Tradition

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University of Chicago Press, 2006 - Social Science - 334 pages
Tradition, by esteemed sociologist Edward Shils, was the first book to fully explore the history, significance, and future of tradition as a whole. Intent on questioning the meaning of the antitraditionalist impulse in today's society, Shils argues here that the tendency to distrust and rebel against tradition is at the heart of tradition itself; only through suspicion and defiance does tradition actually move forward. Revealing the importance of tradition to social and political institutions, technology, science, literature, religion, and scholarship, Tradition remains the definitive work on this vital element of our society.

"Shils is a man of fabled learning, whose mind purrs powerfully like the moth at dusk. I hesitate to use the word conservative of him because it misses the central concern of his work, which is not conservatism, but the conservation of those human resources and achievements which are richest, and matter most."—David A. Martin, Times Literary Supplement

"Tradition is the first comprehensive treatment of the subject that encompasses the totality of tradition in all its multifaceted variables and functions. . . . It is a landmark analytical and theoretical sociological study that not only fills a need but also provides a basic model and impetus for further research."—H. Leon Abrams Jr., Sociology

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Enlightenment
4
The Meaning of Tradition
12
The Traditionality of Reason
21
Stocks and Possessions
25
The Intertwinement of Tradition and the Untraditional
27
Tradition as the Guiding Pattern
32
In the Grip of the Past
34
Expansion of the Center beyond Its Own Society
249
Resistance
254
Resistance to the Expansion of the Internal Center
255
Resistance against an External Center
256
Changes in Traditions and Changes in Circumstances
258
Patterns of Change and Stability in Tradition
262
Families of Traditions
263
The Association of Traditions
273

Tradition as a Starting Point and Constituent of New Beliefs and Patterns of Action
44
Differing Depths of Tradition within the Individual
46
The Sense of the Past and Historiography
54
The Endurance of Past Objects
63
The Transcendence of the Transience of Physical Artifacts
77
Religious Knowledge
94
The Presence of the Past in Works of Science and Scholarship
100
The Presence of the Past in Literary Works
140
The Endurance of Past Practices
162
Stability and Change in Tradition
195
Why Traditions Change Endogenous Factors
213
Imagination
228
The Temptation of Positive Antitraditional Traditions
235
Why Traditions Change Exogenous Factors
240
Syncretism in the Movement of Tradition between Center and Periphery
244
Expansion of the Center within a Society
246
Conflicts of Traditions
279
The Dissociation of Traditions
280
The Passing Away of Traditions
283
Tradition and the Rationalization of Societies
287
The Rationalization of the World
291
The Prospects of Tradition
311
The Prospects of Rationalization
313
The Prospect of Tradition in the Discomfiture of Progressivism
316
The Immediate and the Remote Prospects
321
The Permanent Task
323
The Unchartedness of the World
326
The Temporal Integration of Society
327
Traditionality as an Intrinsic Value
328
Index
331
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Edward Shils (1910-95) was the Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He was the author of many books, including The Calling of Education and The Constitution of Society, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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