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    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Action Frame of Reference
    action research
    advocate and advocacy.
    Ancient Regime
    Anomie and Anomy
    a priori
    association of ideas
    Auburn model
    Autonomic nervous system
    Average man

    Bell curve
    Big data
    Binary Opposition
    Biological identity
    Biological Organism
    Body Image
    Body Language
    Body, mind and society readings

    case studies
    Cash nexus
    categorical imperatives
    Celibate vocation
    Central Nervous System
    Centred structure
    Child abuse
    civil inattention
    Civil law.
    Classical criminology
    Classical economists
    Collective Conscience
    Collective Mind
    Collectivity orientation
    Collective Representations
    Common Conscience
    Common Sense
    common law
    Communicative Action
    Community of women
    Community Disintegration Theory
    Complexity theory
    concept - conceive
    Conjugal society
    Constructed Order
    constructivist structuralism
    Consumer society
    Consumers voice
    Content Analysis
    control group
    Convergence of theories
    conversation in gestures
    Core Gender identity
    Corporate psychopath
    Crime and insanity
    Criminal law.
    Criminal career
    Crises since 1945
    Critical theory
    critical thinking
    Culte du moi
    Cultural capital
    Cultural Constructs
    Cultural Goals
    Cultural heritage
    Cultural Ideals


    Data sets
    Decentred structure
    Degeneration Theory
    Deviation - statistical
    Dialectic - dialectical
    Dictatorship of the proletariate
    Digital age
    Disintegration Theory
    Dispositifs techniques
    Divine Right of Kings
    Division of Labour
    documentary research
    dogma and dogmatism
    Domestic labour
    Domestic violence
    Dwell - dwelling

    Economic capital
    the Economy
    ego (Freud)
    Embodied Self
    empiricists and empiricism
    Ethnicity and race
    Ethnic indicators
    Ethnic statistics
    Evangelical Revival (British)
    Everyday life
    Extended family

    fairy tales
    Family statistics
    Family today
    Felicific calculus
    field work
    figurational sociology
    Finkelstein on disability
    Fisher's squares
    Fisher's P values
    focus group
    Frankfurt school

    Gender identity
    Gender nonconforming
    general will
    Generation (birth)
    Generation (construction)
    Goal Attainment
    Government rule
    grounded theory

    hardware times
    Heterosexual matrix
    Hey You!
    Hierarchy and power
    Historic Social Structures
    historical research
    Historical materialism
    Hoax theory
    Horizontal segregation
    Houshold Economy
    Human capital
    Human Ecology
    Humanity nation family
    Human Rights

    id (Freud)
    ideal types
    Identity politics
    Imagination, society and science
    Incest taboo
    Individual and society
    Industrial revolution
    Industrial society
    Information age
    Information Technology
    institutional racism
    Institutions and Mind
    interpret - interpretation
    Interpretive sociology
    isomorphic structures

    Knowledge types

    Labour theory of value
    Latent class analysis
    Late modern
    latin square
    libido (Freud)
    Liquid modernity
    Logical Positivism
    Mad studies
    Man, Mankind, Humanity
    Marginal Utility
    Mass Media
    Mass Society
    mechanical solidarity
    mechanical solidarity
    media research
    Medical model
    Men's community
    Mental disorder
    Mental distress
    Mental health
    Mental illness
    mental patient
    Methodological individualism
    Mind and brain
    mixed methods
    Mode of Production
    Modern State
    Moral career
    Moral insanity
    moral panic
    Moral rules
    Moral Sciences
    moral statistics
    Movement intellectuals

    Natural World
    Natural law
    Natural science
    Nazi (National Socialist)
    neo-classical criminology
    Nervous System
    Network society
    Normal curve
    Normal person
    Nuclear family
    Null hypothesis

    Occupational career
    Occupational segregation
    open access
    open learning
    organic solidarity
    organic solidarity
    Organised society

    Overdetermination (Althuser)

    Paradigm shift
    participant observation
    Parts of self
    Parts of society
    Patient to person
    Pattern Maintenance
    Pattern Variables
    Peer Assisted Learning
    Penal Code
    Person or less than
    Person to patient
    Personal branding
    Philadelphia system
    Picturing the brain
    Picturing the mind
    Picturing society
    Political and Politics
    Political Economy
    Popular culture
    population (statistics)
    Positive law
    Positive Criminology
    Post industrial
    Postnatal depression
    Power: gun and ideas
    Power: Hierarchical
    Power: Pluralist
    Primary Group
    primary research
    Primary socialisation
    prisoner's dilemma
    Psycho Politics
    Public Discourse
    Public Opinion
    Public Sphere

    qualitative data
    quantitative data

    Racial prejudice
    Racial segregation
    rationalists and rationalism
    Real and simulated
    Reciprocal Development
    recorded sound
    (Durkheimian swearing)
    Reflex arc
    Reflexive autocritique
    Reflexive modernisation
    Reflexive modernity
    regression analysis
    regression to the mean
    (Weberian swearing)
    reliable indicators
    Resistance habitus
    Risk society
    Rite of Passage
    Rothamsted squares

