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With the development of globalization, critics of

traditional sociology have argued that it was implicitly

concerned with studying societies that

were nation states, and hence, to become more

relevant to a global world, sociology would have to

change direction and become more cosmopolitan.

The conventional methodologies that employed,

for example, comparative and historical research

could not understand global flows of goods and

communication where national boundaries are of

declining relevance. Ulrich Beck (2000) in Want is

Globalization? has spoken of the emergence of a

cosmopolitan vision in the evolution of transnational

society, calling for sociology to embrace

a global understanding of an open world horizon.

A similar stance has been taken by Anthony Giddens

in The Consequences of Modernity (1990) where

he argued that classical sociology had been too

much focused on the social structures of the

nation-state, which was implicitly but inadequately

equated to the universalistic study of


There are at least three issues which the notion

of cosmopolitan society raises. The first is possibly

trivial, namely, did traditional sociology make

an unwarranted equation of society with nationstate?

For example, while anthropological research

had the consequence of promoting the

idea of human diversity, nineteenth-century sociology

as a product of the Enlightenment embraced

the idea of a unified science of society. Claude

Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte (1798–1857)

shared a common evolutionary view of society in

which the new industrialism would bring about

the destruction of Christian religion, but Comte

saw sociology as a new science – a new “religion of

humanity.” Positivist sociology promoted the idea

of socialism to transcend both the social class

divisions of capitalism and the Darwinian struggle

of the races. E´ mile Durkheim, as the heir of Saint-

Simon and Comte, saw the moral dimension of

socialism as a solution to the individualism and

anomie of modern society. For Durkheim, the role

of the state was to provide some moral guidance

to society to compensate for the instability that

was engendered by the market in a capitalist environment.

Because Durkheim belonged to the

Enlightenment tradition, his view of history was

universalistic, and, while he was influenced by

British anthropology in The Elementary Forms of the

Religious Life (1912 [trans. 1954]), his thought did

not incline towards cultural relativism. In Professional

Ethics and Civic Morals (1992) he defended the

idea of “world patriotism” against the narrow

nationalism of his day. It can also be argued

that the political economy of Karl Marx sought

to understand the global economic process of capitalism,

and through communism developed a

socialist version of cosmopolitanism.

Second, the globalization thesis may often

underestimate the resilience of the sovereignty

of the nation-state, and hence sociologists may

be justified in concentrating on the United States

or United Kingdom or France rather than on

global networks. There is little evidence that the

growth of global networks of interaction and

communication have seriously undermined the

political sovereignty of states, or that there is

any prospect of global governance.

Finally, it raises methodological problems about

how exactly sociologists might study global society.

While sociology has developed a methodology

that is relevant, for example, to the study of social

groups, cities, and societies, we have yet to develop

adequate methodologies relevant to global

society. The study of the internet is, of course, one

promising area of research, and sociologists – for

example, in Chris Mann and Fiona Stewart’s

Internet Communication and Qualitative Research

(2000) – have started to develop the opportunities

made possible by electronic communication


Despite these criticisms, cosmopolitanism will

become an important research topic in sociology,

and the moral implications of cosmopolitan

duties will have important consequences for the

evolution of sociology, which to some extent

remains bound within its national frameworks,

despite the emergence, for example, of the International

Sociological Association and the

International Institute of Sociology. While globalization

is influencing the intellectual development

of sociology, the American Sociological

Association remains the dominant national institution,

and publishing houses still focus on the

publication of work that is relevant to the Englishspeaking,

western world. BRYAN S. TURNER


Historically cosmopolitanism has two related

meanings. Firstly, a cosmopolitan is someone

who embraces plurality and difference. In this

respect, modern cities are often seen as providing

the backdrop for the development of cosmopolitan

sensibilities in that they house a number of

distinctive cultures, ethnic groups, and lifestyles.

A cosmopolitan is a polyglot who is able to move

cosmopolitan sociology cosmopolitanism


comfortably within multiple and diverse communities,

while resisting the temptation to search for

a purer and less complex identity. Cosmopolitan

selves and communities, in this understanding,

will thrive when the right to be different is respected.

