Social Identity


Richard Jenkins - 1996
    Without frameworks of similarity and difference, people would be unable to relate to each other in a consistent and meaningful fashion. In the second edition of this highly successful text, Richard Jenkins develops his argument that identity is both individual and collective, and should therefore be considered within one analytic framework. Using the work of major social theorists, such as Mead Goffman and Barthes, to explore the experience of identity in everyday life, Jenkins considers a range of different issues, including:* embodiment* categorization and boundaries* the institutionalizing of identities* identity and modernity.Written in an open and student-friendly style throughout, this multidisciplinary text has been thoroughly revised and updated, and is essential reading for all students interested in the concept of identity in the contemporary world.

On Hashish


Walter Benjamin - 1972
    A series of "protocols of drug experiments," written by himself and his co-participants between 1927 and 1934, together with short prose pieces that he published during his lifetime, On Hashish provides a peculiarly intimate portrait of Benjamin, venturesome as ever at the end of the Weimar Republic, and of his unique form of thought.Consciously placing himself in a tradition of literary drug-connoisseurs from Baudelaire to Hermann Hesse, Benjamin looked to hashish and other drugs for an initiation into what he called "profane illumination." At issue here, as everywhere in Benjamin's work, is a new way of seeing, a new connection to the ordinary world. Under the influence of hashish, as time and space become inseparable, experiences become subtly stratified and resonant: we inhabit more than one plane in time. What Benjamin, in his contemporaneous study of Surrealism, calls "image space" comes vividly to life in this philosophical immersion in the sensuous.This English-language edition of On Hashish features a section of supplementary materials--drawn from Benjamin's essays, letters, and sketches--relating to hashish use, as well as a reminiscence by his friend Jean Selz, which concerns a night of opium-smoking in Ibiza. A preface by Howard Eiland discusses the leading motifs of Benjamin's reflections on intoxication.

Foucault | Blanchot: Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside, and Michel Foucault as I Imagine Him


Michel Foucault - 1966
    In so doing, novelist/essayist Maurice Blanchot and philosopher Michel Foucault develop a new perspective on the relationship between subjectivity, fiction, and the will to truth. The two texts present reflections on writing, language, and representation that question the status of the author/subject and explore the notion of a “neutral” voice that arises from the realm of the “outside.” This book is crucial not only to an understanding of these two thinkers, but also to any overview of recent French thought.

Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing


Graham Harman - 2007
    And more than any other recent philosopher, Heidegger has a following outside philosophy, among artists, architects, literary theorists, psychologists, and computer scientists.Heidegger Explained is the clearest exposition of Heidegger yet written. It describes his controversial life and career, his relations with contemporaries, the evolution of his thought, and the pathways of his influence.

The Phantom Public


Walter Lippmann - 1927
    It reveals Lippmann at a time when he was most critical of the ills of American democracy. Antipopulist in sentiment, this volume defends elitism as a serious and distinctive intellectual option, one with considerable precursors in the American past. Lippmann's demythologized view of the American system of government resonates today.The Phantom Public discusses the "disenchanted man" who has become disillusioned not only with democracy, but also with reform. According to Lippmann, the average voter is incapable of governance; what is called the public is merely a "phantom." In terms of policy-making, the distinction should not be experts versus amateurs, but insiders versus outsiders. Lippmann challenges the core assumption of Progressive politics as well as any theory that pretends to leave political decision making in the hands of the people as a whole.In his biography Walter Lippmann and the American Century, Ronald Steel praised The Phantom Public as "one of Lippmann's most powerfully argued and revealing books. In it he came fully to terms with the inadequacy of traditional democratic theory." This volume is part of a continuing series on the major works of Walter Lippmann. As more and more Americans are inclined to become apathetic to the political system, this classic will be essential reading for students, teachers, and researchers of political science and history.

Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity


Zygmunt Bauman - 2013
    Today it more frequently reveals itself in the everyday insensitivity to the suffering of others, in the inability or refusal to understand them and in the casual turning away of one's ethical gaze. Evil and moral blindness lurk in what we take as normality and in the triviality and banality of everyday life, and not just in the abnormal and exceptional cases.The distinctive kind of moral blindness that characterizes our societies is brilliantly analysed by Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis through the concept of adiaphora: the placing of certain acts or categories of human beings outside of the universe of moral obligations and evaluations. Adiaphora implies an attitude of indifference to what is happening in the world - a moral numbness. In a life where rhythms are dictated by ratings wars and box-office returns, where people are preoccupied with the latest gadgets and forms of gossip, in our 'hurried life' where attention rarely has time to settle on any issue of importance, we are at serious risk of losing our sensitivity to the plight of the other. Only celebrities or media stars can expect to be noticed in a society stuffed with sensational, valueless information.This probing inquiry into the fate of our moral sensibilities will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the most profound changes that are silently shaping the lives of everyone in our contemporary liquid-modern world.

