Guido Gili

The other-directed society. Re-reading «The Lonely Crowd»

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Riesman; Other-Direction; Social Character; Conformism; Manipulation; Mass Media; Consumer Society.

"The Lonely Crowd" (1950) is one of the most influential sociological works of the past century. The book provides a very interesting perspective for analyzing modern industrial society, which Riesman considers also as consumer society and media society. The essay reconstructs Riesman's main arguments, key concepts, and crucial, controversial topics. The analysis zeroes in the concept of «other-direction» (and «other-directed character»), which is often mistaken for conformism, manipulation or influence. Seventy years after the publication of "The Lonely Crowd", the essay shows that it can still be useful to understand social relationships and organization in nowadays society.

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