Rabu, 22 September 2010

Work, Consumerism and the New Poor

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Zygmunt Bauman
Open University Press, 1998 - 106pages

"It will be of great interest and value to students, teachers and researchers in sociology and social policy; but it would be good if it were to be read by politicians, journalists and the person in the street too.... It is not possible to convey all the richness and subtlety of Bauman's argument in a short review... [It] provides a very forceful and sophisticated statement of the case; and a very well written one too... As a wide ranging analysis of our present discontents it is an admirable example of the sort of challenge which sociology at its best can offer to us and our fellow citizens to re-assess and re-think our current social arrangements."
Work, Employment and Society

"This is a stylish and persuasive analysis of the transition between the age of the 'society of producers' to that of the 'society of consumers'."
Political Studies

"Zygmunt Bauman presents a cogently argued and compelling thesis describing how the way poverty and the poor are being viewed in Western Society has changed during the course of modern history... this is an important book from a distinguished scholar, that adds a new dimension to the poverty debate."
British Journal of Sociology

    * Can poverty be fought and conquered by orthodox means?
    * Should we seek new solutions like "decoupling" the right to livelihood from the selling of labour and extending the socially recognised concept of work?
    * How urgent is it to confront these social questions and find practical answers?

It is one thing to be poor in a society of producers and universal employment; it is quite a different thing to be poor in a society of consumers, in which life projects are built around the consumer choice rather than work, professional skills or jobs. If "being poor" once derived its meaning from the condition of being unemployed, today it draws its meaning primarily from the plight of a flawed consumer. This is one difference which truly makes a difference - in the way living in poverty is experienced and in the chances and prospects to redeem its misery.

This absorbing book attempts to trace this change, which has been taking place over the duration of modern history, and to make an inventory of its social consequences. On the way, it tries also to consider to what extent the well remembered and tested means of fighting back advancing poverty and mitigating its hardships are fit (or unfit) to grasp and tackle the problems of poverty in its present form. Students of sociology, politics and social policy will find this to be an invaluable text on the changing significance and implications of an enduring social problem.

The Social Science Encyclopedia

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Adam Kuper, Jessica Kuper
Taylor & Francis, 2003 - 923pages

This new edition of an already classic reference work provides students, librarians, social scientists, and professionals with an invaluable compendium of the entire range of the social sciences. The 500+ entries on all of the major issues and concepts in the social sciences encompass the areas of anthropology, business, economics, education, government and politics, law and criminology, linguistics, psychology, social work, sociology, women's studies and beyond. For anyone concerned with these fields, "The Social Science Encyclopedia" is a truly essential resource.

Social Theory after Holocaust

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Robert Fine, Charles Turner
Liverpool University Press, 2000 - 266pages

This collection of essays explores the character and quality of the Holocaust 2s impact and the abiding legacy it has left for social theory. The premise which informs the contributions is that, ten years after its publication, Zygmunt Bauman 2s claim that social theory has either failed to address the Holocaust or protected itself from its implications remains true.

Space of Capital: Toward a Critical Geography

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David Harvey
Routledge, 2001 - 429pages

David Harvey is the most influential geographer of our era, possessing a reputation that extends across the social sciences and humanities. "Spaces of Capital," a collection of seminal articles and new essays spanning three decades, demonstrates why his work has had-and continues to have-such a major impact.
The book gathers together some of Harvey's best work on two of his central concerns: the relationship between geographical thought and political power as well as the capitalist production of space. In addition, he chips away at geography's pretenses of "scientific" neutrality and grounds spatial theory in social justice. Harvey also reflects on the work and careers of little-noticed or misrepresented figures in geography's intellectual history-Kant, Von Thunen, Humboldt, Lattimore, Hegel, Heidegger, Darwin, Malthus, Foucault and many others. Via this exploration of geography's intellectual lineage, he underscores its significance for all varieties of social thought. And, in two new chapters, Harvey considers contemporary cartographic identities and social movements.
Harvey's insights into current social, environmental, and political trends, in combination with his historical observations, demonstrate the centrality of geography to comprehending the world as it is-and as it might be.

The Black Companion of Social Theory

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Bryan S. Turner
Wiley-Blackwell, 2000 - 570pages

"The Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, "Second Edition, builds on the success of the highly regarded first edition by adding four completely new chapters on the foundations of social theory, anthropology, phenomenology, and sociology of the body. Retained material from the first edition has been revised, extended, and updated, and coverage of feminism expanded into two chapters on second-wave feminism and contemporary feminist theory.

The book guides the student and scholar through the vast array of approaches and frameworks that shape contemporary analysis of social reality. The principal focus is on post-classical modern social theory, but while major post-classical thinkers such as Habermas, Foucault and Derrida are examined, they appear within the context of a classical tradition developed by figures such as Parsons, Goffman and Elias. Organized by themes rather than theorists, 18 essays by the world's leading social theorists provide insights to the traditions of classical social thought as well as the major debates and developments in contemporary social theory. Extensive bibliographies, meanwhile, provide a guide to the current literature.

The Culture of New Capitalism

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Richard Sennett
Yale University Press, 2007 - 214pages

In this provocative book Richard Sennett looks at the ways today's global, ever-mutable form of capitalism is affecting our lives. He analyzes how changes in work ethic, in our attitudes toward merit and talent, and in public and private institutions have all contributed to what he terms "the specter of uselessness," and he concludes with suggestions to counter this disturbing new culture. "Hardly any social thinkers have given serious thought to the drastic changes in corporate culture wrought by downsizing, 're-orging,' and outsourcing. Fortunately, the exceptionRichard Sennettis also one of the most insightful public intellectuals we have. InThe Culture of the New CapitalismSennett addresses the new corporate culture with his usual vast erudition, endlessly supple intellect, and firm moral outlook. The result is brilliant, disturbing, and absolutely necessary reading."Barbara Ehrenreich, author ofBait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream "[Sennett] has brilliantly pushed his thinking. . . . [A] triumph."Will Hutton,The Observer "Reflective, studded with sharp insights, moving with grace between big ideas and specific cases. This is vintage Sennett."Douglas W. Rae, author ofCity: Urbanism and Its End "Packed with thought. . . . Profound and challenging. . . . [I am] full of admiration for the subtlety and originality of Richard Sennett's work."Madeleine Bunting,New Statesman

The Future of Social Theory

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Nicholas Gane
Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004 - 210pages

The basic concept of society has come under attack--political acts, critical theory, new media and even history itself have undermined what we think of as the social. The Future of Social Theory brings together new interviews with the world's leading social theorists on what society means today: Zygmunt Bauman, John Urry, Saska Sassen, Bruno Latour, Scott Lash, Nikolas Rose, Judith Butler and Francoise Verges. The topics covered include: liquid modernization and the individualization of society; the shift towards global forms of chaos and complexity; the displacement of the social into global city networks; the shift away from a theory of the social to a theory of space; the transformation of society with the rise of new technology; the continuing influence of historical forms of political power; society as a gendered idea; and society as a product of Empire.