The Constitution of Society
Professor Shils has attempted to develop a theory that has a place for more than those parts of society that are generated from the biological nature of human beings and those parts that are engendered by the desires of individuals, acting for themselves or for groups and categories of individuals, to maintain and increase their power over other human beings and to secure material goods and services for themselves. He has argued that there are constituents of society in which human beings seek and cultivate connections with objects that transcend those needed to satisfy biological necessity and the desire for material objects and power over others. This third stratum of social existence, he concludes, cannot be reduced to the other two and cannot be disregarded in any serious attempt to understand the function of any society. Thus Edward Shils, without disregarding its many valuable achievements, has nevertheless parted ways with much of modern sociology.
For this collection of papers the author has written an introductory intellectual autobiography that places each essay in the setting of the development of his thought and that connects it with his other writings.
I. The Constitution of Society
1. The Integration of Society
2. Society and Societies
3. The Theory of Mass Society
II. The Sacred in Society
4. Center and Periphery
6. Charisma, Order, and Status
III. The Mind at Work in Society
8. The Intellectuals and the Powers
10. Intellectuals and the Center of Society in the United States
IV. The Self-Contemplation of Society
11. Tradition, Ecology, and Institution in the History of Sociology