Gary Alan Fine, "The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures, and the Power of Local Commitments" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

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Most of the time, we believe our daily lives to be governed by structures determined from above (e.g., laws that dictate our behavior, companies that pay employees wages, climate patterns that determine what we eat or where we live). In contrast, social organization is often a feature of local organization. While those forces may seem beyond individual grasp, we often come together in small communities to change circumstances that would otherwise flatten us. In The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures, and the Power of Local Commitments (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Dr. Gary Alan Fine emphasizes and describes the meso-level collectives, the organizations that bridge our individual interests and the larger structures that shape our lives. Fine describes the meso-level social collectives as “hinges” or groups that come together to pursue a shared social goal, bridging the individual and the broader society. Fine argues that understanding hinges in society is crucial to explaining how societies function – creating links between the micro- and macro-orders of society. Fine draws on historical cases and fieldwork to illustrate how these hinges work and how to describe them. In The Hinge, Fine provides reader with new theoretical tools for understanding an essential part of the social worlds.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent study, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant”, was published in Gender Issues Journal. His interests include the sociology of art and culture, sociology of death and dying, and sociology of sex and gender. He is currently working on a research project about obituary writing as an art world. More can be found about Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. by going to his website, Google Scholar, following him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or emailing him at johnstonmo at wmpenn dot edu.

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