Author

Abram de Swaan

Abram de Swaan has been a professor of sociology since 1973 and in 2001 he was appointed professor of social sciences at the University of Amsterdam, where he is now emeritus professor. Among his most successful books are In Care of the State (1988), Human Societies (1996) and Words of the World (2001), which has been translated into ten languages. In 2008 he received the national P.C. Hooft Prize for his entire oeuvre.

Words of the World

Words of the World

The world language system

(Prometheus, 2002, 298 pages)

There are over five thousand languages in the world, and yet humankind has still retained its cohesion. Sociologist Abram de Swaan believes that this is due to the people who speak more than one language. As a result of multilingualism, certain languages within the global system have a kind of ‘umbrella function’, serving as a means of communication between the speakers of regional languages. For the last half-century or so the ‘supercentral’ language crowning this linguistic hierarchy has been English.

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The Killing Compartments

The Killing Compartments

The mentality of mass murder

(Prometheus, 2014, 312 pages)

Why do some regimes commit mass murder, and how do they always find willing participants? That is the terrible question sociologist Abram de Swaan has set out to tackle.

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Translations