© 2017

Society and Social Pathology

A Framework for Progress


Part of the Critical Political Theory and Radical Practice book series (CPTRP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. R. C. Smith
    Pages 1-41
  3. R. C. Smith
    Pages 169-248
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 323-378

About this book


This book offers one of the most comprehensive studies of social pathology to date, following a cross-disciplinary and methodologically innovative approach. It is written for anyone concerned with understanding current social conditions, individual health, and how we might begin to collectively conceive of a more reconciled postcapitalist world.

Drawing reference from the most up-to-date studies, Smith crosses disciplinary boundaries from cognitive science and anthropology to critical theory, systems theory and psychology. Opening with an empirical account of numerous interlinked crises from mental health to the physiological effects of environmental pollution, Smith argues that mainstream sociological theories of pathology are deeply inadequate. Smith introduces an alternative critical conception of pathology that drills to the core of how and why society is deeply ailing. The book concludes with a detailed account of why a progressive and critical vision of social change requires a “holistic view” of individual and societal transformation. Such a view is grounded in the awareness that a sustainable transition to postcapitalism is ultimately a many-sided (social, individual, and structural) healing process.


critical theory Frankfurt School damaged life Bourdieu Foucault Adorno precarity capitalism violence authoritarianism humanism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Heathwood Institute and PressNorwichUnited Kingdom

About the authors

R.C. Smith is an academic interested in extensive, crossdisciplinary critical research and study. Focusing in particular on a research program that spans the intersections of social science, natural science, humanities, and history, Smith is the author of over 100 articles and several books. You can find him on Twitter: @_rc_smith_.

Bibliographic information


“Smith’s book would be a valuable resource for social psychologists, sociologists, historians, economists, and those interested in the systemic attributes of America’s social structure as it impacts large social problems such as healthcare, improving economic resources for the disadvantaged, and how one might begin to conceive of a more reconciled postcapitalist future that minimizes human suffering.” (Richard Althouse, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 62 (26), June, 2017)