New Publications

The Economic Sociology of Development by Andrew Schrank

Bringing the study of international inequality back into the core of sociological theory, this book offers a user-friendly introduction to development and underdevelopment. In doing so, it places various approaches to the definition, measurement, and understanding of “development” against the backdrop of broader sociological debates.

Schrank draws concrete examples from different regions and epochs to explore sociological thinking about development and underdevelopment informed by the latest currents in economic sociology. Across a series of chapters, he identifies relationships between mainstream and Marxist approaches to the study of international inequality; uses classical and contemporary social theory to develop a parsimonious typology of national development outcomes; addresses cross-border learning and diffusion in light of the latest developments in organization theory; considers the roles of religious, racial, and gender identities in the development process in different places and times; and portrays contemporary global challenges ‒ such as populism, pandemics, and climate change ‒ as distinctly sociological problems in need of multifaceted solutions. Enriched with expository figures, tables, and diagrams, this accessible book simultaneously distills and develops the sociological approach to the study of development and underdevelopment for both undergraduate and graduate students across the social sciences.

“A Theory of Despair Among U.S. College Students” by Joseph C. Hermanowicz in Current Perspectives in Social Theory

The author argues that contemporary college culture is predicated on hedonism indicated by a use of predominantly social time in which parties, alcohol, casual sex, and lax academics pervade students’ experiences. Coincident with this culture, however, is a deleterious pattern among students that has developed dramatically: their compromised mental health. The situation presents an apparent paradox: why are many students suffering when enveloped by fun? This chapter draws a connection between fun and suffering by treating each as conditions that spring from the sociohistorical context that situates institutions of higher education. In so doing, a theory is set forth to explain why despair is rendered applicable and how it is institutionally installed in the minds of modern-day college students.

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