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and social segregation of impoverished, debtor

nations in the global periphery by creditors in

the core of the world-system).

The most notorious instances of segregation in

the modern world were based on official policies

of racial discrimination, for example in Zimbabwe

(until 1980), South Africa (until 1991), and the

American South (until after 1964). Racial segregation

has its structural roots in the colonial system

of the de facto or de jure slave economies extracting

wealth and labor power from the colonized

regions. Historically, de jure segregation has

been ended by political, legislative, or judicial

action (for example the independence of Rhodesia

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (1950– ) segregation


from British control [1980], the overthrow of the

Group Areas Act in South Africa [1991], and the

United States Civil Rights Act [1964]). With rare

exceptions, de facto segregation seldom ends

when discriminatory codes or laws are overturned;

and in some instances legal or quasi-legal

segregation is reestablished under a different

name: for example, in the United States after the

1877 collapse of federal efforts to lend social and

economic assistance to freed people, the Southern

states restored a system of racial segregation

known informally as Jim Crow. In effect the legalized

slave-holding system was replaced with a

quasi-legal system of social degradation that led

to economic and political segregation. Racial segregation

was recodified in the “separate but equal”

ruling of the United States Supreme Court in

Plessey v. Ferguson (1896), which remained in force

until 1954. The Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. The

Board of Education of Topeka decision was, in effect,

a reversal of Plessey v. Ferguson declaring segregated

public education to be unconstitutional


Desegregation seldom occurs without direct

and frequently violent political action on the

part of the segregated. In the United States, the

civil rights movement began late in 1954, after

Brown v. The Board of Education committed the federal

government to desegregation. The civil rights

movement mobilized public opinion, which led

to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (ending inter alia

the segregation of public accommodations) and

the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (striking down state

laws preventing blacks from voting). Yet, the

formal legal rights gained in 1964–5 did not

extend to other segregated areas, notably economic

rights. When the legal basis for segregation

ends, de facto segregation usually continues until

the social and political structures catch up with

the law. Very often the interim is a period of

renewed violence and social turmoil: for example,

the end of the nonviolent phase of the American

civil rights movement and the emergence of the

more aggressive Black Power movement after

1966, the continuation of economic violence

against blacks in South Africa under black majority

rule after 1991, or the establishment of a totalitarian

regime under Robert Mugabe in

Zimbabwe after 1980.

In academic sociology, social movement theory

and research was invigorated in the 1970s by the

study of the struggle to end racial segregation. The

civil rights movement inspired other social groups

to engage in legal or political actions to end segregation

as it affected them. As a result, the Black

Power, feminist, and gay rights movements,

among others, are commonly referred to as new

social movements and distinguished from the

more traditional political movements by an emphasis

on identity politics. New social movements

are, thus, those in which political action is organized

with respect to the recognition of the rights

and differences of the segregated groups (for

example “Black is beautiful”), with a corresponding

decline in emphasis on universal principles of

common humanity (for example integration of

the races). The new social movements led, thereby,

to discord in the ranks of liberal academics and

political activists – between those favoring a politics

of distribution after the traditional socialist or

reform politics of the early decades of the twentieth

century and those favoring a politics of recognition

after the identity politics in the post-1960s

era. Differences notwithstanding, both types of

social movement are concerned with desegregating

access to social goods, including rights; both

are, therefore, movements intent upon advancing

the inclusion of the segregated in the distribution

of social goods which, in turn, can only occur

when they are recognized as legitimate members

of the social whole.

Under the political and legal conditions resulting

from globalization, segregation is not as

amenable to change because there is no court of

international law with legitimate enforcement

authority. Consequently, global segregation is primarily

economic, as opposed to political. Yet, its

social consequences are just as severe in the

effects on women, children, homosexuals, and

others who are more exposed to the segregating

effects of poverty and its sequelae: hunger, disease,

and civil strife. One recursive effect of global segregation

is the rebirth of social segregation in

states that require immigrant workers, who bring

with them social differences unfamiliar or repellent

to the host society. CHARLES LEMERT


– see evolutionary theory.


