The Myth of Individualism: How Social Forces Shape Our Lives (Paperback)
  • The Myth of Individualism: How Social Forces Shape Our Lives (Paperback)
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The Myth of Individualism: How Social Forces Shape Our Lives (Paperback)

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£22.95
Paperback 216 Pages / Published: 28/02/2013
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New edition forthcoming in time for fall 2017! Despite some popular arguments to the contrary, Americans are like people everywhere: naturally social, interdependent, and shaped by social forces. The Myth of Individualism offers a concise introduction to sociology and sociological thinking. Callero challenges the dominant belief that human behavior is the result of free choices made by autonomous actors. Drawing upon personal stories, historical events, and sociological research, Callero offers an informative outlook on enduring social problems that can help us begin the process of developing a sociological perspective. By acknowledging the limits of individual effort and control, we gain insight into our own lives and the lives of others. Callero engagingly examines the fundamental importance of cultural symbols, the pressures of group conformity, the influence of family, the impact of social class, the wide reach of global capitalism, and the revolutionary potential of collective action. The second edition is updated throughout, including new examples from the recent financial crisis and the Arab Spring. It also includes a new chapter on the power of mass media and how media influences our lives. The Myth of Individualism is a must-read for anyone interested in how powerful social forces shape individual lives in subtle but compelling ways.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442217454
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 286 g
Dimensions: 219 x 141 x 15 mm
Edition: Second Edition


MEDIA REVIEWS
Peter Callero has scored again with the second edition of The Myth of Individualism. As before, this text is highly recommended as a supplement to an introductory text in sociology. Callero has produced an extremely readable overview of some difficult theoretical and conceptual problematics in sociology. He is able to integrate issues of micro and macro sociology using excellent concrete examples. A complementary and dialectical relationship between symbolic interactionism and basic structuralism is accomplished that is comprehensible to undergraduate students. The dialectic is demonstrated in a way that is clearly critical and even counter-hegemonic. This text is a true pleasure to read. -- Dean Braa, Western Oregon University
In The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills tells us that sociology promises an understanding of the connections between biography and history, self and society. In The Myth of Individualism, Peter Callero delivers on this promise. By showing how to think about ourselves as both products of society and its makers, Callero nurtures the sociological imagination while also helping us see what it means for creating a more just world. -- Michael Schwalbe, North Carolina State University
Individualism is a set of beliefs that economic success comes from one's own hard work, and that private life is more important than public life; it is an 'ideology based on self-determination,' where a person can freely choose what he or she wants to do. However, these beliefs are not sustained by reality. To become a person, one is dependent on others, viz., one's family and friends. As one becomes a person, one is confronted by different group memberships and the rules of conduct associated with those groups, which again limits one's independence. Confronting the social class system, some individuals learn that hard work and responsibility have little connection to the American Dream; they are buffeted by economic forces they little understand. Interspersed with references to people whose attempts at individualism resulted in punishment, e.g., Ted Kaczynski, or in social change, e.g., Rosa Parks, the book's argument, then, is that social forces limit the freedom of each of us. Most people won't need a book to tell them this; they will know it from their own experiences. Nevertheless, Callero (Western Oregon Univ.) offers a reminder. Summing Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate libraries. * CHOICE *

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