Hindu, society. It tries to assess the process of change going on in this society from the point of view of new needs and old values. In doing so, it draws on an unscholarly but inside acquaintance with the situation and makes no claim to completeness either of analysis or treatment.
This new book is a wide-ranging, contemporary and accessible analysis of familiar and recurring myths about mass education in the United Kingdom. Looking at a variety of important issues and problems, each chapter begins by dispelling myths and assumptions about the classroom, going beyond class, race and gender, to offer analysis of topics such as discipline, youth cultures, information technology and globalisation. Utilising an interdisciplinary lens, this book offers knowledge from disciplines as diverse as sociology, philosophy, jurisprudence and cultural (...) studies. Gordon Tait examines the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to education, from critical theory to postmodernism, and Foucaultian governance to post-colonialism. Analysing the many assumptions about education taken for granted in British public discourse, important conclusions are drawn about which of these assumptions are fair and reasonable, and which we should challenge. This book is an essential resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses on the sociology of education, culture and education, and the philosophy of education. (shrink)
In the article the author researches the problem of modern mass-media influence upon the ideologization of society and the appearance of “one-dimensional” man on the basis of H. Marcuse’s ideas. According to H. Marcuse’s statement that modern culture created by means of mass-media deprives a person of any real alternatives to the existing and thinking the author rises the problem of manipulation of mass consciousness in modern conditions.
During the 1950s, there was a burst of enthusiasm about whether artificial intelligence might surpass human intelligence. Since then, technology has changed society so dramatically that the focus of study has shifted toward society’s ability to adapt to technological change. Technology and rapid communications weaken the capacity of society to integrate into the broader social structure those people who have had little or no access to education. (Most of the recent use of communications by the excluded has (...) been disruptive, not integrative.) Interweaving of socioeconomic activity and large-scale systems had a dehumanizing effect on people excluded from social participation by these trends. Jobs vanish at an accelerating rate. Marketing creates demand for goods which stress the global environment, even while the global environment no longer yields readily accessible resources. Mining and petroleum firms push into ever more challenging environments (e.g., deep mines and seabed mining) to meet resource demands. These activities are expensive, and resource prices rise rapidly, further excluding groups that cannot pay for these resources. The impact of large-scale systems on society leads to mass idleness, with the accompanying threat of violent reaction as unemployed masses seek to blame both people in power as well as the broader social structure for their plight. Perhaps, the impact of large-scale systems on society has already eroded essential qualities of humanness. Humans, when they feel “socially useless,” are dehumanized. (At the same time, machines (at any scale) seem incapable of emotion or empathy.) Has the cost of technological progress been too high to pay? These issues are addressed in this paper. (shrink)
A healthy civil society is essential in order to deal with “wicked” societal problems. Merely involving institutional actors and mass media is not sufficient. Intermedia can play a crucial complementary role in strengthening civil society. However, the potential of these technologies needs to be carefully tailored to the requirements and constraints of the communities grown around them. The GRASS system for group report authoring is one carefully tailored socio-technical system aimed at unlocking this potential. Such systems may (...) help to develop stakeholder communities that are more productive in societal conflict resolution. (shrink)
In this paper, which brings together aging research and media research, we will contribute to the mapping of the complicated cartography of anti-aging by analyzing the press coverage of anti-aging medicine. The mass media decisively shape societal impacts of the expert scientific discourse on anti-aging. While sensitivity towards the heterogeneity of the field of anti-aging is increasing to some degree in the social-gerontological discussion, the role of the media in transmitting the various anti-aging messages to the general public has (...) so far not been systematically scrutinized. Current opinions on the press coverage of anti-aging medicine range from proponents’ complaints of a media witch-hunt against them to opponents’ reproaches about uncritical reporting of this complex topic. This paper discusses whether the media act accordingly to the ideal of the fourth estate, controlling the increased power of science in the 20th century. Our areas of investigation are two Western countries: the USA and Germany. Both countries have experienced an apparent increase in the average age of their populations, which has led to increasingly vigorous public debate since the late 20th century. The subjects of our study are three organizations that represent different approaches to anti-aging medicine: the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, the German Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the Methuselah Foundation. The article discusses the programs, goals, and media strategies of these organizations and compares them with the anti-aging messages that actually make their way to the reader in the media “interdiscourse.” The article asks whether transatlantic learning processes within the anti-aging medicine movement as well as in the media can be identified. The paper’s methods and sources are those of contemporary history and ethnography. The three approaches to anti-aging medicine are drawn from publications of spokespersons from the three presented anti-aging medicine organizations and from participant observation of anti-aging medicine conferences in Germany and Europe during the period from 2005 to 2008. The media analysis is based on the study of about 300 articles that appeared between 1990 and 2009 in US and German dailies and weeklies such as Newsweek, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, and Die Welt. Our analysis shows that, against the backdrop of pessimistic demographic apprehensions, the leitmotiv of both nations’ medical journalism between 1990 and 2009 was overwhelmingly pro anti-aging medicine. It is criticized that medical journalism on anti-aging medicine refrains from own investigations on potential risks. Scrutinizing activities of the media in terms of a fourth estate require stimulation from science itself. Hence, we argue for sensitization of medical journalism regarding ageism. (shrink)
