Credit and Blame

Charles Tilly

Credit and Blame

In his eye-opening book "Why?", world-renowned social scientist Charles Tilly exposed some startling truths about the excuses people make and the reasons they give. Now he's back with further explorations into the complexities of human relationships, this time examining what's really going on when we assign credit or cast blame. Everybody does it, but few understand the hidden motivations behind it. With his customary wit and dazzling insight, Tilly takes a lively and thought-provoking look at the ways people fault and applaud each other and themselves. The stories he gathers in "Credit and Blame" range from the everyday to the altogether unexpected, from the revealingly personal to the insightfully humorous - whether it's the gushing acceptance speech of an Academy Award winner or testimony before a congressional panel, accusations hurled in a lover's quarrel or those traded by nations in a post-9/11 crisis, or a job promotion or the Nobel Prize.Drawing examples from literature, history, pop culture, and much more, Tilly argues that people seek not only understanding through credit and blame, but also justice. The punishment must fit the crime, accomplishments should be rewarded, and the guilty parties must always get their just deserts. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, "Credit and Blame" is a book that revolutionizes our understanding of the compliments we pay and the accusations we make. 2.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
Credit and Blame

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Hardback
Pages 196
RRP £14.95
Date of Publication June 2008
ISBN 978-0691135786
Publisher Princeton University Press
 

In his eye-opening book "Why?", world-renowned social scientist Charles Tilly exposed some startling truths about the excuses people make and the reasons they give. Now he's back with further explorations into the complexities of human relationships, this time examining what's really going on when we assign credit or cast blame. Everybody does it, but few understand the hidden motivations behind it. With his customary wit and dazzling insight, Tilly takes a lively and thought-provoking look at the ways people fault and applaud each other and themselves. The stories he gathers in "Credit and Blame" range from the everyday to the altogether unexpected, from the revealingly personal to the insightfully humorous - whether it's the gushing acceptance speech of an Academy Award winner or testimony before a congressional panel, accusations hurled in a lover's quarrel or those traded by nations in a post-9/11 crisis, or a job promotion or the Nobel Prize.Drawing examples from literature, history, pop culture, and much more, Tilly argues that people seek not only understanding through credit and blame, but also justice. The punishment must fit the crime, accomplishments should be rewarded, and the guilty parties must always get their just deserts. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, "Credit and Blame" is a book that revolutionizes our understanding of the compliments we pay and the accusations we make.

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Harry Mount

...[Tilly's] chief benchmark for blameless behaviour is Professor Charles Tilly. To show how the US government used blame in the wrong way after the September 11 attacks - leading to greater hostility towards America - he quotes admiringly from a two-page email he sent out to colleagues on September 12... Have you studied the concept of the pride that apes humility, professor? He does raise the odd interesting point...

12/07/2008

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The Times Higher Education

Steve Fuller

Jargon, the usual Achilles' heel of academic popularisation, is hardly the problem with Credit and Blame. It is banality. Tilly's light manner recalls the popular philosopher Alain de Botton, except that Tilly trades on having had a serious academic career. The book will probably be best received by the sort of person - say, a follower of Wittgenstein or Peter Winch - who believes that social science is largely common sense rendered self-conscious.

19/06/2008

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