The Sociologist's Eye: Reflections on Social Life

The Sociologist's Eye: Reflections on Social Life

by Kai T. Erikson


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A masterful introduction to and appreciation of sociology as a window into our world

The culmination of a distinguished career, this fascinating exploration into the nature of human social life describes the field of sociology as a way of looking at the world rather than as a simple gathering of facts about it. Kai Erikson notes that sociologists look out at the same human scenes as poets, historians, economists, or any other observers of the vast social landscape spread out before them, but select different aspects of that vast panorama to focus on and attend to. Erikson’s lively and accessible volume considers how sociology became a field of study, and how it has turned its attention over time to new areas of study such as race and gender and what Erikson calls “social speciation.” This book provides readers with new ways of thinking about human culture and social life—an exhilarating sense of what the world looks like when viewed with a sociologist’s eye.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300106671
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Kai Erikson is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of Sociology and American Studies, Yale University. He is former President of the American Sociological Association, and has twice won the ASA award for writing the best book published in the year preceding.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Way of Looking 1


View from the Fourteenth Floor 13

The Individual and the Social 21

Knowing the Place for the First Time 26

Disaster at Buffalo Creek 43


Human Origins 65

Discovering the Social 80

Coming to Terms with Social Life 93

The Journey of Piotr and Kasia Walkowiak 137


Village 165

City 184

Worlds Beyond 226

It Seemed Like the Whole Bay Died 250


Becoming a Person 267

Creating Divisions 296

Becoming a People 320

War Comes to Pakrac 344

Postscripts 383

Sources 391

Acknowledgments 403

Index 407

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