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Screen shot 2014-02-16 at 20.14.44We’ve all seen the images from Abu Ghraib: stress positions, US soldiers kneeling on the heads of prisoners, and dehumanizing pyramids formed from black-hooded bodies. We have watched officials elected to our highest offices defend enhanced interrogation in terms of efficacy and justify drone strikes in terms of retribution and deterrence. But the mainstream secular media rarely addresses the morality of these choices, leaving us to ask individually: Is this right?

In this singular examination of the American discourse over war and torture, Douglas V. Porpora, Alexander Nikolaev, Julia Hagemann May, and Alexander Jenkins investigate the opinion pages of American newspapers, television commentary, and online discussion groups to offer the first empirical study of the national conversation about the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib a year later. Post-Ethical Society is not just another shot fired in the ongoing culture war between conservatives and liberals, but a pensive and ethically engaged reflection of America’s feelings about itself and our actions as a nation. And while many writers and commentators have opined about our moral place in the world, the vast amount of empirical data amassed in Post-Ethical Society sets it apart—and makes its findings that much more damning.

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Socialization as Reflexive Engagement

XV Congresso Brasileiro de Sociologia
Realizado de 26 a 29 de julho de 2011, em Curitiba-PR.

Current sociological theories of socialization cannot grasp the dynamics of the identity building processes in the nascent morphogenetic society. In fact, they are heavily biased by an orientation to the structural and cultural features characterizing Modern society, which do not hold in the new societal context. Building on the insights of the realist-morphogenetic approach and of relational social theory, the paper goes on to provide a reconceptualization of socialization as reflexive engagement, which meets the two basic challenges presented by the morphogenetic society for young people to develop a full personal and social identity: ‘the necessity of selection’ and the need ‘to shape a life’. This is therefore an account of how young people come to decide about their own set of concerns, prioritizing and dovetailing them, and investing their time and energies in a life project. Such an approach is also critical of all theories which reduce socialization to linguistically mediated relations, and articulates the relational condition of human subjects with respect to the natural, practical, and social order. It also maintains that the time of socialization by the internalization of habits or habitus is over.

Social Morphogenesis

Social Morphogenesis

socialmorphogenesisThe rate of social change has speeded up in the last three decades, but how do we explain this? This volume ventures what the generative mechanism is that produces such rapid change and discusses how this differs from late Modernity. Contributors examine if an intensification of morphogenesis (positive feedback that results in a change in social form) and a corresponding reduction in morphostasis (negative feedback that restores or reproduces the form of the social order) best captures the process involved.

This volume resists proclaiming a new social formation as so many books written by empiricists have done by extrapolating from empirical data. Until we can convincingly demonstrate that a new generative mechanism is at work, it is premature to argue what accounts for the global changes that are taking place and where they will lead. More concisely we seek to answer the question whether or not current social change can be regarded as social morphogenesis. Only then, in the next volumes will the same team of authors be able to remove the question mark.

Table of Contents:

  1. Social Morphogenesis and the Prospects of Morphogenic Society– Margaret S. Archer
  2. Morphogenesis and Social Change  – Douglas V. Porpora
  3. The Morphogenetic Approach and the Idea of a Morphogenetic Society: The Role of Regularities – Andrea M. Maccarini
  4. Emergence and Morphogenesis: Causal Reduction and Downward Causation? – Tony Lawson
  5. Morphogenesis, Continuity and Change in the International Political System – Colin Wight
  6. Self-Organization: What Is It, What Isn’t It and What’s It Got to Do with Morphogenesis? – Kate Forbes-Pitt
  7. Self-Organisation as the Mechanism of Development and Evolution in Social Systems – Wolfgang Hofkirchner
  8. Morphogenic Society: Self-Government and Self-Organization as Misleading Metaphors  – Margaret S. Archer
  9. Network Analysis and Morphogenesis: A Neo-Structural Exploration and Illustration – Emmanuel Lazega
  10. Authority’s Hidden Network: Obligations, Roles and the Morphogenesis of Authority – Ismael Al-Amoudi
  11. Morphogenesis and Social Networks: Relational Steering Not Mechanical Feedback – Pierpaolo Donati

See the publisher’s page for more information