Chapter

Everyday Heroes

Joel Best

in Everyone's a Winner

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267169
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948488 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267169.003.0004
Everyday Heroes

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The nature of heroism is a topic that has motivated a good deal of pontification, and even a cursory review of some of these works reveals that hero is a slippery concept, one that can refer to very different things. Orrin E. Klapp — probably the American sociologist who wrote most extensively about heroes — located heroes within American culture's larger framework of social types. Klapp proved that most social types belong to one of three broad, melodramatic categories — heroes, villains, and fools. He subdivided each of these broad categories according to themes relevant to American culture; thus he classified heroes as winners, splendid performers, heroes of social acceptability, independent spirits, and group servants. He further broke some of these categories down by key traits; thus, his heroic winners included the strong man, the top dog, the underdog, the brain, the smart operator, and the great lover.

Keywords: heroism; Orrin Klapp; American culture; acceptability; villains

Chapter.  7723 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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