Conspicuous Criticism : Tradition, The Individual, And Culture in Modern American Social Thought (Paperback)

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In Conspicuous Criticism, historian Christopher Shannon argues that the social-scientific critique of American culture, whether liberal or radical, can only reproduce the social relations of bourgeois individualism. He analyzes in depth key works of scholars such as Thorsten Veblen, Robert and Helen Lynd (of Middletown fame), Ruth Benedict, John Dewey, and C. Wright Mills, among others, to demonstrate how American middle-class ideas of progress, individualism, and rationalism became embedded in their critique. These works embody an ideal of reason free from tradition which unites capitalism and its social-scientific critique. The critical attempt to detach oneself from society so as to study it objectively only reinforced the ideal of objective social relations at the heart of the market society itself. Shannon argues that most historical writing on American social sciences has focused on the ways in which intellectuals have used social science to advance particular political agendas. This political focus, he argues, has forced the story of American social science into a narrative of reform and reaction that is incapable of seriously addressing the larger issue of the rational control of society. Shannon concludes that social science research of this sort has perpetuated values of individualism and capitalism which may hinder contemporary America's need to address serious social, economic, and political problems. A thoughtful and provocative alternative history, Conspicuous Criticism will interest scholars in American intellectual history, American studies, and social thought.

Specifications

Publisher University of Scranton Press
Mfg Part# 9781589661196
SKU 202250712
Format Paperback
ISBN10 1589661192
Release Date 6/11/2013
Product Attributes
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0229
Publisher University of Scranton Press
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