Charles Lemert is one of the most renowned critics of social theory and theorists today. The editors of this book have offered and contextualised many of his best essays and situated them against the backdrop of American sociology. The breadth of Lemert's work doesn't stop at an academic engagement with theoretical debates such as 'globalisation' or 'postmodernism,' but cuts right to the heart of abiding social issues. His work is focused and continues to probe pressing questions such as the rise of vulnerabilities in an era of new capitalism. By weaving together personal narrative, research, lucid explanations, and a dynamic engagement with social theory of old and new, his unique prose renders accessible complex theoretical debates.
Table of Contents
1. Critical Introduction Daniel Chaffee and Sam Han; 2. "Reading" Lemert Anthony Elliott; 3. Rethinking Social Knowledge; Suburbs and Steppenwolf; Cultural Multiplexity and Religious Polytheism; Sociological Theory and the Relativistic Paradigm; 4. Social Things; Sociology as Theories of Lost Worlds"; Durkheim's Ghosts in the Culture of Sociologies; 5. Critical Sociology; Sociology: Prometheus among the Sciences of Man"; The Uses of French Structuralism: Rethinking Vietnam"; Against capital-s Sociology"; 6. Dark Thoughts; Dreaming in the Dark, November 26, 1997; Race of Time; 7. Unlikely Social Thinkers; Unreasonable Differences: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Logic of the; Feminist Standpoint"; The Colored Woman's Office: Anna Julia Cooper, 1892; Celebrity, Tricks and Culture; 8. Ethics and Identity; If there is a Global WE, Might we all be Dispossessed?; Whose We? Dark Thoughts of the Universal Self, 1998; Can Worlds be Changed? Ethics and the Multicultural Dream; 9. Globalized Worlds; Dispossession and Overcoming Nostalgia; Surviving the New Individualism; 10. Intellectual Memoir: Social Theory and Contemporary Politics Charles Lemert.
“Editors Daniel Chaffee and Sam Han have chosen the most important of Charles Lemert's writings to show the depth and breathe of his contribution to social theory. With their richly informative introduction, Chaffee and Han make clear that Lemert's contribution to social theory comes from the critical stance he takes toward sociology, a discipline he cares about enough to be critical of it. But being critical is not merely a personal choice for Lemert. The social issues of the day simply have had a stronger hold on Lemert's imagination then mere fidelity to disciplinary knowledge. The collection of essays is perfect for scholars, teachers and students.”
–Patricia Ticineto Clough, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
“Throughout his career in sociology, Charles Lemert has made it his business to stand in the gap between 'high' theory and the political and social affairs of everyday people. In doing so, he has worked hard to ensure that theory speaks responsibly to and about modern human experiences, and that social differences pertaining (but not exclusively) to race and gender get registered not as vexing aberrations in humankind, but as core and defining elements of the social world that social theory is charged with explaining. In admirable fashion, this work reflects his efforts on this front. Serious thinkers must engage it.”
–Alford A. Young, Jr., University of Michigan
“Charles Lemert has the rare ability to make anyone who reads his work or hears him speak become interested in a whole new way of looking at the world. That is what all true scholars do. This new anthology of his outstanding work reminds us that he is the ultimate tour guide who makes you feel at home in the many worlds he writes about, and also makes you want to now more about each of them. Like C. Wright Mills, Charles Lemert makes sociology a vital and moving discipline. This new book is a refreshing reminder of the enduring power of committed intellectuals and visionaries like Charles Lemert, and shows all of us that the joy of reading a fine book is still a stimulating and rewarding experience.”
–David Amram, Composer and Musician
“There is no question that Charles Lemert is socoiology's greatest working social theorist and that with this new reader his place in the sociological canon he has worked so tirelessly over the years to interpret and expand will most certainly be assured. But for me he will always be sociology's greatest unnamed novelist, making accessible, through good stories and characters, the often forgotten history of this discipline we all share.”
—Audrey Sprenger, Affiliated Faculty Charles Warren Center, Harvard University
“Provocative, eloquent and always engaging, Lemert’s work is well represented in The Race of Time. If you are interested in the fate and future of sociology and social theory, buy and read this book –and after that, go back and read Lemert’s oeuvre.”
–Contemporary Sociology 40, 2