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Communication power [Monograph]
Castells, M. \ 2009
communication - information technology - innovations - political power - power - mass media - internet - audiences - emotions - politics - campaigns - democracy - crises - global warming - companies - globalization - prevention - interest groups - contemporary society - china - russia - usa - world - computer networks - state - cognitive psychology - cognition - influences - relations between people and state - elections - political processes

We live in the midst of a revolution in communication technologies that affects the way in which people feel, think, and behave. The mass media (including web-based media), Manuel Castells argues, has become the space where political and business power strategies are played out; power now lies in the hands of those who understand or control communication. Over the last thirty years, Castells has emerged as one of the world's leading communications theorists. In this, his most far-reaching book for a decade, he explores the nature of power itself, in the new communications environment. His vision encompasses business, media, neuroscience, technology, and, above all, politics. His case histories include global media deregulation, the misinformation that surrounded the invasion of Iraq, environmental movements, the role of the internet in the Obama presidential campaign, and media control in Russia and China. In the new network society of instant messaging, social networking, and blogging--"mass self-communication"--politics is fundamentally media politics. This fact is behind a worldwide crisis of political legitimacy that challenges the meaning of democracy in much of the world. Deeply researched, far-reaching in scope, and incisively argued, this is a book for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics and character of the modern world. "How could Manuel Castells have predicted that now is the time of the perfect storm? I do not know. But I do know that his new book coincides with the largest downturn in global economies since the 1930s, with the most important American election since the 1960s, with a most radical transformation of world politics in many generations, and with the most profound reevaluation of the lives of modern citizens, from what they value to how they communicate. We have become used to Castells' careful scholarship and penetrating analyses but in this new book he cuts deeper into the heart of the matter. Sometimes he provides illuminating answers and where he cannot, he frames the questions that must be answered. This is a powerful and much needed book for a world in crisis."--Antonio Damasio "Manuel Castells unites the mind of a social scientist with the soul of an artist. His trilogy took us to the edge of the millennium. This book takes us beyond to the critical crossroads of the 21st century, where technology, communication, and power converge."--Rosalind Williams, Director, Program on Science, Technology and Society, MIT


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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Conversations with Anthony Giddens : making sense of modernity [Monograph]
Giddens, A. \ Pierson, C. \ 1998
sociology - sociologists - modernization - philosophy - social sciences - politics - political science - interviews

Anthony Giddens has been described as 'the most important English social philosopher of our time'. Over twenty-five years, and even more books, he has established himself as the most widely-read and widely-cited social theorist of his generation. His ideas have profoundly influenced the writing and teaching of sociology and social theory throughout the English-speaking world. In recent years, his writing has become much more explicitly political, and in 1996 he took up his high-profile appointment as Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is in this new position and with these new political ideas that he has been described as the key intellectual figure of New Labour in Britain. Following the astonishing success of Labour in the 1997 General Election, his ideas have been the focus of intense interest. In this series of extended interviews with Chris Pierson, Giddens lays out with customary clarity and directness the principal themes in the development of his social theory and the distinctive political agenda which he recommends.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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Conversations with Ulrich Beck [Monograph]
Beck, U. \ Willms, J. \ 2004
sociology - groups - capitalism - society - risk - globalization - individuals - politics - philosophy - sociological schools - state - freedom

new book, Ulrich Beck and the journalist Johannes Willms engage in a series of accessible conversations that reveal and explore the key elements in Beck's thought. Ulrich Beck, one of the most important and influential contemporary social thinkers, reveals and expands his work in a series of conversations with journalist Johannes Willms. These conversations shed new light onto the major themes in Beck's work and provide an insight into some of the commitments and beliefs that they rest upon. Includes new thinking on the risk society and on globalisation, themes that have put him at the forefront of contemporary debates. Written in a clear and lucid way and thus ideal for anyone seeking to come to grips with Beck's work.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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Interaction ritual chains [Monograph]
Collins, R. \ 2004
sociology - sex - smoking - stratification - social structure - group behaviour - membership - group interaction - sexual behaviour - social interaction - emotions - rituals

Sex, smoking, and social stratification are three very different social phenomena. And yet, argues sociologist Randall Collins, they and much else in our social lives are driven by a common force: interaction rituals. Interaction Ritual Chains attempts to develop a "radical microsociology." It proposes that successful rituals create symbols of group membership and pump up individuals with emotional energy, while failed rituals drain emotional energy. Each person flows from situation to situation, drawn to those interactions where their cultural capital gives them the best emotional energy payoff. Thinking, too, can be explained by the internalization of conversations within the flow of situations; individual selves are thoroughly and continually social, constructed from the outside in. The first half of Interaction Ritual Chains is based on the classic analyses of Durkheim, Mead, and Goffman and draws on micro-sociological research on conversation, bodily rhythms, emotions, and intellectual creativity. The second half discusses how such activities as sex, smoking, and social stratification are shaped by interaction ritual chains. For example, the book addresses the emotional and symbolic nature of sexual exchanges of all sorts--from hand-holding to masturbation to sexual relationships with prostitutes--while describing the interaction rituals they involve.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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Key contemporary social theorists [Monograph]
Elliott, A. \ Ray, L. \ 2003
sociology - sociologists - sociological schools - social sciences - social scientists - society - philosophy - theory - scientists - social issues

Key Contemporary Social Theorists is a comprehensive introduction to the most significant figures in social, cultural, political and philosophical thought in the twentieth century. Over forty leading theorists from around the world are profiled in short essays that cover the thinkers' lives, ideas, and major criticisms. The contributors, themselves distinguished authors and leading academic scholars, cover individuals who have developed key schools of though in social theory: Benjamin, Elias, Goffman, Lacan, Said, Jameson, Heidegger, Giddens, Bauman, Williams, and many others. Readers will find this to be an authoritative guide and invaluable reference for understanding the roots and trends of development in modern social thought.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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Key sociological thinkers [Monograph] - 2nd ed
Stones, R. \ 2008
sociology - sociologists - sociological schools - social scientists - society - philosophy - theory - scientists - social issues

The new edition of this popular text offers an accessible introduction to 23 of the key theorists of Sociology. Four new chapters consider the work of Theodor Adorno, Michael Mann, Dorothy Smith and Zygmunt Bauman, alongside updated material throughout other chapters. Informative contents pages provide a unique reference tool, whilst the innovative 'Seeing Things Differently' sections demonstrate how theory can illuminate aspects of contemporary social life. With updated 'Legacies' and 'Further Reading' sections, and extended glossary boxes, this book is an indispensable tool for all students seeking to broaden their understanding of social theory.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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The civil sphere [Monograph]
Alexander, J.C. \ 2006
society - sociology - modernization - social values - social structure - cultural interaction - social interaction - democracy - social institutions - communication - cooperation - politics - civil society - plural society - cohesion

What binds societies together and how can these social orders be structured in a fair way? The Civil Sphere addresses this central paradox of modern life. Feelings for others--the solidarity that is ignored or underplayed by theories of power or self-interest--are at the heart of this novel inquiry into the meeting place between normative theories of what we think we should do and empirical studies of who we actually are. Solidarity, Alexander demonstrates, creates inclusive and exclusive social structures and shows how they can be repaired. It is not perfect, it is not absolute, and the horrors which occur in its lapses have been seen all too frequently in the forms of discrimination, genocide, and war. Despite its worldly flaws and contradictions, however, solidarity and the project of civil society remain our best hope: the antidote to every divisive institution, every unfair distribution, every abusive and dominating hierarchy.


Used in course: ENP-22803 Theories and Themes: Sociology
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