Diversity and Its Discontents by Neil J. Smelser
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Diversity and Its Discontents
By Neil J. Smelser

Diversity and Its Discontents

Cultural Conflict and Common Ground in Contemporary American Society

Edited by See other recent books by Neil J. Smelser See other recent books by Jeffrey C. Alexander
Format: Paperback

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Diversity and Its Discontents by Neil J. Smelser

Book Description

Never before has the legitimacy of a dominant American culture been so hotly contested as over the past two decades. Familiar terms such as culture wars, multiculturalism, moral majority, and family values all suggest a society fragmented by the issue of cultural diversity. So does any social solidarity exist among Americans? In Diversity and Its Discontents, a group of leading sociologists, political theorists, and social historians seek to answer this question empirically by exploring ideological differences, theoretical disputes, social processes, and institutional change. Together they present a broad yet penetrating look at American life in which cultural conflict has always played a part. Many of the findings reveal that this conflict is no more or less rampant now than in the past, and that the terms of social solidarity in the United States have changed as the society itself has changed. The volume begins with reflections on the sources of the current "culture wars" and goes on to show a number of parallel situations throughout American history--some more profound than today's conflicts. The contributors identify political vicissitudes and social changes in the late twentieth century that have formed the backdrop to the "wars," including changes in immigration, marriage, family structure, urban and residential life, and expression of sexuality. Points of agreement are revealed between the left and the right in their diagnoses of American culture and society, but the essays also show how the claims of both sides have been overdrawn and polarized. The volume concludes that above all, the antagonists of the culture wars have failed to appreciate the powerful cohesive forces in Americans' outlooks and institutions, forces that have, in fact, institutionalized many of the "radical" changes proposed in the 1960s. Diversity and Its Discontents brings sound empirical evidence, theoretical sophistication, and tempered judgment to a cultural episode in American history that has for too long been clouded by ideological rhetoric. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Seyla Benhabib, Jean L. Cohen, Reynolds Farley, Claude S. Fischer, Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., John Higham, David A. Hollinger, Steven Seidman, Marta Tienda, David Tyack, R. Stephen Warner, Robert Wuthnow, and Viviana A. Zelizer.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691004372
ISBN-10: 0691004374
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 12-Apr-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Neil J. Smelser

Getting Sociology Right by Neil J. Smelser Getting Sociology Right, Hardback (April 2014)

Examining sociology as a vocation and building on the work of Talcott Parsons, this book discusses author's views on the discipline of sociology and shows how his perspective of the field evolved in the postwar era.

Dynamics of the Contemporary University by Neil J. Smelser Dynamics of the Contemporary University, Hardback (April 2013)

Analyzes a number of contemporary trends and problems that are superimposed on the already-complex structures of higher education, such as the diminishing public support without alterations of governance and accountability, the increasing pattern of commercialization in higher education, the growth of distance-learning and for-profit institutions.

Usable Social Science by Neil J. Smelser Usable Social Science, Hardback (October 2012)

Presenting substantive social science knowledge and indicating its relevance and applicability to decision-making, problem-solving and policy-making, this title looks at the big picture of why society at large demands and needs social-science knowledge, and how the academy actually supplies relevant knowledge.

Social Change in the Industrial Revolution by Neil J. Smelser Social Change in the Industrial Revolution, Paperback (June 2012)

First published in 2005. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

» View all books by Neil J. Smelser

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