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American Society: How It Really Worksby Erik Olin Wright
Synopses & Reviews
In American Society: How It Really Works, Erik Olin Wright and Joel Rogers ask several crucial questions: What kind of society is American society? How does it really work? Why is it the way it is? In what ways does it need changing, and how can those changes be brought about?
They explore the implications of these questions by examining five key values that most Americans believe our society should realize: Freedom, Prosperity, Efficiency, Fairness, and Democracy. Wright and Rogers ask readers to evaluate to what degree contemporary American society realizes these values and suggest how Americans might solve some of the social problems that confront America today.
Book News Annotation:
Why does poverty persist? Why can't cities control urban sprawl? Why does our military intervene around the world? In this accessible undergraduate text for a course on contemporary American society, Wright and Rogers, teachers of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, combine their backgrounds in economic and political institutions and sociological analysis of class, race, and gender. Although the authors place themselves on the left side of the political spectrum, they say that their political perspective "does not reject American values, but rather seeks to realize the great promise of the American dream." An introduction lays out the five core social values that drive the change agenda espoused in the book: freedom, prosperity, efficiency, fairness, and democracy. Later sections cover how the capitalist market is supposed to work and how it really works; poverty and rising inequality; and how democracy works. The conclusion presents brief recommendations, such as public control over energy development and reducing the role of private money in politics. Co-author Rogers is director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"The definitive introduction to American society, challenging readers to think about the disconnection between how things are supposed to be in theory versus how they really work in practice." --Jeff Manza, New York University
About the Author
Erik Olin Wright is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of many books, including Classes, Interrogating Inequality, Class Counts, Deepening Democracy (with Archon Fung), and Envisioning Real Utopias.Joel Rogers is Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Director of COWS. His many books include On Democracy, Right Turn, The Forgotten Majority, and What Workers Want. A longtime activist, Rogers was identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.
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