Insofar as sociology is defined as a science of

social action, it will implicitly and more often

explicitly develop an analysis of the agent and

agency. The idea of the agent in sociology is related

to more general philosophical debates about

the self. Many undergraduate lecture courses in

universities will have a foundation course that is

called “The Self and Society,” and the juxtaposition

of self and society typically creates an

segregation self


intellectual arena where there is an interdisciplinary

interaction between psychology and sociology.

Perhaps the most elegant presentations of the self

and society notion have occurred in symbolic

interactionism, but the debate about the characteristics

of the self is obviously highly developed

in philosophy, for example in accounts of the

problem of free will and moral responsibility.

Finally, it is often argued that the idea of an

autonomous self is a specifically western development,

and that Asian traditions have a more prominent

notion of the collective and social identity of

the individual. These contrasts between eastern

and western notions of the self were explored by

anthropologists such as Louis Dumont. Western

individualism was probably best summarized in

the famously provocative observation of the British

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that there

is no such thing as society, there are only individuals

and their families.

In The Idea of the Self, Jerrold Seigel (2005) has

argued that any theory of the self will have three

components. To be a self, we need self consciousness,

that is we must be able to reflect upon our

identities, our actions, and our relationships

with others. This consciousness requires language

and memory. Selfhood must have a capacity for

continuous self-assessment and monitoring. Second,

the self is not a free-floating consciousness,

because the self is also defined by embodiment.

Recognition of the self depends not simply on

memory and consciousness but also on the peculiar

physical characteristics of the individual. This

aspect of the discourse of the self is obviously the

body, and recent sociology has insisted that

the self involves an embodied subjectivity towards

the world. In the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, the

individual is expressed through a particular habitus

that contains their dispositions and tastes.

The final dimension of this model is the notion

of the self as a historical product of society and

that the self is always situated within social relationships.

The western self has often been represented

in the isolated figure of Robinson Crusoe,

but sociology has interpreted the self as inextricably

social. Although different theories tend to

emphasize particular aspects of the self – reflection,

embodiment, or social relationships – most

theories of the self have necessarily to address,

directly or indirectly, all three aspects.

While Seigel’s theory is concerned mainly

with the analytical dimensions of the self, these

three dimensions can be seen from a historical

perspective. Thus, the reflective self was dominant

in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a

consequence of the Enlightenment, after the challenge

from Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) to throw

off traditional, especially religious, constraints on

the individual self. The Romantic reaction placed

greater emphasis on individuality, subjectivity,

and embodiment, against the rational world of

Kantian Enlightenment. The rise of the idea of

the social in industrial society and the emergence

of sociology as a science were criticized by Hannah

Arendt as signs of modern totalitarianism. Modernization

paved the way for sociology and the

view that the individual is merely a product of

social forces. This view of the passive self which

dominated the middle of the twentieth century

was articulated in sociological theories of mass

society, the managerial revolution, and the otherdirected

self. The individual became reflexive

rather than merely reflective. The corporeal self

is the dominant paradigm of contemporary society,

because the scientific revolutions in information

science, microbiology, and genetics have

created a language of genetic determinism in

which the self no longer exercises agency. The

“criminal gene” and the “divorce gene” now obscure

any recognition of individual reflexivity and

responsibility. The individual self is now thought

to be driven by whatever genes they have fortuitously


Sociology has characteristically defined the self

as simply the product of socialization and social

relationships (such as Charles Horton Cooley’s

“looking-glass self”). E´ mile Durkheim is the classical

representative of this tradition, because he

argued that the moral life of the individual was

completely dependent on society, and that without

such social regulation the life of the individual

would be one of anomie. For Durkheim, the

individual was the product of the collective, and

morals had a decisive force because they are social

facts – they have the moral authority of the collective.

In Durkheim’s sociological theory, this

position is worked out in Suicide (1951) where too

little integration results in egoistical behavior and

too much regulation produces fatalistic suicide.

