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This monograph explores the role of culture in modern societies and the side effects that result when that role is distorted. The basic premise of this book is that many of the dominant cultural characteristics of modern life, like the ideologies and values associated with materialism and consumer capitalism, are cultural phenomena with influences that are in many ways problematic and in some ways downright detrimental to our sustained societal well-being. I argue in this book that the globalized capitalist economic system has become increasingly efficient in terms of scale and scope, but has also become less humane in many regards; less connected to human needs and concerns. Of particular concern is the encroachment of economic interests into areas of human society that traditionally have been free from profit motives, or at least only minimally influenced by them; areas such as scientific research, the justice system, and even family relationships. I suggest that there is a slow but steady intrusion into these areas of human life that were once considered off-limits to naked economic incentives and calculations. This intrusion puts the idea of America as a free and democratic society increasingly at risk when private economic stakeholders meddle in the political and cultural areas of society in ever more insidious ways to further their own enrichment at the expense of the public. Furthermore, the vast capitalist economic system is in many ways increasingly disconnected or disembedded from the contexts and regulations of traditional social relations as in the past.
Acting for Nonhuman Animals1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-062-9
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Within current political, social, and ethical debates – both in academia and society – activism and how individuals should approach issues facing nonhuman animals, have become increasingly important, ‘hot’ issues. Individuals, groups, advocacy agencies, and governments have all espoused competing ideas for how we should approach nonhuman use and exploitation. Ought we proceed through liberation? Abolition? Segregation? Integration? As nonhuman liberation, welfare, and rights’ groups increasingly interconnect and identify with other ‘social justice movements’, resolutions to these questions have become increasingly entangled with questions of what justice and our ethical commitments demand on this issue, and the topic has become increasingly significant and divisive. The book considers how this question, and contemporary issues facing nonhumans (such as experimentation, hunting, and factory farming) should be answered by drawing on both theory and practice in order to provide grounded, yet actionable, ways forward. Indicatively, the book covers topics such as: • The intersection between interspecies ethics and the ethics of war and self-defence • Nonhuman animals as political subjects and acting agents • Whether we should intervene for nonhuman animals in cases of natural disaster • Various explorations of why the nonhuman movement may not be succeeding as well as it could be • Comparisons between the nonhuman movement and other social movement • Arguments for and against intervening to help or save nonhumans, and how far we may go • What intervention could ultimately mean for nonhumans The book is therefore intended not only to provide new and interesting insight into the area and important contemporary discussions, but also to constructively aid the nonhuman movement and unite theory and practice on the crucial issues. With the nonhuman movement and its past approaches currently being questioned as a success, more nonhumans than ever being harmed and exploited, and a growing gulf between activists and scholars, this book will not only be a timely addition to the literature, but an attempt to bridge these gaps and move both theory and practice – and thus the movement and field – forward.
Using Foucault and Giddens to Understand an Existential Moment1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-472-6
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This book urges respect for solitary dissent rather than censure. It equips a wide audience to understand what previously seemed unimaginable, much less comprehensible. It shows the reader how to reach beyond those first conclusions and into the heart of the matter. The lone voice explains that something has been hidden away, something which the individual now dissenting can no longer acquiesce in. It raises the possibility that more may be seriously wrong. Those who need to understand range from academics, to researchers, to managers, to elected representatives, to journalists. We all have an interest in knowing not just what has gone wrong but also why this person, and no other, decided they could take no more. If we are to correct a bad situation, rather than just patch it up, we need clarity at every level of the individual’s deepening unease. The book uses four case studies (two in Ireland, one in UK, all on the record, and one authoritative biography of a well-known Italian personality), to demonstrate an approach to analyzing solitary dissent. The methods used are academic but, in the way they are presented, certainly intelligible to the lay-reader. Indeed, the author (who is one of the case studies) writes with a degree of affection for his two authorities, Michel Foucault and Anthony Giddens, which is engaging, anything but formal, but no less authoritative for that. Another persuasive output of the book is the resonance of solitary dissent with Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism which is also analysed. The Solitary Voice of Dissent is limited by the extent to which the author has been able to delve into the personal privacy of the case studies offered. With commendable detachment, he is able to examine his own experience; and the biography he has selected allows a similarly deep investigation into the fourth case study. While each personality investigated was male, the author also identifies certain contemporary female dissenters. This is an area increasingly impacting upon the public’s awareness but which no-one has written about before. If we are to mend our society, we need to start a conversation. A wide audience will wish to follow it.