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The Sociology Post

What are 'British Values'

9th April 2018

Politicians and commentators often talk about the importance of British values and the need for migrants and refugees to respect British values. Such arguments have emerged strongly in debates over terrorism. Claims of this kind often, perhaps typically, mask a more or less deep-rooted prejudice towards outsiders and an assumption of the inherent superiority of Britons. Proponents of these views look back to an imperial past when Britannia ruled not only the waves but also much of the land and when it seemed natural to divide the people of the world into distinct 'races'.

Structures, Subjectivity, and Virtual Reality

30th March 2018

In an earlier posting I discussed the idea of the 'social mind' and the way in which such a collective consciousness' must be understood as dispersed to and contained in the minds of the individual members of a society. This provides us with a way of understanding social structures, seen by Durkheim as external and constraining factors in social life. In my work on social structure I showed that the institutions and relations that comprise a social structure must be seen as 'embodied structures', but I did not properly specify how such individual phenomena relate to collective structures.

Social Consciousness and Social Mind

23rd March 2018

In his Division of Labour in Society, Durkheim introduced the idea of 'social consciousness', which he developed through his narrower idea of the 'collective consciousness' as the moral binding force in social life. The more general idea of social consciousness, however, has much wider relevance to the ways in which actions give rise to social structures with real, sui generis, properties capable of constraining individual thoughts, feelings, and actions.