    Scientific socialism
    Secondary research
    Secondary socialisation
    second wave
    self development
    Self knowledge
    Self Orientation
    Separate system
    Service recipient
    Service user
    Sexual orientation
    Sex with children
    Sick role
    Side effects
    Silent system
    snowball sampling
    Social Action
    Social approach to health
    Social Behaviourism
    Social capital
    Social Character
    Social Construction
    Social Contract
    Social Darwinism
    Social Dynamics
    Social facts
    Social media
    Social model
    Social model of disability
    Social model of distress
    Social model of health
    Social Movement
    Social Network
    Social Order
    Social psychology
    Social Science
    Social Space
    Social Statics
    social statistics
    Social Structure
    Social (sub) Structures
    Social Structures in history
    Social System
    Social System Needs
    Social System Parts
    Society as an active force
    Society as body - organism and/or system
    Society's Parts
    software times
    Solid modernity
    Spontaneous Order
    standard deviation
    standpoint theory
    State of Nature
    Statistical deviation
    statistical lies
    statistically significant
    Stimulus response
    Stop thief!
    structuralist constructivism
    structural functionalists
    sub-systems of human action
    Successful psychopaths

    sui-generis - also

    super-ego (Freud)
    Survivors movement
    Survivor's history
    Survivor research
    symbolic annihilation
    Symbolic capital
    symbolic interaction
    symbolic violence
    Systems theory

    Them and us
    therapeutic comunity
    third wave
    time series
    total institution
    Traditional society

    Unanticipated consequences
    USA Sociology

    valid indicators
    Vertical segregation
    Very modern
    Virtual Community

    Well of loneliness
    White Collar Crime
    Women's community
    Women's Movement
    Work based learning
    world wide web


    If you have not found it here: click the spider to try somewhere else:
    links to other dictionaries

    click for the ABC Study Guide

London, England
Mission to put
students first


    Society is the most general term in modern English for the body of institutions and relationships within which a relatively large group of people live. (Williams, R. 1976)

    Society may not be visible,
but its symbols are

    Society may not be visible, but its symbols are. Click on the fishing bird to know more.

    "every aggregate of individuals who are in continuous contact form a society" ... "individuals must adhere materially, but it is still necessary that there be moral links between them."   (Durkheim, E. 1893/1933 p.276)

    Individual means something that cannot be divided: a unit complete in itself. In the above quotations it refers to single human beings, which is what we usually mean when we say "an individual". In this sense, sociologists later than Durkheim have spoken of "the self" in relation to society. One can, of course, speak of an individual society.

    Is society real?

    To some people, common sense says society is not real .

    Margaret Thatcher argued that it does not exist. It could, however exist but not be real in the sense that our bodies are real.

    Some theorists treat the individual as real and society is constructed by individuals. Such theories have been called social atomism or methodolological individualism,

    Following Weber, structural functionalists argue that society comes into being because of the orientation of individuals. Robert Merton says:

    " It is ... only because behaviour is typically orientated toward the basic values of the society that we may speak of a human aggregate as comprising a society. (Merton, R. 1957, p. 141)"

    Social holism is the opposite approach to social atomism. It means treating society as a whole that is more than adding up its parts, more than the construction of individuals. This was Durkheim's approach.

    For Durkheim, society is originally everything, the individual nothing: (See the Durkheim index on society)

    Society as an active force

    We speak of society, or parts of society, as being active when we refer to our society as nurturing us.

    Eugène Delacroix's 1830 painting symbolises France as liberty leading the people bare breasted, possibly symbolising that she breast feeds the people.

    We also speak of society, or parts of society, as being active when we use phrases such as "victims of society" - "victims of the internet" - "disabling society" [See social model of disability]

    Society's parts

    Filmer and Locke made different analyses of family and politics as parts of society. Filmer argued that political power derives from family power, but Locke said that we should not confuse: paternal or parental power with political power, or either of them with with despotical power.

    Hegel suggested that society (the whole) has three corners: the State ( politics), Civil Society (the economy) and Private Society (the family).

    One of the activities of social theorists has been to theorise about how the parts of society inter-relate.

    USA sociologists, like Talcott Parsons tend to treat society as created by individuals, rather than a reality in itself. However, Parsons argues that individual actions are directed to other people and that, in the inter-action of individuals, a social system emerges. Society, therefore, emerges as a reality. Robert Merton belongs to the same school of thought (Structural Functionalism) as Parsons.

    Parsons uses four interrelated systems ("sub-systems of human action") to analyse this human reality: the biological system, the personality system, the cultural system and the social system

    Social systems have a structure - which can be represented as a diagram of their parts. But the system is dynamic, it moves. It is also comparable to a living organism in that it has needs.

    Four empirical structural clusters

    Parsons identifies four especially important empirical "clusterings" of social structure: 1) Kinship, sex and socialisation [family] - 2) Stratification of occupational roles [class] - 3) Power, force and territory [ State, politics] - 4) Religion and similar systems of orientation and adjustment. (See Parsons, T. 1951 page 152).

    Parsons says social systems have four needs which correspond to parts of the social structure. Three of these fit in with Hegel's division: adaptation (relating to the economy), goal attainment (relating to politics) and latency (relating to the family). Parsons's fourth need is integration, which he relates to religion.

    See Parsons 1951 - 6/7.1956 - 1966

    Playing the creativity ball game: Starting with society - individual - government - we went through solidarity - social - suicide - peer-pressure - drugs - prison - to social glue - division of labour - social view (looking at things Weber's way) - conformity - state of nature - naturist - nudist - rebel - conformity - deviance - religion - anomie - conflict theory - disagreement - anarchy. We discussed the relationship of anarchy to the theories of Hobbes, Locke, Weber and Durkheim. We asked what would give an anarchist society solidarity and whether the state increased or decreased individual freedom.

    Sociology: The science of society. See Durkheim and Weber's Contrasting Imaginations: Who is the Sociologist?. The original French word (Sociologie) was created by Comte in 1839 and there is a sense in which sociology was invented in France. .

