the organization man and the lonely crowd

The Lonely Crowd turned out to be the first of many books raising questions about conformity and individuality in post-war America. We live in an era in which nations and empires are experiencing, or facing the prospect of, disaggregation, disintegration, dissolution into their constituent elements. This thought seems to be supported by many of the most distinguished observers of American social character, from Alexis de Tocqueville on, who often take the country to task (or praise it) for diametrically opposite traits—sometimes even in the same work. Indeed, there is no more characteristic American attitude than disdain for anyone who would arrogate the title of master. But submit to what? And part of that price, it seems, may be a reflexive, unvanquished individualism accompanied by a perpetual yearning for unrealizable forms of community—a dream of being both autonomous and connected that in the end often settles for being neither. The debate over “multiculturalism” that rages in contemporary academe reflects a fear that the satisfactions achieved through the embrace of ethnic tribalism or other particularisms may come at an incalculable price to the common culture, upon whose cohesion all such self-conscious and hyphenate embraces depend. Gradually an other-direction took hold, that is, the social forces of how others were living—what they consumed, what they did with their time, what their views were toward politics, work, play, and so on. Inner-directed types flourish during periods where society places a good deal of importance on etiquette, while other-directed types rise when the rules of etiquette have waned. For example, the following one from David Brooks’s Bobos in Paradise (2000): “The general tenor of the social criticism of the 1950s—whether it was The Organization Man or The Lonely Crowd—was that a smothering sprit of deference had settled over the land… These writers drew from a distinction the philosopher John Dewey had laid down—between ‘customary’ and ‘reflective’ morality. For example, she argued, women’s perception of self is much more consistently embedded in relationship with others than was the case for autonomy-minded men; hence their moral decisions are made contextually, rather than by reference to an abstract and impersonal standard of justice. Thirteenth printing, January 1967. One of the many virtues of his Democracy in America was its ability to formulate with precision both halves of the dualism, and the sound reasons for fearing each. A) nurturing. Indeed, MacIntyre agreed, it is in the cultural climate of organizational bureaucracy “that the emotivist self is naturally at home.” The Organization Man and the Hipster only think they are opposites. This may seem contradictory; after all, aren’t those who are concerned about etiquette the kind of people who care a lot about what others think of them? Yet, as MacIntyre shrewdly points out, the modern organizational world is easily able to accommodate such potentially disruptive moral subjectivism. The struggle for political rights often warred with, but never entirely eclipsed, a struggle for distinctiveness, for a respectful recognition of women’s dramatically different perspectives and values; and the view of individualism as a gender-specific phenomenon has descended from this latter imperative. If you want this website to work, you must enable javascript. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, whose intellectual influence in antebellum America was unparalleled, played the role of high priest for a religion of radical individualism and self-reliance, and argued that our souls faced no greater peril than the “vulgar” demands placed upon them by our social existence. When visitors come to the Vietnam Memorial, they have not come to gaze upon a grand monumental structure, but to pick out a familiar name on a collective tombstone. If one applies the other-direction criteria to everyday actors as portrayed in modern culture, for example, the other-directed person is easy to identify. The Lonely Crowd also argues that society dominated by the other-directed faces profound deficiencies in leadership, individual self-knowledge, and human potential. The Lonely Crowd is a 1950 sociological analysis by David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney. Those who are other-directed need assurance that they are emotionally in tune with others. Do the homogeneous American “lifestyle enclaves” explored by Frances FitzGerald in her fascinating study Cities On a Hill, running the gamut from the retirement towns of the Sunbelt to the Castro District in San Francisco to the Rajneeshi religious commune in Oregon, represent a recovery of the vibrancy of community life through shared values and shared narratives? C) self-reliant. It does so by requiring of us a split-mindedness, which abandons the ideal of a whole human life characteristic of traditional social orders. Trained in Eriksonian developmental psychology, Gilligan was struck by the degree to which studies of moral development omitted women from their samples, and omitted a consideration of gender from their theoretical framework and research design. the organization man. Major Works by David Riesman. Not only Mailer’s Hipster, but most men and women in modern Western societies are increasingly guided in their personal moral judgments by what Alasdair MacIntyre calls “emotivism,” the doctrine that moral evaluations ultimately represent nothing more than expressions of personal preference, attitude, or feeling. Yet that result seems likely so long as there is no authoritative way left of talking about obligations that transcend the self, and about the prerequisites of moral community. Lo publicaremos en nuestro sitio después de haberla revisado. But precisely their tameness is an indication of the profound changes that have occurred in the intervening years. When David Riesman died this past May at the age of ninety- two, it was something of a surprise to learn that he had still been alive. Such is the appeal today of so much New Age spirituality, which often serves merely to bless emotivism and dress it up in flowing robes. The Eriksonian Bildungsroman, built around the passage from infantile dependence to adult autonomy, reflected a conception of adulthood that favored the separateness of the individual self over its connection to others. "—David Brooks, senior editor at the Weekly Standard and contributing editor at Newsweek "The Organization Man remains a worthwhile read today. Habits took a similar approach to the two traditions it affirmed, hoping to gather the fruits of their cohesive effects without paying the price of accepting their