Description : Christian Smith is a force to conjure with in sociology, both in its empirical forays (studies of youth and religious life) and in its higher reaches of theory, where his work sets out to move culture, morality, and identity to the center of social thought. We published his 2011 book, "What Is a Person?," to critical plaudits and healthy sales. Striking a middle path between extremes of positivist science and relativism, Smith s theory of personhood teased out how we can know what is good in personal and social life, and what sociology can tell us about human rights and dignity. "To Flourish or Destruct "is a sequel. It builds on the earlier book to explore the question of human motivations for action. In arguing for a sociological turn in a more humanist direction, he sets up a scaffolding for a philosophy of moral realism that makes human flourishing (the realization of basic human goods) a centerpiece of social science. Smith s Aristotelian account of flourishing argues that genuinely investing in the flourishing of "other" people is a necessary condition for personal flourishingin short, learning to love others. The guiding assumption is that flourishing is the natural aim of all human life. He then turns to the question of evil (the absence or privation of what is good), with extended consideration of Stalin and Hitler and totalitarianism in general, in contrast to his inventory of basic human goods, motivations, and interests. The title poses the question: will I flourish or will I destruct? On which path is my life moving?"
Description : A groundbreaking new theory of religion Religion remains an important influence in the world today, yet the social sciences are still not adequately equipped to understand and explain it. This book advances an innovative theory of religion that goes beyond the problematic theoretical paradigms of the past. Drawing on the philosophy of critical realism and personalist social theory, Christian Smith explores why humans are religious in the first place—uniquely so as a species—and offers an account of secularization and religious innovation and persistence that breaks the logjam in which religious scholarship has been stuck for so long. Certain to stimulate debate and inspire promising new avenues of scholarship, Religion features a wealth of illustrations and examples that help to make its concepts accessible to readers. This superbly written book brings sound theoretical thinking to a perennially thorny subject, and a new vitality and focus to its study.
Description : How parents approach the task of passing on religious faith and practice to their children How do American parents pass their religion on to their children? At a time of overall decline of traditional religion and an increased interest in personal “spirituality,” Religious Parenting investigates the ways that parents transmit religious beliefs, values, and practices to their kids. We know that parents are the most important influence on their children’s religious lives, yet parents have been virtually ignored in previous work on religious socialization. Renowned religion scholar Christian Smith and his collaborators Bridget Ritz and Michael Rotolo explore American parents’ strategies, experiences, beliefs, and anxieties regarding religious transmission through hundreds of in-depth interviews that span religious traditions, social classes, and family types all around the country. Throughout we hear the voices of evangelical, Catholic, Mormon, mainline and black Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist parents and discover that, despite massive diversity, American parents share a nearly identical approach to socializing their children religiously. For almost all, religion is important for the foundation it provides for becoming one’s best self on life’s difficult journey. Religion is primarily a resource for navigating the challenges of this life, not preparing for an afterlife. Parents view it as their job, not religious professionals’, to ground their children in life-enhancing religious values that provide resilience, morality, and a sense of purpose. Challenging longstanding sociological and anthropological assumptions about culture, the authors demonstrate that parents of highly dissimilar backgrounds share the same “cultural models” when passing on religion to their children. Taking an extensive look into questions of religious practice and childrearing, Religious Parenting uncovers parents’ real-life challenges while breaking innovative theoretical ground.
Description : What does it mean, as a person of faith, to maintain and even strengthen one's physical body? What does it mean to "glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20) in a time when bodily perfection is popularly defined by advertising firms, while food degradation has led to the worldwide obesity epidemic? This work addresses those questions and many others through theological engagement with fitness and sport, offering a critical examination of the two and their theological intersections. Where is God in sport and fitness? What value might sport and fitness have for the Christian Church? Is there a good to be found?
Description : Counter to popular perceptions, contemporary American sociology is and promotes a profoundly sacred project at heart. Sociology today is in fact animated by sacred impulses, driven by sacred commitments, and serves a sacred project. Sociology appears on the surface to be a secular, scientific enterprise--its founding fathers were mostly atheists. Its basic operating premises are secular and naturalistic. Sociologists today are disproportionately not religious, compared to all Americans, and often irreligious. The Sacred Project of American Sociology shows, counter-intuitively, that the secular enterprise that everyday sociology appears to be pursuing is actually not what is really going on at sociology's deepest level. Christian Smith conducts a self-reflexive, tables-turning, cultural and institutional sociology of the profession of American sociology itself, showing that this allegedly secular discipline ironically expresses Emile Durkheim's inescapable sacred, exemplifies its own versions of Marxist false consciousness, and generates a spirited reaction against Max Weber's melancholically observed disenchantment of the world. American sociology does not escape the analytical net that it casts over the rest of the ordinary world. Sociology itself is a part of that very human, very social, often very sacred and spiritual world. And sociology's ironic mis-recognition of its own sacred project leads to a variety of arguably self-destructive and distorting tendencies. This book re-asserts a vision for what sociology is most important for, in contrast with its current commitments, and calls sociologists back to a more honest, fair, and healthy vision of its purpose.
Description : Outlines the plot and characters of this groundbreaking play; explains the production, historical context, and themes; and includes critiques and reactions of scholars.
Description : The latest edition of Politics offers a comprehensive and comparative approach to the essential components of democratic politics in today's states. The book begins by addressing ways of thinking about politics, community, and society, offering broad outlines of political theory in a historical context. Johnston then provides a comparative framework for understanding basic democratic systems which is drawn upon in subsequent sections on institutions, the political process, and governing. The result is an accessible introduction to contemporary democratic politics that is also deeply theoretical and comparative in scope. The fourth edition has been revised throughout and rewritten with a more focused narrative. The student-friendly design incorporates more visuals and sidebars, as well as chapter objectives and a glossary, in order to make the material easily digestible. In addition, a new companion website provides self-study support for students along with a wealth of materials for instructors to draw from when developing lectures, tutorials, assignments, and exams. See www.johnstonpolitics.com for more information.
Description : A progenitor of modern egalitarianism, communitarianism, and participatory democracy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a philosopher whose deep concern with the relationship between the domains of private domestic and public political life has made him especially interesting to feminist theorists, but also has made him very controversial. The essays in this volume, representing a wide range of feminist interpretations of Rousseau, explore the many tensions in his thought that arise from his unique combination of radical and traditional perspectives on gender relations and the state. Among the topics addressed by the contributors are the connections between Rousseau's political vision of the egalitarian state and his view of the "natural" role of women in the family; Rousseau's apparent fear of the actual danger and power of women; important questions Rousseau raised about child care and gender relations in individualist societies that feminists should address; the founding of republics; the nature of consent; the meaning of citizenship; and the conflation of modern universal ideals of democratic citizenship with modern masculinity, leading to the suggestion that the latter is as fragile a construction as the former. Overall this volume makes an important contribution to a core question at the hinge of modernism and postmodernism: how modern, egalitarian notions of social contract, premised on universality and objective reason, can yet result in systematic exclusion of social groups, including women. Contributors are Leah Bradshaw, Melissa A. Butler, Anne Harper, Sarah Kofman, Rebecca Kukla, Lynda Lange, Ingrid Makus, Lori J. Marso, Mira Morgenstern, Susan Moller Okin, Alice Ormiston, Penny Weiss, Elie Wiestad, Elizabeth Wingrove, Monique Wittig, and Linda Zerilli.