The moral individual has to balance excessive egoistical

and excessive altruistic behavior. This tradition

was later reinforced in Erving Goffman’s The

Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life (1959) in which

the self merely learns a social script that has to be

delivered within a dramaturgical setting. But this

interpretation of the sociological tradition is

superficial. Like the western tradition as a whole,

sociology has struggled conceptually with the contradictions

between social action, social structure,

and the reflective self. The analytical solutions to

self self


this theoretical quandary of agency and structure

have in recent sociology been extensively explored

by Anthony Giddens in his structuration theory.

The idea of the self can be distinguished from,

but is related to, the notions of “the individual”

and “individualism.” N. Abercrombie, S. Hill, and

B. S. Turner, in Sovereign Individuals of Capitalism

(1986), made a conceptual distinction between

notions of the individual or self, the rise of individualism,

and the processes of individuation. The

rise of the idea of the individual self is associated

with the development of capitalism. The relationship

between Protestantism, individualism, and

capitalism was explored by Max Weber. Modern

sociology has, in approaching the self, emphasized

issues relating to intimacy, sexuality, and subjectivity.

Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy (1992)

and Ulrich Beck and Elizabeth Gernsheim-Beck,

The Normal Chaos of Love (1995) are pertinent illustrations.

The self in modern society is charged

with emotional eroticism. Beck and Gernsheim-

Beck (1995) argue that love is now our “secular

religion,” and claim that as religion loses its

hold, people seek solace in private sanctuaries,

but this sociological interpretation fails to recognize

that modern erotic, sentimental love is itself

part of the legacy of the Protestant conversionist

sects. This emotional component of religious experience

entered Protestantism in eighteenthcentury

England specifically from the evangelical

preaching of John Wesley (1703–91) and the emotional

hymns of Charles Wesley (1707–88). This

emotional trend in Christian spirituality depends

on German pietism. Friedrich Schleiermacher

(1768–1834) defended religion against the rationalist

criticisms of the Enlightenment, and argued

that religious feelings of dependence on God are

the foundation of religious faith. This religious

tradition was the foundation of the modern

notion that private and intimate experiences are

fundamental to the authentic self, and that social

relations such as marriage are primarily about

establishing satisfactory social interactions of


What Talcott Parsons in “Religion in Postindustrial

America: The Problem of Secularization”

(Social Research, 1974) called “the expressive revolution”

was closely related to subjective individualism

in popular culture and the importance of

choice in lifestyles and values. The new quest cultures

have been critically evaluated as forms of

expressive individualism. This American religious

revolution involved a shift from the cognitive–

instrumental values of early capitalism to an affective–

expressive culture. Individuals are free to

reinvent themselves and refashion themselves

constantly and self-consciously. The expressive revolution

signified in the student rebellions of the

1960s a new cultural movement that was a significant

departure from the asceticism that Weber had

described in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

(1905 [trans. 2002]). The expressive revolution

celebrated hedonism, self-expression, and

hostility to conventional norms and social institutions.

The language of personal freedom in the

1960s had largely evaporated by the end of the

century, and had been replaced by a return to

determinism in the language of genetic causation.


self-government rights

– see rights.

Selznick, Philip (1919– )

Selznick’s work brings together questions about

organizations, law (see law and society), and moral

philosophy to explore the fate of ideals, their realization

in the world, and the moral competence of

institutions. TVA and the Grass Roots (1949), a classic

of institutional theory and analysis, extended and

critiqued extant theories of bureaucracy by identifying

modes of co-optation to dominant authority,

but also resistance that could counteract the

centralizing authoritative tendencies of bureaucratic

organizations. His central foci – on rules,

procedures, purpose, value, authority, responsiveness,

and the significance of institutionalization –

in early studies, including The Organizational

Weapon (1952) on the strategies and tactics of the

Communist Party, and Leadership in Organization

(1957), were specifically elaborated in Law, Society

and Industrial Justice (1980). Selznick describes legality,

a term he uses for the rule of law, as an

imperfectly institutionalized ideal for limiting

arbitrariness. Legality is a practical norm of variable

instantiation. Selznick argued that when an

aspect of the law does not meet a set of ideal

standards, it can be said to be wanting in legality.

