Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quality of Life - Sociology 235 - Vassar

The Anti Communitarian Manifesto and this blog are part of a sociology class at Vassar! Welcome to all students who come here today. Many thanks to the faculty member who chose to include our thesis in an accredited academic debate. We'd like permission to reprint any essays that refer to our work, favorably or not.

Course description:

In a world of cultural diversity, global inequality, and political conflict, enhancing quality of life is arguably the unifying principle in our ambitions for social planning and personal lifestyle. But just what does "quality of life" mean? How did it become a preeminent concern for policy-makers and the public at large? And what is at stake if we subordinate other conceptions of the common good to this most subjective and individualistic of ideas?

This course takes up these questions through an examination of quality of life's conceptual dimensions and social contexts. We will read a variety of primary sources and recent arguments in order to explore the idea of quality of life and the debates about whether it is improving or deteriorating in various domains. We will also use a sociological imagination to understand critically and historically how "quality of life" has come to frame personal aspirations and social concerns in societies today.

We're listed with Etzioni's idea of voluntary simplicity. Does he live in a gertee now too?

April 22

Amitai Etzioni, "Voluntary Simplicity." Introduction in Doherty & Etzioni, Voluntary Simplicity.

Juliet Schor, "The Problem of Over-Consumption." Chap. 4 in Doherty & Etzioni, Voluntary Simplicity.

Duane Elgin and Arnold Mitchell, "Voluntary Simplicity: A Movement Emerges." Chap. 9 in Doherty & Etzioni, Voluntary Simplicity.

Bill McKibben website.

The Anti-Communitarian Manifesto.

Living Outside the Dialectic.

Cecile Andrews: Circle of Simplicity.

Whole Earth Catalog.

"Say 'Hybrid' and Many People Will Hear 'Prius'" (New York Times, July 4, 2007).


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