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The Cultural Contradictions Of Capitalism: 20th Anniversary Edition Paperback – October 18, 1996

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The Cultural Contradictions Of Capitalism: 20th Anniversary Edition + The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting + The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties, with "The Resumption of History in the New Century"
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Bell is the Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University and Scholar-in-Residence at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of editor of 17 books, two of which, The End of Ideology and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, were listed among the 100 Most Influential Books since the Second World War (TLS, October 1995).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Anniversary edition (October 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465014992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465014996
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Mandamus on August 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Daniel Bell's book highlights trends in modern Western culture that tend to go unnoticed, to our own detriment. Namely, that the driving forces that created modernity have been left unchecked to reach the negative end of their logical conclusions. The "Protestant work ethic" has been abandoned for hedonistic consumerism, and traditional cultural values have been eroded by egoism and nihilism. Very, very important points that we, as a society, need to think consciously and act decisively about. In this sense, CULTURAL CONTRADITCTIONS is an important book.

However, the book is far from perfect. One of the most irritating aspects of this book is that it focuses primarily on art. Bell spends far too much time lamenting the demise of--what I guess you could call--"classicism" or traditionalism in art. Intellectually interesting in its own right, but much of this discussion should have been left for another book.

Second, while Bell does a great job dissecting the problems, he is pretty scanty on solutions. He offers the tradional ineffectual intellectual solutions such as returing to "traditional" values and a renunciation of unrestrained consumerism.

Not surprisingly, he also calls for a return to religion. Religion is, after all, a significant pillar in Western culture, despite increasing secularism. Even if everyone stoped going to church or synagogue, we would still tacitly adhere to a kind of Judeo-Christian value system. Interestingly for someone so interested in religion, Bell ignores the contradiction in the "bourgeois establishment's" emphasis on religion--with its concern for the poor, the needy, and the spiritual realm--with our culture's obsession with the rich, the beautiful, and the profane. Would have made for an interesting discussion.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Classic study by an outstanding scholar covering many interesting topics and issues in modern American society. As Bell has noted, America is a country where seemingly paradoxical cultural traits often find happy marriages, and to some extent, even happier divorces. He doesn't mention this, but Japan is an example of another country where this often occurs. Although the U.S. and Japan are very different, they share a common ability to incorporate useful and pragmatic cultural ideas and traits even if they are in conflict with the dominant ideology. We Americans are a practical people, after all. :-) Bell's knowledge of many important sociologists and other thinkers is deep, and he is able to use their insights in novel and creative ways. I also found his discussion of The Young Intellectuals at Harvard, such as Van Wyck Brooks, and their criticisms of middle American culture, such as the boring mediocrity of "Bourgeois sex," to be quite entertaining. My only fault with the book is Bell's style may be a little bit forbidding for some people, but a little patience here is more than rewarded. Qualitative sociology doesn't get any better than this.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone, more or less, finds themselves in Babylon at the end of this book. Instead of having a culture that is small enough to evaluate everything, the rush into the political cockpit has snobbish dog outfits competing in a popularity contest that matches the desire to think about mixing earth and hell in Book 2 of Paradise Lost by John Milton. Those who are united in despair combine their interests to replace whatever traditions have made someone else the top dog. In a global electronic situation, social networks seek rules to limit themselves according to the ego boundaries desired by leader trickle that signals more troubled waters.

My own interest in music as an appoggiatura to some form of escape from its own anarchy sees this book as helpful for getting up on any kind of parvenu leapfrog.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had to read with a dictionary in hand...very scholarly, but better if an economics major.
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By phillip murray on June 27, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
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The Cultural Contradictions Of Capitalism: 20th Anniversary Edition
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