Guide to the vibrant and

Download 17.16 Mb.
Size17.16 Mb.
1   ...   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   ...   162

(1825–93) into the relationship between old age

and illness, and the development of theories of

aging by Elie´ Metchnikoff (1845–1916), based

upon his work in medicine and biology. The study

of aging from social as well as biological perspectives

took longer to develop, but expanded rapidly

from the 1940s – driven by awareness of the economic

impact of aging populations. Professional

associations concerned with research into aging

developed around this time, including the Gerontological

Society of America (established in 1945)

and the International Association of Gerontology

(1948). Key figures in the development of social

and psychological studies of aging, from the

1950s onwards, included James Birren, Bernice

Neugarten, Clark Tibbitts, and Matilda White Riley

in the United States, and Peter Townsend in the

United Kingdom.

Sociological and social policy perspectives in

gerontology were extended during the 1980s

with a combination of critical perspectives on

aging and fresh investigations into the family

and community life of older people. The former

(notably through the work of Carroll Estes and

Alan Walker) challenged prevailing views about

old age as a “problem for society,” highlighting

structural pressures and constraints affecting

older people. The latter confirmed the diversity

of social ties in later life, and the continuing centrality

of family and friends through all stages of

the life-course.

Longitudinal research in gerontology has confirmed

the complex mix of factors influencing the

experience of growing old. On the one hand, interactions

between social, psychological, and biological

characteristics influence key aspects of

aging. On the other hand, these are embedded

within the particular historical and cultural experiences

of successive birth cohorts. Membership

of a cohort may, for example, greatly influence

health and financial status as people mature into

later life. This point is reflected in approaches

such as cumulative advantage/disadvantage

theory, which examines the extent to which early

advantage or disadvantage may be accentuated

over time leading to increased inequality at later

stages of the life-course. Through models such as

these, gerontology has challenged assumptions of

homogeneity among old people, with research evidence

suggesting that people become less alike

with age, given long-term interactions between

genetic endowment, social inequalities, and cultural

and historical events.

Major influences on gerontological research in

the twenty-first century are likely to include the

challenge of globalization and the impact of population

aging on poorer regions of the world.

Hitherto, studies of growing old have been dominated

by a focus on older people in western society.

Global society comprises, however, a range of

demographic processes with variations in the experience

and likelihood of growing old. Studying

such differences and inequalities across the world

will undoubtedly produce major challenges and

questions for gerontological research over the

next phase of its development. CHRIS PH I L L I P SON


This term comes from the early modern Italian

practice of setting aside urban neighborhoods

for Jewish people. Over time, the term retained

its association with the enforced segregation of

Jews in Europe, but in the United States in the

twentieth century, ghetto was generalized to

other social groups against which a collective

prejudice was directed – notably urban blacks confined

economically and socially to an isolated residential

area. By the early 2000s, the term had

entered common language to be applied to any

social group cut off from common social life,

gerontology ghetto


sometimes by its own preferences (for example,

“the academic ghetto” or “the gypsy ghetto”).

With respect to urban enclaves of ethnic groups

(see ethnicity and ethnic groups) other than Jews

or blacks, the term ghetto is commonly replaced

by expressions like Chinatown or Little Italy.

Whether imposed on the segregated by the wider

society or assumed by those who cut themselves

off, the term generally retains its original pejorative

connotation, as in “ghetto-blasting” in reference

to the loud music outsiders associate with

the cultural tastes of black ghetto youth. In academic

sociology, “ghetto” may occur as a quasitechnical

term borrowed from common language,

but it is more accurately used to denote the social

practice whereby social groups tend to associate

with others of like kind, usually (but not always)

residentially, occasionally by their own choice,

but usually by force. CHARLES LEMERT

Giddens, Anthony (1938– )

Born in 1938 in north London, the son of a clerk,

Giddens has had two careers, the first as one of the

most influential social theorists of our time, the

second as a public intellectual both in Great Britain

and on the global stage. Giddens was trained

as a social theorist at the London School of Economics,

to which he returned as Director from

1997 to 2003. From 1970 to 1997, Giddens taught

at the University of Cambridge where he became a

professor and life fellow of King’s College. He is

the author or editor of over thirty books. He was

made a life peer and took his seat in the British

House of Lords in 2004.

