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For most of the twentieth century, social thinkers devoted their attention mainly to the issues of economic class. They generally dismissed the more primordial bonds of racial, ethnic, and national identities as irrational anachronisms that either communism or the liberal frameworks of democracy would dissolve.
Today, communism is nearly dead and liberalism is on the wane. At the same time, older ethno-racial tribalisms, along with some newly invented ones, have shattered our illusions of a rationally manageable world. They find expression in chauvinistic nationalisms, multiculturalist ideologies, vicious civil wars, "ethnic cleansing" of whole regions, intensified racial and ethnic strife, a resurgence of prejudice, scapegoating, hate groups, and nativism, as well as new group-based challenges to the individualistic focus of Western liberalism.
Bringing together prominent historians, sociologists, and political scientists, New Tribalisms examines early conceptions of racial and ethnic pluralism in the United States. The volume also confronts some of the causes, implications, and possible outcomes of resurgent tribalisms in the country and around the world.
The resurgence of racial, ethnic and nationalist loyalties in the contemporary world are examined in this volume. Considered collectively, the contributors offer both a conceptual understanding of race and ethnicity and an empirical examination of their renewed importance in and implications for contemporary societies. With sections on the American experience with ethnoracial pluralism and on ethnonationalist movements in other parts of the world, Hughey offers an extensive treatment of the origins, expressions and implications of the new tribalisms now confronting the world.
First published in 1958, Small Town in Mass Society set community studies on a new course by placing the small town within the framework of large-scale, bureaucratic mass society. Drawing attention to the dynamics of class and ethnicity in relation to economics and politics, this landmark work was among the first to document the consequences of centralized administration on life in American communities.
Through a close study of "Springdale, New York", Arthur J. Vidich and Joseph Bensman depict the small town as continuously and increasingly drawn into the central institutions and processes of the total society. Vidich and Bensman based their conclusions on extensive interviews with and close observation of the inhabitants of one community. The original publication of the book caused a sharp response among the town's citizens who felt their trust had been violated and their town misrepresented.
The present volume includes the editorials and correspondence evoked by that controversy, the authors' articles describing their methodology, a new foreword by Michael W. Hughey, and a new afterword in which Arthur J. Vidich gives an account of the creation and history of the book.
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