The Invention of Society

The Invention of Society : Psychological Explanations for Social Phenomena

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This book sets out to dismantle the idea that movements, crises and other phenomena produced in society must be explained by exclusively social causes, without recourse to psychological explanations. Moscovici suggests that, although this idea is still prevalent in the social sciences today, it is in reality a rigid, prejudiced and outdated myth. He argues that, whilst psychological causes are undoubtedly distinct from social causes, all social phenomena are events or facts brought about human beings - it is their passions which stimulate their great political, religious and cultural creations. Moscovici asks why these passions - whatever form they might take: sacrifice, agitation, community or revolution - arise, and how they transform a mass of individuals into a genuine collectivity. To answer these questions, he argues, we must look for psychological explanations. He throws new light on the work of Durkheim, Weber and Simmel, showing how far the purely sociological explanation of social phenomena remains an ideal. This book won the European Amalfi Prize for sociology and social Theory 1988.
It should be of interest to students and researchers in the social sciences and psychology.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • index
  • 0745608140
  • 9780745608143

Table of contents

Part 1 Religion and nature as origins of society: the machine for the creation of Gods; crimes and punishments; a society difficult to name. Part 2 The power of the idea: social "Big Bangs"; the genius of capitalism; the mana and the numina. Part 3 One of the greatest mysteries in the world: the science of forms; money as passion and as a representation; the world that has vanished.
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