Robert Nisbet: Communitarian Traditionalist (Library of Modern Thinkers)

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9781882926480: Robert Nisbet: Communitarian Traditionalist (Library of Modern Thinkers)

This is the only book-length intellectual biography of sociologist Robert Nisbet (1913-1996). It is now available in quality paperback.

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About the Author:

Brad L. Stone is a professor in, and Director of, American Studies in the Department of Sociology at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.

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The great philosophical sociologist Robert Nisbet (1913^-96) emphasized one primary theme: that the contemporary desire for community was the result of alienation caused by politics. The rise of the modern centralized state, Nisbet held, came at the expense of other loci of authority, such as the church, the guild, the neighborhood, and the family, which together constitute society. As the state arrogated those other institutions' functions, it freed the individual person from their strictures but weakened society. The individual develops not in isolation but in relation to others and, lacking the obligations of membership in associations other than the state, feels unattached and yearns for community. With a clarity that matches his subject's, Stone outlines Nisbet's basic concepts, their philosophical roots (Greek, specifically Aristotelian), and their relationship to conservatism; and he presents Nisbet's assessment of the two disciplines to which he contributed, sociology and history. Finally, Stone marries Nisbet's thought to classical liberalism in order to formulate the challenge to new and revived community formation as a choice between re-creating intermediate institutions or continuing to delegate responsibility to the state--that is, a choice of either social pluralism and diffused authority or social monism and the centralized authority of a political elite. A sterling precis of a thinker who couldn't seem more relevant. Ray Olson
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