    The Emerson timeline (external link - archive) puts the term in context. The French Wikipedia contains (or contained) the disputed claim the the term dates back to 1788/1789. This appears to be incorrect.

    The similarly constructed word "Psychology", for the science of mind, had existed in English since the late 17th century.

    External links to Wikipedia articles on:
    on Sociology   on Anthropology

    At one time of consultation, Wikipedia said "Sociology is the study of social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, and institutions." Then adding as a "typical textbook definition" the "study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies". Durkheim argues that sociology is the scientific study of society: Of the real social forces that contrain our individual actions (social facts).

    twitter #sociology

    Thinking Sociologically

    "Thinking sociologically" is an approach that starts from meaningful individual perceptions and actions rather than the reality of society (which may be disputed). It is a Weberian as distinct from a Durkheimian approach. Bauman and May write "individual actors come into the view of sociological study in terms of being members or partners in a network of interdependence... how do the types of social relations and societies that we inhabit relate to how we see each other, ourselves and our knowledge, actions and their consequences?... to think sociologically is to make sense of the human condition via an analysis of the manifold web of human interdependency.. (Bauman, Z. and May, T. 2000 pages 5 and 9)

    USA Sociology

    In the United States of America, beliefs about society tend to use State of Nature theory as axioms. USA Sociology explores the idea that individuals construct society, without always recognising that to do so is a product of particular societies, at particular times.

    A "general statement" "intended to develop a unified conceptual scheme for theory and research in the social sciences" was published by nine USA social scientists in 1951. Theory was to be based on a "theory of action" in which "the point of reference of all terms is the action of an individual actor or collective of actors".

    Social Science is a broader concept than sociology. It includes all the sciences with social content, including psychology, politics, economics, human geography, anthropology, etc. The term dates from the late nineteenth century. Older terms with a similar meaning include sciences humaines (human sciences - a French term dating back to the 17th century) - sciences de l'homme (sciences of man) - sciences morales et politiques (moral and political sciences - See 1770 and 1795) - moral sciences, a term used by J.S. Mill in 1843 and by Cambridge University in 1851

    See Porter and Ross 9.2003
    "Moral Statistics" is another term where "moral" may mean social rather than ethical. In the term "moral insanity", moral can mean behavioural or emotional rather then to do with the intellect.

    Anthropology 1841 - 1843

    Anthropology means the scientific study of human beings. For a time in the 18th and 19th centuries it tended to mean the study of human physical characteristics, but has been extended to cultural and social characteristics. It is the science of humankind in the broadest sense. (See man).

    Ethnology is a mid-nineteenth century term for the science of nations or races. The Ethnological Society, founded in London in 1843, became The Anthropological Society in 1863. In the United States, a New York based American Ethnological Society was started in 1842. A Bureau of Ethnology was established by an Act of Congress in 1879 and the Anthropological Society of Washington at the same time.

    James Cowles Prichard wrote in his The Natural History of Man (1843, p.132) "The history of nations termed ethnology, must be mainly founded on the relations of their languages". The Etnografiske Museum opened in Copenhagan, Denmark in 1849.

    Anthropology has tended to theorise about the evolution of human beings, physically and culturally and to take a cross cultural approach. There is no strict division between anthropology and sociology, they overlap.

    Some well known studies of society that are based on anthropology are Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), and Freud's Totem and Taboo (1913).

    These are based on studies of pre-literate societies. In the twentieth century however, the scope of antthropoloy was extended to all societies. Robert Park wrote, in 1925

    "Anthropology... has been mainly concerned... with the study of primitive peoples. But civilised man is quite as interesting... Urban life and culture are more varied, subtle, and complicated, but the fundamental motives are in both instances the same. The same patient methods of observation which anthropologists... have expended on the study of the life and manners of the North American Indian might be even more fruitfully employed in the investigation of the customs, beliefs, social practices, and general conceptions of life prevalent ... on the lower North Side in Chicago..."

    anthropo comes from the Greek anthropos for human being. ethno, from the Greek ethnos for nation, is used in combination for nation, people or culture. So, by a strange convolution, one gets ethnomethodology, in sociology, which is a method of theoretical analysis of individuals constructing and maintaining the social order (culture?) of everyday situations - Like coping with the complex negotiations of meaning involved in buying a newspaper from a newspaper stall.

    More straightforward: ethnography (writing about race) is used for the scientific description of nations, races or peoples, with their different customs. Utah State University has a collection of student ethnographies online from a field trip to Peru. In 2000 a joural to link anthropology and sociology was launched with the title Ethnography. See also ethnicity

    Ethnography is, nowadays, more often used for studies of culture/s. See Wikipedia. See autoethnography

    Anthropometry Measurement of the height and other dimensions of human beings, especially at different ages, or in different races, occupations, etc.

    Anthropomorphic Shaped in human form

    Social in the social sciences, since the mid-19th century, relates to the mutual relationships of human beings (as individuals or classes) and is connected with the functions and structures necessary to membership of a group or society. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Social: Relating to society. Relating to people in society. Relating to the public as a whole. (Definition based on a 1900 Dictionary)

    Social dimension

    See subject indexes for social, psychological and biological approaches

    Erving Goffman (1961) writes of the "social beginning of the patient's career" as distinct from the psychological beginning of ... mental illness.

    The Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge

    Social System: See society and society's parts - Parsons on society's parts

    The Social System is one of Parsons' four sub-systems of human action. The social system specialises in the function of integration.

    In a social system parts are arranged in a pattern of relationships that, together, makes the system.

