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The Myth of Individualism


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Table of Contents

Introduction Chapter 1 Individualism: The Power of a Myth Chapter 2 Becoming a Person: The Power of Symbols Chapter 3 Conformity and Disobedience: The Power of the Group Chapter 4 Family Matters: The Power of Social Class Chapter 5 Globalization: The Power of Capitalism Chapter 6 From "Me" to "We": The Power of Collective Action Conclusion

About the Author

Peter L. Callero is professor of sociology at Western Oregon University.


Peter Callero has written an engaging and entertaining introduction to sociological concepts and theories. It is accessible to undergraduate students including those in introductory sections. He has masterfully used everyday experiences of people to help explain often-difficult concepts such as structure and agency. I highly recommend this book, preferably as an excellent supplement to an introductory text. -- Dean Braa, Western Oregon University In The Myth of Individualism, Callero does more than show why individualism is wrong. With the skill of a wise teacher, he leads readers into a progressively more complex understanding of the relationship between the individual and society. We emerge from the book with the ability to see more deeply into how we are simultaneously products of social life and its makers. -- Michael Schwalbe, North Carolina State University Professor Callero, with head and heart, knows of what he writes, for he combines powerful narrative, praxis, and vision. One would expect no less from a scholar of society who has dedicated his life to seeking both truth and social justice. Such is a dialectic we all need to practice. And in the spirit of seeking truth and a better world, readers of this fine book can engage in a constructive debate with the author: is individualism a myth (in the pejorative sense) or is it an imaginative personal growth opportunity to go deep into one's spiritual and existential solitude (like Thoreau, for instance) and discover a profound social-and ecological-solidarity? Callero engages us if we decide to think with our whole beings as we read, in the best Socratic and Gandhian satyagraha traditions. -- Frank Fromherz, Portland State University Peter Callero's The Myth of Individualism is the kind of introductory sociology text that is needed to reach the millennium generation of students flooding into our colleges and universities. Current freshmen do not accept something as 'true' just because someone in authority tells them to think that way; they want to understand 'why' things are the way that they are and believe that they can impact pressing social issues. Instead of the 'time-tested' approach of many intro Sociology textbooks-i.e. cataloging the social institutions and processes-Callero invites students to actively engage in sociological thinking by focusing on how our society's blind acceptance of logic of individualism masks individuals' understanding the relationship between our personal lives and the social forces that structure them. With examples taken from current events, The Myth of Individualism will inspire students to reject reductionist explanations for social outcomes (e.g. the rich are rich because they work harder than other people), and to utilize a sociological perspective in responding to the issues they encounter in everyday life in a complicated world. -- Peter Collier, Portland State University

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