An Analysis of David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd : A Study of the Changing American Character book cover
1st Edition

An Analysis of David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd
A Study of the Changing American Character

ISBN 9781912128174
Published July 20, 2017 by Macat Library
94 Pages

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Book Description

David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd: A Study in the Changing American Character is one of the best-known books in the history of sociology – holding a mirror up to contemporary America and showing the nation its own character as it had never seen it before.

Its success is a testament to Riesman’s mastery of one key critical thinking skill: interpretation. In critical thinking, interpretation focuses on understanding the meaning of evidence, and is frequently characterized by laying down clear definitions, and clarifying ideas and categories for the reader. All these processes are on full display in The Lonely Crowd – which, rather than seeking to challenge accepted wisdom or generate new ideas, provides incisive interpretations and definitions of ideas and data from a variety of sources.

Above all, Riesman’s book is a work of categorization – a form of interpretation that can be vital to building and communicating systematic arguments. With the aid of his two co-authors (Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney), he defined three cultural types that formed a perfect pattern for understanding mid-century American society and the changes it was undergoing. The clarity of the book’s definitions tapped directly into the zeitgeist of the 1950s, powering it to best-seller status and an audience that extended far beyond academia.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text 

Who was David Riesman? 

What does The Lonely Crowd Say? 

Why does The Lonely Crowd Matter? 

Section 1: Influences 

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context 

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution 

Section 2: Ideas 

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas  

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work 

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses 

Module 10: The Evolving Debate 

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today 

Module 12: Where Next? 

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text 

Works Cited

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Dr Jarrod Homer took his PhD in sociology at the University of Manchester for research focusing on American culture and Jewish artists of the mid-twentieth century.