Ann Swidler

Ann Swidler, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Talk of Love and co-author of Habits of the Heart. Her recent work on AIDS in Africa has appeared in Science and other publications.

Recent Articles

Agonies of the Twitterati

For the "intravidual," life is BlackBerries, conferences, snippets of family time, and a constant desire to be elsewhere. But how many people really live like that?

Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got From the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, Blackberry Moms, and Economic Anxiety by Dalton Conley, Pantheon, 221 pages, $24.00 The critics of modernity, going back at least to the 19th century, have told us that modern society is hurtling forward, its social ties unraveling behind it, its citizens left unhinged and bewildered. In recent decades, disintegration has remained a persistent image in popular social criticism, from Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and Philip Slater's The Pursuit of Loneliness (both published in 1970) to more current entrants such as Judith Warner's 2005 book Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety . And now comes the sociologist Dalton Conley tapping into the same trope and, like many before him, presenting the crisis of contemporary society as bearing most sharply, indeed almost exclusively, on the privileged. The trouble with this long tradition, and particularly with Conley's rendition of...