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Disputes over historical representations often revolve around competing narratives about the past, but the processes through which these narratives are constructed are often neglected. In this paper, we extend the concept of collective memory using Brekhus' notion of social marking to investigate the creation and maintenance of collective representations of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. We analyze the claims made in speeches and communiqués produced by two opposing groups--the Mexican government and the Zapatista movement--in a decades-long dispute over land and indigenous rights. Moreover, we argue that processes of social marking can further explain the selective nature of collective memory, that is, how certain parts of the past are remembered and emphasized while others are de-emphasized and forgotten. Also, in our analysis of social marking, we identify a naturalization process that is utilized by actors in mnemonic battles to recast their constructed representations of the past as natural, pure, and true. We close with a discussion of how understanding the naturalization process as outlined here can shed light on current political and historical disputes.
At the recent Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association (ASA), held in Las Vegas, Professor Sharon Zukin, a recipient of the ASA's Robert and Helen Lynd Lifetime Achievement Award in community and urban sociology, was featured in a two-minute video produced by the prestigious Norton Publishing company. The first words out of her mouth were "she hates Las Vegas." She then proceeded to launch into an extended diatribe aimed at tourists on the Strip, whom, she claimed, might think that they are having fun, but they are not, and went on to add that Las Vegas is not a real city. While the stupefying combination of arrogance and ignorance contained in Professor Zukin's "commentary" is deeply disturbing, it is hardly new. It is crucial to note, however, that there exists an equally large literature on Las Vegas based upon systematic, in-depth empirical analysis.
In his acclaimed 2000 book Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam documents a disturbing social trend of the broadest kind. Putnam cites a wide variety of data that indicate that over the past fifty years, Americans have become increasingly socially disengaged. In developing this theme, Putnam specifically cites the increase in casino gambling (and especially machine gambling) as evidence in support of his argument. Building on the empirical and theoretical work of Putnam, this exploratory article examines the sub-phenomenon of "gambling alone" by exploring sample survey data on solitary and social gambling behavior among adults who reside in Las Vegas, Nevada. Specifically, to further understand these phenomena, a number of demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral variables are examined for their explanatory power in predicting solitary vs. social gambling behavior.
There is much current discussion about “the postmodern condition”‐a sea change in the configuration of society that has brought about a dramatic new set of cultural forms and social experiences. At the center of the postmodern condition are the issues of communication and the nature of signification and language. Here, we identify the major insights concerning contemporary communication and media practices associated with the postmodern condition and evaluate their contribution to critical media studies.
This study examines the relationship between deconstruction and Marxist inquiry. Derrida's philosophical conception of deconstruction is presented, followed by a discussion and assessment of the arguments for a Marx–deconstruction articulation. I argue that such an articulation is not supportable due to a fundamental incompatibility between Marxism and Derrida's Saussurean-based conception of language and meaning. Finally, I conclude that language-based approaches in general are of limited utility in reorienting Marxist theory and practice.
Dickens, David R. "The Relevance of Domestic Traditions in the Development Process: Iran, 1963-1979." International Journal of Contemporary Sociology 26:55-70 (1989).
This paper reexamines sociological modernization theories of development and current theories of dependency and underdevelopment. it is argued that both sets of literature present one-sided portrayals of social change in contemporary Third World countries. in place of these we propose an alternative dialectical approach. We suggest the way in which this approach integrates international political and economic emphases of the neo-Marxist approaches with domestic socio-cultural foci of modernization theory through examples from classic and contemporary studies.