The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt

The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt

Edited by Peter Baehr & Philip Walsh

Anthem Companions to Sociology

The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt describes and appraises Hannah Arendt’s principal works and their bearing on sociology, social thought and the predicaments of modern society.

Hardback, 292 Pages

ISBN:9781783081851

January 2017

£70.00, $115.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links

About This Book

As recently as 2000, Hannah Arendt was considered an esoteric author within the fields of humanities and social science. Since that time, Arendt has moved from the fringes of intellectual discussion toward its center. A number of developments have driven this reappraisal: the renewed respectability of the concept of totalitarianism; the appearance of post-Nazi/Bolshevik genocidal movements in Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East; the reemergence of stateless people; and the revival of interest in civil/classical republicanism as a political alternative to liberalism and socialism. All of these events evoke Arendtian themes. The greater porousness between the humanities and social sciences in recent years, as a result of the impetus toward trans-disciplinary studies, has encouraged academics to move across intellectual borders. Arendt, a wide-ranging thinker with much to say about politics, society, science, history, aesthetics, philosophy and education, is a natural beneficiary of this process.

Extant compendiums of Arendt's work show a strong bias toward philosophy and political theory. In contrast, The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt is written principally by sociologists and authors with a keen interest in sociology and social theory. The result is a genuinely original contribution to Arendt studies. Written with the higher level undergraduate student in mind yet sufficiently challenging to engage readers well versed in her work, the book examines Arendt's most important books as they bear on modern social theories, issues and disputes. Her key conceptual distinctions – totalitarianism and dictatorship; labor, work, action; power and violence; thinking, willing and judging – are clarified. The controversies in which Arendt was caught up – notably over the 'banality of evil' epitomized by Adolf Eichmann – are explained. The result enables students to grasp a fully rounded understanding of Arendt's contribution to social inquiry. Written by a distinguished group of international scholars, the clear descriptions and stimulating interpretations of The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt bring Arendt's work into the forefront of sociological discussion.

Reviews

The Anthem Companions to Sociology offers wide ranging and masterly overviews of the works of major sociologists. The volumes in the series provide authoritative and critical appraisals of key figures in modern social thought. These books, written and edited by leading figures, are essential additional reading on the history of sociology. — Gerard Delanty, Professor of Sociology, University of Sussex, Brighton

This ambitious series provides an intellectually thoughtful introduction to the featured social theorists and offers a comprehensive assessment of their legacy. Each edited collection synthesizes the many dimensions of the respective theorist’s contributions and sympathetically ponders the various nuances in and the broader societal context for their body of work. The series will be appreciated by seasoned scholars and students alike. — Michele Dillon, Professor of Sociology and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, University of New Hampshire

The orchestration and emergence of the Anthem Companions to Sociology represent a formidable and invaluable achievement. Each companion explores the scope, ingenuity, and conceptual subtleties of the works of a theorist indispensable to the sociological project. The editors and contributors for each volume are the very best in their fields, and they guide us towards the richest, most creative seams in the writings of their thinker. The results, strikingly consistent from one volume to the next, brush away the years, reanimate what might have been lost, and bring numerous rays of illumination to the most pressing challenges of the present. — Rob Stones, Professor of Sociology, Western Sydney University, Australia

The Anthem Companions, those that have appeared already and those that are to come, will give every sociologist a handy and authoritative guide to all the giants of their discipline. — Stephen Mennell, Professor Emeritus, University College Dublin

Each volume of the Anthem Companions to Sociology examines comprehensively not only a theorist’s distinct approach and unique contributions, but also situates each in reference to the major parameters of mainstream theoretical schools and traditions. This remarkable Series in addition throws into high relief the singular features of modern societies. It promises to set the standard for discussions of Sociology’s long-term development and belongs on the shelves of every social scientist.— Stephen Kalberg, Professor of Sociology Emeritus, Boston University 

This valuable series covers both familiar figures in the history of sociology (such as Max Weber and, prospectively, Marx and Durkheim) and less often treated ones such as Arendt and Troeltsch who are also highly relevant to sociology, broadly conceived. In these books, leading scholars explore important but often neglected aspects of their subjects’ work. — William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University, UK

Author Information

Peter Baehr is professor of social theory at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is the author of Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism and the Social Sciences (2010) and the editor of The Portable Hannah Arendt (2002).

Philip Walsh is associate professor and chair of sociology at York University, Toronto. He has published articles in the areas of social theory, political sociology and the sociology of knowledge. He is the author of Arendt Contra Sociology: Theory, Society and Its Science (2015) and Skepticism, Modernity and Critical Theory (2005).

Series

Anthem Companions to Sociology

Table of Contents

Editors’ Introduction: Arendt’s Critique of the Social Sciences - Peter Baehr and Philip Walsh; Part I. Books; Chapter 1. Arendt and Totalitarianism - Charles Turner; Chapter 2. The Human Condition and the Theory of Action - John Levi Martin; Chapter 3. Eichmann in Jerusalem : Heuristic Myth and Social Science - Judith Adler; Chapter 4. “The Perplexities of Beginning”: Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Revolution - Daniel Gordon; Chapter 5. The Life of the Mind of Hannah Arendt - Liah Greenfeld; Part II. Selected Themes; Chapter 6. Hannah Arendt on Thinking, Personhood and Meaning - Philip Walsh; Chapter 7. Explaining Genocide: Hannah Arendt and the Social- Scientific Concept of Dehumanization - Johannes Lang; Chapter 8. Arendt on Power and Violence - Guido Parietti; Chapter 9. The Theory of Totalitarian Leadership - Peter Baehr; References; Notes on Contributors; Index.

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