Emergence through convergence

Introductory Essay: This Deserted Island is Out of Order The classic novel The Lord of the Flies helps us see that social order is both a product of our own making and something much more powerful than the sum of its parts. We move from the social facts of Durkheim to more contemporary takes on the enigma of social order.

Elementary Forms of Religious Life

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From p. 53 in Social Theory Re-Wired 2e

At the foundation of all systems of belief and all cults, there must necessarily be a certain number of fundamental representations and modes of ritual conduct that, despite the diversity of forms that the one and the other may have taken on, have the same objective meaning everywhere and everywhere fulfill the same functions. It is these enduring elements that constitute what is eternal and human in religion. Durkheim gives insight into his method here.

Modernity and the Holocaust

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From p. 332 in Social Theory Re-Wired 2e

First, ideational processes that by their own inner logic may lead to genocidal projects, and the technical resources that permit implementation of such projects, not only have been proved fully compatible with modern civilization, but have been conditioned, created, and supplied by it. The Holocaust did not just, mysteriously, avoid clash with the social norms and institutions of modernity. It was these norms and institutions that made the Holocaust feasible.This is a radical proposition.

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Anatomy of an Abstract System

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Interactive Reading
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Pass rate:75 %
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Watts, Duncan J. 2004. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. New York: W. W. Norton.

An explanation of network theory, a cutting-edge science of social order, by one of its most prominent proponents.

Turkle, Sherry. 2011. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books.

A leading sociologist of technology explores technology’s effects on contemporary social order, especially the quality of human relationships.

Smith, Christian. 2003. Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Smith argues that humans are fundamentally moral and believing animals, providing a nuanced take on social constructionism and a rethinking of Durkheim’s view of the sacred and the social order.

Sherif, Muzafer, O. J. Harvey, William R. Hood, Carolyn W. Sherif, and Jack White. 1961. The Robbers Cave Experiment: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma.

This “true life” Lord of the Flies describes a classic experiment by social psychologist Muzafer Sherif in which 24 twelve-year-old boys experience in-group solidarity and out-group hostility on a campground in an Oklahoma state park.

Meyrowitz, Joshua. 1986. No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.

Meyrowitz examines the effect electronic media, most notably television, have had on not only how we interact with one another, but also what we know of each other and how we experience reality itself

Merton, Robert. 1957. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.

Merton’s classic outlines the foundations for a functionalist sociology. Includes his classic work on manifest and latent functions, an excellent companion to the work of Parsons and Shils.

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