This book is an in-depth interpretation of Max Weber as a political theorist of civil society. On the one hand, it reads Weber's ideas from the perspective of modern political thought, rather than the modern social sciences; on the other, it offers a liberal assessment of this complex political thinker without attempting to apologize for his shortcomings. Through an alternative reading of Weber's religious, epistemological and political writings, the book shows Weber's concern with public citizenship in a modern (...) class='Hi'>mass democracy and civil society as its cultivating ground. Kim argues Weber's political thought, thus recast, was deeply informed by Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and other German political thinkers and also reveals an affinity to the liberal-republican tradition best represented by Mill and Tocqueville. Kim has effectively resuscitated Weber as a political thinker for our time in which civic virtues and civil society have once again become one of the dominant issues. (shrink)
This paper tries to extricate philosophical education from the restrictions of social and school systems and to commend some independent and subversive views. This is to be accomplished through a conceptual dissection of the term ‘education’. On the one hand, there is education seen as transmitter of the tradition, where to be educated is seen as being able to fit into an established community. There is also another education to which the authority of tradition is a permanent target of resistance, (...) always trying to undermine any educational uniformity. This second history of education, genuinely philosophical, is radically opposed to the history of institutionalized mass-education. However, intention of this paper is not to proclaim this as an "alternative" model, or to build it up as a new mythology. On the contrary, it is being written as a history of continuous subversion. Viewed from this vantage point, autonomous philosophical education is not a subsystem of a social system. This education has itself as a measurement, and always resists the wider community that has accidentally befallen it. Its honor is exactly in this attitude of resistance, in being watchful against any conscription and integration. Understood in this manner, philosophical education is not a useful "implemented" function of society, but is rather its dysfunction. (shrink)
The aim of the article is to argue the thesis that, 25 years after the fall of communism, with the exception of former Yugoslavia, there has been and still is, a lack of „women’s movements“ in the post-communist countries. The author also proposes some explanations as to why there are dozens of women’s organizations but no women’s movements. In order to support her thesis, Raynova emphasizes the difference between “women’s movements”, “feminist movements” and “social movements”, and shows the weakness of (...) some current definitions. Instead of a definition, she indicates the conditions for a women’s movement, which are: (1.) women’s oppression and discrimination as a prevalent situation, which motivates a movement when that situation is perceived as intolerable; (2.) ideas and concrete strategies on how to proceed in order to change this situation; (3.) some kind of organization or leading personalities, able to coordinate and unite women in a mass movement and to ensure continuity of action until the goals of the movement are achieved; and (4.) large masses of women who are motivated and ready to fight resolutely for changing their situation. The provided analyses show that these conditions have not been always given, but that the persisting problems of women’s problems can be resolved only if women engage more actively in civil society so as to enforce their claims. (shrink)
A persistent sociological thesis posits that the spread of formal education causes an inevitable decline in religion as a social institution and diminishes adherence to religious beliefs in postindustrial society. Now that worldwide advanced education is a central agent in developing and disseminating Western rationality emphasizing science as the ultimate truth claim about a humanly constructed society and the natural world this seems an ever more relevant thesis. Yet in the face of a robust “education revolution,” religion and (...) spirituality endure, and in certain respects thrive, thus creating a sociological paradox: How can both expanding education and mass religion coexist? The solution proposed here is that instead of educational development setting the conditions for the decline and eventual death of religion, the two institutions have been, and continue to be, more compatible and even surprisingly symbiotic than is often assumed. This contributes to a culture of mass education and mass religion that is unique in the history of human society, exemplified by the heavily educated and churched United States. After a brief review of the empirical trends behind the paradox, a new confluence of streams of research on compatible worldviews, overlapping ideologies, and their enactments in educational and religious social movements illustrates the plausibility of an affinity argument and its impact on theory about post-secular society. (shrink)
Álvarez J.F. (2016) Conflicts, Bounded Rationality and Collective Wisdom in a Networked Society. In: Scarafile G., Gruenpeter Gold L. (eds) Paradoxes of Conflicts. Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning (Interdisciplinary Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences), vol 12. Springer, Cham -/- The adoption of an individualistic perspective on reasoning, choice and decision is a spring of paradoxes of conflicts. Usually the agents immerse in conflicts are drawn or modelled as rational individuals with targets well defined and full capabilities to access (...) to information, without both temporal limitations and perfect reasoning abilities to obtain their preferences are taken account. -/- However, other models of agent, in the bounded rationality perspective, could help to understand better the interrelationships. I adopt embedded argumentative reasoning processes as satisfying criteria to analyze the expert function in a new socio technical environment that has changed deeply the mechanism and tools to access and to aggregate information. The open access to information and institutional arrangements addressed towards team knowledge could offer other kind of tools to affront the conflict, even its possible benefits. -/- The “crowd expertise” is emerging as an actual possibility and it must be incorporated to affront with conflicts. The very possibility of obtaining knowledge generated by “many minds”, collective wisdoms, brings up a real challenge to the conservative or elitist conception of the masses, because masses now emerge as a smart collective user, with new mechanisms to select and produce quality knowledge. These new collective actions differ deeply from the traditional modes of social organization. A new masssociety is emerging now as a hybrid one that breaks some conceptual traditional models, such as Ortega y Gasset’s ones, and induces a structured way of flourishing both new practices and new knowledge with transforming capabilities. (shrink)
En el pensamiento de H. Arendt, las lecturas sobre el totalitarismo de The Origins of Totalitarianism, pueden ser leídas en paralelo a sus lecturas sobre la sociedad de masas, de la labor y el consumo en The Human Condition. Nos interesa mostrar en este artículo que se trata de lecturas convergentes, que se encuentran ligadas en la evolución del pensamiento de la autora y conservan algunas notas temáticas comunes como la preocupación por: el aislamiento, la soledad, el desarraigo y el (...) proyecto de convertir a los seres humanos en seres superfluos. (shrink)