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.
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.
Being in the zone is not just the province of the athlete who suddenly and seemingly without extra effort swims faster or jumps higher or the musician who suddenly plays more than perfectly, but also of the doctor working under intense pressure or the computer programmer staying up all night. The meaning of such experiences for convincing people to work in intense conditions, often with short term contracts, is explored to show how being in the zone can have problematic effects and have negative and constraining as well as creative and productive implications.
Often being in the zone is understood from a psychological viewpoint but this can limit our understanding. This volume provides the first in-depth analysis of being in the zone from social and cultural viewpoints drawing on a range of theories and novel evidence.
Written in a stimulating and accessible style, Culture, Identity and Intense Performativity: Being in the Zone will strongly appeal to students and researchers who aim to understand the experience of work, creativity, musicianship and sport. Issues of the body are also central to being in the zone and will make this book relevant to anyone studying bodies and embodiment . This collection will establish being in the zone as an important area of enquiry for social science and the humanities.
Tilly examines a number of different types of reason giving. For example, he shows how an air traffic controller would explain the near miss of two aircraft in several different ways, depending upon the intended audience: for an acquaintance at a cocktail party, he might shrug it off by saying "This happens all the time," or offer a chatty, colloquial rendition of what transpired; for a colleague at work, he would venture a longer, more technical explanation, and for a formal report for his division head he would provide an exhaustive, detailed account.
Tilly demonstrates that reasons fall into four different categories:
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.
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
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.
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
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.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe 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/.