Hegemony of Common Sense

Hegemony of Common Sense

Hegemony of Common Sense

The Hegemony of Common Sense: Wisdom and Mystification in Everyday Life, is a path-breaking synthesis, a unique contribution to the study of class and consciousness. Here, Dean Wolfe Manders brings critical social theory to bear on the nature of links between American popular sayings, capitalist ideology, and the everyday lived dynamics of class domination.

The agenda of this book is easily stated -- that reigning American "common sense" is amenable to sustained critique by means of inquiry into common sayings, proverbs, and other forms of everyday discourse. What Manders offers, in particular, is a "Gramscian" critique of common sense in which class is a central category. The Hegemony of Common Sense posits that in our deeply class-divided society, the seemingly neutral and universal wisdom of American common sense masks a deeper, mystified reality -- a reality of unresolved doubt and uncertainty, of distrust and resentment, ambivalence and contradiction, hope and rootless surrender. Common sense is revealed as often self-defeating, infused with fatalism and passivity in ways that prove detrimental to working people.

Displaying a rich, interdisciplinary intellectual palette, and a sharp critical agenda, The Hegemony of Common Sense explores the interior of mass-popular common sense -- the "givens," taken-for-granted assumptions, and tacit meanings that saturate the popular sayings of the day, where they hide, in effect, in plain sight. "This pioneering work remains unique. No one else has mined the field of proverbial expression for insight into common sense with similar breadth of vision. What Manders offers -- a synthesis of critical theory and proverb study, fired by the sociological imagination -- is unavailable from any other source" (David Norman Smith, from the Epilogue, The Hegemony of Common Sense, second edition).

HOWARD ZINN reviews The Hegemony of Common Sense -- the "book is enormously impressive, truly original as a work of political theory. I know of no other work that explores class and its relationship to popular consciousness in the thoughtful and incisive way you have done. You have clearly read widely among social theorists and drawn from them what is useful for your thesis. I welcome your book especially because there is such a mistaken idea, especially among European intellectuals, but also in this nation, about the apparent lack of class consciousness, the failure to see such consciousness manifested in many different ways. This failure has important consequences for political action, for any strategy for social change."
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The Hegemony of Common Sense: Wisdom and Mystification in Everyday Life, is a path-breaking synthesis, a unique contribution to the study of class and consciousness. Here, Dean Wolfe Manders brings critical social theory to bear on the nature of links between American popular sayings, capitalist ideology, and the everyday lived dynamics of class domination.

The agenda of this book is easily stated -- that reigning American "common sense" is amenable to sustained critique by means of inquiry into common sayings, proverbs, and other forms of everyday discourse. What Manders offers, in particular, is a "Gramscian" critique of common sense in which class is a central category. The Hegemony of Common Sense posits that in our deeply class-divided society, the seemingly neutral and universal wisdom of American common sense masks a deeper, mystified reality -- a reality of unresolved doubt and uncertainty, of distrust and resentment, ambivalence and contradiction, hope and rootless surrender. Common sense is revealed as often self-defeating, infused with fatalism and passivity in ways that prove detrimental to working people.

Displaying a rich, interdisciplinary intellectual palette, and a sharp critical agenda, The Hegemony of Common Sense explores the interior of mass-popular common sense -- the "givens," taken-for-granted assumptions, and tacit meanings that saturate the popular sayings of the day, where they hide, in effect, in plain sight. "This pioneering work remains unique. No one else has mined the field of proverbial expression for insight into common sense with similar breadth of vision. What Manders offers -- a synthesis of critical theory and proverb study, fired by the sociological imagination -- is unavailable from any other source" (David Norman Smith, from the Epilogue, The Hegemony of Common Sense, second edition).

HOWARD ZINN reviews The Hegemony of Common Sense -- the "book is enormously impressive, truly original as a work of political theory. I know of no other work that explores class and its relationship to popular consciousness in the thoughtful and incisive way you have done. You have clearly read widely among social theorists and drawn from them what is useful for your thesis. I welcome your book especially because there is such a mistaken idea, especially among European intellectuals, but also in this nation, about the apparent lack of class consciousness, the failure to see such consciousness manifested in many different ways. This failure has important consequences for political action, for any strategy for social change."
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