There is an unbridgeable controversy between the functionalist sociologist who anchors his theories on society and the group, and the existentialist who bathes his thoughts on the individual. Durkheim and Parsons, as well as many contemporary American sociologists, are adjustment based in the sense that all those individuals who rock the boat even if they are creative innovators would be labelled deviant or mad. The existentialists, from Kierkegaard to Buber, regard the individual as the focus of life; they see philosophy and society as at best a curbing control-structure and at worst coercing, stigmatizing and ostracizing. The present volume treads in the giant footsteps of Albert Camus who saw the absurd as the conflictual encounter between the individual and society. Society and the Absurd attempts to overcome this deep sociological controversy by investigating absurdity through the prism of an interdisciplinary theory of personality.
"Society and the Absurd portrays the norms of madness as well as legally expectable behavior and the reality of those who reject normative standards. It stresses that every man can achieve truth and self-determination by recognizing that the outside norms are totally lacking justification. This confrontation at last is now available to those who read this succinct scholarly and forthright treatise..." -- Harold Laswell and Lawrence Freedman, The University of Chicago. "Prof. Shoham is at once avant-garde and traditional, revolutionary and sensitive to everything sound and yet not hackneyed in the established body of academic usages. This book is likely to play an important role in the world-wide effort to take the true measure of and deal effectively with the human condition..." -- Zigmund Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Leeds.
CONTENTS: A Fragile Peace: Could a 'Race to the Bottom' Have Been Avoided?; The Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian Peace: A Retrospective; Ending the Conflict: Can the Parties Afford It?; Domestic Israeli Politics and the Conflict; Foundering Illusions: The Demise of the Oslo Process; Islamic Perspectives on the Oslo Process; From Oslo to Taba: What Went Wrong?; Why Did Oslo Fail?: Lessons for the Future; The Oslo Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown; The Middle East Peace Process -- Where to Next?; A Fragile Peace: Are There Only Lessons of Failure?; The Contributors; Index.