Freedom and Control in Modern Society

Freedom and Control in Modern Society

Freedom and Control in Modern Society

Freedom and Control in Modern Society

Excerpt

The chapters of this book have three things in common. They deal with important social and political problems of contemporary life; they have been written by scholars who admire Robert M. MacIver and, as his students or colleagues, have learned from him; and they deal with those subjects of social science that have interested MacIver and which he has illuminated in his books and articles for more than three decades.

In planning this book, the editors aimed to obtain contributions that would likewise illuminate, for the general reader, the student, and the professional social scientist, some of the fundamental and persisting problems which human beings face in our day. The editors and contributors hope that these essays will interest the non- specialist who seeks to understand what is happening in the world, the student who seeks not only knowledge of social life but intellectual stimulation, and the specialist and teacher who will be attracted by the quality of these contributions as well as by their adaptability to the classroom. For the classroom, this book will serve well as collateral reading in social science courses, specifically those on methodology, social control, social change, race relations, contemporary government, social psychology, social and political philosophy, as well as some economics courses.

The chapters in one division of this volume examine the relationship of the individual to the group. In his paper, Gardner Murphy summarizes the state of our knowledge of how each generation of human beings becomes socialized in contact with other human beings, how the ways of the group become the ways of the individual born to it. Describing this process as a mixture of "love-feast and battle royal," Dr. Murphy, from the standpoint of psychology, touches upon the need for external controls beyond those of the superego or the conscience, as well as upon the problem of political obedience itself. Robert Bierstedt approaches the same problem from another side--a sociological treatment of the nature of authority and its inherence in social organization (or what MacIver often calls associations).

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