David Norman Smith

Primary office:
Fraser Hall
Room 753
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Blvd

Areas of Specialization

  • Social Theory
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Social & Political Psychology
  • Comparative & Historical Sociology


Teaching Interests

  • Sociological theory (classical, critical, contemporary)
  • Race and ethnicity (&ldquo
  • Race&rdquo
  • And racism, ethnicity and ethnocentrism)
  • Social psychology (personality, prejudice, authoritarianism, ambivalence)
  • Historical sociology (capitalism, fascism, genocide, authority)

Selected Publications

Smith, D. N. (in press). 21st Century Capital: Falling Profit Rates and System Entropy. In L. Langman & D. A. Smith (Eds.), Piketty in the 21st Century: Sociological Critiques. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Smith, D. N. (2017). Theory and Class Consciousness. In M. Thompson (Ed.), The Handbook of Critical Theory (pp. 369-424). London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Smith, D. N. (in press). Sharing, Not Selling: Marx Against Value. Continental Thought & Theory, 1(2).

Smith, D. N. (in press). Deferential Worker. In B. S. Turner (Ed.), Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.

Smith, D. N. (in press). Collectivism and the Intellectuals: Svend Ranulf, Emile Durkheim, Fascism, and Resistance. Antisemitism Studies, 1(2).

Smith, D. N. (2016). Capitalism’s Future: Self-Alienation, Self-Emancipation, and the Remaking of Critical Theory. In D. Krier & M. Worrell (Eds.), Capitalism’s Future: Alienation, Emancipation and Critique (pp. 11-62). Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Smith, D. N. (2016). Charisma and the Spirit of Capitalism. In A. Sica (Ed.), The Anthem Companion to Max Weber. London, New York, & Delhi: Anthem Press.

Smith, D. N. (2016). Demand the Impossible: Greece, the Eurozone, and the Failure of the Utopian Imagination. In D. Krier & M. Worrell (Eds.), The Social Ontology of Capitalism (pp. 195-227). London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Smith, D. N. (2016). Epilogue: Time is Still Money. In D. W. Manders (Ed.), The Hegemony of Common Sense (revised second edition). (pp. 195-234). San Francisco: Looking Up Press.

Smith, D. N. (2016). Outrageous Fortune: Further Reflections on Austerity, Resistance, and the Utopian Imagination. In D. Krier & M. Worrell (Eds.), The Social Ontology of Capitalism (pp. 228-234).

Smith, D. N. (2015). Profit Maxims: Capitalism and the Common Sense of Time and Money. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 33, 29-74.

Smith, D. N. (2015). Prometheus Unchained: Marx’s Abolitionism. Dialectical Anthropology, 39(2), 211-14.

Smith, D. N. (2015). The Adventures of Professor Piketty: In Which We Meet the Intrepid Data-Hunter Thomas Piketty and Hear His Startling Story. A Fantasy. Critical Sociology, 41(2), 325-334.

Smith, D. N. (2014). Slashing at Water with a Knife? Durkheim's Struggle to Anchor Sociology in First Principles. Contemporary Sociology, 43(2), 165-171.

Smith, D. N. (2013). Capitalism and Science. In A. Hessenbruch (Ed.), Reader's Guide to the History of Science (pp. 117-118). London & New York: Routledge.

Smith, D. N. (2013). Charisma Disenchanted: Max Weber and His Critics . Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 31, 3-74.

Smith, D. N. (2011). Mapping the Great Recession: A Reader’s Guide to the First Crisis of 21st-Century Capitalism. New Political Science, 34(4), 577-583.

Smith, D. N. (2011). Sweatshops. In G. Ritzer & J. M. Ryan (Eds.), The Blackwell Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology Online.

Smith, D. N., Hanley, E. & McWilliams, R. (2011). RWA, SDO, and Voter Choice: Short Reliable Scales. A proposal to the American National Election Study (available online).

Smith, D. N. (2011). Charisma and Critique: Critical Theory, Authority, and the Birth of Political Theology. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 29, 33-56.

Smith, D. N. (2009). Solidarity in Question: Critical Theory, Labor, and Anti-Semitism. Critical Sociology, 35 (5), 601-628.

Smith, D. N. (2007). Anti-Semitism. In R. T. Schaefer (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society (pp. 76-80). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Smith, D. N. (2007). Living Wage Movements. In G. L. Anderson & K. Herr (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (pp. 866-888). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Smith, D. N. (2006). Authority Fetishism and the Manichæan Vision. In L. Langman & D. K. Fishman (Eds.), The Evolution of Alienation (pp. 91-114 ). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Smith, D. N. (2006). Recognizing Empire: Alienation, Authority, and Delusions of Grandeur. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 24, 57-152.

Smith, D. N. (2005). Facing Change and Danger. In F. Baron, D. N. Smith, & C. Reitz (Eds.), Authority, Culture, and Community (pp. 3-25). Munich: Synchron.

Smith, D. N. (2005). Anti-Semitism. In C. Skutsch (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the World’s Minorities (Vol. 1, pp. 108-111). London & New York: Taylor & Francis.

Smith, D. N. (2005). Herbert Marcuse. In J. R. Shook (Ed.), The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (Vol. 3, pp. 1604-1607). Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum Press.