    See Talcott Parsons' 1942 definition

    Talcott Parsons argues that each of us is an actor playing a role within a system of relationships. He analyses the real (concrete) system we are in into social system, cultural system and our own personality system. (Extracts)

    " a social system consists in a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in ..." [an environment]... whose relation to their situations, including each other, is defined and mediated in terms of a system of culturally structured and shared symbols." (Parsons, T. 1951 p.5)

    Human relationships being made by means of symbols, links Parsons' system theory to the theories of the symbolic interactionists. Both also, use role as a key concept. The two bodies of thought are, arguably, complementary - With structural functionalism concentrating on analysing social structure, and symbolic interactionism analysing everyday social interaction at social- psychology level. See the argument of C. Wright Miils that social science should be the study of the intersection within social structure of personal biography (and everyday social interaction) and history.

    Parsons argues that "Every social system is a functioning entity". It is

    a system of interdependent structures and processes such that it tends to maintain a relative stability and distinctiveness of pattern and behaviour as an entity"

    In some ways, its behaviour is analogous to an organism.

    ( 1954 Essays, p.143)

    Social System Needs:
    Talcott Parsons says that societies (like all systems and organisms) have needs which must be fulfilled if they are to survive.

      "...process in any social system is subject to four independent functional imperatives or "problems" which must be met adequately if equilibrium and/or continuing existence of the system is to be maintained." (Parsons and Smelser 1957 p.16)

    Social system needs - functional needs - functional imperatives - all seem to refer to the same things: Things a system requires if it is to stay alive and thrive. These needs exist because of the system's relationship with its environment and because of the internal working of the system.

    Parsons says that all societies have four basic needs:

    Every social system must adapt - set goals - integrate - and provide for its latent needs. The initials AGIL are often used to help us recall these four needs.

    See analysis of Society's parts by Parsons

    Social model

    A social model could be thought of as a paradigm for understanding that emphasises social factors.

    The European Social Model is used to describe the European experience of simultaneously promoting sustainable economic growth and social cohesion

    See social models of disability - health - distress

    Able - disabled

    Thomas Betterton wrote in the 17th century that "the hands are the most habil" [able] "members of the body". The word able comes from a word meaning "to hold".

    Someone who is able to do something has the "skill, qualities, knowledge, means, or opportunity to do it" (Plain English Dictionary)

    See also power.
    Ability and disability have also been associated with wholeness and blemish. See Leviticus

    Disable - disabled

    To disable is to "make incapable of action or use". With respect to people it is to "deprive of physical or mental ability, especially through injury or disease". (Oxford English Dictionary. Late 15th century origins)

    Amelia Harris's definitions

    Amelia Harris needed to create definitions that would enable the Department of Health and Social Security to survey (count a sample) disabled people for the first time. The definitions she used were:

    Impairment: "a) lacking part of or all of a limb, or b) having a defective limb, organ or mechanism of the body which stops or limits getting about, working, or self-care".

    Disablement: "the loss or reduction of functional ability".

    Handicap: "the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by permanent disability".

    The sample of 12,738 people interviewed, between October 1968 and February 1969, was selected on the basis of impairment. One of the objects of the survey was to discover to what extent impairment led to handicap. On the basis of the survey, it was estimated that

    "There are some three million impaired men and women in Great Britain (aged 16 and over, living in private households), just over a million of whom are handicapped. Twenty-five thousand are so severely handicapped as to need constant care or supervision every day and practically every night, a further 132,000 needing constant day-care. Of these 157,000 very severely handicapped, some 26,000 men and nearly 90.000 women, are aged 65 or over, two thirds of them being at least 75 years old." (Harris, A.I. 1973, p.56)

    Finkelstein's social interpretation of disability

    "To my mind the cause (or 'source') of disability is social. That is, society through its social relationships (both, inter-personal - the roles people play; and physical - the buildings and environment where these roles are played) disables its people who have physical impairments. Consequently to eliminate disability it is necessary to change these social relations - that is, we, disabled people, must all participate in the changing of society. It is obvious that this is a major task and cannot be achieved if we are confused about what we have to do. It is therefore important to make clear where some of the 'experts' go wrong, where they are confused or where they mystify the nature of the problem (disability)."

    "In my earlier argument I concentrated on showing that disability is not caused by the physical condition of a person's body. Theories which use this concept as the basis for a definition of disability are using what various 'experts' have called the 'medical model'. With this approach the cause of our social difficulties is seen to be in our physical condition. If this could be 'cured' then our social problems would be eliminated. Since, at present anyway, not all physical impairments can be 'cured', those who use the 'medical model' of disability usually end up by talking about the necessity for 'adjusting' to disability, 'accepting' our limitations, or saying that not every disabled person can be integrated, etc. " (Finkelstein 3.1975)

    Impair: make worse, as in "medication impaired his judgment".


    Impairment may refer to a medical condition that leads to disability

    Physical impairment

    Victor Finkelstein uses a definition of (physical) impairment which he takes from definitions used by Amelia Harris of the Department of Health and Social Security:

    "lacking part of or all of a limb, or having a defective limb, organ or mechanism of the body." (Finkelstein 1.1975 and 3.1975, from Amelia Harris

    Physical, mental or sensory impairment

    A broader definition has also been created:

    "an impairment is the limitation of a person's physical, mental or sensory function on a long term basis."

    Social model of disability

    The social model of disability emerged from the disabled people's movement. It distinguishes impairment from disability. Apart from difficulties a person may experience as a result of an impairment, they can expect to experience additional problems as a result of the societal response to it. The problems due to the societal response are called disabilities. The social model, therefore, locates the problem of disability in society, while recognising potential problems of actual/perceived impairments or complex relationships between the two. (Beresford, Nettle and Perring, Research survey notes)

    Social model of health and illness

    The social model of health is an extension of the social model of disability. It is a different concept from the social approach. Like the social model of disability it draws a distinction between individual impairment and a disabling society. The individual may experience or be seen to have an impairment. However, disability is the negative social response to such perceived impairments.

