To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This chapter describes the development of social concepts within psychiatry and the mental services between 1960 and 2010. This occurred against the backdrop of the emergence of new social theories concerned with psychiatry, medicine, science and other institutions of liberal democracy from the very beginning of the period. Attacks on the legitimacy of psychiatry came from postmodernists on the left and neoliberals on the right and coincided with a distancing between psychiatry and sociology. Organised psychiatry reacted defensively to most, but not all, of its critics and had difficulty assimilating even those new social theories that appeared neutral with regard to the professional and scientific status of psychiatrists. In the last decade of the period, empirical evidence regarding social determinants of mental health, together with the failure of biomedical technology to deliver on promises of better treatments, led to the beginnings of a revival of interest in social factors within academic psychiatry.
Presents the main arguments of sociological neoinstitutionalism in the areas of organizations, states, and identities. Illustrates the arguments with empirical research conducted through the year 2000.
The post-Enlightenment evolution of models of national society and state. The development of ideas of individual and collective actorhood, and the corresponding peripheralization of the concept of culture.
Over the past three decades, Meyer, Jepperson, and colleagues have contributed to the development of one of the leading approaches in social theory, by analyzing the cultural frameworks that have shaped modern organizations, states, and identities. Bringing together key articles and new reflections, this volume collects the essential theoretical ideas of 'sociological neoinstitutionalism.' It clarifies the core ideas and situates them within social theory writ large. Among other topics, the authors discuss the changing nature of the “actors” that have operated within contemporary social structure. The book concludes with the evolving frameworks that have structured social activity in the post–World War II period of 'embedded liberalism,' in the more recent neoliberal period, and in an emergent post-liberal period that appears to be a radical departure.
This essay traces the colonial origins of the concept of endogamy and its history as a foundational idea in the modern study of society in South Asia. The history of the concept of endogamy reveals how the control of female sexuality shaped the overlapping fields of Indology and ethnology. The invention and deployment of endogamy in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is discussed in the writings of key colonial writers and British administrators, such as J. F. McLennan and H. H. Risley, and Indian intellectuals, including S. V. Ketkar and B. R. Ambedkar. It argues that the modern study of caste naturalized the control of female sexuality through the uncritical use of the concept of endogamy, which Ambedkar diagnosed as the irresolvable problem of the “Surplus Woman” in 1917. The essay reflects on the long life of endogamy and the enduring problem of nonconjugal sexuality in modern social theories of South Asia.
Chapter 3 reviews what we know about ancient literary and literate practices and what some scholars term “book culture.” Using testimony from Greek and Latin writers, this chapter provides a concrete description of how one was trained to read and write in the ancient Mediterranean world and how literacy was attained. The theorizations of Pierre Bourdieu on habitus and fields helps articulate how a Greco-Roman writer could possess and represent a number of different interests, social influences, and skill sets, and how we might more fruitfully describe this kind of knowledge in our scholarship. Philo of Alexandria serves as a case study for this new approach as a writer interested in a number of overlapping subjects, including religion, philosophy, politics, and texts.
The emergence of “social theory” as a distinct intellectual genre represents a historic renewal of considerable importance. Tracing the development of key concepts allows us to understand its analytical specificity as compared to the traditional genres of inquiry (politics, law, morals, and political economy). It makes it possible to identify its formative period (between the Enlightenment and the early nineteenth century), and its most prominent pioneers – Montesquieu, Rousseau, and the Scottish moral philosophers.
Johan Heilbron is a historical sociologist, currently Professor of the Sociology of Education at Uppsala University and affiliated with the Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique (CESSP-CNRS-EHESS) in Paris and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Relevant books include The Rise of Social Theory (1995), The Rise of the Social Sciences and the Formation of Modernity (coedited, 2001), Pour une histoire des sciences sociales: hommage à Pierre Bourdieu (coedited, 2004), French Sociology (2015), and The Social and Human Sciences in Global Power Relations (coedited, 2018).
The main purpose of this chapter is to provide a summary of the main intellectual contributions that the German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas has made to contemporary social theory. To this end, the chapter provides an overview of his life and career; principal areas of research; conception of critical theory; interpretation of relevant intellectual traditions; and his plea for a paradigm shift, commonly known as the “linguistic turn.” The final section grapples with the main limitations and shortcomings of Habermas’s oeuvre, notably with regard to his theory of communicative action.
Simon Susen is Professor of Sociology at City, University of London. He is an Associate Member of the Bauman Institute and, together with Bryan S. Turner, editor of the Journal of Classical Sociology.
Patient and public involvement in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is gaining increased interest among research and policy communities. Patients’ organizations represent an important link between individual patients and the health system. Social theories are increasingly being used to explain doctor–patient–system interactions, expanding understanding beyond the mere clinical perspective. In this sense, patient involvement in HTA can also be considered through the Habermas’s theory of communicative action. From a Habermasian perspective, HTA as part of the instrumental rationality contributes to an increased efficiency of resource use within the system; however, such rationalization threatens to colonize the lifeworld by making it “increasingly state administered with attenuated possibilities for communicative action as a result of the commercialization and rationalization in terms of immediate returns.” Using Habermasian system/lifeworld framework, this paper explores opportunities and obstacles to patient involvement in HTA, whereby trying to understand current and possible roles of patients’ organizations as a mediating force between HTA as a function of the system and the lifeworld represented by patients.
In this introductory chapter we sketch the role that the notion of habit has played in the work of pragmatist authors such as James, Peirce and Dewey, and give an account of its ambivalent role in the development of psychology and cognitive sciences from James's introspectionism, through behaviorism and computationalism, up to 4E cognition and the rediscovery of a pragmatist action-oriented stance to cognition. We then investigate how the abandonment of the notion of habit in the second half of the twentieth century was paralleled by the adoption of a dualism between automatic routine and intelligent action and by an approach to cognition based on the notion of mental representation. We explore how habit formation has been investigated within contemporary neuroscience in a dynamic perspective based on the interplay between automatism and goal-oriented behavior. Subsequently we show that the adoption of the dualism between rational action and mechanical routines also influenced the development of twentieth-century sociological thought, and is nowadays being reconsidered by social theory. Finally, we provide an overview of the book and a chapter-by-chapter summary.
This chapter examines selected materialist frameworks that have guided research in environmental sociology over the last four decades. In doing so, we elaborate on approaches that have brought questions about the relationship between political-economic and ecological processes to the fore. We consider the significance of adopting a materialist orientation when conducting sociological research in relation to other more social constructionist-oriented approaches. The chapter provides a brief overview of some well-known theories in environmental sociology that fall broadly within a materialist framework and are strongly influenced by the Marxist tradition: treadmill of production, second contradiction of capitalism, social metabolism, critical human ecology, and tragedy of the commodity. These approaches have theorized on the ways in which capitalism, or the capital system, has played a major role in shaping particular kinds of socio-ecological processes.
This chapter introduces the main tenet of the book: that tensions over public expressions of Islam in Egypt have a 130-year history, as they stem from decisions made in the half-century surrounding the turn of the twentieth century (1871–1922), and they first erupted into conflict during a ‘culture war’ that shaped the intellectual discourse of Egypt’s constitutional period (1923–52). Dar al-ʿUlum and its graduates, the darʿamiyya, are crucial to understanding this culture war. After providing historical background, this chapter explains a new approach to modernisation, nation-building, and sociocultural change. It presents modernity as a constellation of projects advanced by Egypt’s ruling Khedives, Europeans, and a range of Egyptian-based social groups. It uses the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, Frederik Barth, and Mikhail Bakhtin to connect educational experiences with sociocultural outcomes using capital and habitus, to explore how sociocultural boundaries are crossed in productive ways, and to widen definitions of hybridity beyond combinations that are shockingly jarring. It uses these ideas to explore the sociocultural position of the darʿamiyya, a group that was suspended in between the modernising alumni of civil schools (efendiyya) and the traditionally trained alumni of religious schools (shaykhs) until a 1926 student strike.
