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The State of the Masses
     

The State of the Masses

by Richard F. Hamilton, James Wright
 

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Is the consciousness of Americans in the midst of dramatic transformation? Or do people think and feel much the same as they have always thought and felt? Do most people enjoy their work, or hate it? Is the American family being replaced by new institutional forms, or is it much the same as it was in the 1950's? Have material values been replaced by a

Overview

Is the consciousness of Americans in the midst of dramatic transformation? Or do people think and feel much the same as they have always thought and felt? Do most people enjoy their work, or hate it? Is the American family being replaced by new institutional forms, or is it much the same as it was in the 1950's? Have material values been replaced by a "postmaterial consciousness" in a postindustrial society? Are Americans becoming more conservative, less conservative, or staying about the same? State of the Masses asks the important questions.

Originally published in 1986, this prescient study evaluate the views of social critics, neo-conservatives, neo-Marxists, post-industrialists, and the theorists of the little man, who puport to describe the nature, social conditions, outlooks, and motivations of the American populace. The claims of one group are often diametrically opposed to those of another. The authors make the case for which claims can be considered true and which false. Hamilton and Wright analyze the contradictory claims and compares their implications with the best social science research and data available at that time. They also explore the implications for theories in light of the conflicting portrait the evidence provides. The authors conclude with a new perspective for understanding continuities and changes in the United States. This is a prescient view of American society during turmoil, and a model for how social science research can be used predictively.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Most books on social indicators are oriented to psychological theories and have not been absorbed quickly into the sociological mainstream. Hamilton and Wright correct this balance, and their book deserves the careful attention of sociologists.” —D. Garth Taylor, Social Forces “One does not have to be devoted to the Frankfurt school for the “scientism” in this work to fairly take your breath away. . . . This is documentation that should substantially enrich political analysis.” —Michael Stevenson, Canadian Journal of Political Science “This book constitutes the social science equivalent of Consumer Reports: it subjects a diverse range of potentially hazardous social theories to independent empirical tests and evaluates the results against advertised claims.” —James R. Beniger, The Public Opinion Quarterly "The State of the Masses, by Richard Hamilton and James Wright, is one of the most entertaining works I've read. Even the footnotes provide gripping material, and there are some excellent touches of humour throughout. But the book has a much more serious purpose. It delivers a systematic and at times devastating critique. . . . Anything with lingering doubts on this score would do well to read this book for themselves." —Brian Graetz, Australia and New Zealand Journal of Sociology "The manuscript is wonderfully devastating." —G. William Domhoff, University of California "[The authors] did a terrific job pulling the materials together and lambasting the prophets of doom and gloom. . . . [C]ongratulations are in order for a really interesting and, I believe, significant manuscript." —Curt Tausky, University of Massachusetts, Amherst "[The authors] are to be congratulated for the service they have performed in assembling this vast amount of interesting and informative data and in the extensive and relevant analysis of these data." —Paul C. Glick, U.S. Bureau of the Census "I think it is great. The manuscript has a sprightly style, just the right touch of irony, and all the data that is needed to prove the point. . . . [The material] on false consciousness and bar-fly methodology will be picked up and widely quoted." —William Form, University of Illinois, Urbana "The manuscript is wonderfully devastating."—G. William Domhoff, University of California, Santa Cruz "I think this is a masterful and timely piece of work the book's message is so powerful, so wide sweeping that it cannot be ignored." —William Form, The Ohio State University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780202303253
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
12/31/1986
Series:
Social Institutions and Social Change Series
Pages:
470
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.21(d)

Meet the Author

Richard F. Hamilton is emeritus professor of sociology and political science at The Ohio State University. He has written twelve books and seventy articles, mostly dealing with elite and mass politics and their interconnections.

James D. Wright is an author, educator, and the Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Central Florida. He has written twenty-four books and more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, essays, reviews, and polemics.

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