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of social action by shifting from a Weberian

(and ultimately Kantian) emphasis on subjectivity,

motivation, and the ascription of meaning, to

an emphasis on the enacted performance of social

practices. He summarized this shift in a famous

apothegm, “Not men and their moments. Rather

moments and their men” (Interaction Ritual, 1967:

4). By this, he meant that social action in

local situations is structured by cultural rituals

rather than by the psychological motives of


The majority of Goffman’s publications from

1956 to 1971 have a special richness in this regard.

Transforming E´mile Durkheim’s insights in completely

unanticipated directions, Goffman demonstrated

that apparently inconsequential aspects of

social etiquette have deep-seated moral significance.

One of his great achievements was to

transmute Durkheim’s philosophically inspired

insights into the cult of the dignity of the individual

into studies of facework (that is, the ways in

which individuals establish their identities during

social interaction). Though Goffman never strayed

into the analysis of the culture of individualism at

large, he seemed to have a deep intuitive understanding

of the fragility of social face within the

culture of modernity, where interaction rituals

and social identities shift from one context to

the next. He was keenly aware of the possibilities

of error, playfulness, and even attacks upon others

during the course of facework. He was extremely

sensitive to the structured avenues available in

interaction for the protection and repair of one’s

own face and the defense and repair of others. But

these vulnerabilities impressed Goffman less than

the fact that interaction rituals generally produce

order in everyday life. For example, Goffman

understood conversation to create an unio mystica,

that is, a shared involvement that transcends all

other concerns.

But Goffman’s interest in order, which is one of

his great sociological strengths, is the source of

his greatest weakness as well. Other than embarrassment,

an emotion that he could not ignore,

Goffman studied the interaction order by bracketing

the actor’s existential and emotional experiences.

Hence, despite the stunning brilliance of

his insights into morally meaningful interactions,

his works sometimes lack sufficient human depth.

For example, in Stigma (1964), Goffman analyzed

the nature of profoundly damaged identity in

social interaction with no more than perfunctory

acknowledgments of the dramatic inner experiences

of stigmatic individuals.

In 1974, Goffman published Frame Analysis, a

sprawling book in which he tried to draw together

a systematic approach to the structured enactment

of meaning in social life. However, the

Goffman, Erving (1922–1982) Goffman, Erving (1922–1982)


work is more valuable for its remarkable insights

into specific forms of interaction than for its

theoretical structure at large. Goffman’s genius,

and the word is used purposefully here, resided

in his ability to find order in the seemingly improvised

nature of social action. His methods

make reading his work a special delight, thanks

in particular to his skill in drawing metaphors

from contexts such as religious rituals,

dramatic performance, and games, seen as idealized

instances of the deeper and more general

properties of social practice he wanted us to see.

But if his imaginative recourse to these and a

profusion of other metaphors to find the order

in interaction sets him apart, Goffman stands

out as well for his ability to sustain a systematic

analysis while allowing for the contingencies

available as an interaction scene unfolds. No

other sociologist of action has managed to find

the balance between order and contingency in

local situations nearly as well. When classical

social theory is redefined to include the twentieth

century, Goffman will be one of the first

nominees. I RA COHEN

Goldmann, Lucien (1913–1970)

Born in Romania, Goldmann spent much of his

adult life in Switzerland and France. He is best

known for his contribution to the study of literature

and philosophy and in particular to the discussion

of the ways in which literary and

philosophical works are related to their social

context. Goldmann was much influenced by the

Hungarian Marxist Georg Luka´cs and the Swiss

psychologist Jean Piaget; the work of both men

encouraged Goldmann to attempt to find a way

of explaining cultural form without reverting to

either materialism or idealism. The fruition of

Goldmann’s work was his study of Pascal and

Racine, The Hidden God (first published in 1956),

in which he argued that complex cultural phenomena

are formed through what he described

as “homologous structures,” essentially similar

patterns of thought between relatively unformed

ideologies and more complex and finished intellectual

works. For Goldmann, the study of culture

was not about the identification of “influence” or

“context,” since this enterprise isolated social

patterns; Goldmann argued for a method which

maintained a “conceptual oscillation” between

the parts and the whole. Goldmann wrote widely

on seventeenth-century France, the Enlightenment,

the method of the social sciences, and

cultural change in the twentieth century. In the

latter context he is well known for his assertion

that in modern western societies the great

political battles are for the control of consciousness

rather than the control of the means of

production. MARY EVANS

Goldthorpe, John (1935– )

A British sociologist, Goldthorpe is best known for

his empirical and theoretical contributions to the

study of social mobility and social class, and his

trenchant critical essays on a wide range of topics

in contemporary sociology. At the center of much

of Goldthorpe’s work on topics in social stratification

has been a critical empirical assessment of

modernization and industrialization theories.

