Why Don’t Things Change? The Matter of Morphostasis
In a series of volumes on morphogenesis, it is also important to reflect on morphostasis and the mechanisms that account for it. Not everything is changing or changing as quickly as we would expect. Why not? This chapter addresses this question. To do so, it reflects on several specific cases: Why the U.S. public for so long allowed its government to support repressive regimes in Central America; why the U.S. even now continues to resist national health care; and why not enough is being done to confront either global warming or world poverty. As will be seen, the mechanisms that account for stasis in these cases range from individual choice through culture and social structure, in other words, factors collected under the acronym Margaret Archer has labeled SAC.
KeywordsInterests Values Bystander effects Disempowerment Privatization of Morality
- Archer, M. (1988). Culture and agency: The place of culture in social theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bezruchka, S. (2012). The hurrider I go the behinder I get: The deteriorating international ranking of U.S. Health status. Annual Review of Public Health, 33, 157–173. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031811-124649. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
- Bhaskar, R. (1998). The possibility of naturalism: A philosophical critique of the contemporary human sciences. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bhaskar, R. (2008). A realist theory of science. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bonner, R. (1984). Weakness and deceit: U.S. policy and El Salvador. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1996). The rules of art. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. (1992). An invitation to a reflexive sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Casanova, J. (1994). Public religions in the modern world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Condit, C. M. (1999). Crafting virtue: The rhetorical construction of public morality. In J. L. Lucaites, C. M. Condit, & S. Caudill (Eds.), Contemporary rhetorical theory: A reader (pp. 306–326). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Donati, P. (1983). Introduzione alla sociologia relazionale. Milan: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
- Donati, P. (1991). Teoria relazionale della società. Milan: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
- Donati, P. (2012). Relational sociology: A new paradigm for the social sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Donati, P & Archer, M. (2015). The relational subject. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Fisher, M. (2012). Here’s a map of countries that provide universal health care: America’s still not on it. In The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/heres-a-map-of-the-countries-that-provide-universal-health-care-americas-still-not-on-it/259153/. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
- Frank, T. (2005). What’s the matter with Kansas? How conservatives won the heart of America. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
- Greenpeace International (2013). Sea level rise. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/impacts/sea_level_rise/
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). (2013). Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.Uop4shb0o20. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
- Latane, J., & Darley, B. (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn’t he help? New York: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Luckmann, T. (1997). The moral order of modern societies: Moral communication and indirect moralizing. Budapest: Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study.Google Scholar
- Martin, J. L. (2014). Thinking through theory. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
- Milgram, S. (2009). Obedience to authority. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2011). America’s climate choices. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Payne, K. (2010). Why is the death of a million a statistic? In Psychology today. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-autopilot/201003/why-is-the-death-one-million-statistic. Accessed 9 Nov 2013.
- Polletta, F., Jasper, J. M., & Goodwin, J. (2001). Passionate politics: Emotions and social movements. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Popper, K. (1978). Three worlds. The Tanner lecture on human values. Delivered at University of Michigan, p. 144. http://tannerlectures.utah.edu/_documents/a-to-z/p/popper80.pdf. Accessed online 21 Dec 2014.
- Porpora, D. V. (1990). How holocausts happen: The U.S. in Central America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Porpora, D. V. (2013). Critical realism and sociology. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
- Porpora. (2015). Reconstructing sociology: The critical realist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Rawls, J. (2001). Justice as fairness: A restatement. Cambridge: Belknap.Google Scholar
- Rawls, J. (2005). Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University.Google Scholar
- Robinson, M. J. (2007). Two decades of American news preferences: Pt. I, analyzing what news the public follows – and doesn’t follow. http://pewresearch.org/assets/pdf/NewsInterest1986-2007.pdf. 15 Aug 2007.
- Rosenthal, E. (2013, January 26). Your biggest carbon sin may well be air travel. New York Times Sunday Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/sunday-review/the-biggest-carbon-sin-air-travel.html?_r=0. Accessed 19 Nov 2013.
- Schatzki, T., Knorr Cetina, K., & von Savigny, E. (Eds.). (2001). The practice turn in contemporary theory. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Seligman, M. E. P. (1975). Helplessness: On depression, development, and death. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
- Shah, A. (2013). Poverty facts and figures. Global Issues. http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats. Accessed 19 Nov 2013.
- Singer, P. (1972). Famine, affluence, and morality. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1( Spring 1), 229–243. http://www.utilitarianism.net/singer/by/1972----.htm
- Singer, P. (1999). The Singer solution to world poverty. New York Times Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/05/magazine/the-singer-solution-to-world-poverty.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm. Accessed 19 Nov 2013.
- Slovic, P. (2007). If I look at the mass, I will never act: Psychic numbing and genocide. Decision and Judgment Making, 2(2), 79–95.Google Scholar
- Swidler, A. (2001). What anchors cultural practices. In T. R. Shatzki, K. Knorr Cetina, & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 74–92). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Thoreau, H. D. (1993). Civil disobedience. In H. D. Thoreau (Ed.), Walden (pp. 277–303). New York: Barnes & Noble Classics.Google Scholar
- Wikipedia. (2013a). Global warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
- Wikipedia. (2013b). Extinction risk from global warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_risk_from_global_warming. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
- Wikipedia. (2013c). Extreme poverty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_poverty#cite_ref-1
- World Bank. (2013). Remarkable declines in global poverty, but major challenges remain. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/pressrelease/2013/04/17/remarkable-declines-in-global-poverty-but-major-challenges-remain. Accessed 19 Nov 2013.
- World Hunger Education Service (2013). 2013 World hunger and poverty facts and statistics. http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm. Accessed 19 Nov 2013.