Man and Society in Calamity: the Effects of War, Revolution, Famine, and Pestilence upon the Human Mind, Behavior, Social Organization, and Cultural Life

Dublin Core

Description

This is a new edition of a book published originally in 1942 by one of the founders of American sociology, Pitrim Sorokin. At the time the book fell under the radar and it remains little known today, but it is a pioneering work in many ways, certainly for the interests of this project. The title is self-explanatory. The book's greatest strength, to my mind, lies in showing that disasters are revelatory moments for social scientists because they suspend the norms, procedures, and mechanisms that lie under the surface of everyday life. In that liminal situation, other structural forces and values come to light and become subject to debate. Disasters, in short, are not only transformative moments. They are also laboratories of sorts, when seen from the perspective of the social scientists. Many of Sorokin's insights are common-sensical and sometimes verge on the obvious. Readers should also be aware of his profoundly anti-revolutionary position on events in the Soviet Union, a position that permeates this book. But it remains an important work, both for its insights and for the fact that, as far as I know, Sorokin was one of the first to tackle subject in such explicit terms, making it a legitimate object of inquiry. This new edition is a happy occasion then and well worth reading, even if just to work against his arguments.

Creator

Publisher

Sorokin, Pitrim. Man and Society in Calamity: the Effects of War, Revolution, Famine, and Pestilence upon the Human Mind, Behavior, Social Organization, and Cultural Life. New Brunswick: Transaction, 2010

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Collection

Citation

Sorokin, Pitrim, “Man and Society in Calamity: the Effects of War, Revolution, Famine, and Pestilence upon the Human Mind, Behavior, Social Organization, and Cultural Life,” Legacies of the Enlightenment, accessed June 25, 2024, https://enlightenmentlegacies.org/items/show/97.