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Series: Vernon Series in Sociology

Symbolic Interactionism: The Basics

Charles Quist-Adade, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-374-3
Availability: In stock
$60 £42 €48

This book is a survey of Symbolic Interaction. In thirteen short chapters, it traces the history, the social philosophical roots, the founders, “movers and shakers” and evolution of the theory. Symbolic Interactionism: The Basics takes the reader along the exciting, but tortuous journey of the theory and explores both the meta-theoretical and mini-theoretical roots and branches of the theory. Symbolic interactionism or sociological social psychology traces its roots to the works of United States sociologists George Hebert Mead, Charles Horton Cooley, and Herbert Blumer, and a Canadian sociologist, Erving Goffman; Other influences are Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology and Austrian-American Alfred Schutz’s study of Phenomenology. Symbolic Interactionism: Basics explores the philosophical sources of symbolic interactionism, including pragmatism, social behaviorism, and neo-Hegelianism. The intellectual origins of symbolic interactions can be attributed to the works of William James, George Simmel, John Dewey, Max Weber, and George Herbert Mead. Mead is believed to be the founder of the theory, although he did not publish any academic work on the paradigm. The book highlights the works of the intellectual heirs of symbolic interactionism— Herbert Blumer, Mead’s former student, who was instrumental in publishing the lectures his former professor posthumously with the title Symbolic Interactionism, Erving Goffman and Robert Park.

Making Strangers: Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners

Edited by Abbes Maazaoui, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-324-8
Availability: In stock
$58 £43 €49

Studies on foreignness have increased substantially over the last two decades in response to what has been dubbed the migration/refugee crisis. Yet, they have focused on specific areas such as regions, periods, ethnic groups, and authors. Predicated on the belief that this so-called “twenty-first century problem” is in fact as old as humanity itself, this book analyzes cases based on both long-term historical perspectives and current occurrences from around the world. Bringing together an international group of scholars from Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, it examines a variety of examples and strategies, mostly from world literatures, ranging from Spain’s failed experience with consolidation as a nation-state-type entity during the Golden Age of Castile, to Shakespeare’s rhetorical subversion of the language of fear and hate, to Mario Rigoni Stern’s random status at the unpredictable Italian-Austrian borders, to Lawrence Durrell’s ambivalent approach to noticing the physically visible other, to the French government’s ongoing criminalization of hospitality, to Sandra Cisneros’s attempt at straddling two countries and cultures while belonging to neither one, to the illusive legal limbo of the DREAMers in the United States. We are not born foreigners; we are made. The purpose of the book is to assert, as denoted by the title, this fundamental premise, that is, the making of strangers is the result of a deliberate and purposeful act that has social, political, and linguistic implications. The ultimate expression of this phenomenon is the compulsive labeling of people along artificial categories such as race, gender, religion, birthplace, or nationality. A corollary purpose of the book is to help shed light worldwide on one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: the place of “the other” amid fear-mongering and unabashedly contemptuous acts and rhetoric toward immigrants, refugees and all those excluded within because of race, gender, national origin, religion and ethnicity. As illustrated by the examples examined in this book, humans have certainly evolved in many areas; dealing with the “other” might not have been one of those. It is hoped that the book encourages reflection on how the arts, and especially world literatures, can help us navigate and think through the ever-present crisis: the place of the “stranger” among us.

Re-Imagining Old Age: Wellbeing, care and participation

Marian Barnes, University of Brighton et al.

February 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-071-1
Availability: Forthcoming
$59 £42 €48

The understanding that humans are relational beings is central to the development of an ethical perspective that is built around the significance of care in all our lives. Our survival as infants is dependent on the care we receive from others. And for all of us, in particular, in older age, there are times when illness, emotional or physical frailty, mean that we require the care of others to enable us to deal with everyday life. With this in mind, this book presents the findings of a project that seeks to understand what wellbeing means to older people and to influence the practice of those who work with older people. Its starting point was a shared commitment amongst researchers and an NGO collaborator to the value of working with older people in both research and practice, to learn from them and be influenced by them rather than seeing them as the ‘subjects’ of a research project. Theoretically, the authors draw upon a range of studies in critical gerontology that seek to understand how experiences of ageing are shaped by their social, economic, cultural and political contexts. By employing a broad body of work that challenges normative assumptions of ‘successful’ ageing,’ the authors draw attention to how these assumptions have been constructed through neo-liberal policies of ‘active ageing.’ Notably, they also apply insights from feminist ethics of care, which are based on a relational ontology that challenges neo-liberal assumptions of autonomous individualism. Influenced by relational ethics, they are attentive to older people both as co-researchers and research respondents. By successfully applying this perspective to social care practice, they facilitate the need for practitioners to reflect on personal aspects of ageing and care but also to bridge the gap between the personal and the professional.

Towards A New Social Order? Real Democracy, Sustainability & Peace

Patrick Holz

January 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-367-5
Availability: In stock
$64 £47 €54

This contribution argues that a long-established social order has been in place since the first stratified societies in the Near Middle East which unavoidably comes with substantial economic, political and environmental repercussions. Part I of the book dissects the various facets of this order, which is termed the social dominance paradigm, while in Part II a fundamentally different order, the peace paradigm, is introduced. The latter rests on real democracy (in the Athenian sense), sustainability and peace. As such, both paradigms function as vehicles for further analysis and research while the peace paradigm also provides a rough plan for the implementation of transformational change. Typically, political, economic, social, and environmental research seeks to increase specialized knowledge. Here, however, the overall intent is to utilize interdisciplinary evidence and connect the dots between a number defining features within seemingly modern societies. The argument is that these are, in fact, not modern at all but follow an ancient template of power, control, and coordination concentrated in the hands of the few. Potentially, this contribution can function as a trans-disciplinary methodological framework as well as an information hub for researchers in the fields of political and social sciences, history, anthropology, evolutionary biology, organization and peace studies. Practitioners who are interested in fundamental social change may also find the issues raised to be of interest. As such, this book provides a generalist, evidence-based discussion of a multi-disciplinary nature that may pique the interest of both experts and amateurs alike.

Generational Interdependencies: The Social Implications for Welfare

Edited by Beverley A. Searle, University of Dundee

January 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-186-2
Availability: In stock
$60 £49 €56

The issue of generational transfers is growing in importance. Populations are ageing, placing an increasing burden on provision of pensions, health care and other welfare services. In many nations the imbalance between a growing, older generation, supported by a shrinking younger generation, has fuelled debates about intergenerational justice. The key argument being that political and institutional developments over the last century have been to the advantage of older generations at the expense of current younger and future generations. But this only addresses half of the story, neglecting the flows of resources, through private, family channels. One key response to the growing fiscal problem of ageing societies has been to focus responsibility on self-funding and familial support. The growth of asset values, particularly housing, which are concentrated among the elderly, underpin such strategies. But this exposes new risks as potentially extractable resources are determined by wider fluctuations in the economy, and housing markets in particular. Clearly, these cohort effects, and responses to them, play out differently in different national developmental settings, depending on long-run patterns of economic, social and demographic change. This collection address these issues and provides original insights across different international contexts. The collection focusses on financial and non-financial transfers, generational interdependencies, and the role of labour and housing markets in welfare support, set against the changing economic landscape following the Great Financial Crisis of 2007. Although institutional and national differences exist the key emerging issues are the same: the financial and welfare challenges of supporting aging in societies; inequalities in the availability of assets across individuals, families and nations; and the extent to which private asset accumulation can support families over the life course. Drawing from examples across European countries, this collection will nonetheless be relevant to researchers and policy makers in other nations addressing the complexities of providing welfare across the life course in the face of restricted financial resources.