    Social model of madness and distress

    This has been proposed by Peter Beresford Mary Nettle and Rebecca Perring in Towards a Social Model of Madness and Distress? Exploring What Service Users Say (2010). Participants in the discussions reported made a number of points:

    Oppression can result in psychological distress. The solution should not be medication, but a change in the norm of social relationship. So, for example, that children have more power and that men and women have more equal relationships. (p.16)

    A social model of distress would respect the expertise, experience and insight of those when suffer the distress. It would listen to individual experience rather than forcing people into a pattern. (p.18)

    The social model challenges a previously dominant medical model by placing emphasis on a social and political context and highlighting experiences of discrimination and exclusion (p.19)

    A social model means that we will not agree to be good mental health people who take our medication every day, but will be proud psychiatric survivors who challenge the notion that something is wrong with us and argue that something is wrong with the society that will not accept us. (p.24)

    The biopsychosocial model of disability

    The World Health Organisation argues that

    "The medical model views disability as a feature of the person, directly caused by disease, trauma or other health condition, which requires medical care provided in the form of individual treatment by professionals...

    "The social model ... sees disability as a socially-created problem... On the social model, disability demands a political response, since the problem is created by an unaccommodating physical environment brought about by attitudes and other features of the social environment.

    Disability is always an interaction between features of the person and features of the overall context in which the person lives, but some aspects of disability are almost entirely internal to the person, while another aspect is almost entirely external. In other words, both medical and social responses are appropriate to the problems associated with disability; we cannot wholly reject either kind of intervention.

    A better model of disability, in short, is one that synthesizes what is true in the medical and social models, without making the mistake each makes in reducing the whole, complex notion of disability to one of its aspects. This more useful model of disability might be called the biopsychosocial model

    Absolute or Constitutional

    Constitutional rule is limited - by laws or by the will of those who are ruled, for example. Absolute rule (or absolutism) is the converse of constitutional. It means that a rule is not limited.

    The word absolute comes from being absolved (set free) of the bonds of responsibility. This is the meaning of free in title of King James's book The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598). The absolute monarch is free of the constraints of law: "having absolute power; arbitrary, despotic" (New Shorter Oxford Dictionary). This political use of the word absolute started in the late 16th century. The theory of absolute monarchy developed fully in the 17th century. The final end of absolute monarchy (and the establishment of constitutional monarchy) in Britain was 1688, but in France it was not until 1789.

    From the start, some theorists of political absolutism (Filmer, for example) modelled their arguments on the family where a benevolent father had powers given to him (by God or nature) to rule over his wife and children. The family was the model for political society.

    Criticising both the political and the family model, John Stuart Mill wrote

    "Whether the institution to be defended is ... political absolutism, or the absolutism of the head of a family ... we are presented with pictures of loving exercise of authority on one side, loving submission to it on the other - ... Who doubts that there may be great goodness, and great happiness, and great affection, under the absolute government of a good man? Meanwhile, laws and institutions require to be adapted, not to good men, but to bad. Marriage is not an institution designed for a select few. Men are not required, as a preliminary to the marriage ceremony, to prove by testimonials that they are fit to be trusted with the exercise of absolute power"

    Locke distinguishes paternal from political and from despotic power. In Locke's theory, one gains natural, political, freedom, on becoming an adult able to control one's own life. However, natural freedom can be forfeited (lost because of an offence). When this happens, society's power over the offender becomes despotic.

    Absolute and words with similar meanings

    There are many words used by theorists to describe absolute rulers or rulers similar to them. These include autocrat (self + rule) despot; dictator and tyrant.

    tyrant and tyranny also imply that the rule is oppressive or cruel. See, for example, the use of the term by Cesare Beccaria and by John Stuart Mill

    despot Originally Greek for master or lord. A late 19th century dictionary defines despot as "a ruler... exercising absolute power in a state, irrespective of the wishes of the subject"; and despotic as both absolute and arbitrary government. Arbitrary government is by the will of the ruler, without regard for rules or laws. It is capricious and unpredictable.

    Durkheim compares despotism to childhood: "A despot is like a child; he has a child's weaknesses because he is not master of himself. Self-mastery is the first condition of all true power, of all liberty worthy of the name. One cannot be master of himself when he has within him forces that by definition, cannot be mastered."

    Whilst Locke separates despotic power from family (paternal) power (see above), John Stuart Mill applies the concept "despot" to the rule of men in families, at least when it is based only on their being men. See Mill index

    dictator From the Roman magistrate appointed in time of crisis);

    A dictator is usually taken to refer to an individual who has absolute power (or behaves as if he or she ought to have)

    Karl Marx used it for a stage in history, "the dicatorship of the proletariate", when he predicted that the working class (proletariate) would exercise absolute power over society (including other classes) before the society changed into a classless society. (See Marx 8.3.1852


    The world of academics; the academic environment or community. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Accommodation See also Adaptation and Assimilation

    Accommodation has several meanings relating to fitting needs. We speak of a place to live as accommodation because it provided for us and our belongings. But its oldest meaning is human beings adapting themselves to one another's needs. A man who cannot fit in with other people cannot "accommodate himself to anyone". Similarly, it can be applied to other things that should be capable of fitting in. Our eyes, for example, alter themselves in order to see things at different distances. Another way of saying this is that "eyes have the power of accommodating to different distances".

