In Toward a Good Society: A Relational Lens, authors Tian-jia Dong and Dongxiao Qin theorize a mutually empowering and growth-fostering society. The authors first demonstrate the feasibility of this society by grounding it in the framework of relational psychology. Departing from there, they travel along nine paths reconstructed from nine classic social science theories. In each chapter, they respectively reconstruct and find ways to move beyond Durkheimian structural-functionalism, de Tocqueville’s communalism, Mead’s symbolic interactionism, Freud’s psychoanalytic perspective, Simmel’s network theory, Smith’s “invisible hand”, Marx’s class theory, Hobbes’s contractarianism, and Weber’s rational-legal formulation. This leads them to propose a new Golden Rule that is as simple as it is profound and foundational to what makes a good society.
Tian-jia Dong is professor of sociology at Westfield State University.
Dongxiao Qin is professor of psychology at Western New England University.
1. Relational Psychology: the Theoretical Point of Departure
2. From Symphony Orchestra to Jazz Ensemble—the path beyond Emile Durkheim toward Dynamic Freedom/Equality
3. From the Meetinghouse to the Commons —the path beyond Alexis Tocqueville toward Connective Democracy
4. From Courtroom to “Courtship”—the path beyond Max Weber toward Interactive Authority
5. From Big Leviathan to Little Mermaid—the path beyond Thomas Hobbes toward Relatable Justice
6. From Conqueror to Gardener—the path beyond Sigmund Freud toward Cultivated Morality
7. From Baseball to Basketball —the path beyond George Herbert Mead toward Interweaving Accessibility
8. From Web to Grapevine—the path beyond Georg Simmel toward Open Affinity
9. From Battle Field to Training Ground—the path beyond Karl Marx toward Co-Constituted Progress
10. From “the Invisible Hand” to “the Sensible Heart” —the path beyond Adam Smith toward a New Golden Rule
Conclusion: Journeying on A Connective Path
This elegantly written book is the fruit of the authors' personal and professional lives dedicated to studying and embodying the power of mutual relation as the source of creative energy, empowerment and well- being. The authors reimagine and revisualize a number of classical social theories to call forth a new vision of a “good society” with a foundation in interconnectedness and mutually empowering human relatedness. This is an outstanding and highly relevant contribution to the crucial and creative integration of psychological and sociological theory.
This eye-opening book gives us a clear vision of the centrality of relationship as the most healthy element in our popular social theories. The talented authors range widely and sensibly through familiar social histories and shed new light on the success that comes from “good connections” as the key to justice and healthy living. The authors analyze authors from de Toqueville through Marx—as well as jazz, courtrooms, and even baseball. It is beautifully written, describing even complex theory in language that all can understand. A great book for any of us who try to find the healing power of good connection. Bravo.