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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

Rebecca Anne Allahyari

American sociology has long been concerned with the social conditioning of American character, particularly with regard to caring for others. This interest can be traced…

Abstract

American sociology has long been concerned with the social conditioning of American character, particularly with regard to caring for others. This interest can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (1899[1838]) in which he reflected on how democratic participation in government and voluntary associations in the 1830s shaped the American character. Tocqueville believed that participation in social institutions, and especially voluntary societies, balanced the potentially excessive individualism he observed in the United States. David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd: A Study of Changing American Character (1950) picked up similar themes in an exploration of the isolation of the individual within modern society. These concerns reached a broad audience more recently in Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton's Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (1985) in which the authors argued that the scale had swung in favor of individualism at the expense of commitment to the social good. Robert Wuthnow (1991) addressed these issues again in Acts of Compassion: Caring for Others and Helping Ourselves, in which he explored how in volunteer work, Americans attempted to reconcile compassion with individualism. These studies, primarily focusing on white, middle‐class Americans, have laid the groundwork for an exploration of the social nature of the American character within the context of caring for others.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 16 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Melinda J. Milligan

This paper broadens and extends the idea of organizational death by arguing that certain organizational site moves, those in which employees hold a strong place attachment…

Abstract

This paper broadens and extends the idea of organizational death by arguing that certain organizational site moves, those in which employees hold a strong place attachment to the to be left, are a form of organizational death. It argues for the utility of viewing organizational change as involving loss and including space in studies of everyday organizational experiences. Using ethnographic research (participant‐observation and in‐depth interviews with the employees) of one such organization (the “Coffee House”) and a negotiated‐order perspective, discusses employee beliefs as to how the site move should have been managed as a means to document their understanding of the move as a loss experience and as a form of organizational death.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 23 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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