Sociology of the Absurd

Michael Hviid Jacobsen suggests a list of readings to gain a better understanding of “Absurdity” –and “Sociology of the Absurd.” The Essayist welcomes you to add to this list and make it more comprehensive. To add more readings, please submit at the bottom of this page or email to



  • Bauman, Zygmunt (1972): “Culture, Values and Science of Society”. University of Leeds Review, 15 (2):185-203.
  • Blumer, Herbert (1954): “What Is Wrong With Social Theory?”. American Sociological Review, 19:3-10.
  • Boorstin, Daniel J. (1969/1970): The Sociology of the Absurd, or the Application of Professor X. London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Boudon, Raymond (1977): Effets pervers et ordre social. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
  • Broadbent, Robert S. (1974): “Notes on the Sociology of the Absurd: ‘An Undersocialized Conception of Man’”. Pacific Sociological Review, 17 (1):35-45.
  • Brown, Richard H. & Stanford M. Lyman (eds.)(1977): Structure, Consciousness and History: New Writings in the Sociology of the Absurd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Burke, Kenneth (1952): A Grammar of Motives. New York: Prentice-Hall.
  • Camus, Albert (1955/2000): The Myth of Sisyphus. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
  • Carney, Larry S. (1998): “On Being Anchored in an Absurd World”. International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society, 11 (3):517-523.
  • Esslin, Martin (1991): The Theatre of the Absurd. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
  • Garfinkel, Harold & Harvey Sacks (1970): “The Formal Properties of Practical Actions”, in John C. McKinney & Edward A. Tiryakian (eds.): Theoretical Sociology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
  • Giddens, Anthony (1979): Central Problems in Social Theory. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Goffman, Erving (1959): The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
  • Goffman, Erving (1967): Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. New York: Pantheon.
  • Goodwin, Glenn A. (1971): “On Transcending the Absurd: An Inquiry in the Sociology of Meaning”. American Journal of Sociology, 76 (5):831-846.
  • Hall, Edward T. (1969): The Hidden Dimension. London: Bodley Head.
  • Hollis, Martin (1977): Models of Man. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lally, Jim & David L. Preston (1973): “Anti-Positivist Movements in Contemporary Sociology”. Journal of Sociology, 9 (2):3-9.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (1972): The Black American in Social Thought – New Perspectives on Black America. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (1974): Chinese Americans. New York: Random House.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (1990): “The Drama in the Routine: A Prolegomenon to a Praxiological Sociology”. Sociological Theory, 8 (2):217-223.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (1995): NATO and Germany: A Study in the Sociology of Supranational Relations. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (1997): Postmodernism and a Sociology of the Absurd and Other Essays on the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ in American Social Science. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. (2001): Roads to Dystopia: Sociological Essays on the Postmodern Condition. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. & Marvin B. Scott (1970): A Sociology of the Absurd, First Edition. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. & Marvin B. Scott (1975): The Drama of Social Reality. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Lyman, Stanford M. & Marvin B. Scott (1989): A Sociology of the Absurd, Second Edition. New York: General Hall Inc.
  • McCall, George J. & Jerry L. Simmons (1966): Identities and Interactions. New York: Free Press.
  • McDavitt, Joanne M. (1999): Fragments: The Social Construction of the Absurd and the American War in Vietnam. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Boston College.
  • McHugh, Peter (1968): Defining the Situation: The Organization of Meaning in Social Interaction. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
  • McNall, Scott G. & James C. M. Johnson (1975): “The New Conservatives: Ethnomethodologists, Phenomenologists and Symbolic Interactionists”. Insurgent Sociologist, 4:49-65.
  • Mills, C. Wright (1940): “Situated Actions and the Vocabularies of Motive”. American Sociological Review, 9:904-913.
  • Milovanovic, Dragan & Jim Thomas (1989): “Overcoming the Absurd: Prisoner Litigation as Primitive Rebellion”. Social Problems, 36 (1):48-60.
  • Morris, Monica B. (1977): An Excursion into Creative Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Parsons, Talcott (1949): The Structure of Social Action. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.
  • Renfrow, Daniel G. (2004): “A Cartography of Passing in Everyday Life”. Symbolic Interaction, 27 (4):485-506.
  • Rose, William (2003): “Postmodern Subjects: On Lyman’s Sociology of the Absurd”. International Journal of Politics, Culture & Society, 16 (4):569-586.
  • Sagi, Avi (1999): Albert Camus and the Philosophy of the Absurd. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Schwartz, Barry (1971): “Critique of the Sociology of the Absurd”. American Journal of Sociology, 77:153-156.
  • Scott, Marvin B. (1968): The Racing Game. Chicago: Aldine.
  • Scott, Marvin B. & Stanford M. Lyman (1970): The Revolt of the Students. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill Publishing.
  • Shoham, Shlomo G. (1974/2006): Society and the Absurd: A Sociology of Conflictual Encounters. London: Sussex Academic Press.
  • Simmel, Georg (1907/1978): The Philosophy of Money. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Simmel, Georg (1908/1955): Conflict and the Web of Group Affiliations. New York: Free Press.
  • Stearns, Peter N. (1994): American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style. New York: New York University Press.
  • Stryker, Sheldon & Kevin D. Vryan (2006): “The Symbolic Interactionist Frame”, in Handbook of Social Psychology. New York: Springer.
  • Tiryakian, Edward A. (1973): “Review of Stanford M. Lyman & Marvin B. Scott: A Sociology of the Absurd”. Contemporary Sociology, 1 (3):220-221.
  • Wrong, Dennis H. (1961): “The Oversocialized Conception of Man in Modern Sociology”. American Sociological Review, 26:183-193.
  • Wrong, Dennis H. (1994): The Problem of Order: What Unites and Divides Society. New York: Free Press.



Michael Hviid Jacobsen, 2013

Edited by The Essayist Editorial Team


Parts of this article are excerpts from Chapter 11: The Sociology of the Absurd: An Absurd Man in an Absurd World from the book edited by Michael Jacobsen titled: Encountering the everyday: an introduction to the sociologies of the unnoticed. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

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