Goldthorpe’s first major work, the three-volume

The Affluent Worker (1968–9), examined the extent

to which the best-paid segment of the working

class was undergoing a process of embourgeoisement

, concluding that this core claim of

industrialization theory was for the most part

unsustainable. From a base at Nuffield College at

Oxford University, beginning in the early 1970s,

he produced important work on occupational

sociology (The Social Grading of Occupations, 1974)

and the patterning of social mobility in Britain

(Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain,

revised 2nd edn., 1987 [1980]). Goldthorpe led a

pioneering effort to examine systematically the

patterns of social mobility cross-nationally in the

so-called CASMIN project. The major work of this

project, The Constant Flux (1992), was co-authored

with Swedish sociologist Robert Erikson. It challenged

the view that all societies are on a unilinear

path of increasing social mobility. The

“EG” class schema presented there and in earlier

writings has become virtually standard in most

contemporary cross-national work on classes in

capitalist societies and has even been adopted

by the British government. Goldthorpe has also

penned a series of sharply and widely debated

critical essays on the practice of qualitative and

comparative-historical sociology, class analysis,

feminism, and Marxism. Many of these are collected

in On Sociology (2000). These critiques have

in common an insistence upon the importance of

rigorous empirical evidence and data analysis in

developing and evaluating sociological theories,

an approach Goldthorpe has consistently applied

in his own research across his long career.


Goode, William Josiah (1917–2003)

Emeritus Professor at Stanford University, former

President of the American Sociological Association,

President of the Eastern Sociological

Goldmann, Lucien (1913–1970) Goode, William Josiah (1917–2003)


Society, and an assistant director of the Bureau

of Applied Social Research, Goode made major

contributions to the cross-cultural study of marriage

and divorce, and to the theory of social

control systems of prestige, force, and love. Goode

taught at various universities in the United States:

Wayne State, Columbia, Stanford, Harvard, and

George Mason. His Columbia dissertation was published

as Religion Among the Primitives (1951), which

remains a brilliant introduction to the sociology

of religion. His World Revolution and Family Patterns

(1963) set the research agenda on the family in

twentieth-century sociology by examining the

rise of distinctive family patterns in fifty societies

during the process of industrialization. His other

major publications in this field were After Divorce

(1956), The Family (1982), and World Changes in Divorce

Patterns (1993). Goode developed the theory of

social role in his Theory of Role Strain (1960) and of

social status in his The Celebration of Heroes (1978).

He contributed, with his co-author, Paul K. Hatt, to

the teaching of methodology in Methods in Social

Research (1952). Underlying much of his work was a

theory of social exchange in which he was particularly

interested in the role of third parties.


Gouldner, Alvin (1920–1981)

Gouldner made a significant contribution in several

areas of sociology, most notably to the understanding

of the sociological enterprise itself. In his

most important work, The Coming Crisis of Western

Sociology (1970), he advances the case for a reflexive

sociology which, he felt, would address

the shortcomings of existing “conservative” and

“Marxist” traditions.

Gouldner’s most important early work, Patterns

of Industrial Bureaucracy (1954), deals with conventional

themes in industrial sociology and organization

theory. The influential Wildcat Strike (1965),

meanwhile, focused on a case study of employer–

employee relations from which Gouldner constructed

a theory of group tensions.

By the 1960s, he had turned his attention increasingly

to theoretical commentary on traditions

of social theory and to its reconstruction.

Taking a long time-span, he turned, in Enter Plato

(1967), to aspects of the legacy of ancient Greece

that he saw as having value in the contemporary

world. Closer to home in The Coming Crisis, he

argued against the adequacy of both structural

functionalism and Marxism as models for the

sociological project. The former, as exemplified

by Talcott Parsons, was regarded as conservative,

accommodating sociology to new realities of

power and inequality. Since it is hard for social

theorists to reconcile new forms of power built

around corporations and the professions with

norms of goodness, Gouldner felt that the conservative

option found ways of representing power as

positive, changing norms to accord with reality.

