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From Slavery to 9/11

From Slavery to 9/11

Readings in the Sociology and Social Psychology of Extreme Situations

Sidney Langer

Apr 2012, Paperback, 400 pages
ISBN13: 9780205731343
ISBN10: 0205731341
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An edited collection of readings exploring sociological and social psychological analysis of extreme situations

From Slavery to 9/11: Readings in the Sociology and Social Psychology of Extreme Situations explores the social structure of total institutions and extreme situations and survival and coping mechanisms used by the people who have been affected by these institutions and events.

Topics include many of the defining events of the 19th and 20th centuries and the beginning of the 21st century: institutionalized slavery; genocidal atrocities and the Holocaust; September 11, 2001; and Hurricane Katrina.

Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers will be able to:

  • Explore historical and contemporary events
  • Make connections between the institutions and events explored in the book
  • Understand how people in total institutions, survivors of man-made disasters, and victims of natural disasters cope with their experiences
Note: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please visit:

www.mySearchlab.com or you can purchase a valuepack of the text + MySearchLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205863663 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205863662.

Chapter 1: Total Institutions and Extreme Situations

The Ultimate Limit — Bruno Bettelheim
Characteristics of Total Institutions — Erving Goffman
Extreme Situations — Bernard Rosenberg, Israel Gerver and F. William Howton
Bettelheim’s Analysis of the Mass Society — Paul Marcus

Chapter 2: Institutionalized Slavery in the United States
The Setting — Kenneth M. Stampp
Slavery and Personality — Stanley M. Elkins
Key Slaves and the Poverty of Paternalism — Michael Tadman
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass — Frederick Douglass
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl — Harriet A. Jacobs

Chapter 3: Concentration Camps
German Concentration Camps — Bruno Bettelheim
Individual and Mass Behavior in Extreme Situations — Bruno Bettelheim
The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps — Terrence Des Pres
Experiences in a Concentration Camp — Viktor Frankl
The Drowned and the Saved — Primo Levi
Lessons Learned from Gentle Heroism: Women’s Holocaust Narratives — Myrna Goldenberg

Chapter 4: Prison
Panopticism — Michel Foucault
The Pains of Imprisonment — Gresham Sykes
Inmate Victimization — Hans Toch
Doing Time — No Safe Haven: Stories of Women in Prison — Lori B. Girshick
The Pains of Imprisonment: Exploring a Classic Text with Contemporary Authors — John Riley
Jonestown as a Total Institution: Why Some People Chose Death over Escape from Peoples Temple — Phyllis Gardner; Mahmoud Sadri; James L. Williams

Chapter 5: September 11, 2001
Voices of 9/11 First Responders: Patterns of Collective Resilience — Tovia G. Freedman
The 9/11 Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center: A New York Psychologist’s Personal Experiences and Professional Perspective — Judy Kuriansky
Rituals of Solidarity and Security in the Wake of Terrorist Attack — Randall Collins

Chapter 6: Hurricane Katrina
Race, Class, and Hurricane Katrina: Social Differences in Human Responses to Disaster — James R. Elliott and Jeremy Pais
Hurricane Katrina: The Making of Unworthy Disaster Victims — Gail Garfield
Survival and Death in New Orleans: An Empirical Look at the Human Impact of Katrina — Patrick Sharkey
Kevin Owens — Overcoming Katrina: African American Voices from the Crescent City and Beyond — D’Ann R. Penner and Keith C. Ferdinand

Chapter 7: Comparative Genocide
The Uniqueness of the Holocaust: The Historical Dimension — Steven T. Katz
Paradigms of Genocide: The Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and Contemporary Mass Destructions — Robert Melson
Government-Planned Genocide — The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response — Peter Balakian
Common Fate, Different Experience: Gender-Specific Aspects of the Armenian Genocide, 1915—1917 — Katharine Derderian
Victimization, Survival and the Impunity of Forced Exile: A Case Study from the Rwandan Genocide — Frank M. Afflitto
Rwanda, Ethiopia and Cambodia: Links, Faultlines and Complexities in a Comparative Study of Genocide — Edward Kissi
Dissecting Darfur: Anatomy of a Genocide Debate — Darren Brunk

  • Influential readings provide students with a solid foundation for understanding total institutions and extreme situations.
  • A mix of scientific articles and personal accounts provide a comprehensive look at the topic.
  • Significant background information is provided to familiarize the reader with the subject.
  • The text includes standard source material, as well as contemporary and classic readings.
  • First person narratives of coping and survival help to engage students in the reading and add a human voice to the study of extreme situations (ex. pg. 45).
  • Oral histories of women highlight the unique experiences of women in extreme situations (ex. pg. 242).
  • MySearchLab can be packaged with this text.
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Sidney Langer holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology. His areas of specialization include crime, delinquency, and the sociology of deviant behavior. Dr. Langer is professor of sociology at Kean University in New Jersey, where he has been a faculty member since 1975. Dr. Langer is a past recipient of Outstanding Teacher of the Year, awarded by Alpha Sigma Lambda- The National Honor Society for Adult Learners in Continuing Higher Education- Alpha Kappa Chapter of Kean University.


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