Economy, Culture, and Society: A Sociological Critique of Neo-Liberalism

Economy, Culture, and Society: A Sociological Critique of Neo-Liberalism

Economy, Culture, and Society: A Sociological Critique of Neo-Liberalism

Economy, Culture, and Society: A Sociological Critique of Neo-Liberalism


"...excellent...a probing survey of classical and contemporary social theory...extremely well written and of the best overviews of contemporary economy, culture and society I have read." - Professor Douglas Kellner, UCLA

" authoritative analysis and a definitive defence of sociology as a critical theory of the market, politics and social institutions. A balanced and thorough critique of the neo-liberal revolution." - Professor Bryan Turner, University of Cambridge

• How have economic processes and transformations been addressed within classical and contemporary social thought?
• What impact have the market system and market forces had on social life?
• How has the imbalance between the public and private sectors been felt in contemporary society?

Economic factors and processes are at the heart of contemporary social and cultural life and this book is designed to refocus social theorizing to reflect that fact. The author re-interprets the work of classical theorists and, in the context of the move towards social regulation and protection in the 19th and early 20th centuries, he discusses more recent transformations in capitalist economic life that have led to greater flexibility, forms of disorganization, and a neo-liberal regeneration of the market economy. As our lives have become subject to a process of commodification, market forces have assumed an increasing prominence, and the imbalance in resources between private and public sectors has been aggravated. This illuminating text addresses these central concerns, drawing on the work of key social and economic thinkers.


Sociology is reflexively engaged with the object of its study, society. in the wake of the rapid and profound social changes of the later twentieth century, it is important to question whether our theoretical frames of reference are appropriate for these novel configurations of culture, economy and society. Sociologists further need to ask whether recent theoretical preoccupations - for example with the ‘cultural turn’, post-modernism, deconstruction, globalization and identity adequately grasp social processes in the Millennium. One central issue here is the relationship between contemporary social problems and theories on the one hand and the classical heritage of Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Simmel on the other. Sociology is still reluctant to forget its founders and the relevance of the classical tradition is both powerful and problematic. It is powerful because the classics constitute a rich source of insights, concepts and analyses that can be deployed and reinterpreted to grasp current problems. But it is problematic because the social world of the classics is largely that of industrial, imperial and high bourgeois European societies prior to the First World War. How do we begin to relate the concepts formed in this milieu to the concerns of the globalized social world that is post-colonial, post-industrial and has seen the rise and collapse of Soviet socialism? Moreover, while it would not be true to say that classical theories ignored issues of gender, they did presuppose a social world in which relations were highly gendered and to some extent at least inscribed within ‘nature’. How does sociology reconfigure the relations between gender, identity and ‘nature’ in ways that disrupt attempts to naturalize social difference, yet avoid simplistic polarization? These are some of the major challenges for sociology that this series, Theorizing Society, aims to address.

This series intends to map out the ways in which social theory is being transformed and how contemporary issues have emerged. Each book in the . . .

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