    Accommodation (altering ourselves) is one way of adapting to our environment. Another way is assimilation.

    See also Interaction and Symbolic Interaction
    Circumstances surround action.

    Max Weber wrote: In action is included all human behaviour when and in so far as the acting individual attaches a subjective meaning to it.

    Meaning The meaning of something is what it refers to or stands for. We can ask the meaning of something when what we seek to find is how it can be explained. In this sense, Herbert Hawkins speaks of trying "to find a meaning" in one's observations. This relates to the significance or importance of something, to how we understand something as part of an overall system of thought or theory.

    The other (and original) meaning of meaning, relates to intention. If you mean to do something, you intend to do it. Meaning and action are intimate relations.

    Behaviour contrasted with Action

    When you blink, it is behaviour, you intend nothing, it has no meaning, it is not an action. If you wink you intend something, it is not just behaviour, it is action.

    Blinking: the involuntary closing and opening of the eyelids that happens all the time that we are awake.
    Winking: Closing one eyelid briefly as a signal to someone else, perhaps to suggest that what you have said is a joke, or has a hidden meaning.

    Social Action

    Max Weber wrote:

    " Action is social in so far as, by virtue of the subjective meaning attached to it by the acting individual (or individuals), it takes account of the behaviour of others and is thereby orientated in its course."

    Weber said that:

    a collision of cyclists may be compared to a natural event.

    their attempt to avoid hitting each other following the collision, would constitute social action

    Action Frame of Reference

    Talcott Parsons began his theory (1937) with the "Action Frame of Reference", a development of the "Voluntaristic Theory of Action" that he saw as developing in social theory. He then moved on (1951) to analyse of social systems in terms of the action frame of reference.

    At some time in 1950, Parsons and eight other USA Social Theorists reached agreement on a General Statement respecting concepts for a "Theory of Action". They wrote that "In accordance with already widespread usage, we shall call these concepts the frame of reference of the theory of action"

    See Habermas on Communicative Action

    Actor See both action and role

    Someone who acts - that is does things with intent, meaningfully, as distinct from behaving without meaning. (See action).

    Another word for actor, in this sense, is agent: Someone who does something.

    How does action relate to social structure? Think of action and you probably think of people freely choosing to do things. How does that happen if the structure of society is deciding what they do? Relating action to structure is what is meant by the "problem of agency and structure".

    Actor can also mean role-playing - as actors do on a stage.

    Agency as autonomous self-determined action:

    Agency can mean the ability of an individual or group to act for herself, himself or itself. If not allowed to do so s/he/it is lacking in agency, or denied agency. Someone who can only act if s/he does what someone else says lacks agency.

    Arguing that someone is not the real author of a work s/he wrote because s/he was influenced, taught, or helped by someone else is to deny their agency.

    I base the above on the geekfeminisim wikia.

    Agency as autonomy, plus more:

    Agency as autonomy seems to fit the meaning in the following quotations, but other features are added.

    "The exercise of human agency is about intentional action, exercising choice, making a difference and monitoring effects" Chris Watkins, 2005, "Classrooms as learning communities" p. 47, basing himself on Dietz and Burns (below)

    "effective, intentional, unconstrained and reflexive action by individual or collective actors" (Dietz and Burns 1992: Abstract)

    "invitation into participatory spaces is not enough for individuals to act with agency to influence and claim their rights to quality health care" (Renedo and Marston 6.2015 p.491)

    Adaptation - Adjustment -
    Accommodation - Assimilation

    To adapt is to alter to make fit for use. To adjust is to arrange things so that they fit together or harmonise. Accommodation is (usually) human beings adapting themselves to one another's needs. Assimilation is to take in or absorb something.

    Adaptation in biology and ecology

    Robert Park says that The term adaptation came into vogue with Darwin's theory of the origin of the species by natural selection. As this suggests, adaptation is a term relating to the way an organism alters itself in relation to its environment. [See Introduction to Darwin's Origin of Species]

    Jean Piaget applies this to the psychological development of human beings.

    Piaget argues that we have mental structures that adapt (alter) in response to challenges the environment presents to our activities. Schema are elements of these structures. They are variable ways of acting which have a common feature. For example, we grasp different objects with different muscle movements, but there is an overall plan of acting.

    The adaptation of a mental structure is a two-sided process. The two sides are accommodation and assimilation. In accommodation, the existing schema is altered in order to adapt to a new element in the environment. In assimilation, the new object of experience is incorporated into the existing schema.

    The two processes take place together. An example is a child who can grasp large objects, but not small ones. To learn to grasp small ones, s/he has to attempt to grasp them: This is attempting to assimilate the small object into the existing grasping technique. In doing so, however, the technique will need to be modified: That is, it will accommodate to the new task.

    Park and Burgess

    Park and Burgess also make use of the three concepts of adaptation, accommodation and assimilation. (See Ecology). They do so in a different way to Piaget. They use adaptation for the unconscious biological alteration of organisms in relationship to one another, and accommodation for the conscious alteration of human beings in realtion to one another.

    "adaptation is applied to organic modifications which are transmitted biologically; while accommodation is used with reference to changes in habit, which are transmitted, or may be transmitted, sociologically, that is, in the form of social tradition"

    Assimilation is a more thoroughgoing form of accommodation. Through intimate relationship, people come "into possession of a common experience and a common tradition"

    Talcott Parsons' Adaptation

    Adaptation (he maybe thinking of the adaptation of the society to its environment) is one of the four basic needs that Parsons says that all Social Systems have. All societies need a mechanism to allocate resources. In the social system as a whole, this is done by the economy.

