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The Society of the Spectacle - Wikipedia

The work is a series of short theses in the form of aphorisms. Each thesis contains one paragraph. Debord traces the development of a modern society in which authentic social life has been replaced with its representation: "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation. The spectacle is the inverted image of society in which relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people, in which "passive identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity".

In his analysis of the spectacular society, Debord notes that the quality of life is impoverished, [6] with such a lack of authenticity that human perceptions are affected, and an attendant degradation of knowledge, which in turn hinders critical thought. Debord's aim and proposal is "to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images In the Situationist view, situations are actively created moments characterized by "a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience".

The Society of the Spectacle is a critique of contemporary consumer culture and commodity fetishism , dealing with issues such as class alienation , cultural homogenization , and mass media. When Debord says that "All that was once directly lived has become mere representation," he is referring to the central importance of the image in contemporary society. Images, Debord says, have supplanted genuine human interaction. Thus, Debord 's fourth thesis is: "The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.

In a consumer society, social life is not about living, but about having; the spectacle uses the image to convey what people need and must have. Consequently, social life moves further, leaving a state of "having" and proceeding into a state of "appearing"; namely the appearance of the image. Debord also draws an equivalence between the role of mass media marketing in the present and the role of religions in the past.

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Debord contends further that "the remains of religion and of the family the principal relic of the heritage of class power and the moral repression they assure, merge whenever the enjoyment of this world is affirmed—this world being nothing other than repressive pseudo-enjoyment. These religions arose on the soil of history, and established themselves there.

Works (109)

But there they still preserve themselves in radical opposition to history. In Chapter 8, "Negation and Consumption Within Culture", Debord includes a critical analysis of the works of three American sociologists. Debord discusses at length Daniel J. Boorstin 's The Image , arguing that Boorstin missed the concept of Spectacle. Transforming Images examines how the future functions within this transformative logic to indicate the potential of a materially better time. The book…. By Jennie Germann Molz. As many observers have noted, the world is becoming increasingly visually mediated, with the rise of computers and the internet being central factors in the emergence of new tools and conventions.

Exploring the social structure of visuality, this volume contains a collection of essays by…. By Frank Webster. Information is regarded as a distinguishing feature of our world. Where once economies were built on industry and conquest, we are now part of a global information economy.

Sociology and Science: The Making of a Social Scientific Method

Pervasive media, expanding information occupations and the development of the internet convince many that living in an…. By Georg Misch. By Claire Valier. Today, questions about how and why societies punish are deeply emotive and hotly contested. In Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Culture, Claire Valier argues that criminal justice is a key site for the negotiation of new collective identities and modes of belonging.

Exploring both popular….


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Edited by Leonard Reissman. By Brian Simon. By Peter Merriman. Over the past ten to fifteen years there has emerged an increasing concern with mobility in the social sciences and humanities. In Mobility, Space and Culture, Peter Merriman provides an important and timely contribution to the mobilities turn in the social sciences, encouraging academics to…. Britain is no longer the sole organizing centre for cultural studies. The contributors to this volume demonstrate how cultural studies has diffused into other English-speaking countries and how its original concerns have been renegotiated and changed.

The result is a landmark book which provides…. By Dorothea L. By Kimball Young. By Kathleen Jones. By Martha Wolfenstein. Sociological Knowledge and Collective Identity S. Eisenstadt and Israeli Society, 1st Edition By Stavit Sinai Sociology, emerging in the 19th century as the study of national societies, is the intellectual product of its time, power relations and social imaginaries.

As a discursive practice that was enmeshed in the meta-narratives of modernity, the discipline of sociology bears the inherent capacity to… Hardback — Routledge International Library of Sociology. Indian Village 2nd Edition By S. Dube Indian Village is widely considered a "classic.

Indeed, the work represents a key statement of… Hardback — Routledge International Library of Sociology. Bhambra , John Narayan This book provides a fresh examination of the cosmopolitan project of post-war Europe from a variety of perspectives. Levy First published in Fleming Originally published in Adolescents and Morality 1st Edition By E. M Eppel The groundbreaking works in The Sociology of Youth and Adolescence set of the International Library of Sociology led the way to an authoritative understanding of how social interaction moulded young people.

Careful observation of vulnerable and troubled children helped the leading sociologists,… Paperback — Routledge International Library of Sociology. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies also examines how messages are interpreted through the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of their contexts. Communication is institutionalized under many different names at different universities, including "communication", "communication studies", "speech communication", "rhetorical studies", "communication science", " media studies ", "communication arts", " mass communication ", " media ecology ", and "communication and media science".

Communication studies integrates aspects of both social sciences and the humanities. As a social science, the discipline often overlaps with sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, among others. From a humanities perspective, communication is concerned with rhetoric and persuasion traditional graduate programs in communication studies trace their history to the rhetoricians of Ancient Greece.

