Fifty Key Sociologists: The Contemporary Theorists covers the life, work, ideas and impact of some of the most important thinkers in this discipline. Concentrating on figures writing predominantly in the second half of the twentieth century, such as Zygmunt Bauman, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault and Claude Le;vi-Strauss, each entry includes: · full cross-referencing · a further reading section · biographical data · key works and ideas · critical assessment. Clearly presented in an easy-to-navigate A-Z format, this accessible (...) reference guide is ideal for undergraduate and postgraduate students of sociology, cultural studies and general studies, as well as other readers interested in this fascinating field. (shrink)
Alfred Schutz''s influence on American sociologists and sociology in the 1960s and 1970s is traced through the examination of the work of two of his students, Helmut Wagner and Peter Berger, and of Harold Garfinkel with whom he met and corresponded over a number of years. The circumstances of Schutz''s own academic situation, particularly the short period of his academic career in the United States and his location at the New School, are examined to consider how and in what (...) ways he was constrained from exerting an even wider influence. The two major areas of influence in American sociology that are examined are the sociology of knowledge and the early development of ethnomethodology. (shrink)
The concept of the sick role entered sociology in 1951 when Talcott Parsons creatively separated the sick person out of the doctor–patient dyad. The idea became fundamental in the subdiscipline of medical sociology. By the 1990s, the concept had almost disappeared from the research literature. Beyond the generational and theoretical changes that explain how the sick role idea could become irrelevant or unnecessary to sociologists, there were two immediate factors: the negative politicization of the concept and the shift of (...) medical sociologists to a focus on applied health behavior. In the later, fragmented discipline of sociology, final, total abandonment was still uncertain. (shrink)
: Sociologists of Scientific Knowledge sometimes claim to study scientists belonging to other forms of life. This claim causes difficulties, as traditionally Wittgensteinians have taken it to be the case that other forms of life are incomprehensible to us. This paper examines whether, and how, sociologists might gain understanding of another form of life, and whether, and how, this understanding might be passed on to readers. I argue that most techniques proposed for gaining and passing on understanding are (...) inadequate, but I end by describing a method that might work. (shrink)
In this chapter I critically discuss the dismissal of the philosophical significance of facts about human evolution and historical development in the work of W. D Ross. I address Ross’s views about the philosophical significance of the emerging human sciences of his time in two of his main works, namely The Right and the Good and The Foundations of Ethics. I argue that the debate between Ross and his chosen interlocutors (Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and Lucien Levy-Bruhl) shows striking similarities (...) with parallel debates in contemporary moral philosophy. (shrink)
This essay presents a long, detailed, in many ways critical but also appreciative account, of David Bloor’s recent book The Enigma of the Aerofoil. I take that work as the crowning statement of ideas and principles developed over the past four decades by Bloor and other exponents of the ‘strong programme’ in the sociology of scientific knowledge. It therefore offers both a test-case of that approach and a welcome opportunity to review, clarify and extend some of the arguments brought against (...) it by critical realists. This purpose is particularly well served by Bloor’s having here assembled such a wealth of scientific, historical, political and socio-cultural data concerning one specific, very crucial period of research into theories of aerodynamic lift. His book thus provides an exceptionally useful point of engagement for anyone seeking to adjudicate these issues from a critically angled but engaged and constructive standpoint. (shrink)
The creation of the latest version of psychiatry's 'bible' has been surrounded by a great deal of controversy. The latest revision, the DSM-5, contains several controversial diagnoses that have been the subject of much debate. One of the central criticisms of DSM-5 is that it pathologizes some behaviors that were previously considered simply problematic, or variations of normal behavior—for example, fidgetiness, noisiness, abundance of energy, shyness, anxiety, and bereavement. Diagnoses such as Binge Eating Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder...
The antithesis of proletarian and bourgeois thinking on the questions of class and class struggle has been obvious from the beginning. The bourgeoisie have never properly explained why class and class struggle exist in society. At the time when they became reactionary, they did their utmost to obfuscate the class contradictions in capitalist society. Bourgeois sociology, which seeks to maintain the advantages of the bourgeois class, has made a concentrated effort to reproach such views; moreover, it has become one of (...) the ideological weapons of the modern-day bourgeoisie in their struggle against Marxism-Leninism. (shrink)
`The first and only book to explore, at once, the field of my work and its limits, with both the intimacy and distance required: doubling and shadowing. It gives me great pleasure to find something that, beyond commentary, sees what I see and at the same time what I am unable to see' - Jean Baudrillard Baudrillard is a controversial figure. His work tends to fascinate and infuriate readers in equal numbers. Yet there is no doubting his importance to the (...) key debates in culture and theory of the last ten years. A prolific author, readers sometimes find it difficult to tease out the consistencies in Baudrillard's arguments. This book seeks to redress the balance. It aims to go beyond his writings on consumer objects, the Gulf War and America, to identify the fundamental logic that underpins his writings. It does this through a series of close readings of his main texts, paying particular attention to the form and internal coherence of his arguments. The book contends that, just as Baudrillard himself grapples with the problems of how to criticize self-defining systems, so we cannot simply hold Baudrillard up against external standards but must seek to judge him on his own terms. Jean Baudrillard: A Defence of the Real will be an indispensable text for all those interested in social theory who want a general introduction to Baudrillard's work. (shrink)
The object system, the sign system and the consumer system -- The break with marxism -- Symbolic exchange and death -- Simulation and the end of the social -- Sexuality, the body and seduction -- Into the fourth order -- Terrorism, 9/11 and war -- Beyond the coded self.