He rejected this, having more sympathy with radical

alternatives that provided a critique of power,

and gave a positive normative loading to thoughts

and feelings unpermitted by mainstream opinion.

Gouldner’s commitment to theoretical renewal

also led him to found the influential journal

Theory and Society in 1974.

Marxism was a possible alternative source of radical

inspiration, though this had a further difficulty,

namely that it was more successful in criticizing

other traditions than criticizing itself. In this respect,

Gouldner thought of himself as an “Outlaw

Marxist.” Instead of asking social theorists to

choose between “conservative” sociology and “radical”

Marxism, Gouldner projected reflexive sociology

as an alternative standpoint. This idea was

designed as a way of reconstructing the vocation of

intellectual in a general way, and of sociology in

particular. While intellectuals should promote a

culture of critical discourse, the reflexive sociologist

should rise above the role of technical specialist.

Reflexive sociology was to be defined not in terms

of scientific objectivity towards its subject matter,

but in terms of a critical stance to the social and

political context in which the sociologist operated.

Soul-searching was better than soul-selling.

This position is in one sense a product of its

times, sociology seemingly oscillating between canonical

(Parsons) and iconoclastic (Gouldner)

moments. Marxism, as Gouldner was later to

argue in The Two Marxisms (1980), contained these

tensions within itself, manifested in the contrast

between Marxism as science and Marxism as critique.

While reflexivity is now very much a mainstream

idea – seen in the concept of reflexive

modernity – Gouldner’s emphasis on social emancipation

via critical intellectuals and the culture

of critical discourse, advanced in The Future of Intellectuals

and the Rise of the New Class (1980), has been

undermined by the class-like inequalities associated

with knowledge holders.

Gouldner’s project of a sociology based on critical

analysis from a moral standpoint is again a

fairly widely held presupposition. Yet he failed to

provide much epistemological depth on how a

critical position can be reconciled with a realist

approach to social analysis. His legacy is therefore

a somewhat fragmented one, perhaps as befits a

would-be outlaw. ROBERT HOLTON

Gouldner, Alvin (1920–1981) Gouldner, Alvin (1920–1981)



This encompasses a set of practices, institutions,

technologies, and sciences that enable the exercise

of political power over a population of individuals.

The contemporary study of governmentality derives

from the work of Michel Foucault whose

oeuvre sought to uncover the microsocial processes,

techniques, and knowledges associated

with governmentality. In his essay “On Governmentality,”

which appears in The Foucault Effect (1991),

edited by Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and

Peter Miller, Foucault dates the origins of the concept

to the sixteenth century when self-conscious

investigations of the “art of government” were


Governmentality came to involve by the eighteenth

century an economy of politics over a population.

This relationship between government and

governed evolved out of a pastoral model of the

family, in which a head of a household claimed

responsibility for the well-being of its members.

The welfare of the population is the end of governmentality.

To seek the common good is to ensure

that laws (see law and society) are obeyed and order

maintained. Governmentality is therefore distinguished

from other reasons of state, in particular

the religious and the Machiavellian. While governmentality

is associated with a pastoral relationship

of shepherd and flock, it explicitly rejects the possibility

that a Christian kingdom dedicated to the

glory of God could realize governmental sovereignty.

Any religious doctrine in which moral or

divine ends supersede the rationally understood

good of the people will by necessity contradict

governmental reasons of state. This lends a distinctly

economic character to the notion of the

good. The logic of governmentality also eschews

Machiavellian premises insofar as it insists that

government exists for the sake of the population,

and not the power of its leader(s). Economic, familial,

and political governance are continuous enterprises

that share a triangular relationship in

which none is ever entirely subject to either or

both of the other two. Therefore, a politics in which

a leader occupies a singular position and wields a

unique form of power through channels over

which he maintains a monopoly cannot support


Implicit in a governmental approach to politics

is the conclusion that sovereignty is defined primarily

by dominion over a population rather than

a geographic territory. A population of individuals

simultaneously provides a government with both

its greatest source of power and gravest potential

threat. Therefore the means through which a

government can control its population are crucial

to asserting governmentality. This requires the

regulation of individuals through the threat of

direct physical coercion implied by an omnipresent

police force as well as indirect and even

internalized means of enforcing social norms.

The apparatuses, technologies, and sciences

capable of controlling a population and realizing

the goals of governmentality developed alongside

modern politics. Insofar as governmentality prioritizes

an economic reason of state, it inevitably

relies upon scientific understandings of the population

being governed. The good, having been construed

in material rather than metaphysical or

otherwise transcendent terms, can only be arrived

at upon close inspection of those whose good is

sought. Thus the science of demography, and

statistical knowledge more generally, are crucial

technologies of governmentality. Because both

political and social security are essential to the

success of government, a symbiotic relationship

develops between the sciences from which statistical

knowledge of the population can be gleaned

and the military technologies whose purpose it is

to ensure the safety of the population. Detailed

scientific assessments of the contours and characteristics

of a population facilitate the degree

of surveillance necessary to identify, inhibit, and

punish deviance.

A range of forces collude to cause citizens to

recognize their identity as political beings

belonging to specific communities to which they

owe certain obligations and from which they need

and will receive protection. In the modern liberal

context, civil society becomes the terrain upon

which negotiations between government and the

governed occur. This implicates an almost endless

array of social and economic institutions in the

process of asserting governmentality. It also suggests

that a significant challenge of governmentality

will be the reconciliation of social and economic

justice. The notion of justice exists to distinguish

those who recognize and abide by social norms

from those who do not, and who consequently

must be isolated from the rest of society and/or

reeducated. Law provides an articulation of the

responsibilities of individuals to society, and vice

versa. However, within liberalism, various interpretations

of economic logic yield vastly disparate

notions of these responsibilities, in no small

part because social and economic justice are not

simply distinct but often contradict one another.

Thus social and civil rights often come at the cost

of one another and hence obstruct both the expression

and realization of a conception of justice.

governmentality governmentality


Governmentality is a broader political concept

than either the Weberian notion of legitimate

authority or the Marxian concept of the state

within any given mode of production (see Karl

Marx). It is broader than legitimate authority

because it embraces processes both within and

beyond the administrative apparatus of the state.

Foucault explicitly addressed himself to Marxist

critics whose work he believed falsely assumed the

state to be the inevitable locus of political power

in all modes of production. The core concept of

governmentality contradicts the Marxian thesis,

instead offering a vision of politics in which power

constitutes and expresses itself through multiple

sources, of which the state is merely one. The

confluence of the pastoral model of politics, specific

diplomatic and military techniques, and the

development of a police force is responsible for

the governmentalization of the state. The state in

this view, while perhaps uniquely successful, is

simply one instrument and manifestation of

governmentality. ELIZABETH F . COHEN

Gramsci, Antonio (1891–1937)

Gramsci was one of the most influential Marxist

theorists of the twentieth century. After graduating

from Turin University in 1915 he worked as a

journalist and regularly spoke at workers’ studycircles

on novels, the Paris Commune, the French

and Italian revolutions, and Marxism. In 1919 he

was one of the founders of the revolutionary

weekly paper L’Ordine Nuovo, in 1924 was elected

to the Chamber of Deputies for the Italian Communist

Party, and became General Secretary of

the Party. But after the fascist takeover Gramsci

was imprisoned in 1926, and during the following

ten years in confinement wrote copious notes on

theory and strategy, that were published in translation

as Selections from the Prison Notebooks (1971).

Gramsci was concerned to eradicate economic determinism

from Marxism and to develop its explanatory

power with respect to cultural and

legal institutions. He argued that class struggle

must always involve work against the dominant

hegemony of bourgeois ideas and ideologies, so

that creating alternative cultural forms was essential

to the struggle for socialism. He stressed the

role performed by human agency in historical

change since economic crises by themselves would

not subvert capitalism. As opposed to a war of

maneuver (a frontal attack on state power, such

as the Bolshevik Revolution), a war of position

may be more appropriate for liberal-democratic

societies, which would involve a long struggle

across institutions of civil society. Gramsci’s

thinking was influential in the postwar Italian

Communist Party and in western Marxism –

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