What are your thoughts about Naomi Klein’s analysis of capitalism and its impact on society and the environment?
How do you think her ideas about capitalism and about the ability of people to affect social change compare to some of the theorists we have studied this semester?
Social theory purists might ask why I included Naomi Klein in an applied sociological theory course? After all, she is not a sociologist and not really a social theorist in the traditional sense. She is, however, a very perceptive observer of the contemporary world who raises questions that touch upon some of the most important themes we have discused in this course — among them capitalism and its impact on society, social structures and the ability of people to initiate social change. Naomi Klein is stinging in her critique of the impact of capitalism, yet refuses to give up to nihilistic despair. She sees the world facing a crisis and believes that crisis could give rise to a new, more democratic and egalitarian order.
What is more, Naomi Klein is a master of using multiple communication channels to deliver her message. Books, interviews, television, films and the Internet, she uses them all in an integrated fashion. Regardless of whether you agree with her views, she provides a model for 21st century intellectuals who want to get their ideas out to people. After all, in a digital age, should we expect the next Emile Durkheim or Max Weber to advance the discipline using an intellectual approach designed for the 19 century?