Cover: Against Essentialism: A Theory of Culture and Society, from Harvard University PressCover: Against Essentialism in PAPERBACK

Against Essentialism

A Theory of Culture and Society

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$42.50 • £34.95 • €38.50

ISBN 9780674015968

Publication Date: 02/01/2005

Short

398 pages

World

Against Essentialism presents a sociological theory of culture. This interdisciplinary and foundational work deals with basic issues common to current debates in social theory, including society, culture, meaning, truth, and communication. Stephan Fuchs argues that many mysteries about these concepts lose their mysteriousness when dynamic variations are introduced.

Fuchs proposes a theory of culture and society that merges two core traditions—American network theory and European (Luhmannian) systems theory. His book distinguishes four major types of social “observers”—encounters, groups, organizations, and networks. Society takes place in these four modes of association. Each generates levels of observation linked with each other into a “culture”—the unity of these observations.

Against Essentialism presents a groundbreaking new approach to the construction of society, culture, and personhood. The book invites both social scientists and philosophers to see what happens when essentialism is abandoned.

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Jacket: The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, from Harvard University Press

“Predictive Policing” and Racial Profiling

While technology used in policing has improved, it hasn’t progressed, says Khalil Gibran Muhammad, if racial biases are built into those new technologies. This excerpt from his book, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, shows that for the reform called for by the current protests against systemic racism and racially-biased policing to be fulfilled, the police—especially those at the top—will need to change their pre-programmed views on race and the way they see the Black citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect.”