    Parsons also says that adaptation is a specialist function of the organism

    For Habermas, this is part of the system integration

    Economy and Civil Society

    In Hegel's analysis of society, the economy is rooted in civil society, which includes the judicial and police system that make transactions possible.

    See also Political Economy

    Erving Goffman's two types of adjustment

    Goffman defines two types of adjustment of people to institutions. Primary adjustments are ones that harmonise the individual with the institution on the way that is intended. Secondary adjustments are habitual ways in which people get round the organisation's assumptions about what they should do and be. The totality of such secondary adjustments is an organisation's underlife


    In 1599, William Shakespeare (aged about 37), defined the seven ages of man as roles he plays. This could be regarded as a sociological view of age - One that inter-relates the biological and psychological. In 1964, New Society used the Seven Ages concept for a series of articles surveying "the development of man - his body, his personality, his abilities.

    Shakespeare wrote:

    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players,
    They have their exits and entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice
    In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd,
    With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose well sav'd, a world too wide,
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

    age one: infant The "nurse" in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a wet-nurse employed to suckle Juliet who continues to care for her after she has finished breast-feeding.

    New Society 1964: Infancy: 0 to 5

    Understanding other people's speech develops gradually from about six months. Producing one's own words begins about age one, and then develops rapidly. There is a "vocabulary explosion" in the middle of the second year. "Grammatical rules and word combinations appear at about age two. Mastery of vocabulary and grammar continue gradually through the preschool and school years." (Wikipedia) - (See Piaget and representational thought)

    age two: school boy If Shakespeare attended the "King's New Schoool" in Stratford, he would have done so between the ages of seven and fourteen.

    Child labour: A British Act of 1842 stopped children under ten years old working underground in coalmines. A series of Acts between 1870 and 1918 made education free and compulsory for children from five years old to ten, then to eleven, then to fourteen. Education provided for the "childhood" period is known as elementary or primary.

    age three: lover. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in November 1582, when he was 18 years old and Anne 26 years old. She was already pregnant with their first child.

    New Society 1964: Adolescence: 12 to 18

    Adolescence just means growing up. It is the passage from childhood to adulthood. In many cultures, it is marked by social "rites" (ceremonies) "of passage". Examples are the Bat Mitzvah (aged 12) of Jewish girls and Bar Mitzvah (aged 13) of Jewish boys. Before these ceremonies, the parents are responsible for the morals of the child, through the ceremonies, the child assumes responsibility for her or his life in the community. Puberty is the period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity.

    Education provided for the adolescence period is known as secondary Under the UK's 1944 Education Act, secondary education was compulsory and free for (almost) all children from eleven years to fifteen years (from 1947) and then 16 (from 1973). The stage beyond secondary education is not compulsory. It can be referred to as tertiary (third level)

    age four: soldier

    age five: justice

    age six: pantaloon a rich, greedy, rather foolish, old man in Italian comedy.

    age seven: sans everything Shakespeare died on 23.4.1616, just before his 54th birthday. Anne died 6.8.1623, aged 67 years. Some people have calculated the average lifespan of an adult male in Elizabethan England as 47 years, (Wikipedia)

    Psalm 90 in the 1611 Bible calculates "the days of our years" as seveny-five, or eighty if we are strong

    New Society 1964: Old Age: Beyond 60
    UK statistics

    Making the Case for the Social Sciences No. 2 - Ageing 20.7.2010

    Agricultural - Rural - Countryside

    Country is a Raymond Williams keyword. He points out that it has two broad meanings. I can speak of "my country", meaning the land or nation I belong to. But I can also speak of the country as rural rather than urban areas, as in "town and country". It is, perhaps, to avoid confusion that we now use the word countryside for rural areas.

    Ager is French for field. So the word argiculture means cultivating fields. Agriculture is farming, including growing crops and rearing animals for food.

    Rural comes from the Latin word ruralis which means of the countryside.

    Sociologia Ruralis is the journal the European Society for Rural Sociology. The society is based in Holland. It was founded in 1957 and its journal started in 1960. website

    Once upon a time, almost everywhere was countryside. Today, most of the world is still countryside, but about half of the world's population lives in urban areas. That half still lives on the food which is mainly produced in the countryside.

    The village is part of the countryside. A town may be a market town that serves the countrside. Modern cities have almost lost sight of the countrsyside.

    Alienate - Alienation - Estrange - Estrangement

    These words mean to make someone or something a stranger or foreigner to us. The meaning can stretch from stripping someone of citizenship and making him or her an outcast to just selling something. If you sell your mobile phone, it is no longer yours. You have alienated it. Another meaning of alienation is to be separated from one's sane being, or to be mad.

    See essay on Rousseau. Can we sell ourselves? Can we become slaves voluntarily? In this essay, Mohammed Elsadek argues that alienation is a central concept in the thought of Jean Jaques Rousseau. We could think of it as providing the movement (dynamics) to his social theory. Humans are alienated from society and the movement comes from our efforts to restore our humanity.

