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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, in 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 has brought together scholars from a range of disciplines to analyze the significance and shortcomings of this groundbreaking 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
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)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Macroscopic action : on Amitai Etzioni's contribution to social theory 13
Ch. 3 The cultural dimensions of The Active Society 23
Ch. 4 The cybernetic institutionalist 53
Ch. 5 The constitution of activity - Etzioni's foundation of social theory in collective action and collective actors 71
Ch. 6 The actively drifting society 89
Ch. 7 Communitarianism : the highest state of progressivism - The Active Society revisited 117
Ch. 8 The teamwork of Sisyphus : post-Fordist capitalism, corporate culture, and Etzioni's "active society" 137
Ch. 9 Membership and belonging : Etzioni's "authenticity" and the existential challenges of liberalism 167
Ch. 10 Swing low sweet chariot : transformation and religious tradition 193
Ch. 11 The eagle and the worm : The Active Society from a community organizer's perspective 209
Ch. 12 Searching for active citizenship 223
Ch. 13 Courting megalogues : judicial power in The Active Society 247
Ch. 14 Community formation, gender issues, and the evolution of international law : a perspective on Amitai Etzioni's The Active Society 261
Ch. 15 "Lighting damp logs" : social movements, liberal democracy, and the politics of transformation 285
Ch. 16 From The Active Society to the good society : the second sailing of Amitai Etzioni 311
Ch. 17 The Active Society revisited : a response 333
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