Second, a cosmopolitan is literally a citizen

of the world. This refers to a set of perspectives

that have sought to jettison viewpoints that are

solely determined by the nation, or their geographical

standing within the world.

The political philosophy of Immanuel Kant

(1724–1804) argued that a cosmopolitan democracy

should be developed to replace the law of

nations with a genuinely morally binding international

law. For Kant the spread of commerce

and principles of republicanism could help foster

cosmopolitan sentiments. Kant’s vision of a peaceful

cosmopolitan order based upon the obligation

on states to settle their differences through the

court of law has gained a new legitimacy in the

twentieth century with the founding of the

United Nations and the European Union.

More recently a number of political philosophers

have argued that Kant’s earlier vision can

be revised to provide a new critical politics for an

increasingly global age. A cosmopolitan political

response is required where national politics has

lost much of its power but little of its influence.

Globalization has undermined the operation of

national democracies as they are increasingly

unable to control the flow of money, refugees,

and asylum seekers, viruses, media images, and

ideas and perspectives. Many have argued that to

begin to address these problems requires the

construction of overlapping forms of political

community connecting citizens into local, national,

regional, and global forms of government.

The development of cosmopolitan perspectives is

fostered by the growing acceptance that many

of the problems that face the world’s citizens

cannot be resolved by individual states and are

shared problems. The cosmopolitan project

seeks to revive democracy in an age where it is

increasingly under threat.

There are three main criticisms of these arguments.

(1) Such proposals are part of the liberal

enterprise of state building and fail to appreciate

the power of strategic interests apparent on the

global stage. In this understanding, many have

been concerned that the United States (the world’s

last remaining super power) will refuse, and even

try to subvert, cosmopolitan institutions. (2)

Cosmopolitan politics is an elite top-down version

of politics that will inevitably come to represent

the interests of the powerful rather than more

“ordinary” or excluded populations. In this respect,

some have suggested that we focus upon

the emergence of cosmopolitanism from below

in respect of nongovernmental organizations

(NGOs). (3) Finally, some have been concerned

that the two meanings of cosmopolitanism are

not compatible with one another. Despite the acceptance

of universal human rights, the rule of

law, and democracy, many communities remain

excluded from participatory forms of democracy.

Here there is a concern that universal rules fail to

appreciate the difference in people’s identities.



– see explanation.


“Credentials” are the key factors at the interface

between systems of education and systems of employment.

Randall Collins’s The Credential Society

(1979) was an extension of his doctoral thesis on

“Education and Employment” which coincided

closely with the publication in 1967 by Peter M.

Blau and O. D. Duncan of The American Occupational

Structure. Belief in the acquisition of credentials –

educationally tested and graded capacities to perform

occupationally in commensurately graded

employment tasks – is a by-product of a technocratic

model of the social function of education.

As Collins succinctly represented it, the model

assumes that “Education prepares students in

the skills necessary for work, and skills are the

main determinant of occupational success . . .

Hence education determines success.” Collins perceived

that the de-schooling movement was an

attempt to liberate education from credentialism,

and that the early work of Pierre Bourdieu on

social reproduction (which he linked with that of

Louis Althusser on the reproduction of the class

relations of capitalism) was also an attempt to

discredit the claims of technocratic and meritocratic

thinking. Nevertheless, neither critique sufficiently

emphasized the importance of cultural

markets in distorting the transmission of occupational

opportunities. Collins argued that even the

civil rights movement in the United States failed

to destroy the supposed legitimacy of an a-cultural

model of educational and occupational allocation.

Disadvantaged groups sought to work the system

of credentialism, generating an inflation of

grades dubiously related to levels of educational


Collins argued that in the 1960s the credential

system went into a state of “explicit crisis.” He

cosmopolitanism credentialism


suggested that the credential system was caught

between opposing forces. On one side the system

had become central to sustaining an economy of

excess productive capacity. On the other side, it

had become very expensive and relatively unrewarding

for many individual investors. A balance

remained possible but there was a potential crisis

on either side. In the first instance, too

much growth in the credential market generates

disillusion and withdrawal of material investment,

while, in the second, too little investment

produces economic depression.