authority. Yet no problem is more fundamental to American social character, and to the complex of issues here under examination, than the locus of authority; for a large, complex society cannot be governed by the premises of a voluntary association—and even voluntary associations must wrestle, in the end, with problems of authority, as the history of churches and reform movements amply indicates. So observed D. H. Lawrence in his idiosyncratic Studies in Classic American Literature, one of the enduringly valuable books about American life. Each has mapped some element of a route out of individualism; but it is not clear how consequential such initial forays can be unless they can establish the ability of an authoritative political and moral language, other than that of individual rights, to be admitted to the public arena. Wilfred M. McClay is Associate Professor of History at Tulane University and author of The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America (University of North Carolina Press). The rise of the Hitler and Stalin regimes, and of the anti-individualist ideologies advanced to legitimate them, put any such “socializing” tendencies on the defensive, and gave renewed vigor and credibility to the earlier Emersonian exaltation of the autonomous individual—which seemed only to intensify in the years after the Second World War. Individualism, in this view, far from being universal, is highly gender-specific; and as American intellectual and cultural history is rewritten, and the constitution of present-day American society changes, that gender-specificity will be revealed, relativized, and transcended. Inner-directed people live as adults what they learned in childhood, and tend to be confident, sometimes rigid. By the 1940s, the other-directed character was beginning to dominate society. The Lonely Crowd is a 1950 sociological analysis by David Riesman, Nathan Glazer, and Reuel Denney. The various New Federalisms have been notoriously shallow in practice, and the size of the Federal government has continued to grow rapidly during the very administrations that espoused reduction. But one can be forgiven for asking: what authority do the authors believe should be given to, for example, the Ten Commandments, or to biblical teachings on sexuality? MacIntyre’s point bears directly upon the tension between the Hipster and the Organization Man. They trace the evolution of society from a tradition-directed culture, one that moved in a direction defined by preceding generations. In a deeper sense, they are more like siblings: mutually defined, mutually enabling. Bellah’s criticisms echoed, in many particulars, those embodied in the traditionalist-conservative critique of individualism, exemplified by the works of Russell Kirk and Robert Nisbet. Every way of life, even a seemingly neutral and eclectic pluralism that tolerantly affirms a wide-open bazaar of ideas and values, has its built-in imperatives, its virtues, its vices, its codes, its taboos, its benefits, and its costs. But anyone who takes seriously the binding power of the most fundamental sociological concepts will have trouble seeing this wish list as more than insubstantial word-combinations, wholly without plausible historical precedent. Perhaps the most prominent work to grapple with this complex of issues in recent years was Habits of the Heart (1985), a collaborative exploration of contemporary American society whose principal author was the prominent sociologist Robert Bellah. The Lonely Crowd. There are signals emanating from various quarters, including even feeble and intermittent signals from the “communitarian” elements in the Clinton Administration, that this may have begun to change, at least on a rhetorical level. After the Industrial Revolution in America had succeeded in developing a middle-class state, institutions that had flourished within the tradition-directed and the inner-directed social framework became secondary to daily life. Such an association need not rely upon an authoritative person or institution to justify itself to its members, thanks to its functional character. “When the conditions of men are almost equal,” Tocqueville remarked, “they do not easily allow themselves to be persuaded by one another.” Equals, that is, do not take orders from one another. “It is,” Sandel explains, “as though the unencumbered self presupposed by the liberal ethic had begun to come true—less liberated than disempowered, entangled in a network of obligations and involvements unassociated with any act of will and yet unmediated by those common identifications or expansive self-definitions that would make them tolerable.” Such is the symbiosis of Hipster and Organization Man in action. Our movement is … 0 votes. To be sure, there is much that is ominous in such developments; but if considered in light of MacIntyre’s and Sandel’s observations, such reorientation may also represent the beginnings of an historically inevitable, and perhaps not entirely unhealthy, reaction against the pathologies of the unencumbered self and the limitations of a centralized and nationalized social order. But women, Gilligan proposed, showed a strikingly different trajectory of moral evolution and a different style of moral judgment, and researchers who habitually treated the male pattern as “normal” needed henceforth to take respectful account of women’s difference. By investing authority in an obscure “IT”—in preference to, say, a Judeo-Christian God who has revealed Himself with disconcerting and inhibiting definiteness—Lawrence himself was evading moral authority in practice even as he was affirming it in theory. The Hipster surrenders control over his own actions and “lives with death as immediate danger,” the complete existential hero. It is perhaps encouraging, then, that so many in the recent generation of American social thinkers seem preoccupied by questions of community and solidarity, rather than individualism and autonomy. Because large organizations preferred this type of personality, it became indispensable to the institutions that thrived with the growth of industry in America. And on the level of domestic national politics, beginning with the administration of Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, through the successive administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, the rhetoric of streamlining, decentralization, and New Federalism regularly took precedence over the appeal to a consolidated national community. Duncan Kennedy. The crushing anguish so present in our world is usually not apparent in a Sunday-morning or a Wednesday-evening congregation. The Organization Man. 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