Discourse and the Construction of Society

Discourse and the Construction of Society : Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification

4.3 (49 ratings by Goodreads)

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In this bold theoretical work, Bruce Lincoln explores the ways in which myth, ritual, and classification hold human societies together--and how, in times of crisis, they can be used to take a society apart and reconstruct it. Without overlooking the role of coercive force in the maintenance (or overthrow) of social structures, Lincoln argues his thesis with compelling illustrations drawn from such diverse areas as Platonic philosophy, the Upanishads of India, ancient Celtic banquets, professional wrestling, and the Spanish Civil War. This wide-ranging interdisciplinary study--which draws on works in history, semiotics, anthropology, sociology, classics, and indology--offers challenging new insights into the complex dynamics of social cohesion and change.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press, USA
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0195079094
  • 9780195079098
  • 784,634

Review quote

"I read Bruce Lincoln's Discourse and the Construction of Society with pleasure and profit; he has the art of stating complicated ideas plainly without simplifying them, and the gift for finding telling examples; together these two qualities make his book engaging--and also useful. It is a kind of kit for thinking about society."--James Redfield, University of Chicago "Offers a perspective on how different processes of orally delivered discourse can be used for the creation, maintenance, or disintegration of society. It raises our consciousness of the power of discourse, not only as narrative that informs but also as polemic that can create and destroy."--Oral History "Lincoln's works always bring a breath of fresh air, and this one no exception....His use and treatment of a multiplicity of fields make his work relevant to many disciplines, including the history of religions, anthropology, sociology, political science, and semiotics. Highly recommended."--Religious Studies Review "Discourse and the Construction of Society is a helpful monkey wrench for canonbusters, cultural and political activists, and other demystifiers of dominant discourse. In this cross-disciplinary study...Lincoln...examines the role of symbolic discourse and its ugly cousin, force, in constructing society."--Voice Literary Supplement "The book's heterogeneity is vivid and its author adroit--his sense of loose links among rituals of resistance from highbrow politics and lowbrow media events alike should make good classroom fare."--American Anthropologistshow more

About Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies Bruce Lincoln

Bruce Lincoln is Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, the University of Chicago. He has published four other books, including Priests, Warriors, and Cattle: A Study in the Ecology of Religions, which won the American Council of Learned Societies Prize as Best New Book in History of Religions in 1981.show more

Rating details

49 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 55% (27)
4 24% (12)
3 16% (8)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)
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