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most important and provocative writers in the contemporary era. Widely acclaimed as the prophet of postmodernism, he has famously announced the disappearance of the subject, meaning, truth, class and the notion of reality itself. Although he worked as a sociologist, his writing has enjoyed a wide interdisciplinary popularity and influence. He is read by students of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, literature, French and geography. Organized into eight sections, the volumes provide the most complete guide (...) to Baudrillard currently available: Section 1: Theoretical Issues In this section the central themes informing Baudrillard's work are defined and discussed. Baudrillard's place in contemporary social thought is examined through considerations of how his work has been received. The importance of signs and the sign economy in Baudrillard's analysis is highlighted. The case for treating Baudrillard as a seminal theorist in contemporary social thought is elucidated. Section 2: Postmodernism Baudrillard is reluctant to regard himself as a postmodernist. Nonetheless, it is as the leading theorist of postmodernism that he is widely celebrated and generally known. This section explores Baudrillard's relation to postmodernism and demonstrates his specific contribution. Questions of Baudrillards relation to capitalism, commodification, fatalism, Lyotard, Jameson and politics are explored. Section 3: Culture It is now commonplace to refer to the period since the late 1980s as `the cultural turn'. Baudrillard's work provided a leading exponent of the significance of culture in understanding contemporary life. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard and corporate culturalism, power, ideology, simulation, mass media, Disney, hyperreality and leisure. Section 4: War In the 1990s Baudrillard became famous for the thesis that `the gulf war did not happen'. For some critics, it revealed the poverty of Baudrillard's approach. For others it showed more profoundly why his thought is an indispensable tool in grappling with the complexities of contemporary society. At all events, Baudrillard's treatment of the war represented a climacteric in critical responses to Baudrillard. In this section the various range of responses to Baudrillard's intervention are precisely delineated, providing the reader with the essential data required to decide if Baudrillard's thesis is right or wrong. Section 5: America America dazzles and appalls Baudrillard. In America and of Cool Memories 1&2, he documents his violent responses to America as an idea; a physical space. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard, America and postmodernism; Baudrillard's significance as an ethnographer of US life; Baudrillard and American film; Baudrillard and Reagan's America; and Baudrillard, America and the politics of simulation. Section 6: Seduction Baudrillard's theory of seduction is, like much else in his work, controversial. This section examines how the theory has been interpreted and criticized. The relationship between Baudrillard and feminism is examined. Applications of his theory to art and work are explored. Section 7: Fiction and Art Baudrillard is an unusual contemporary thinker, in as much as his writing is taken seriously by artists. Baudrillard himself has responded to this, by becoming more interested in photography in the last ten years. This section aims to provide an essential guide to the relationship between Baudrillard and art. Included here are enquiries into Baudrillard and science fiction, the relationship between Baudrillard and J G Ballard's `Crash'; Baudrillard and abstract painting; Baudrillard and Francis Bacon; Baudrillard, Benjamin and Lichtenstein; Baudrillard, Barthes and photography; and Baudrillard's theory of communication. Section 8: Baudrillard and Other Social Theorists The concluding part of the collection aims to situate Baudrillard in the field of contemporary social theory. Interestingly, Baudrillard himself has never attempted to compare and contrast his theoretical ideas with those of others. The 14 contributions included in this section, seek to rectify this shortcoming. The contributions cover Baudrillard and Marx; Baudrillard, Durkheim and Rousseau; Baudrillard and psychoanalysis; Baudrillard and Bataille; existentialism, postmodernism and Baudrillard; Baudrillard and McLuhan; Baudrillard and Critical Theory; Baudrillard and Habermas; Baudrillard and Deleuze; Baudrillard and de Certeau; and the fictional Baudrillard, as dreamt up by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. The contributions are selected and introduced by Mike Gane, Professor of Sociology at the University of Loughborough. With publications like Baudrillard's Bestiary, Baudrillard: Critical & Fatal Theory and Baudrillard Live, Gane is widely recognized as the leading secondary commentator on the work of Baudrillard. No-one else matches him in the appreciation and critical understanding of Baudrillard. In a full length `Introduction' to the volumes, written with verve and penetration, Gane shows exactly why Baudrillard is a key thinker of our times. Mike Gane is Professor of Sociology at University of Loughborough. (shrink)