Social generativity beyond consumer society? A Weberian perspective on the dynamic of social change

Cesare Silla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter posits social generativity as a sociological concept necessary to account for contemporary trajectories of social change beyond the consumer society. For this purpose, the concept of social generativity is illustrated in light of an intellectual tradition devoted to studying the directions of influence between social structures and personalities of social actors, and is elaborated further through the lens of Weberian interpretive sociology. The chapter proceeds in three steps. The first reviews the interdisciplinary intellectual field — specifically, the ‘Personality and culture’ movement, - in which both the psychological and the sociological sources of social generativity were involved in different ways. Second, in order to locate the concept more firmly in the sociological tradition, the chapter discusses an influential sociological work on the relationship between ‘personality and culture’: David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd. Finally, the third part elaborates the Weberian notions of personality, maturity and conduct of life, together with his framing of the relation between individual and society, and advances an interpretation of social generativity as a sociological concept useful for charting and clustering a series of social processes stemming from a growing discontent with some major features of consumer societies and pointing to a different societal configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Generativity A Relational Paradigm for Social Change
EditorsMauro Magatti
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series



  • Max Weber
  • consumer society
  • social change
  • social generativity
  • sociological theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Social generativity beyond consumer society? A Weberian perspective on the dynamic of social change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this