The Drama of Social Life: Essays in Post-Modern Social Psychology

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Transaction Publishers - Psychology - 367 pages
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These essays explore the many ways theatre and dramaturgy are used to shape the everyday experience of people in mass societies. Young argues that technologies combine with the world of art, music, and cinema to shape consciousness as a commodity and to fragment social relations in the market as well as in religion and politics. He sees the central problem of post-modern society as how to live in a world constructed by human beings without nihilism on the one hand or repressive dogmatism on the other.

Young argues that in advanced monopoly capitalism, dramaturgy has replaced coercion as the management tool of choice for the control of consumers, workers, voters and state functionaries. Young calls this process the colonization of desire.' Desire is colonized by the use of dramaturgy, mass media, and the various forms of art in order to generate consumers, vesting desire in ownership and display rather than in interpersonal relationships with profound consequence for marriage, kinship, friendship and community. This gives rise to an ugly post-modern morality; moral action ceases to be mediated by self-other relations and is mediated by possession and use of commodities. While Young focuses his critique on capitalist societies undergoing great changes, he insists that the same developments are to be found in bureaucratically organized socialist societies.

As social forces of self become untenable, other nonsocial source of self become attractive to the questing individual: body shape, body decorations, clothing fashions, astrological signs, Eastern religions as well as ownership of goods and the use of exotic services. Out of this quest for selfhood comes post-modern expression of music, art, dance, architecture as well as religion: highly variable, highly personal, and richly creative; often emancipatory but often hostile to common needs or to community.

The Drama of Social Life will be of interest to those interested in theories of moral development, cultural studies, the uses of leisure, politics, or simply the uses of make believe and just pretend. It is intended for the informed lay public as much as for social psychologists.

T.R. Young is director of the Red Feather Institute for Advanced Studies in sociology and a member of the faculty at Central Michigan University. He has edited the Transforming Sociology Series for the past eighteen years.

  

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Contents

Hard Times and Hard Tomatoes
21
The Politics of Sociology Gouldner Goffman and Garfinkel
31
The Structure of Democratic Communications
45
Critical Approaches to Dramaturgy
67
The Dramaturgical Society Macroanalysis
71
Dramaturgical Analysis and Societal Critique
91
Social Psychology in a New Age
115
Self and Social Organization in Capitalist Society
119
Politics in the Dramaturgical Society
189
The Political Economy of Dramaturgy
195
Critical Dimensions in Dramaturgical Analysis Watergate as Theater
215
Emancipatory Uses of Dramaturgy
269
Emancipatory Dimensions in Dramaturgy
273
The Sociology of Sport Structural and Cultural Approaches
297
The Typifications of Christ at Christmas and Easter Critical Explorations of Religious Dramaturgy
315
Dress Drama and Self The Tee Shirt as Text
339

Morality and Mass Society
139
Self in Mass Society Against Zurcher
153
SelfEstrangement in Dramaturgical Society
169

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Page 7 - What the hammer? What the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? What dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears, Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee...
Page 10 - Is it so small a thing To have enjoy'd the sun, To have lived light in the spring, To have loved, to have thought, to have done...
Page 7 - Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies 5 Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, and what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
Page 7 - Tiger, Tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes! On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

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