He suggested that different ideological positions

had been adopted about credentialism.

The basic opposition was between what he called

“credential capitalism” and “credential socialism,”

but pressure from ethnic groups stimulated

“ethnic-patrimonial” or “patronage” credentialism

which, in turn, provoked “credential fascism”

in reaction. He characterized “de-schooling” as a

form of “credential radicalism” but his view was

that there were only two “honest and realistic”

positions: either “credential Keynesianism” which

would recognize that education “creates an artificial

credential currency” which does not assume

any precise occupational purchasing power, or,

preferably, “credential abolitionism” which would

force education to re-emphasize its intrinsic,

rather than instrumental, value. DEREK ROBBINS


Societies have been concerned about behavioral

expectations, disruptions to social order, and the

protection of the natural flow of life since ancient

times. Ancient Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi is

the earliest evidence of a society that clearly identified

a set of rules governing social life. King

Hammurabi (1795–1750 BC) established a historical

precedent for other societies to follow. By

drawing notice to his subjects of what he saw as

acceptable behavior, he laid the foundation for a

more organized, purposeful, and civilized social

order. With varying degrees of formalization and

success, rulers have endeavored to protect their

kingdoms, albeit the wealth and power of monarchs

have frequently superseded the interests

and protection of their citizens. The key issue

here is that rules governing social life have been

part of the social order of human communities

since recorded time. Violations of these codes of

conduct have also been part of the social fabric

and social experience since humans began living

in social groups.

Hammurabi was no doubt a prescient ruler.

There was a lengthy period between his rule and

the eventual codification of conduct into formal

criminal and procedural laws. Before the development

of such formalized codes, wrongs were dealt

with on an individual level. The norm was for

aggrieved parties to settle disputes or to right

wrongs between themselves. However, as societies

became more densely populated, urbanized, and

organized, behaviors that violated the sensitivities

of the collective were handled more formally and

eventually judiciously. Codification of unacceptable

behavior became necessary. This formalization

of expectations established the boundaries

of acceptable behavior by which citizens were to

abide. These violations of the social order have

evolved into what is today referred to as “crime.”

Jay Albanese in Criminal Justice (2002: 13) asserts

that “[c]rime is a natural phenomenon, because

people have different levels of attachments, motivation,

and virtue.” He was, no doubt, building

on the notion first put forward by E´ mile Durkheim.

Crime, Durkheim observed, is present in

all societies and is seen as an integral part of

“healthy” communities. In the chapter on “The

Normal and the Pathological” in The Rules of Sociological

Method (1895 [trans. 1958]), Durkheim

asserted that “what is normal, simply, is the existence

of criminality, provided that it attains and

does not exceed, for each social type, a certain

level.” He further defined crime as being actions

that offend certain very strongly held “collective

sentiments” (1958: 67). What makes crime

“normal” for Durkheim and Albanese is society’s

inability to be exempt from it. In other words, all

societies experience transgressions, albeit in varying

forms and varying levels of severity. The mere

presence of crime across time and place makes it a

normal and expected part of group living.

Interestingly, once a society can identify tangibly

those actions that are disruptive, the presence

of crime can play a unifying role. For

example, if particular behaviors are seen as offensive

or threatening the greater social order, those

behaviors will be barred, thus strengthening what

a group believes to be important defining characteristics

of its culture. Violations that offend core

values and beliefs of a collectivity become the

foundations for the formalization of codes of conduct

at a given point in time and place. The critical

issue here is that the behavior must offend

collective sentiments rather than the sentiments

of an individual, thus differentiating between

civil and criminal wrongs.

While violations of social norms are a constant

in all societies, the term “crime” is stubbornly

recalcitrant to precise definition. It is a complex

crime crime


concept that has been the focus of criminological

and juridical research for many centuries. Crime

is a concept whose definition varies across time

and place. The definition is dependent upon perspective,

viewpoint, and perception. Within criminology,

there exist several competing theoretical

foundations, all of which construct different and

distinctive definitions of crime.