The field applies to outside disciplines as well, including engineering, architecture, mathematics, and information science. Economics is a social science that seeks to analyze and describe the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth.


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  • An economist is a person using economic concepts and data in the course of employment, or someone who has earned a degree in the subject. The classic brief definition of economics, set out by Lionel Robbins in , is "the science which studies human behavior as a relation between scarce means having alternative uses". Without scarcity and alternative uses, there is no economic problem. Briefer yet is "the study of how people seek to satisfy needs and wants" and "the study of the financial aspects of human behavior". Economics has two broad branches: microeconomics , where the unit of analysis is the individual agent, such as a household or firm, and macroeconomics , where the unit of analysis is an economy as a whole.

    Another division of the subject distinguishes positive economics, which seeks to predict and explain economic phenomena, from normative economics , which orders choices and actions by some criterion; such orderings necessarily involve subjective value judgments. Since the early part of the 20th century, economics has focused largely on measurable quantities, employing both theoretical models and empirical analysis. Quantitative models, however, can be traced as far back as the physiocratic school. Economic reasoning has been increasingly applied in recent decades to other social situations such as politics , law , psychology , history , religion , marriage and family life, and other social interactions.

    This paradigm crucially assumes 1 that resources are scarce because they are not sufficient to satisfy all wants, and 2 that "economic value" is willingness to pay as revealed for instance by market arms' length transactions. Rival heterodox schools of thought, such as institutional economics , green economics , Marxist economics , and economic sociology , make other grounding assumptions.

    For example, Marxist economics assumes that economics primarily deals with the investigation of exchange value , of which human labour is the source. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism. Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom.

    Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation see socialization. To educate means 'to draw out', from the Latin educare , or to facilitate the realization of an individual's potential and talents. It is an application of pedagogy , a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology , philosophy , computer science , linguistics , neuroscience , sociology and anthropology.

    The education of an individual human begins at birth and continues throughout life. Some believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents' playing music or reading to the baby in the womb in the hope it will influence the child's development. For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily life provide far more instruction than does formal schooling thus Mark Twain 's admonition to "never let school interfere with your education".

    Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main sub fields: human geography and physical geography. The former focuses largely on the built environment and how space is created, viewed and managed by humans as well as the influence humans have on the space they occupy. This may involve cultural geography , transportation , health , military operations , and cities.

    The latter examines the natural environment and how the climate, vegetation and life, soil, oceans , water and landforms are produced and interact. As a result of the two subfields using different approaches a third field has emerged, which is environmental geography. Environmental geography combines physical and human geography and looks at the interactions between the environment and humans.

    Geographers attempt to understand the Earth in terms of physical and spatial relationships. The first geographers focused on the science of mapmaking and finding ways to precisely project the surface of the earth. In this sense, geography bridges some gaps between the natural sciences and social sciences. Historical geography is often taught in a college in a unified Department of Geography.

    Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline, closely related to GISc , that seeks to understand humanity and its natural environment. The fields of urban planning , regional science , and planetology are closely related to geography. Practitioners of geography use many technologies and methods to collect data such as GIS , remote sensing , aerial photography , statistics , and global positioning systems GPS.

    History is the continuous, systematic narrative and research into past human events as interpreted through historiographical paradigms or theories. History has a base in both the social sciences and the humanities. In the United States the National Endowment for the Humanities includes history in its definition of humanities as it does for applied linguistics. The Social Science History Association , formed in , brings together scholars from numerous disciplines interested in social history.

    The social science of law, jurisprudence , in common parlance, means a rule that unlike a rule of ethics is capable of enforcement through institutions. The study of law crosses the boundaries between the social sciences and humanities, depending on one's view of research into its objectives and effects. Law is not always enforceable, especially in the international relations context. It has been defined as a "system of rules", [22] as an "interpretive concept" [23] to achieve justice, as an "authority" [24] to mediate people's interests, and even as "the command of a sovereign, backed by the threat of a sanction".

    Legal policy incorporates the practical manifestation of thinking from almost every social science and the humanities. Laws are politics, because politicians create them. Law is philosophy, because moral and ethical persuasions shape their ideas. Law tells many of history's stories, because statutes, case law and codifications build up over time.

    And law is economics, because any rule about contract , tort , property law , labour law , company law and many more can have long-lasting effects on the distribution of wealth. The noun law derives from the late Old English lagu , meaning something laid down or fixed [26] and the adjective legal comes from the Latin word lex. Linguistics investigates the cognitive and social aspects of human language. The field is divided into areas that focus on aspects of the linguistic signal, such as syntax the study of the rules that govern the structure of sentences , semantics the study of meaning , morphology the study of the structure of words , phonetics the study of speech sounds and phonology the study of the abstract sound system of a particular language ; however, work in areas like evolutionary linguistics the study of the origins and evolution of language and psycholinguistics the study of psychological factors in human language cut across these divisions.