This chapter develops an account of citizen sociolinguistic acts, as distinct from systemic social movements or organized social action. Citizen sociolinguistic acts are momentary ruptures that reveal tacit assumptions behind our everyday use of language. As such they may lead to change, but they may not. In any case, these acts of talking about language transform subjects into citizen sociolinguists. Acts, as idiosyncratic and situationally specific, have existential qualities of that remain outside typical top-down social theoretical explanations like Marxism’s theory of capital, or a Foucauldian system of discipline. Instead, acts of citizen sociolinguistics, like those we’ve been discussing throughout this volume – acts of sociolinguistic arrest or wonderment – consist simply of encounters with another person. These acts of citizen sociolinguistics do not, on their own, reconfigure systemic relations, ethics, or spoken language, any more than an act of kindness or an act of violence might. They are not large-scale curricular reforms or policy changes. However, they raise our awareness of our humanity and relatedness, and the role of language in it, in ways that can provoke further talk and have a societal impact.
This chapter introduces the concept of data colonialism. Nick Couldry argues that capitalism has developed a new mode of colonialism, in which the appropriated resources are not land, land resources or bodies, but life itself, which is appropriated for value through the extraction of data traces, often via social media platforms. This new data colonialism, Couldry argues, paves the way for changes in capitalism whose full shape we cannot know yet, but which will be built around not just labor relations data relations that appear in and through media and public life. Such data relations produce value by imposing categorizations, that is, alternative modes of knowledge about the social world. Beyond introducing this concept, Couldry also hypothesizes a worrisome result: A hollowing out of previous ways of knowing the social world, with potential profound implications for the politics of social justice.
In this reply to Miles Evers, I clarify some of my positions and argue that social facts should not be reified. Just as with norms, they should be defined as arrangements of practices rather than as social objects.
In Practice Theory and International Relations, Silviya Lechner and Mervyn Frost make a useful distinction between ‘praxis’ and ‘practices’ and correctly insist on the importance of describing the identity of distinct practices. They also make the important point that practices have ethical value for their participants. There is much to like about Lechner and Frost’s argument, including its solid philosophical grounding. However, from the perspective of a social scientist, there are some points of concern as well. First, while they champion ‘description’, they settle for ‘naming’ practices. Proper description requires more attention to detail than what the authors offer in the book. Second, the authors appear to discriminate between social practices in spatial terms rather than in functional terms. As a consequence, they end up with a description of the practices of international relations, where the different practices are all animated by the same value of freedom. As such, Lechner and Frost offer a reductionist interpretation of the ethical significance of international practices. Third, the authors push their anti-foundationalism too far. When one interprets the (ethical) significance of social practices, it is useful to bring on board philosophical–anthropological models, even if only because it opens up one’s interpretive horizons.
Individuality and collectivity are central concepts in sociological inquiry. Incorporating cultural history, social theory, urban and economic sociology, Borch proposes an innovative rethinking of these key terms and their interconnections via the concept of the social avalanche. Drawing on classical sociology, he argues that while individuality embodies a tension between the collective and individual autonomy, certain situations, such as crowds and other moments of group behaviour, can subsume the individual entirely within the collective. These events, or social avalanches, produce an experience of being swept away suddenly and losing one's sense of self. Cities are often on the verge of social avalanches, their urban inhabitants torn between de-individualising external pressure and autonomous self-presentation. Similarly, Borch argues that present-day financial markets, dominated by computerised trading, abound with social avalanches and the tensional interplay of mimesis and autonomous decision-making. Borch argues that it is no longer humans but fully automated algorithms that avalanche in these markets.
The conclusion summarises key findings and delineates potential routes for further research that could continue in the footsteps of, and further flesh out, the ideas developed in this book. In particular, I discuss the relevance of examining conditions that may unleash social avalanches and suggest that approaches as diverse as agent-based modelling and Randall Collins’s ritual interaction theory provide promising ways forwards.
The chapter presents Bergson as an underacknowledged yet first-rate social theorist, demonstrating that in Two Sources Bergson is in extensive, albeit implicit, dialogue with his two great predecessors in the tradition -Émile Durkheim and Auguste Comte - and that his encounter with them turns on three questions at the heart of sociology as a unique field of inquiry: first, what binds people together in society? second, what is the origin of society? and third, what is the nature of social change? By working through Bergson’s engagement with these key authors and themes, the chapter presents Bergson’s own original theory of society and sociability, which, as with all his work, centers on creativity, but this time in connection with personal and collective transformation.