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Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour - Helmut Schoeck :: The Progressive Torrents Community
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Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour - Helmut Schoeck


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10.00 B

Date/time added:

2015-12-27 15:22:41

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Schoeck gained international fame with his book Der Neid: Eine Theorie der Gesellschaft (Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour), which was published in 1966, with the first English translation appearing in 1969. Written without a great deal of technical jargon, the book would receive widespread appreciation, even outside the academic community. The book became something of a best-seller, and was translated into more than ten languages.

Paul Dumouchel said in the book Schoeck speaks about "the origin of envy,...its cause and function within society" and also "documents the importance of envy in literature, philosophy, and in many social sciences". He went on to say that Shoeck puts forward two propositions - first, that envy has played a large part in forming human society, and that, secondly, the role of envy often remains hidden.

Shoeck also argued that as envy was a natural part of human evolution and could not be suppressed, it was important to channel the emotion. He also suggested that socialism and democracy were put forward as ideas by members of society who were not able "to deal with their own envy", and Karl Marx's idea of communism was "entirely mistaken".

A polemicist against the New Left movements of the 1960s, Schoeck criticized their ideas from a conservative-liberal viewpoint. The egalitarian and anti-capitalist mentality of the leftish generation was the particular target of Schoeck's attacks.

About the Author:

Helmut Schoeck was born in Austria in 1922. He was a student of medicine and psychology at the University of Munich from 1941 to 1945. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of T?bingen in 1948. In 1950, he came to the United States and taught at Fairmont State College in West Virginia. From 1953 to 1954, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale. From 1954 to 1965, he was a professor of sociology at Emory University. Since 1965, he has been a professor and the director of the Institute of Sociology at the University of Mainz in the Federal Republic of Germany. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1956.



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