    The overwhelming majority of modern research in linguistics takes a predominantly synchronic perspective focusing on language at a particular point in time , and a great deal of it—partly owing to the influence of Noam Chomsky —aims at formulating theories of the cognitive processing of language.


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    • However, language does not exist in a vacuum, or only in the brain, and approaches like contact linguistics, creole studies, discourse analysis , social interactional linguistics, and sociolinguistics explore language in its social context. Sociolinguistics often makes use of traditional quantitative analysis and statistics in investigating the frequency of features, while some disciplines, like contact linguistics, focus on qualitative analysis.

      While certain areas of linguistics can thus be understood as clearly falling within the social sciences, other areas, like acoustic phonetics and neurolinguistics , draw on the natural sciences. Linguistics draws only secondarily on the humanities, which played a rather greater role in linguistic inquiry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ferdinand Saussure is considered the father of modern linguistics. Political science is an academic and research discipline that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. Fields and subfields of political science include political economy , political theory and philosophy , civics and comparative politics , theory of direct democracy , apolitical governance, participatory direct democracy, national systems, cross-national political analysis, political development, international relations , foreign policy , international law , politics, public administration , administrative behaviour, public law, judicial behaviour, and public policy.

      Political science also studies power in international relations and the theory of great powers and superpowers. Approaches to the discipline include rational choice , classical political philosophy, interpretivism , structuralism , and behaviouralism , realism , pluralism, and institutionalism. Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary sources such as historical documents, interviews, and official records, as well as secondary sources such as scholarly articles are used in building and testing theories.

      Empirical methods include survey research, statistical analysis or econometrics , case studies , experiments, and model building. Herbert Baxter Adams is credited with coining the phrase "political science" while teaching history at Johns Hopkins University. Psychology is an academic and applied field involving the study of behaviour and mental processes.

      Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental illness. Psychology differs from anthropology , economics , political science , and sociology in seeking to capture explanatory generalizations about the mental function and overt behaviour of individuals, while the other disciplines focus on creating descriptive generalizations about the functioning of social groups or situation-specific human behaviour.

      In practice, however, there is quite a lot of cross-fertilization that takes place among the various fields. Psychology differs from biology and neuroscience in that it is primarily concerned with the interaction of mental processes and behaviour, and of the overall processes of a system, and not simply the biological or neural processes themselves, though the subfield of neuropsychology combines the study of the actual neural processes with the study of the mental effects they have subjectively produced. Many people associate psychology with clinical psychology, which focuses on assessment and treatment of problems in living and psychopathology.

      In reality, psychology has myriad specialties including social psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, educational psychology , industrial-organizational psychology, mathematical psychology , neuropsychology, and quantitative analysis of behaviour. Psychology is a very broad science that is rarely tackled as a whole, major block. Although some subfields encompass a natural science base and a social science application, others can be clearly distinguished as having little to do with the social sciences or having a lot to do with the social sciences.

      For example, biological psychology is considered a natural science with a social scientific application as is clinical medicine , social and occupational psychology are, generally speaking, purely social sciences, whereas neuropsychology is a natural science that lacks application out of the scientific tradition entirely. This is not always necessarily the case however, and in many UK institutions students studying the B. Psy, B. Sc, and B. If they applied to read the B.

      Sociology is the systematic study of society, individuals' relationship to their societies, the consequences of difference, and other aspects of human social action. Auguste Comte — coined the term, Sociology, as a way to apply natural science principles and techniques to the social world in He proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism , an epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy [—] and A General View of Positivism Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in , publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method.

      Durkheim's seminal monograph, Suicide , a case study of suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. Karl Marx rejected Comte's positivism but nevertheless aimed to establish a science of society based on historical materialism , becoming recognized as a founding figure of sociology posthumously as the term gained broader meaning. Around the start of the 20th century, the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel , developed sociological antipositivism.

      The field may be broadly recognized as an amalgam of three modes of social thought in particular: Durkheimian positivism and structural functionalism ; Marxist historical materialism and conflict theory ; and Weberian antipositivism and verstehen analysis.

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      American sociology broadly arose on a separate trajectory, with little Marxist influence, an emphasis on rigorous experimental methodology, and a closer association with pragmatism and social psychology. In the s, the Chicago school developed symbolic interactionism. Meanwhile, in the s, the Frankfurt School pioneered the idea of critical theory , an interdisciplinary form of Marxist sociology drawing upon thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche.

      Critical theory would take on something of a life of its own after World War II, influencing literary criticism and the Birmingham School establishment of cultural studies. Sociology evolved as an academic response to the challenges of modernity , such as industrialization , urbanization , secularization , and a perceived process of enveloping rationalization.