Policy Press

The Great Decline

From the Era of Hope and Progress to the Age of Fear and Rage

By John Bone

Published

May 28, 2024

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529213034

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 28, 2024

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529213027

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 28, 2024

Page count

288 pages

ISBN

978-1529213041

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
The Great Decline

It seems clear that many formerly stable societies in wealthy developed countries appear to be falling into an apparent state of ‘permacrises’, accompanied by an increasingly angry and irrational social and political culture that is undermining the peace and stability of our societies and democratic institutions, from the local to the global.

Applying an original biosocial approach (the social map), and drawing on ideas and evidence from sociology, history and political economy to psychology, neuroscience and epigenetics, John Bone argues that conditions in our turbo-capitalist and increasingly estranged, media dominated societies have created a toxic environment, deeply damaging to our mental and physical health. As well as shedding new light on our current troubles, Bone also outlines why this leaves us ill prepared to deal with two of the greatest challenges confronting humanity: the rise of AI and automation and how we deal with climate change.

"Essential reading for anyone interested in making better sense of our ‘age of fear and rage’ and understanding where to start for moving beyond it.” Charles Masquelier, University of Exeter

“A wonderfully accessible and convincing analysis of the extended period of instability and insecurity that we are living through, and its impact on individuals, communities and political and environmental sustainability.” Gayle Letherby, University of Plymouth

“John Bone is an exciting scholar who seeks to return sociology to some of its earlier concerns with sociobiology but to apply these ideas to a fascinating diagnosis of the modern condition.” John D Brewer, Queen's University Belfast

“Full of interesting new ideas, and apposite insights” Danny Dorling, University of Oxford

John Bone is a social scientist at the University of Aberdeen and past Chair of the British Sociological Association. His research interests are in political economy, social and biosocial theory, inequalities, just transitions and health and well-being research. In 2007 he was jointly awarded the Philip Abrams Memorial early career Prize for his first book The Hard Sell.

Introduction

Part 1: Being Human in an Evolving World

1. Who Are We and Why Does it Matter?

2. The Long Road to Modernity: Foundations

3. From Golden Age to Golden Age?

Part 2: Derailing the Modern Project

4. The Neoliberal ‘Dawn’: Mont Pelerin, Fear of Socialism and the Backlash of Privilege

5. Financial Alchemy and Economic Crises

6. Globalization, the ‘New’ Labour Market and the 4th Revolution (Industrie 4.0)

7. Marketised Housing: An Insecure Base

8. Consumerism, Community and Media

Part 3: Permacrises

9. The Climate Emergency and Neoliberal Nihilism

10. Inequality, Insecurity and Minding the Gap

11. Populism and the Politics of Primalisation

12. Public Issues as Personal Troubles: Individualising Risk and the Health Effect of Turbo Capitalism

13. Conclusion