As a social thinker, Giddens has an exceptional

ability to reconcile and synthesize leading arguments

drawn from disparate and often rival

schools of thought. In doing so he produces

novel analytical frameworks and concepts that

preserve the strengths of a vast array of sources.

Proceeding in this way, Giddens has done as much

as any single thinker to set the agenda for an

entire generation of sociologists. He first rose to

prominence in 1971 when he published Capitalism

and Social Theory. At a time when Anglophone

social theory was still ill informed about European

social thought, Giddens provided surehanded

commentaries on the depth and breadth

of works by Max Weber, E´mile Durkheim, and

especially Karl Marx, whom Giddens did much to

legitimate for sociologists who previously had

avoided his works.

In the next phase of his sociological career,

Giddens created a new analytic framework he

dubbed structuration theory. Structuration theory

is a sociological ontology, that is, a set of concepts

that propose generic assumptions about the

nature of social life that sociologists draw upon

when they first think about social life in any given

historical, cultural, or local domain. When developing

structuration theory, Giddens absorbed

the lessons of Harold Garfinkel, Erving Goffman,

and the later philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein,

all of whom concurred on the fundamental importance

of enacted practices in social life. It is in

part thanks to Giddens’s structuration theory that

social practices are now regarded as basic units of

analysis in sociology. When Giddens first began

developing structuration theory at Cambridge in

the mid-1970s, social action was almost always

defined in terms of the subjective meaning the

actor gave to his/her own acts. Like Garfinkel,

Goffman, and the later Wittgenstein, Giddens recognized

that it is what actors do and how they

perform that constitutes social conduct.

But Giddens was quite critical of sociologists of

practice (also known as sociologists of everyday

life) for their unwillingness to take on board the

reflexive association between enacted forms of

conduct and the larger structural properties and

morphological patterns of relations in society. In

his central concept of the duality of structure,

Giddens proposes that structural properties of

larger and enduring social groups are carried by

actors as forms of competencies that enable them

to act in specific ways in appropriate situations.

Actors in such situations may reproduce the general

form of the practices they have learned in

the past, or they may alter that form in some way.

While no single act may sustain or change the

structural properties of a culture or a group in

itself, the manifold reproduction or alteration of

practices by numerous actors over extended

periods of time will either reproduce the characteristic

structured features of a culture or group,

or more or less substantially revise the structure

of that group. In much the same way, enacted

practices may either reproduce or alter the networks

of contacts and relations, and the more

integrated systems, that provide the morphological

patterns for society.

In structuration theory, Giddens also offers

a new theory of power in society. Like Weber,

Giddens distinguishes forms of domination from

the forms of social power in everyday life. Concentrating

on the latter, Giddens breaks sharply with

Michel Foucault and others who see pervasive

domination in social life. In his concept of the

dialectic of control, Giddens proposes that in

principle all actors, save perhaps for those who

Giddens, Anthony (1938– ) Giddens, Anthony (1938– )


are physically disabled, have at least two options,

namely to comply or resist the orders of others.

Given that the dominant typically require compliance

from the dominated, Giddens proposes that

dominated groups always have some ability to

carve out spheres of autonomy for themselves,

however modest or expansive they may be. Recent

works by Michael Mann and Charles Tilly expand

upon this point, though only Mann directly

acknowledges a debt to Giddens in this regard.

Modernity is the theme in the third phase of

Giddens’s sociological career, a phase marked by

three publications: The Consequences of Modernity

(1990), Modernity and Self-Identity (1991), and “Living

in a Post-Traditional Society,” in Ulrich Beck, Giddens,

and Scott Lash, Reflexive Modernization (1994).

As the Soviet Union imploded and the information

age was about to dawn, Giddens pointed

out that dramatic cultural, political, economic,

and technological change has been characteristic

of modernity since its inception. This did not

make the new wave of changes any less disruptive

and disorienting. Indeed, Giddens mainly concentrates

his attention on the existential problems

and the difficulties in maintaining personal relationships

that have beset modern western

societies since the end of World War II. Two disruptive

forces of particular note are, on the one

hand, the eclipse of time and (to only a relatively

lesser degree) space as barriers to the expansion of

social systems and, on the other hand, the erosion

of local authority and culture by abstract economic

and informational systems. But Giddens

also notes the countervailing trend of the reappropriation

of abstract knowledge by actors in their

everyday lives.

As a public intellectual, Giddens is best known

as the originator of The Third Way, a set of leading

ideas for social policy associated with the Labour

government of Prime Minister Tony Blair in Britain

and several European governments as well.

Giddens has published several books for general

audiences including The Third Way (1998) and

Runaway World (2000). I RA COHEN


The giving of gifts has been analyzed as an aspect

of social exchange. Gifts generally create or reinforce

social solidarity by creating obligation,

but they can also be used aggressively to demonstrate

superior social power. In his The Gift, Marcel

Mauss (1923 [trans. 1983]) treated gifts as a form of

social exchange which reinforces social solidarity,

creating a duty to reciprocate the original gift, but

he also examined the “potlatch ritual” of Native

Americans in which a chief might display his

power through a ritual destruction of his possessions.

This example demonstrates the contradictory

nature of gift giving, both creative and


In the social philosophy of Jacques Derrida

(1930–2004), the study of gifts is related more

broadly to hospitality and friendship. Derrida has

drawn on Emile Benveniste’s Le Vocabulaire des institutions

Indo-Europeenes (1969) in his Of Hospitality

(2000). In the study of reciprocity, Derrida showed

that in a variety of European languages there are

important etymological connections between

“stranger,” “enemy,” and “guest.” Latin hostis indicates

the notion of a stranger who has an irresistible

claim on our hospitality, specifically a claim

against the master of the household. While people

who dwell outside may be enemies, the guest who

has entered our dwelling to sit by the fireside has

significant rights and can claim our protection.

This analysis of the origins of “guest” demonstrates

how notions of reciprocity and exchange

between the master of a household and the guest

emerge from expectations about hospitality. Any

consideration of the stranger/guest relationship

must take into account the wider realm of gift

exchange, and the duties that attach to giving

and receiving.

Derrida was influenced by Mauss’s discussion of

“primitive exchange” in The Gift, in which the

word pharmakon means both poison and cure. In

Mauss’s analysis of the potlatch ritual of the

Native American communities of the northwest

coast, it is evident that the gift-exchange is typically

a challenge that creates a destructive social

relationship. In connection with social relations,

the gift is both corrosive (poison) and therapeutic

(cure). In reflecting on “Plato’s Pharmacy” through

Mauss’s analysis of the pharmakon, Derrida used

this etymological analysis of the ambiguity of the

gift to show in effect that all ethical behavior

involves hospitality, because ethics are about the

claims which the stranger might have on our

society. BRYAN S. TURNER

gift relationship

– see gift.

Gilroy, Paul (1956– )

Influenced by the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary

Cultural Studies, since 1999 Gilroy has

been Professor of Sociology and African-American

Studies at Yale University. His PhD thesis, “Racism,

Class and The Contemporary Politics of ‘Race’ and

‘Nation’” (1986), focused on the British situation

gift Gilroy, Paul (1956– )


and culminated in his first book, There Ain’t No

Black in the Union Jack (1987). His work has been a

consistent attempt to combat “raciology” by emphasizing

the diasporic character of racial categories

of identity, solidarity, and resistance. The Black

Atlantic (1993), Against Race (2000), and Between

Camps (2004) reject essentialist approaches to ethnicity

in favor of a post-identity form of doubleconsciousness

that seeks to acknowledge the

hybrid form of the various versions of white

supremacy and black power. The Black Atlantic

reveals the authoritarian connection between

sovereign territory and national consciousness

and the contradictions thereof. It argues that for

150 years black intellectuals in the West have been

diasporic and struggled with the dilemmas

involved in being simultaneously black and

western. Gilroy’s sociology makes an explicit link

between the quest for territorial sovereignty,

racism, and fascism. At the level of material

culture, Gilroy has examined black vernacular

and popular cultures through black music, film,

and literature to demonstrate the articulation of

diasporic, hybrid forms. His recent work has

been concerned with examining the meaning of

multiculturalism and elaborating non-racial democracy.

This has climaxed in the concept of “planetary

humanism” which he develops from Aime´

Ce´saire and Franz Fanon. This rejects liberal humanism

on the grounds that it is complicit with

racism and calls for an inclusive, global, anti-racist,

anti-militaristic, and environmentalist humanism.

