The Active Society Revisited

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The Active Society, published in 1968, is the most ambitious book in Amitai Etzioni's remarkable career. It is sociology in the grand tradition, with at least one foot outside its own time. In it, Etzioni confronts the great modern irony— that setting out to become the masters of nature, humans become mastered by their own instruments— championing the sense of agency and aiming to demonstrate that humanity can direct its own creations, or at least, that societies can aspire to a greater measure of authentic self-government. In this new collection of essays, Wilson Carey McWilliams brings together scholars in a range of disciplines to analyze the significance and shortcomings of this important work. They comment on the importance of Etzioni's contributions, the magnitude of his achievement, and the extent to which The Active Society speaks to contemporary social and political life.

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Editorial Reviews

American Journal of Sociology - Edward A. Tiryakian
Credit must be given to the editor...for having assembled a talented team of sociological archaeologists...
Reinoud Bosch
The Active Society Revisited strikes me as a beautifully composed collection of excellent articles. It starts off with a number of articles that constructively criticize the social theoretical argument underlying The Active Society; it then presents a number of articles dealing critically with the attainability and desirability of the active society, interspersed with articles addressing the moral philosophical position of The Active Society. This is then followed by a number of articles presenting some constructive applications of Etzioni's ideas; and the book concludes with a contemplative article and Etzioni's response. It is a beautiful composition.
American Journal of Sociology
Credit must be given to the editor...for having assembled a talented team of sociological archaeologists...
— Edward A. Tiryakian, Duke University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742549142
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Wilson Carey McWilliams was professor of political science at Rutgers University. He was the author and editor of a number of books including /Beyond the Politics of Disappointment?: American elections, 1980-1998/ and a regular contributor to several journals of opinion.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 2 Macroscopic Action: On Amitai Etzioni's Contribution to Social Theory 3 The Cultural Dimensions ofThe Active Society 4 The Cybernetic Institutionalist 5 The Constitution of Activity: Etzioni's Foundation of Social Theory in Collective Action and Collective Actors 6 The Actively Drifting Society 7 Communitarianism, the Highest Stage of Progressivism:The Active Society Revisited 8 The Teamwork of Sisyphus: Post-Fordist Capitalism, Corporate Culture and Etzioni'sActive Society 9 Membership and Belonging: Etzioni's "Authenticity" and the Existential Challenges of Liberalism 10 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: Transformation and Religious Tradition 11 The Eagle and the Worm:The Active Society from a Community Organizer's Perspective 12 Searching for Active Citizenship 13 Courting Megalogues: Judicial Power in The Active Society 14 Community Formation, Gender Issues and the Evolution of International Law: A Perspective on Amitai Etzioni's The Active Society 15 'Lighting Damp Logs': Social Movements, Liberal Democracy and the Politics of Transformation 16 From the Active Society to the Good Society: The Second Sailing of Amitai Etzioni 17 The Active Society Revisited: A Response

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