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Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification
     

Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification

by Bruce Lincoln
 

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Without overlooking the role of coercive force in the maintenance (or overthrow) of social structures, Lincoln argues his thesis with rich illustrations drawn from such diverse areas as Platonic philosophy, the Upanishads of India, ancient Celtic banquets, professional wrestling, and the Spanish Civil War. This wide-ranging interdisciplinary study--which draws on

Overview

Without overlooking the role of coercive force in the maintenance (or overthrow) of social structures, Lincoln argues his thesis with rich illustrations drawn from such diverse areas as Platonic philosophy, the Upanishads of India, ancient Celtic banquets, professional wrestling, and the Spanish Civil War. This wide-ranging interdisciplinary study--which draws on works in history, semiotics, anthropology, sociology, classics, and indology--offers challenging new insights into the complex dynamics of social cohesion and change. The second edition includes three new chapters, new images, and an updated bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Discourse and the Construction of Society is a game changer—simple as that—and so a book that I've passed along to countless people over the years. Each chapter is an example of how the academic study of religion ought to be done if it is to be something other than well-meaning cheerleading or idle voyeurism (to name two roles Lincoln himself has time and again critiqued convincingly). Having a new edition, with new material, invites yet another generation to take seriously issues of power, identity, rank, contest, the past, the future, and the always crafty ways that we try to signify this world of ours." —Russell T. McCutcheon, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Alabama

Reviews of the Previous Edition:

"I read Bruce Lincoln's Discourse and the Construction of Society with pleasure and profit; he has the art of stating complicated ideas plainly without simplifying them, and the gift for finding telling examples; together these two qualities make his book engaging—and also useful. It is a kind of kit for thinking about society."—James Redfield, University of Chicago

"Offers a perspective on how different processes of orally delivered discourse can be used for the creation, maintenance, or disintegration of society. It raises our consciousness of the power of discourse, not only as narrative that informs but also as polemic that can create and destroy."—Oral History

"Lincoln's works always bring a breath of fresh air, and this one no exception....His use and treatment of a multiplicity of fields make his work relevant to many disciplines, including the history of religions, anthropology, sociology, political science, and semiotics. Highly recommended."—Religious Studies Review

"Discourse and the Construction of Society is a helpful monkey wrench for canonbusters, cultural and political activists, and other demystifiers of dominant discourse. In this cross-disciplinary study...Lincoln...examines the role of symbolic discourse and its ugly cousin, force, in constructing society."—Voice Literary Supplement

"The book's heterogeneity is vivid and its author adroit—his sense of loose links among rituals of resistance from highbrow politics and lowbrow media events alike should make good classroom fare."—American Anthropologist

"I read Bruce Lincoln's Discourse and the Construction of Society with pleasure and profit; he has the art of stating complicated ideas plainly without simplifying them, and the gift for finding telling examples; together these two qualities make his book engaging—and also useful. It is a kind of kit for thinking about society."—James Redfield, University of Chicago

"Lincoln's splendidly eclectic cultural critique unveils both the conceptual rigidity and the flexible uses of classification in social and political life....An exemplary achievement, arrayed in arrestingly lucid prose."—Michael Herzfeld, Choice

"Deserves to be widely read by people interested in social history."—Journal of Social History

"A masterful and imaginitive argument for the centrality of symbolic action in modern societies."—P. Manning, Michigan State University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199372386
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
06/04/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
9 MB

Meet the Author

Bruce Lincoln is Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School and in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Committee on Medieval Studies, and is Associate Faculty in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics. His most recent publications include Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions (2012), "Happiness for Mankind": Achaemenian Religion and the Imperial Project (2012), and Comparer en histoire des religions antiques, coedited with Claude Calame (2012).

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