As with any element of social science, context,

perspective, and ideology play a significant part

in the formulation of concepts, variables, and

their operational definition. Crime is a social construct

that reflects normative values, customs,

mores, and tradition of a given society at a given

point in time. Definitions of crime are also reflected

in the political values and historical foundations

of a social system. For example, the

medieval church played an important and instrumental

role in shaping and monitoring the

morality of society, which in turn shaped what

was defined as criminal. For example, in seventeenth-

century Europe, the criminality of witchcraft

was constructed by political leaders who

were profoundly influenced by the religious community.

The practices of witchcraft and sorcery

were feared and regarded as a serious crime

against the community, and as a result punishments

were ultimately severe. Most jurisdictions

have since abolished their statutes and laws

pertaining to witchcraft with the development of


Another example of how community values

shape the definition of crime is the specific crime

of theft. In western societies, theft is commonly

included in criminal statutes. However, in some

indigenous communities, there is no recognizable

crime of theft owing to a longstanding tradition

of community ownership. Because there is no

legal tradition of private property, there is

no corresponding formulation of a crime of theft.

Finally, religious doctrine also influences criminological

and juridical perspectives on what is

acceptable behavior and what constitutes a crime.

For example, the holy law of Islam, the Shari’a, is

deeply rooted in the religious practices and institutions

of Muslim societies, and the basic assumptions

of the various schools of religious law

are reflected in the criminal codes of many Middle

Eastern and Asian societies today. However, in the

United States and other western societies, there

exists a philosophical and juridical doctrine that

mandates the separation of church and state. The

result is that many beliefs and activities that are

offensive to religious groups are not necessarily


Three perspectives have been prominent in the

definition of crime, namely the legalistic approach,

conduct norm, and conflict perspectives.

While there are other perspectives – as described,

for example, in John Hagan, Modern Criminology:

Crime, Criminal Behavior and Its Control (1987) –

these three approaches have been at the intellectual

core of the definitional debate for some

decades. Undoubtedly, criminologists and others

who study crime will never come to any firm

agreement or lasting consensus as to what exactly

constitutes a criminal act. Nevertheless, these

perspectives or approaches do yield some

important starting points.

Somewhat naively, crime has been taken for

granted as simply being acts that violate criminal

law, the basis for the legalistic perspective. William

L. Marshall and William L. Clark in their

essay on “The Legal Definition of Crime and Criminals,”

in Marvin E. Wolfgang, Leonard Savitz, and

Norman Johnston (eds.), The Sociology of Crime and

Delinquency (1962: 14), state very clearly that

“crime is an act or omission prohibited by public

law for the protection of the public, and made

punishable by the state in a judicial proceeding

in its own name.” Inherent in this perspective is

the fact that laws are based on consensus. There is

general agreement as to what behaviors are repugnant

and unacceptable. These are then reflected in

substantive criminal law. Crime is, therefore, a

function of beliefs and morality. Those actions

which violate morality and general social mores

become crimes and are constrained by law. In

theory these laws are to be applicable to all

members of society, regardless of social class and

the personal attributes of individuals.

Marshall and Clark clarify the argument that

crimes are public wrongs in contrast to civil injuries,

which involve individual victimization. These

authors’ views on the legal framework of crime

are not uncommon. In fact, from the Classical

School through to the 1970s the legalistic approach

has existed somewhat in isolation, and

has gone without systematic challenge. More

simply put, crime, according to the legal approach,

is any behavior prohibited by criminal

law. Elements that constitute criminal behavior

and that are codified in the law change over

time. This problem of social change emerges

from the fact that norms, values, and beliefs

evolve in a given social context. Interestingly, at

various points in time, the norms and values of a

given society may well conflict with legal statutes.

For example, in the United States during the

1920s, national and local laws prohibited the

crime crime


sale, distribution, and manufacture of alcoholic

beverages. However, the existing laws did not

quench the public demand for alcohol. Public

demand for alcoholic drinks is believed to have

contributed to the emergence and proliferation of

organized criminal gangs. In the 1930s, social

pressure forced the US government to reconsider

its stance, which led to the decriminalization of

laws pertaining to the sale, transportation, and

manufacture of alcohol.

Two principles of law are associated with the

legalistic approach. Under common law, the basis

for many western legal systems, crimes are classified

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