Cover image for The last half-century : societal change and politics in America
The last half-century : societal change and politics in America
Janowitz, Morris.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [1978]

Physical Description:
xiii, 582 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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HN57 .J2479 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The Last Half-Century represents the culmination of a lifetime of scholarship by Morris Janowitz. In this comprehensive and systematic analysis of the major trends in American society during the past fifty years, he probes the weakening of popular party affiliations and the increased inability of elected representatives to rule. Centering his work on the crucial concept of social control, Janowitz orders and assesses a vast amount of empirical research to clarify the failure of basic social institutions to resolve our chronic conflicts.

For Janowitz, social control denotes a society's capacity to regulate itself within a moral framework that transcends simple self-interest. He poses urgent questions: Why has social control been so drastically weakened in our advanced industrial society? And what strategies can we use to strengthen it again?

The expanation rests in part on the changes in social structure which make it more and more complicated for citizens to calculate their political self-interest. At the same time, complex economic and defense problems also strain an already overburdened legislative system, making effective, responsive political rule increasingly difficult.

Janowitz concludes by assessing the response of the social sciences to the pressing problem of social control and asserts that new forms of citizen participation in the government must be found.

Author Notes

Morris Janowitz was an American sociologist educated at the University of Chicago. As a student of many Chicago School theorists, he was most interested in the process of communication and its role in establishing a sense of community. Prejudice was another lifelong interest. During World War II, Janowitz worked as a propaganda analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is best known for The Community Press in An Urban Setting (1980), his early study of the role of newspapers in establishing a sense of community. This work combined his interest in the press as an agent of solidarity with his concern about the perpetuation of prejudice.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
I Frame of Reference
1 Sociological Objectives
2 The Idea of Socialnbsp;Control
3 The Logic of Systemic Analysis
II Master Trends, 1920-1976
4 Political Participation: Emergence of Weak Regimes
5 Social Stratification: Occupation and Welfare
6 Military Participation and Total War
III The System of Social Organization
7 Bureaucratic Institutions: The Hierarchical Dimension
8 Residential Community: The Geographical Dimension
9 Societal Socialization: Mass Persuasion
10 Societal Socialization: Legitimate Coercion
IV Rationality, Institution Building, and Social Control
11 The Management of Interpersonal Relations
12 Experiments in Community Participation
13 Political Elites and Social Control
14 Epilogue
Author Index
Analytic and Subject Index