In the sixth edition of Contested Knowledge, social theorist Steven Seidman presents the latest topics in social theory and addresses the current shift of 'universalist theorists' to networks of clustered debates. Responds to current issues, debates, and new social movements Reviews sociological theory from a contemporary perspective Reveals how the universal theorist and the era of rival schools has been replaced by networks of clustered debates that are relatively 'autonomous' and interdisciplinary Features updates and in-depth discussions of the newest clustered (...) debates in social theory—intimacy, postcolonial nationalism, and the concept of 'the other' Challenges social scientists to renew their commitment to the important moral and political role social knowledge plays in public life. (shrink)
The Postmodern Turn gathers together in one volume some of the most important statements of the postmodern approach to human studies. In addressing postmodern social theory and emphasising the social role of knowledge, this book abandons the disciplinary boundaries separating the sciences and the humanities. The first collection of its kind, it provides the classic essays of authors such as Lyotard, Haraway, Foucault and Rorty. Contributors include well-known theorists in the fields of sociology, anthropology, women's and gay studies, philosophy, and (...) history. (shrink)
Between the '60s and the '80s he argues, there transpired neither a sexual revolution nor counter-revolution but a heightened conflict over the meaning of sex, its relation to pleasure, romance, and self-identity, its proper moral role in private and public life. In part two Seidman's primary purpose is to analyze moral arguments over sexual norms and practices. He chooses the sex debates that occurred within feminism and the gay male community in the late '70s through the '80s as his sites (...) for moral engagement, as it is here that the debate over sexual ethics has been given its fullest elaboration. In conclusion, Seidman offers a pragmatic ethic that revolves around the concept of sexual and social responsibility as a bridge between libertarians and romanticists. (shrink)
Intimate behaviour is today a principal cause of social conflict in the USA. Drawing on a range of evidence, this study charts the change from a Victorian spiritual ideal of love to efforts by modern reformers to sexualize love.
In The Social Construction of Sexuality, Steven Seidman investigates the political and social consequences of privileging certain sexual practices and identities while stigmatizing others. Addressing a range of topics from gay and lesbian identities to sex work, Seidman delves into issues of social control that inform popular beliefs and moral standards. The new Third Edition features three new chapters that focus on the changing cultures of intimacy, the promise and perils of cyber intimacies, and youth struggles to negotiate independence and (...) intimate solidarity. (shrink)
This essay addresses the intersection of ‘urban topography’ and history in shaping the contours of the self and encounters with ‘the other’. It is based on field research in primarily one neighborhood of Beirut – Hamra. Whereas almost all neighborhoods in Beirut are dominated by one sect, Hamra is considered to be the most secular, diverse, and cosmopolitan area in this city. It is the home of several international universities and has nourished a robust public culture. Based on countless hours (...) of observation and conversations as well as formal interviews with dozens of residents, shop owners, and intellectuals, I explore the dynamics of belonging and exclusion in a neighborhood that is imagined as the exemplar of a cosmopolitan culture. In the first section of the essay, I sketch a typology of street cultures, suggesting connections to forms of selfhood. I argue that Hamra’s urban topography, in conjunction with Beirut’s post-civil war history, has formed a self that is not disposed toward open engagement with the other. In the second part of the essay, I analyze patterns of social difference in Hamra, exploring the shape of gender, sexual, and ethnic differences. I consider which differences ‘coalesce’ and what form this takes as well as patterns of incorporation and exclusion. In the third part of the essay, the meaning of cosmopolitanism in an urban context is examined. I explore the notion of cosmopolitanism as a rhetoric of nationalism against both sectarian and Arab nationalism. Finally, in the last section I argue that the confessional basis of power in Lebanon helps explain patterns of social exclusion. This confessional polity encourages a politics of paranoia. (shrink)
A new division has emerged in the social sciences between modernists and their post-modern critics. The former defend the project of a general theory with secure analytical foundations; the latter challenge the possibility and indeed the desirability of aspiring to create totalizing theories. Postmodernists contest the view of science as an autonomous sphere of knowledge and reflection. This volume brings together leading theorists in the social sciences and philosophy to debate the respective merits of modernism and postmodernism as paradigms of (...) social inquiry. It examines the relation between science, critique and narrative, addressing questions about the moral and political meaning of science today. (shrink)