With particular attention to his work on modernization and modernity as construed by a sociologist of knowledge, this book offers a sympathetic exposition and evaluation of Peter Berger’s work as one of the world’s most accomplished and influential sociologists.
In the context of an examination of Berger’s ongoing work on the social construction of reality, styles of consciousness, the role of science-based technology, pluralism, and other pertinent topics, the author also considers Berger’s unique and thoughtful approach to research and theorizing. Berger’s method of ‘sociological tourism’, which departs sharply from the current emphasis in the social sciences on ever more complex and ostensibly rigorous statistical procedures, provides a refreshing move away from the increasingly esoteric and sometimes alienating methodological self-consciousness that characterizes contemporary sociology.
With this distinctive approach, this book will appeal to scholars and students of sociology who share Berger’s interest. The importance of modernization and modernity on a world scale is undeniable, and a deeper understanding of their nature and consequences, will also benefit members of the intelligent laity who are not sociological specialists but are open to new ideas that are clearly explained.
Peter Berger is one of the most gifted but understated public intellectuals working today. Bickel presents a unique evaluation of the development of Berger's ideas from 'Invitation to Sociology', his contribution to the sociology of knowledge, relationship between faith and development, and recent work on global political and economic inequality.
Shaun Best, University of Winchester, UK
1. Background: Berger’s Prose, Presentation, and Purpose
2. Institutions: Berger’s Conceptual Foundation
3. The Sociological Tourist
4. Ever the Weberian
5. Sociological Insights into the Exemplary, the Everyday, and the Execrable
6. Socially Constructing Modernization, Modernity, and Our Social World
7. Production through Science-Based Technology
8. Modes of Production and Cognitive Styles
9. Provisionally Taking Stock: "Modes of Production and Cognitive Styles"
10. Modes of Production and Cognitive Styles Amplified
11. Reality as a Social Creation
13. Pluralism and Capitalism
14. What has Been Done
15. Styles of Consciousness and Pluralism
16. Reservations about Pluralism
17. The Complexity of Modern Consciousness
18. The Continuing Influence of Weber
19. Modernization Augmented
20. Modernity and Its Discontents: A Suitably Ironic Closing