Communicating Ideas

Communicating Ideas : Crisis of Publishing in a Post-industrial Society

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Irving Louis Horowitz is one of the leading figures in political sociology today: co-founder and long-time publisher of Society/Transaction, the most significant social science periodical, as well as publisher of Transaction Books, a successful social science book publisher. This book is the culmination of his many years of theoretical and practical experience with the problems of scholarly publishing. Among the specific subjects the book deals with are the new technology, notably computers, and their impact on the scholarly community, the relation of fair use and property rights to this technology, and democratic values and constitutional rights in this context. The book also covers the social context of scholarly publishing, including the changing reading public, the role of social scientists, the global politics of publishing, and the future of publishing. Horowitz is concerned about moving beyond two prevailing, and opposing tendencies. The first is an excessive pragmatism in the publishing world, with too much attention focused on profit margins and the "botton line." the other tendency is the intellectualization of scholarly publishing, an approach that denigrates all aspects of publishing other than editorial.About the Author: Irving Louis Horowitz is Hannah Arendt Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Rutgers University. His many books include Three Worlds of Development, Beyond Empire and Revolution, and Ideology and Utopia in the United States.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 142.24 x 210.82 x 25.4mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195041208
  • 9780195041200

Review Text

A political sociologist bewails the state of publishing today, with mostly very good reason. In academic prose, he points out the two dangers of publishing: First, too much concentration on profit at all costs among the popular products; second, too much "idealism" in academic presses that are concerned only with intellectual issues rather than the practical elements of publishing. Included are essays on such topics as the impact of computer technology on making books. He addresses specifics within his own field of political sociology, and prognosticates things to come as well. Horowitz slaps the wrists of "professional" publishers for creating an "anti-intellectual environment." This is doubtless true. Still, it cannot be expected that this book will do much to chasten the profit-hungry; it is too clearly addressed to the other camp. This is a shame, as a carefully considered, cogent book such as this one could benefit most commercial publishers. Perhaps someday Horowitz will repackage his ideas into a more popular, less dense format for a larger audience. Indeed, the book itself shows clearly which camp the author is in: it is, for a medium-sized book, a fairly pricey item from an academic press. (Kirkus Reviews)show more