The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life


Eviatar Zerubavel - 2006
    But the denial of social realities--whether incest, alcoholism, corruption, or even genocide-is no fairy tale.In The Elephant in the Room, Eviatar Zerubavel sheds new light on the social and political underpinnings of silence and denial-the keeping of "open secrets." The author shows that conspiracies of silence exist at every level of society, ranging from small groups to large corporations, from personal friendships to politics. Zerubavel shows how such conspiracies evolve, illuminating the social pressures that cause people to deny what is right before their eyes. We see how each conspirator's denial is symbiotically complemented by the others', and we learn that silence is usually more intense when there are more people conspiring-and especially when there are significant power differences among them. He concludes by showing that the longer we ignore "elephants," the larger they loom in our minds, as each avoidance triggers an even greater spiral of denial.Drawing on examples from newspapers and comedy shows to novels, children's stories, and film, the book travels back and forth across different levels of social life, and from everyday moments to large-scale historical events. At its core, The Elephant in the Room helps us understand why we ignore truths that are known to all of us.

The Indivisible Remainder: On Schelling and Related Matters


Slavoj Žižek - 1996
    Schelling’s Weltalter drafts belong to this same series, with their repeated attempt at the formulation of the ‘beginning of the world,’ of the passage from the pre-symbolic pulsation of the Real to the universe of logos.F.W.J. Schelling, the German idealist who for too long dwelled in the shadow of Kant and Hegel, was the first to formulate the post-idealist motifs of finitude, contingency and temporality. His unique work announces Marx’s critique of speculative idealism, as well as the properly Freudian notion of drive, of a blind compulsion to repeat which can never be sublated in the ideal medium of language.The Indivisible Remainder begins with a detailed examination of the two works in which Schelling’s speculative audacity reached its peak: his essay on human freedom and his drafts on the “Ages of the World.” After reconstituting their line of argumentation, Slavoj Žižek confronts Schelling with Hegel, and concludes by throwing a Schellingian light on some “related matters”: the consequences of the computerization of daily life for sexual experience; cynicism as today’s predominant form of ideology; the epistemological deadlocks of quantum physics.Although the book is packed with examples from politics and popular culture — the unmistakable token of Žižek’s style — from Speed and Groundhog Day to Forrest Gump, it signals a major shift towards a systematic concern with the basic questions of philosophy and the roots of the crisis of our late-capitalist universe, centred around the enigma of modern subjectivity.

The Exploit: A Theory of Networks


Alexander R. Galloway - 2007
    It cuts through the nonsense about how 'free' and 'democratic' networks supposedly are, and it offers a rich analysis of how network protocols create a new kind of control. Essential reading for all theorists, artists, activists, techheads, and hackers of the Net.” —McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker ManifestoThe network has become the core organizational structure for postmodern politics, culture, and life, replacing the modern era’s hierarchical systems. From peer-to-peer file sharing and massive multiplayer online games to contagion vectors of digital or biological viruses and global affiliations of terrorist organizations, the network form has become so invasive that nearly every aspect of contemporary society can be located within it.Borrowing their title from the hacker term for a program that takes advantage of a flaw in a network system, Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker challenge the widespread assumption that networks are inherently egalitarian. Instead, they contend that there exist new modes of control entirely native to networks, modes that are at once highly centralized and dispersed, corporate and subversive.In this provocative book-length essay, Galloway and Thacker argue that a whole new topology must be invented to resist and reshape the network form, one that is as asymmetrical in relationship to networks as the network is in relation to hierarchy.Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of culture and communications at New York University and the author of Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Minnesota, 2006) and Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.Eugene Thacker is associate professor of new media at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of Biomedia (Minnesota, 2004) and The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture.

Claude Lévi-Strauss


Edmund Leach - 1970
    Leach organizes his work not by chronology but by theme, exploring three important topics in Lévi-Strauss's work: human beings and their symbols, the structure of myth, and kinship theory. Written concisely and with great care and penetration, this brief book is both a fine introduction for the uninitiated reader of Lévi-Strauss and a critical analysis that will prove valuable to those more familiar with the anthropologist's work.

To Live Outside the Law: Caught by Operation Julie, Britain's Biggest Drugs Bust


Leaf Fielding - 2011
    The book opens with Leaf Fielding's arrest in a pre-dawn police raid and ends five years later with his release from jail.The narrative moves back and forth between the harsh world of prison and his previous life - from a childhood at a brutal boarding school onto undergraduate days and his LSD epiphany in the summer of love, 1967.Acid transformed him in an instant from nerdy scholar to footloose freak. His ten years of adventures in the hippie underground gave the title to this book - a quote from a Bob Dylan song - they also took him across Europe, to the Andes, to Indochina and on to the edge of the known universe. They also led inexorably to his downfall.

