New Paradigm for Understanding Today's World

New Paradigm for Understanding Today's World

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Touraine is one of the leading social thinkers in the world today and many of his books have been published in English.In this book Touraine presents a new theoretical framework for understanding the contemporary world. It is a broad theoretical work which seeks to make sense of everyday experience at the beginning of the 21st century.This is a major new theoretical work by one of the leading sociologists in the world today.A great reference book for those studying sociology and social theory at any level.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 16mm | 340.19g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745636721
  • 9780745636726
  • 842,935

Review quote

"How rare it is that one of the world's most original social theorists writes a book so plain and important that it could be used as an introductory text for first-year students. Alain Touraine's New Paradigm should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand today's world as it is coming to be." Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University
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About Alain Touraine

A.Touraine, Director, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Translated by G.Elliot
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Back cover copy

In the first centuries of modernization in the West, the social world was described and thought of in terms of politics: order and disorder, king and country, the people and revolution. In the wake of the industrial revolution, capitalism freed itself from political power and gave birth to another paradigm, one that was both economic and social. We began to speak in terms of class and inequality, wages and strikes, wealth and its redistribution.

Today, in the age of a global economy and the triumph of the individual, globalization has shattered these old models of society. Each of us, caught up in processes of production and mass culture, strives to escape from them and to make ourselves the subject of our own lives. The new paradigm through which we try to make sense of these new preoccupations is cultural. The great questions of our age bear witness to this: how should we protect the rights of minorities? Should sexuality be placed at the centre of our lives? Are we witnessing a return to religion?

The old paradigms were oriented towards conquering the world; the new paradigm revolves around us. Just as we are faced with the breakdown of a world once run by men, we are now entering into a society of women.

As ever in the writings of Alain Touraine, the concern to give theoretical form to our social practices is nourished by life as it is actually lived, and everything thought through here refers back to the most everyday experiences of the globalized world in which we are currently living.

This book will be of primary interest to advanced undergraduates, graduates and
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Table of contents

Introduction: A New Paradigm
Part One: When We Referred to Ourselves in Social Terms
1 The Break
A world in decline
Where is meaning to be found?
2 Globalization
From the post-war states to the globalization of the economy
An extreme capitalism
The rupturing of societies
From society to war
A globalized world
3 Europe: A State without a Nation
The decline of the national state
Is European unity possible?
The EU and the USA
The European state
European powerlessness
The absence of a European consciousness
4 The End of Societies
The social representation of societies
The European mode of modernization
Society and modernity
The crisis of representation
The three deaths of European society
The irruption of democracy
The return of the political
Farewell to society
The war above us
When system and actors separate off
The rupturing of the social bond
Are we witnessing the end of social movements?
5 Revisiting the Self
What is modernity?
The victory of modernity
The end of social thinking
Emancipatory individualism
Forms of social determinism
From focusing on the world to focusing on the self
The awakening of the subject
Part Two: Now that We Refer to Ourselves in Cultural Terms
6 The Subject
The subject and identity
Sources of the subject
Defence of sociology
The individual subject
Are we all subjects?
The negation of the subject
A related note
The subject, social movements and the unconscious
The subject and religion
The subject and the school
The experience of being a subject
The anti-subject
Between gods and societies
7 Cultural Rights
Political rights and cultural rights
Minorities, multiculturalism, communitarianism
Redistribution and recognition
The new social movements
Entry into the post-social world
Sexual rights
The limits of cultural mixing
About the veil
Communities and communitarianisms
Liberals and communitarians
Inter-cultural communication
Return to new ideas
8 A Society of Women
An altered situation
Equality and difference
Sexuality and gender
The woman-subject
The role of men
The Argument: By Way of Conclusion
Name Index
Subject Index
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 20% (6)
4 33% (10)
3 27% (8)
2 17% (5)
1 3% (1)
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