The Culture of Conformism: Understanding Social Consent

Duke University Press
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“[Hogan’s] goal is not merely to explain but to provide tools of understanding that will be of practical value to those who struggle for justice and freedom. Drawing from an impressive array of sources, his valuable study advances both ends considerably, no mean accomplishment.”—Noam Chomsky

In this wide-ranging and informative work, Patrick Colm Hogan draws on cognitive science, psychoanalysis, and social psychology to explore the cultural and psychological components of social consent. Focusing in particular on Americans’ acquiescence to a system that underpays and underrepresents the vast majority of the population, Hogan moves beyond typical studies of this phenomenon by stressing more than its political and economic dimensions.
With new insights into particularly insideous forms of consent such as those manifest in racism, sexism, and homophobia, The Culture of Conformism considers the role of emotion as it works in conjunction with belief and with the formation of group identity. Arguing that coercion is far more pervasive in democratic societies than is commonly recognized, Hogan discusses the subtle ways in which economic and social pressures operate to complement the more obviously violent forces of the police and military. Addressing issues of narcissism, self-esteem, and empathy, he also explains the concept of “rational” conformity—that is, the degree to which our social consent is based on self-interest—and explores the cognitive factors that produce and sustain social ideology.
Social activists, economic theorists, social psychologists, and political scientists will be intrigued and informed by this book.

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About the author

Patrick Colm Hogan is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut. His previous books include On Interpretation: Meaning and Inference in Law, Psychoanalysis, and Literature and Colonialism and Cultural Identity: Crises of Tradition in the Anglophone Literatures of India, Africa, and the Caribbean.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Apr 17, 2001
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Pages
191
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ISBN
9780822380375
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Replete with sparkling anecdotes about everyday social experiences (including the author's own), Why? makes the case for stories as one of the great human inventions.

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"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

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The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 edition

The original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.

Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.

Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.

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