By Nick Stevenson

© 2012 – Routledge

88 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415664516
pub: 2012-02-17
US Dollars$23.95
Hardback: 9780415664493
pub: 2012-02-23
US Dollars$104.00

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About the Book

Freedom is commonly recognized as the struggle for basic liberties, societies based upon open dialogue, human rights and democracy. The idea of freedom is central to western ideas of modernity, but this engaging, accessible book argues that if we look back at the history of the idea of freedom, then what we mean by it is far more contested than we might think. To what extent does freedom have a ‘social’ component, and how is it being reshaped by our dominant consumer society? This book represents a wake-up call to all those who thought our basic ideas of freedom were settled.

Today, the West sees itself as having a crucial role to play in exporting freedom into the far regions of the world – but our own freedom seems more under threat than ever. Linking ideas of public and personal freedom, Stevenson explores complaints about ‘big brother’, the arrival of the business society and the erosion of democracy to show how our freedoms are far from secure.

Seeking to affirm the importance of freedom, this book provides a compelling argument for linking it to other values such as equality and responsibility. Drawing upon a range of critical thinkers and perspectives, Stevenson asks what freedom will come to mean in the future, in a world that seems increasingly fragile, uncertain and insecure.

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface. 1. Freedom Now and Then 2. Freedom and Happiness 3. Big Brother and Freedom 4. Cultural Freedom 5. Cosmopolitan Freedom 6. Freedom and Virtue Bibliography

About the Author

Nick Stevenson is a Reader in Cultural Sociology at the University of Nottingham. He has written widely on questions of culture and politics. His published books include The Transformation of the Media (1999), Making Sense of Men’s Magazines (2001), Culture and Citizenship (2001), Understanding Media Cultures (2002), Cultural Citizenship (2003), David Bowie (2006) and Education and Cultural Citizenship (2011).

About the Series


Shortcuts is a major new series of concise, accessible introductions to some of the major issues of our times. The series is developed as an A to Z coverage of emergent or new social, cultural and political phenomena. Issues and topics covered range from food to fat, from climate change to suicide bombing, from love to zombies. Whilst the principal focus of Shortcuts is the relevance of current issues, topics and debates to the social sciences and humanities, the books will also appeal to a wider audience seeking guidance on how to engage with today’s leading social, political and philosophical debates. Short and concise, the books will include cutting-edge pedagogical features such as a glossary of key terms, one-page argument summaries and a webliography.

Anthony Elliott is Director of the Hawke Research Institute, where he is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of South Australia. He is also Visiting Professor at University College Dublin, Ireland. His contact information is:


Professor Anthony Elliott, FASSA

Director, Hawke Research Institute

Research Professor of Sociology

University of South Australia

GPO Box 2471

Adelaide SA 5001


Tel.: 61 8 8302 1084




UCD School of Sociology
Newman Building
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8674
Fax: +353 1 716 1125

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General