However, it does not as a result cease to be part of

the law. Law and Society in Transition (1976, with

Philippe Nonet) attempts to reintegrate legal,

political, and social theory through an analysis

of the development of distinct legal/political

orders by recasting “jurisprudential issues in a

social science perspective.” In The Moral Commonwealth

(1992) and Communitarianism and Citizenship

(1998), Selznick explores the possibilities for social

connection in community as the basis of wellbeing.

After brief appointments at the University

self Selznick, Philip (1919– )


of Minnesota and the University of California, Los

Angeles, Selznick has since 1952 been a professor

at the University of California, Berkeley, where

he was the founding Chair of the Center for Jurisprudence

and Social Policy and the Center for

Law and Society. Selznick’s cumulative work has

been a search for responsive law and governance,

humane institutions, and a sensible balance between

freedom and communal life. SUSAN SI L BEY


A science of signs that seeks to understand how

signification occurs in language, this term was

invented by the English philosopher John Locke

(1632–1704). Modern theories of signs are concerned

with how human communication is possible. Language

is regarded as a system of signs or a discourse,

and this general notion of language allows

sociologists to regard all cultural communication

as a language. For example, a boxing match can be

defined as a language in which the blows falling

on the boxers are also forms of communication, in

which the boxing match can be read as a language

of competition or violence. Specific semiotics

refers to such local languages, whereas a general

semiotics is the theory of what these various languages

have in common. In European philosophy,

semiotics is often referred to as “semiology” which

was developed by the linguistic philosopher Ferdinand

de Saussure in Course in General Linguistics

(1916 [trans. 1974]) and in many respects laid the

foundation for modern structuralism. He distinguished

between “langue” (the grammatical rules

of language) and “parole” (the actual production

of speech), and between the signifier (the sound or

expression) and the signified (the concept). He also

argued that signs are arbitrary, their functions are

determined by the structure of the sign system,

and language involves a system of differences. The

meaning of a particular unit of communication

only makes sense in terms of its relationship to

all the other units, and in particular to its opposites.

mile Durkheim’s distinction between the

sacred and the profane in The Elementary Forms of

Religious Life (1912 [trans. 2001]) can be regarded as

a semiotic analysis of religious mythologies. Saussure’s

semiology ignores the social context of language,

and hence social semiotics emerged to

understand how discourses operate in their social

context. Saussures’s theory of semiotics came eventually

to have a significant impact on the development

of cultural studies and media studies. In

cultural studies, anthropological methodology was

applied to the understanding of urban cultures,

which were interpreted through structuralist

methods that exposed the “cultural plots”

that inform the “narratives” of modern cultural

phenomena (such as football matches, films, and

festivals). These methods were also called “narratology”

because they sought understanding through

unweaving the stories of modern societies. For

example, Roland Barthes employed semiology to

analyze contemporary cultural practices such as

fashion. Modern society can be interpreted as a

system of such languages or Mythologies (Barthes,

1957 [trans. 1972]) and hence semiotics has contributed

to the contemporary reformulation of the

notion of “ideology.” BRYAN S. TURNER

Sennett, Richard (1943– )

Born in Chicago, Sennett began his career as a

musician. Having taught in New York, he is currently

Professor of Sociology at the London School

of Economics. His research has been concerned

with the changing nature of work in capitalism

and its impact on the working class, especially on

their emotions, aspirations, and expectations.

Four publications have studied the negative

impact of work and its organization on workers:

The Hidden Injuries of Class (Sennett and Jonathan

Cobb, 1972); Authority (1980); The Corrosion of Character.

The Personal Consequences of Work in the New

Capitalism (1998); and Respect. The Formation of Character

in an Age of Inequality (2003). Sennett has also

been interested in the changing quality of urban

life and the organization of the city in Families

Against the City (1970), The Uses of Disorder (1973),

and Flesh and Stone (1994) in which he explored the

sensory deprivation of individuals in the modern

urban environment. His sociology as a whole can

be described as an inquiry into the emotional

bonds of modern society, and their erosion by

the transformation of industrial capitalism. His

most influential book was The Fall of Public Man

(1974) in which he argued that the loss of formal

codes of behavior in public and the growth of

superficial forms of intimacy between strangers

have produced a loss of civility. BRYAN S. TURNER

service class

– see social class.


– see sexualities.

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