Smith, D. N. (2004). The Rhetoric and Reality of ‘Mass Destruction’: How Genocide Became an International Social Problem. In G. Ritzer (Ed.), Handbook of Social Problems: A Comparative International Perspective (pp. 368-388). Beverly Hills: Sage.

Smith, D. N. (2003). Globalisierung und Genozid [Globalization and Genocide]. In M. N. Dobkowski & I. Walliman (Eds.), Das Zeitalter der Knappheit (pp. 183-212). Bern: Verlag Paul Haupt.

Smith, D. N. (2002). Globalization and Genocide: Inequality and Mass Death in Rwanda. In M. N. Dobkowski & I. Wallimann (Eds.), On the Edge of Scarcity (pp. 149-172). Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Smith, D. N. (2002). Accumulation and the Clash of Cultures: Marx’s Ethnology in Context. Rethinking Marxism, 14(4), 73-84.

Smith, D. N. (2001). The Stigma of Reason: Irrationalism as a Problem for Social Theory. In K. Ashman & P. Baringer (Eds.), After the Science Wars: In the Wake of the Sokal Affair (pp. 151-182). London & New York: Routledge.

Smith, D. N. (2001). Abolitionism and Social Theory: Slavery, ‘Wage Slavery,’ and the Visibility of Oppression. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 20, 143-181.

Smith, D. N. (2001). The Spectral Reality of Value: Sieber, Marx, and Commodity Fetishism. Research in Political Economy, 19, 47-66.

Smith, D. N. (2001). Anomie, Solidarity, and Conflict: French Sociology and the Limits of Dialogue. Sociological Quarterly, 42 (1), 69-78.

Smith, D. N. (2000). Genocide. In E. F. Borgatta & R. Montgomery (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Sociology (pp. 1066-73). New York & San Francisco: Macmillan.

Smith, D. N., & Gunn, C. W. (1999). Authoritarian Aggression and Social Stratification. Social Thought & Research, 22 (1-2), 95-112.

Smith, D. N. (1998). Postcolonial Genocide: Scarcity, Ethnicity and Mass Death in Rwanda. In M. N. Dobkowski & I. Wallimann (Eds.), The Coming Age of Scarcity (pp. 220-244). Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Smith, D. N. (1998). The Genesis of Genocide in Rwanda: The Fatal Dialectic of Class and Ethnicity. In D. O. Friedrichs (Ed.), State Crime (Vol. 1, pp. 475-91). Brookfield : Ashgate and Dartmouth.

Smith, D. N. (1998). Faith, Reason, and Charisma: Rudolf Sohm, Max Weber, and the Theology of Grace. Sociological Inquiry, 68 (1), 32-60.

Smith, D. N. (1998). The Ambivalent Worker: Max Weber, Critical Theory, and the Antinomies of Authority. Social Thought & Research, 20 (3), 35-83.

Smith, D. N. (1998). The Psychocultural Roots of Genocide: Legitimacy and Crisis in Rwanda. The American Psychologist, 53 (7), 743-753.

Smith, D. N. (1997). Judeophobia, Myth, and Critique. In S. D. Breslauer (Ed.), The Seductiveness of Jewish Myth (pp. 123-154). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Smith, D. N. (1996). The Social Construction of Enemies: Jews and the Representation of Evil. Sociological Theory, 14 (3), 203-240.

Smith, D. N. (1995). The Ethnological Imagination: History and Social Structure. In D. Schorkowitz (Ed.), Ethnohistorische Wege und Lehrjahre eines Philosophen (pp. 102-119). Bern & New York: Peter Lang Verlag.

Smith, D. N. (1995). Ziya Gokalp and Émile Durkheim: Sociology as an Apology for Chauvinism? Études durkheimiennes/Durkheimian Studies, New Series, 1(1), 45-51.

Smith, D. N. (1995). Uncivil Society: 'Race' and Murder in Nazi Germany. Patterns of Prejudice, 29(3), 123-126.

Smith, D. N. (1995). Ascetic Virtues: Charisma and Character in Max Weber. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 31, 72-80.

Smith, D. N. (1992). The Beloved Dictator: Adorno, Horkheimer, and the Critique of Domination. Current Perspectives in Social Theory, 11, 195-230.

» Show All Publications

DAVID SMITH works at the point of intersection between political sociology, political psychology, and political economy. Before joining the KU faculty in 1990, he studied sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D, 1988) and economics at the University of California-Berkeley (A.B., 1974). He is keenly interested in all of the many ways in which people think and feel about democracy and tolerance, not only in politics but in culture and the economy. That interest, and a background in social theory, has led him to pursue an ever-expanding menu of research – on prejudice and intolerance, authority and authoritarianism, the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide of 1994; on charisma and crisis, capitalism and labor. In each of these areas, he seeks multi-faceted insight by whatever means are available – socio-historical study, survey research, and close reading, especially of texts by major sociological theorists.


.... In most past research on this question, sociologists and psychologists have paid primary attention to those people who hold extreme views. But I’m curious, above all, about people in the middle -- people whose feelings are mixed, uncertain, and ambivalent. This interest has inspired research on many topics that might otherwise seem disparate.


Fall 2017 Courses

  • Soc 900 Special Topics in Theory: Critical Theory


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