Major Works
by Krishan Kumar

The Making of English National Identity

About this title:
A fascinating exploration of Englishness and what it means to be English rather than British. Why is English national identity so enigmatic and so elusive? Why, unlike the Scots, Welsh, Irish and most of continental Europe, do the English find it so difficult to say who they are? The Making of English National Identity is a fascinating exploration of Englishness and what it means to be English. Drawing on historical, sociological and literary theory, Krishan Kumar examines the rise of English nationalism and issues of race and ethnicity from earliest times to the present day. He argues that the long history of the English as an imperial people has, as with other imperial people like the Russians and the Austrians, developed a sense of missionary nationalism which in the interests of unity and empire has necessitated the repression of ordinary expressions of nationalism. Professor Kumar's lively and provocative approach challenges readers to reconsider their pre-conceptions about national identity and who the English really are.


Public and Private in Thought and Practice: Perspectives on a Grand Dichotomy
Jeff Weintraub and Krishan Kumar (Editors)
 


About this title: These essays, by widely respected scholars in fields ranging from social and political theory to historical sociology and cultural studies, illuminate the significance of the public/private distinction for an increasingly wide range of debates. Commenting on controversies surrounding such issues as abortion rights, identity politics, and the requirements of democratization, many of these essays clarify crucial processes that have shaped the culture and institutions of modern societies. In contexts ranging from friendship, the family, and personal life to nationalism, democratic citizenship, the role of women in social and political life, and the contrasts between western and (post-)Communist societies, this book brings out the ways the various uses of the public/private distinction are simultaneously distinct and interconnected. "Public and Private in Thought and Practice" will be of interest to students and scholars in disciplines including politics, law, philosophy, history, sociology, and women's studies. Contributors include Jeff Weintraub, Allan Silver, Craig Calhoun, Daniela Gobetti, Jean L. Cohen, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Alan Wolfe, Krishan Kumar, David Brain, Karen Hansen, Marc Garcelon, Oleg Kharkhordin. Jeff Weintraub teaches political and social theory at Williams College. Krishan Kumar is professor of social and political thought in Eliot College at the University of Kent at Canterbury.
 

Utopias and the Millennium
Stephen Bann and Krishan Kumar (Editors)

About this title:
The essays in this book explore the relationship between utopianism and millennialism. As we approach our own millennium this timely reflection of political and literary utopias covers figures as diverse as Robinson Crusoe and William Burroughs.
 


Utopias and Anti-Utopias in Modern Times

Synopsis
This study focuses on the latest phase of the literary tradition of utopia, from the 19th century to the present, in Europe and America. It aims to show how modern versions of utopia and anti-utopia engage in debate about the future of modern society, and especially the role of socialism and science within it. The book asks whether socialism will lead to freedom and fulfillment or to tyranny and conformity, and whether science will free us or enslave us.


Dilemmas of Liberal Democracies: Studies in Fred Hirsch's Social Limits to Growth
by Krishan Kumar and Adrian Ellis


 


Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Pre-Industrial Society

Synopsis
In recent years a chorus of futurologists has sprung up, some pessimistic, some not. However all are concerned with the future of the industrial society. This book takes a close look at industrial society, past and present, in order to evaluate these miltifarious claims. The author begins with the industrial revolution itself, examining the ideas it inspired, especially the idea of progress and the balance of confidence and despair about industrialism. Moving on to the post-industrial idea, Dr Kumar arrives at the conclusion that much of it is plausible only because of a widespread misconception of what "classic" industrial society was all about. He concludes with a discussion of whether we can expect a future society that genuinely goes "beyond industrialism".


From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World

In this lucid and insightful study of a crucial area of current debate, Krishan Kumar introduces and assesses the rival claims of three hotly contested theories of contemporary social, cultural and economic change: the idea of the information society, and the theories of post-Fordism and post-modernity.

Explaining how these theories developed and why they have held such an appeal in our era, the author provides the most readable and evenly-balanced account to date of three very different, but overlapping, paradigms of contemporary social thought.

In a new and substantial introduction, Kumar places the three key approaches within the context of contemporary discourse on globalization. From Post Industrial to Post-Modern Society is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand contemporary theories of social, cultural, and economic change.


1989 Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals

"With thoroughness and insight, Kumar scans the vast canvas of the slow and relentless implosion of the communist system, and presents his investigation with exemplary clarity and elegance. This achievement will be difficult to match, and all further trials to grasp the logic of the seminal events of 1989 would have to engage with Kumar's though-providing synthesis." - Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds/Warsaw University

In 1989, from East Berlin to Budapest and Bucharest to Moscow, communism was falling. The walls were coming down and the world was being changed in ways that seemed entirely new. The conflict of ideas and ideals that began with the French Revolution of 1789 culminated in these revolutions, which raised the prospect of the "return of Europe" of East and Central European nations, the "restarting of their history," even, for som, the "end of history." What such assertions and aspirations meant, and what the larger events that inspired them mean-not just for the world-are the questions Krishan Kumar explores in 1989.


The Rise of Modern Society: Aspects of the Social and Political Development of the West

Synopsis
What is the sociological theory of industrialism? How far do the actual histories and practices of industrial societies fit this theory? The studies in this volume examine many of the economic, social, political and cultural changes caused by the industrialization of society. They look at continuities and discontinuities through pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial societies before considering particular aspects: for example, the shortcomings of the Marxist theory of class are highlighted by their application to nineteenth-century English society; the theory of revolution is examined for its relevance to the conditions of advanced industrial societies; the changing meanings and changing practices of work and employment are traced; and the current problems of Britain are used to point the way to the future of other societies. These essays, by a noted social theorist, should be of value to those concerned with the history and future of modern society.


Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas



About this title:
In this revised edition, the author sharpens the focus and range of the original, arguing as his main thesis that colonialist and nationalist ideas and practices in education in India are not antagonistic. The new edition incorporates the complex terrain of gender, enriching the earlier discussion of caste, class and religion. It draws upon biographies and cultural history to highlight the revolutionary context in which girls' education made its reluctant start in the 19th century. In the new section on women's education, the author brings into focus the same set of linkages - between the emerging system of education and its policies, the social structure and ethos - which makes this an innovative study of educational ideas and practices. There are also some important additions to the discussion of caste and identity.
 


Utopianism


Book Description
Utopia has become a vague term, synonymous almost with the Good Society or the Good Time. It is applied to the dreams and visions of all peoples and all times: from backward-looking myths of the Golden Age to the future prospect of a glorious Millennium, from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained.

This book argues utopia should be seen as a much more specific tradition of social and political thought. It has cultural and historical boundaries. A Western concept, it arose in the West as a specific and highly original way of dealing with the novel problems of modern Western society. Its themes are the characteristic ones of modern Western social thought: power, inequality, democracy, science. But, as a form of imaginative fiction, its treatment of these themes is distinctive and compelling. Far from being merely fantasy or wish-fulfilment, utopia is a critical rehearsal of the dilemmas of modern society and, at the same time, a prescriptive account of the best way of resolving them.

From its first appearance in the "Utopia" of Thomas More in 1516, utopia has undergone numerous changes of focus and concern. But its form has remained remarkably resilient. As we approach the end of the second christian millennium, there are clear signs - for example the emergency of feminist and ecological utopias - that utopia has by no means exhausted is power either as a tool of critical analysis or as a constructive vision of future possibilities.

 

 
 

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