THE CRISIS OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY by Norman Birnbaum

THE CRISIS OF INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Much has been written about the problems of modern industrial society both before and since John Kenneth Galbraith's seminal study The New Industrial State, but Birnbaum, an Amherst sociology professor who helped found the New Left Review, has produced a very high-level probe into the social and political implications of the Western industrial experience which challenges Galbraith's and other contemporary analysts' belief that ""the basic issue of (class or social) stratification has been settled by the technical rationality of the system itself."" Birnbaum considers conflict and not integration as the prime characteristic (though occasionally submerged) of our society and concentrates on its instabilities, ""the contradictions between its pretensions and its achievements, between its surface and its depths."" This calls for an analysis of class, power, and culture in the industrial societies of the U.S., France, Britain, and Germany (with a very brief consideration of the socialist states) to ""distinguish between the schematic treatment of the modern class system and its actual representation in history and in society."" Also explored is the nature of consensus and dissensus in the modern state and the meaning of the current wave of disturbances fomented by students, bohemians, and young workers with a profound revulsion for industrial culture in its present form. Cerebral radical cogitations.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1969
Publisher: Oxford