By arguing that racial politics must transgress

the color line and incorporate a critical stance on

essentialist thinking per se, Gilroy shows that he

is au courant with postcolonial thought and the

post-identity thinking found in the work of his

old Birmingham School mentor, Stuart Hall. But

critics have questioned whether his politics of

double-consciousness and planetary humanism is

practically viable. CHRIS ROJEK

Glazer, Nathan (1924– )

Formerly Professor of Education and Social Structure

and currently Professor Emeritus, in the

Graduate School of Education, Harvard University,

and the co-editor of The Public Interest, Glazer has

been an influential figure in American public life

in terms of his writing on race relations and

multiculturalism. He has been closely associated

with the so-called New York intellectuals who included

such figures as Daniel Bell. He was, as a

student, a follower of L. Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary.

After the Depression, Glazer, like many

Jewish intellectuals, came to regard capitalist

America as a successful democracy in which each

successive wave of migrants could eventually be

incorporated into America, despite discrimination.

His first publication was on the topic of his dissertation,

The Social Basis of American Communism

(1961), and he collaborated in David Riesman’s

The Lonely Crowd (1950). He came to the attention

of the academic community through his publications

on race and ethnicity. He wrote the influential

American Judaism (1957) and, with D. P.

Moynihan, he published Beyond the Melting Pot

(1963) and Ethnicity. Theory and Practice (1975). His

essays on these issues were published as Ethnic

Dilemmas 1964–1982 (1983).

Glazer has emerged as a controversial figure in

American politics because he has questioned affirmative

action programs, for example in support

of black Americans. These arguments were presented

in Affirmative Discrimination (1975) – a collection

of essays that date back to the early 1970s.

Critics of Glazer, for example S. Steinberg (2001)

in Turning Back. The Retreat from Racial Justice in

American Thought, have argued that, not only has

he abandoned the socialist principles of his youth,

but also it is hypocritical of a person from a migrant

Jewish background to criticize black activists

for demanding support for their aspirations to

succeed in American society. For example, Glazer

was a student at City College New York in 1940

when tuition was free – a form therefore of affirmative

action. Critics claim that his policy prescriptions

are justified by apparently scholarly

arguments from, for example, Beyond the Melting

Pot, where Glazer argued that, because black

Americans had suffered so profoundly in the past

from slavery, they have not experienced the

upward social mobility enjoyed by other ethnic

communities who have prospered in the American

Dream. Glazer argues that repairing this historical

problem of black Americans is beyond the scope of

current social policy.

Glazer argued that, despite the civil rights movement,

the gap between white and black Americans

has persisted, and this inequality is associated with

declining inner-city schools and the unravelling of

the black family. He has recently been critical of

liberal policies, especially in schools towards a

multicultural curriculum, in We Are All Multiculturalists

Now (1997) and Sovereignty under Challenge

(J. D. Montgomery and N. Glazer (eds.), 2002), in

which he is concerned that multicultural education

subverts the truth and undermines national

unity by the “Balkanization” of the American

republic. Glazer and his generation believed

that Americanization was unproblematic because

Glazer, Nathan (1924– ) Glazer, Nathan (1924– )


ethnic minorities would eventually be assimilated

and benefit from growing economic prosperity.

However, that optimism has been questioned by

the fact that black progress appears to have come

to an end in the 1970s. For his critics, Glazer

apparently offers black youth a bleak choice:

either negative social conflict and disharmony,

or passive acceptance of inclusion into American

society (on white terms). Despite criticisms, the

quality and importance of Glazer’s scholarship

remains unquestioned. BRYAN S. TURNER


– see globalization.


Described as a new world order, some scholars

argue that globalization is an unprecedented

21st-century reorganization of time, space, people,

and things. It is variously portrayed, sometimes as

“globalism” by advocates and promoters, or as a

postmodern form of unrestrained capitalist expansion

and imperialism by members of antiglobalization

movements. In both instances, the

object of support or resistance is a global system

of interconnected communication and transportation

networks, economic markets, and persons,

covering almost the entire planet. An essential

feature of this system is that it is deterritorialized,

that is, the connections and collectivities exist

primarily in electronic networks of communication.

Some authors, such as Arun Appadurai in

his “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global

Cultural Economy,” in Public Culture (1990), refer

to this as a form of pan-locality, with multiple

nodes of transaction or “scapes” – ethnoscapes,

technoscapes, finanscapes, mediascapes, ideoscapes,

linguistically echoing the notion of landscape

for segmented networks in this now

deteritorrialized, fluid, transnational, global

social organization. Through the electronic connections

and diverse scapes, elements of human

culture move around the globe separately from

Share with your friends:
1   ...   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   63   ...   162

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page