David Riesman's Unpublished Writings and Continuing Legacy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

David Riesman's Unpublished Writings and Continuing Legacy

1st Edition

Edited by Keith Kerr, B. Garrick Harden, Marcus Aldredge


314 pages

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Hardback: 9781472428486
pub: 2015-08-14
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It has been over 60 years since David Riesman’s most famous work The Lonely Crowd brought him international acclaim. While this remains a best-selling sociology book, Riesman’s expertise and publications spanned far beyond the treatment of the American social character type offered there. This volume recasts and reintroduces Riesman by presenting newly discovered and unpublished manuscripts of his work, including excerpts from a previously unpublished critical biography of Freud that Riesman began with this assistant at the time, Philip Rieff, an interview in which Riesman describes in detail his early biography and his route into the social sciences, and other research notes and memoranda. With additional chapters analyzing the unpublished works, as well as discussions of Riesman as a public intellectual, his multi-disciplinary method of understanding society and his connections with figures such as Goffman and Fromm, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory and the history of American social science.


'David Riesman was American sociology's great public intellectual of the 20th century. Riesman theorized about society and social character, cared about undergraduate teaching and higher education and intervened in the world effectively on questions of the nuclear arms race and the Berlin crisis in the early 1960s. These unpublished Riesman manuscripts and original essays on his ideas and life are an indispensable resource for understanding the pre-history of public sociology.' - Neil McLaughlin, McMaster University, Canada

'David Riesman was a major public intellectual of the second half of the last century, his views regularly solicited by major media and institutions. This volume collects some of his unpublished papers - lectures, letters, speeches, uncompleted articles - on a range of subjects, which illustrate his amazing fertility of mind, his talent as a writer and phrase-maker, and his unique ability to discern, from simple engagement with individuals and aspects of popular culture, significant trends in American society that now give him the aura of a prophet.' - Nathan Glazer, Harvard University, USA

'David Riesman will forever be remembered as the principal author of The Lonely Crowd, one of the most influential works of sociology ever written. But he deserves to be known for much more than that. As this valuable collection shows, he was a penetrating analyst of all facets of human culture, equipped with a supple, capacious, and curious mind, seemingly incapable of writing or speaking an uninteresting word. One can hear his humane voice and feel his generous and liberal spirit in these pages.' - Wilfred M. McClay, University of Oklahoma, USA

'This collection of texts will undoubtedly help rekindle interest in Riesman’s work.' - Contemporary Sociology

About the Editors

Keith Kerr is Associate Professor of Sociology at Quinnipiac University, USA and author of Postmodern Cowboy: C. Wright Mills and a New 21st Century Sociology.

B. Garrick Harden is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lamar University, USA and co-editor of Co-opting Culture: Culture and Power in Sociology and Cultural Studies.

Marcus Aldredge is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Iona College, USA and author of Singer-Songwriters and Musical Open Mics.

About the Series

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory publishes rigorous scholarly work that re-discovers the relevance of social theory for contemporary times, demonstrating the enduring importance of theory for modern social issues. The series covers social theory in a broad sense, inviting contributions on both 'classical' and modern theory, thus encompassing sociology, without being confined to a single discipline. As such, work from across the social sciences is welcome, provided that volumes address the social context of particular issues, subjects, or figures and offer new understandings of social reality and the contribution of a theorist or school to our understanding of it. The series considers significant new appraisals of established thinkers or schools, comparative works or contributions that discuss a particular social issue or phenomenon in relation to the work of specific theorists or theoretical approaches. Contributions are welcome that assess broad strands of thought within certain schools or across the work of a number of thinkers, but always with an eye toward contributing to contemporary understandings of social issues and contexts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes