Severyn T. Bruyn's Home Page

Social Economy and Cultural Studies

Severyn T. Bruyn

Severyn T. Bruyn

Curriculum Vita


The enclosed documents are relevant to the fields of social economy and cultural studies. They are available for anyone to copy or print at their choosing. Although a few materials are copyrighted, information is for general use. If you are using material on this Web Page for professional or profitable purposes, you should give appropriate references.

Social Economy

Social economy is a field of study about how people produce, distribute, exchange, and use material resources to meet human needs, and in this process, generate a culture. The economy is where people and organizations make a material income. From a sociological perspective, an economy is organized by symbolic interaction in the context of scarce resources. This field of inquiry is about how people deal with scarcity, establish institutions, and fulfill human values. Other perspectives on this subject include political economy, civil economy, and cultural economy. 

Political economy is a study about the way power and authority develop in society. Theory and research focus on the relationship between markets and states, but the subject is equally historical, and local-to-global. The subject of power in the economy extends beyond institutional life. 

Civil economy is about the way people make a living, create social institutions, and find a common good in a political setting. It is about how people create a public commons in a private market, how people govern themselves in systems of exchange, and how people generate social standards in normative markets. It is about how people invent things to overcome scarcity, how people create hierarchies of oppression, and systems of justice and liberation in market systems. Theory includes postulating the relationship between opposing principles of an economy constructed in society. Opposing principles include individual versus community, public versus private, and unity vs plurality. Research focuses on the interface of exchange among business, government, and Third sectors. 

Cultural economy is about how a symbolic life is generated in midst of scarcity and about the tension of differences among people in everyday life. Culture is linked with the economy through symbolic interaction and broadly, through human history, leading a student back to ancient civilization. This broad inquiry begins with primitive symbols and rituals and moves forward through history to include today's market system. Students examine and critique the theory of Pierre Bourdieu regarding "accumulated prestige, celebrity, consecration" and the dialectic of knowledge and recognition.

Related Books

A Civil Economy: Transforming the Marketplace

Available through University of Michigan Press, 839 Greene Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209, USA. Phone: 734-764-4388; Fax: 734-615-1540.

Available through

A Civil Republic: Beyond Capitalism and Nationalism

Available through Kumarian Press, 1294 Blue Hills Avenue, Bloomfield, CT 06002, USA. Order by toll free phone 800-289-2664, fax to 860-243-2867 or internet at

Available in Europe through Eurospan, 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8LU, UK. Tel +44 (0)20 7240 0856; Fax +44 (0)20 7379 0609; E-mail or internet at

Available through

Publisher Summary

In A Civil Republic, Severyn Bruyn argues that the United States, and the world at large, is on the verge of a radical shift--dangerous but also full of opportunity. In a world of injustice, ecological destruction, violence and instability, weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of authoritarian government, our ability to craft a secure future lies in creating a "civil republic."

Bruyn envisions a system of governance that merges the core values of civil society into a political economy that has reigned supreme since the end of the Cold War. He sees a world in which religious institutions, health-care systems, businesses, media, and governments could support values of honesty, justice, and public health rather than stand subservient to corporate interests and those of markets and nation-states. He explores ways to implement a new model--one of public policy that builds a civil society beyond the conventions of capitalism and nationalism.

This provocative book is accessible to undergraduates. At the same time, it is a work of profound scholarship and wisdom. Philosophers, scholars and practitioners of international relations, economics, political science, business, international development, and international law will be treated to an informed and encouraging vision for a sustainable future.

Table of Contents


Part 1. The Problem: Capitalist Nations

Chapter 1. Capitalism and Globalization: What’s the Problem?    
Chapter 2. Civil Society: What’s This Central Idea?
Chapter 3. The Decline of Civil Society: Where Are We Going?

Part 2. The Solution: Civil Markets

Chapter 4. Two Models: Could a New Market Develop?
Chapter 5. A Theory of Development: How Is the New Model Applied?

Part 3. The Plan: Civil Development

Chapter 6. The Process of Development: What Are the Guidelines?
Chapter 7. The Mass Media: Who Owns It?
Chapter 8. The Market Struggle: Who Are the Agents of Change?

Part 4. Conclusion: The Global Picture 

Chapter 9. A Global Political Order: How Does a Civil Polity Develop?
Chapter 10. A Civil Republic: How Do We Get There?

Glossary and Appendices

Introduction to Appendices
Appendix A  The Philosophy of Civil Society
Appendix B  Popular Theories of Civil Society
Appendix C  The General Economy
Appendix D  Mapping Markets
Appendix E  Civil Corporations and Associations
Appendix F  Civil Development: The Cultural Component
Appendix G  Civil Rationale for Markets
Appendix H  A Public Philosophy
Appendix I   Public Media Alternatives
Appendix J  A Republic of Federations: The Frontier
Appendix K Government policies for federations
Appendix L  Global Theaters of Action: Civil Regimes.
Appendix M The Co-Development of World Organizations
Appendix N  Social Studies of the Economy: New Directions
Appendix O  Cultural Studies of the Economy: New Directions
Appendix P Societal Development
Appendix Q Bibliography

Additional Links

Teaching Fieldwork in Sociology

International Law

Other Links

    • On Phenomenology

    * Book Review: Recovering Nonviolent History




Cultural Studies

Cultural studies is an inquiry into paradox and contradiction. These studies are not a subject of any discipline in the university.  In a university, every subject generates a partial perspective with contradictions within the larger pursuit of knowledge. In philosophical terms, perennial contradictions include subject vs. object, spirit vs. matter, reason vs. feeling, life vs. death, and universal vs. particular. Cultural studies looks at them as the paradoxes of everyday life. Thus, cultural studies is a quest for understanding, not a unified movement with an agenda. Bernard Lonergan S.J., might have described these studies to be about "insight" and the "restricted act of understanding."

Related E-Books

A Future for Higher Education in America

This book examines the problems scholars face in planning a future for higher education. The author offers solutions to these problems in Parts One, Two, and Three. The Parts are stories designed to stir the imagination, examples of how to advance the purpose of liberal arts colleges. The Conclusion develops a philosophy of higher education for the 21st century.

Table of Contents

Preface: What's the Problem?
Chapter 1. A Short History of Higher Education

Part One: The Doctrinal Problem

Chapter 2. Alpha Omega University: Secularism and Departmentalism

Part Two: The Social Problem

Chapter 3. Black Hills College: Localism and Globalism
Chapter 4. National University: Nationalism and Capitalism

Part Three: The Metaphysical Problem

Chapter 5. Aristotle University: Intellectualism and Scientism
Chapter 6. Temple University: Rationalism and Spiritualism

Chapter 7. Conclusion

Art and Aesthetics

This book on Evolution is about a Dean in a Liberal Arts College who holds a seminar for students on the subject of evolution. The Dean invites professors from each department to lecture on how they see their field linked to this long history that started with the Big Bang and moved into the formation of particles, atoms, molecules, stars and planets and the Earth with the evolution of cells, plants, animals, hominids, Homo sapiens and the rise of civilization. The Dean assigns students two essays he wrote to prepare for this class. They are called:
Natural History
Human History
Now the Dean holds his seminar and sets forth his own perspective on evolution in the first two classes. In succeeding sessions he invites professors to speak about their perspective. The students and professors have a dialogue.

Evolution (Outline 9pgs.) doc.

Evolution (Brief 142 pgs) PDF

Evolution (Short 345 pgs) PDF


Oratorios, Operas, and a Musical

A Song of Evolution: An Oratorio

The Modern Orpheus: An Opera

The Modern Orpheus was performed on October 29 at 7:00pm in Gasson Hall 100. The singers were: Erin Smith, Soprano; Carey Shunskis, Alto; Peter Nelson King Tenor; Caleb Williams, Bass. The instrumentalists were: Steve Bass, Pianist; Aaron Kirschner, Clarinetist; Peter Levine, Cellist. The actors were: Louise Bruyn: Therapist, Alan O’Hare: Mr. O. The panelists were: Reverend Robert Daly, S.J. Panel Chair, Theology; Reverend Raymond Helmick, S.J., Ministry and Theology; and Professor Thomas Epstein, Western Literature.


The Music Makers: A Musical

The Music Makers was performed with script in 2006 by the Nonviolent Peaceforce of Greater Boston.


The Teachers of Norway: An Oratorio

This oratorio is about how Norwegian teachers stopped Hitler from putting Nazi textbooks in their schools.

The Majesty of Love: An Opera

This opera is written in the spirit of Saint Augustine and Carl Jung. It is about the nature of love. It is a story of how a scientist and a poet climb a mountain and fall in love. But what is this love all about? Is it affection, friendship, eros, philia, agape, or what? What is the highest form of love?

Music Scores

       Act I  1. Going up the Mountain

       Act II 2. Dreaming on the Top

       Act III 3. Are you Awake.

Libretto and Scenes Majesty

Carl Jung Sayings

St. Augustine Sayings

Synopsis of Majesty Story and Panel

The Story of God: A Comic Opera

Performed at the Cambridge Friends Meeting on Sunday, September 9, 2012.

The Dialogue and Libretto

The Story of God - A Comic Opera

The Songs

1.Laotze   2. Buddha 3.Job 

4. Jesus  5. Rumi  6. Gandhi

7. It's Up to Us

To see the performance on Utube, go to: Or: Or:

Google: severyn bruyn you tube

Famous Poems Set in Song

1, Rumi, I Died As A Mineral

2.Emily Dickinson, I'm a Nobody.

3. Rumi, Eternity.

4. Elizabeth Browning, How do I love thee.

5, Bob Dove Churchill Om

6. Rumi Friends






© Severyn T. Bruyn