The Freud/Jung Letters


Sigmund Freud - 1974
    JungThis abridged edition makes the Freud/Jung correspondence accessible to a general readership at a time of renewed critical and historical reevaluation of the documentary roots of modern psychoanalysis. This edition reproduces William McGuire's definitive introduction, but does not contain the critical apparatus of the original edition.

Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss


Claude Lévi-Strauss - 1988
    Hailed by Le Figaro as "an event," the resulting conversations between Claude Lévi-Strauss and Didier Eribon (a correspondent for Le Nouvel Observateur) reveal the great anthropologist speaking of his life and work with ease and humor.Now available in English, the conversations are rich in Lévi-Strauss's candid appraisals of some of the best-known figures of the Parisian intelligentsia: surrealists André Breton and Max Ernst, with whom Lévi-Strauss shared a bohemian life in 1940s Manhattan; de Beauvoir, Sartre, and Camus, the stars of existentialism; Leiris, Foucault, Dumézil, Jacob, Lacan, and others. His long friendships with Jakobson and Merleau-Ponty are recalled, as well as his encounters with prominent figures in American anthropology: Lowie, Boas (who suddenly died in his chair beside Lévi-Strauss at a banquet at Columbia University), Benedict, Linton, Mead, and Kroeber.Lévi-Strauss speaks frankly about how circumstances and his own inclinations, after his early fieldwork in Brazil, led him to embrace theoretical work. His straightforward answers to Eribon's penetrating questions—What is a myth? What is structuralism? Are you a philosopher?—clarify his intellectual motives and the development of his research; his influential role as an administrator, including the founding of the Laboratory of Social Anthropology and of the journal L'Homme; the course of his writings, from Elementary Structures of Kinship to The Jealous Potter; and his thoughts on the conduct of anthropology today. Never before has Lévi-Strauss spoken so freely on so many aspects of his life: his initial failure to be elected to the Collège de France; his reaction to the events of May 1968; his regrets at not being a great investigative reporter or playwright; his deep identification with Wagner, Proust, and Rousseau. This is a rare opportunity to become acquainted with a great thinker in all his dimensions.

Hannah Arendt


Julia Kristeva - 1999
    Interlacing the life and work of this seminal twentieth-century philosopher, Julia Kristeva provides us with an elegant, sophisticated biography brimming with historical and philosophical insight.Centering on the theme of female genius, Hannah Arendt emphasizes three features of the philosopher's work. First, by exploring Arendt's critique of Saint Augustine and her biographical essay on Rahel Varnhagen, Kristeva accentuates Arendt's commitment to recounting lives and narration. Second, Kristeva reflects on Arendt's perspective onJudaism, anti-Semitism, and the "banality of evil." Finally, the biography assesses Arendt's intellectual journey, placing her enthusiasm for observing both social phenomena and political events in the context of her personal life.Drawing on fragments of Arendt's most intimate correspondence with her longtime lover Martin Heidegger and her husband Heinrich Blucher, excerpts from her mother's "Unser Kind" (a diary tracking Hannah's formative years), and passages from Arendt's philosophical writings, Kristeva presents a luminous story. With a thorough thematic index and bibliographical references, Hannah Arendt is a major breakthrough in the understanding of an essential thinker.

Introduction to Sociology


Theodor W. Adorno - 1968
    Adorno in May-July 1968, the last lecture series before his death in 1969. Captured by tape recorder (which Adorno called "the fingerprint of the living mind"), these lectures present a somewhat different, and more accessible, Adorno from the one who composed the faultlessly articulated and almost forbiddingly perfect prose of the works published in his lifetime. Here we can follow Adorno's thought in the process of formation (he spoke from brief notes), endowed with the spontaneity and energy of the spoken word. The lectures form an ideal introduction to Adorno's work, acclimatizing the reader to the greater density of thought and language of his classic texts.Delivered at the time of the "positivist dispute" in sociology, Adorno defends the position of the "Frankfurt School" against criticism from mainstream positivist sociologists. He sets out a conception of sociology as a discipline going beyond the compilation and interpretation of empirical facts, its truth being inseparable from the essential structure of society itself. Adorno sees sociology not as one academic discipline among others, but as an over-arching discipline that impinges on all aspects of social life.Tracing the history of the discipline and insisting that the historical context is constitutive of sociology itself, Adorno addresses a wide range of topics, including: the purpose of studying sociology; the relation of sociology and politics; the influence of Saint-Simon, Comte, Durkheim, Weber, Marx, and Freud; the contributions of ethnology and anthropology; the relationship of method to subject matter; the problems of quantitative analysis; the fetishization of science; and the separation of sociology and social philosophy.