    See essay on Marx and Engels - Estrangement or alienation. What do we lose of ourselves when we sell our labour? Following Hegel (who followed Kant, who followed Rousseau), alienation or estrangement is a central concept of the work of Marx and Engels in the 1840s. Scholars have different views of its later importance,

    What are we alienated from? According to Marx

    "the productive life is the life of the species. It is life- engendering life. The whole character of a species, its species- character, is contained in the character of its life activity; and free, conscious activity is man's species-character." (1844 manuscripts)

    A similar idea was expressed by Elsie Davenport in 1948

    "Man is by nature a creative artist... a community deprived of the opportunity to create with hands as well as with brain, becomes ill- balanced and ultimately unsound... The machine... must produce things in large quantities, and all to the same pattern... while it might be impractical to design and make one's own car... when you have woven your own cushion square... it will possess an individual character which no machine could produce" (Davenport 1948) "

    See William Morris in News from Nowhere in 1890


    See Thinking Sociologically the Bauman and May way

    Altruism - Egoism

    Egoism is the older word - Although it only dates back to the late eighteenth century. It is from ego, the Latin for I. It means the same as when people say "me - me - me - me - me"! It is about selfishness or following self interest in opposition to other peoples interests.

    Social theories developed from Hobbes are egoistic. They assume that following individual self interest is natural and that what needs to be explained is how self interest can be restrained enough to make society possible. So, Herbert Spencer, who writes in the tradition of Hobbes, says

    "The promptings of egoism are duly restrained by regard for others." (quoted in the Shorter Oxford Dictionary)

    Altruism is a word formed by Auguste Comte in 1851, to talk about benevolent, in contrast to selfish inclinations.

    Two great schools of sociology, one built on Hobbes and the other on Rousseau, can be distinguished by whether they consider altruism a real, solid aspect of human nature. Following the tradition of Rousseau, Emile Durkheim wrote:

    "altruism is not destined to become, as Spencer desires, a sort of agreeable ornament to social life, but it will forever be its fundamental basis" (Durkheim 1893 p.228)


    From Greek for without a chief.

    As a political fear, anarchy is chaos. Thomas Carlyle wrote:

    "Without sovereigns, true sovereigns, temporal and spiritual, I see nothing possible but an anarchy; the hatefullest of things."

    But there is also a political theory that sets it out as an ideal. Geoffrey Keith Roberts in his book on Anarchy defines it as:

    "The organisation of society on the basis of voluntary cooperation, and especially without the agency of political institutions, i.e. the state."

    The quotations are from the Oxford English Dictionary

    William Godwin


    "The theory which endows the phenomenon of nature with personal life might perhaps conveniently be called 'animism'" (E.B. Tylor "Religion of Savages" 1866)

    Art - skill - craft - a trade (occupation) - artist - artiste - artisan

    Art is a Raymond Williams keyword. In practice, the use of words such as art, artisan, and trade tends to be related to class as much as to creativity.

    In its original meaning, art refers to any kind of skill.

    1882 Hornsey School of Art Class, gender and means 1882

    1887 Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, formed in London

    1900 Dictionary: artisan and artist and artiste all come from the same Latin root but

    artisan means "one skilled in any art or trade; a handicraftsman; a mechanic"

    artist means "one skilled in art or profession, especially, one who professes and practices one of the fine arts, as painting, sculpture, engraving, and architecture; specifically and most frequently, a painter.

    artiste (a French word) means "one who is particularly skilful in any art, as a public singer, an opera dancer, and even a cook".

    craft (an old English word) means cunning, art or skill [generally] and [specifically] dexterity in a particular manual occupation. A craftsman is an artificer, a mechanic, one skilled in a manual occupation.

    1911 Enfield Trade School

    1931 Hornsey School of Arts and Crafts

    1943 Artistes at Enfield (drama and singing)

    1948 Crafts Centre of Great Britain

    1956 "Craftsmen represent the skilled labour of manufacturing industry and account for more than one third of its manpower"


    To articulate is to put different articles (items) together in a form. Articulate speech is a good formation of words.

    To re-articulate is to put different articles (items) together in a different form. The items are rearranged.


    In the wake of national socialism, aryan is a highly contentious term. Following the Wikipedia link above and examining the struggle over the term there (see discussion page, for example) may indicate how contentious it is.

    I have included Walter Theimer's, critical, 1939 dictionary entry on Aryans in the file on National Socialism

    Max Müller, in 1861, speaks occasionally of an Aryan race (pages 213, 245, 246, 256). More often, he uses terms like the "Aryan family of speech". He made clear in 1888 that his use of Aryan was as a cultural rather than a biological concept:

    "Aryas are those who speak Aryan languages, whatever their colour, whatever their blood. In calling them Aryas we predicate nothing of them except that the grammar of their language is Aryan"

    Assimilation See also Adaptation and Accommodation

    Assimilation is to take in or absorb something. Assimilate means to make similar.

    Used of a living organism - it means to take in external material and convert it into fluids and tissues identical with the organism's own fluids and tissues. This is what we do when we eat and drink, and also when we breath.

    In plants, the process of photosynthesis assimilates carbon dioxide from the air and, using sunlight, converts it into the carbon compounds (sugars, for example) that the plant is made of. Animals assimilate these compounds when they eat the plants and convert them into animal tissues. In this way, the carbon compounds of all living things are created.

    The word is also used for absorbing, and making our's own, ideas and influences. We assimilate ideas when we make them part of our own way of thinking or acting. We assimilate information when we take it in and understand it fully.

    In relation to migration, assimilation is "the process through which an ethnic minority takes on the values, norms, and the ways of behaving of the dominant, mainstream group and is accepted by the latter as a full member of their society" (Fulcher and Scott 2007, p.857).

    Authority See also legitimacy
    authoritarian and authoritarianism

    The Plain English Dictionary says that "If someone has authority over a group of people, they have the legal right or power to tell them what to do"

    Authority is a special kind of power. It is not just force. The word's origins are linked to ideas of God as the "author" of our being.

    There is something magical about authority and many social theorists have discussed its special qualities as a key to understanding society. (See, for example, Rousseau, Weber, Freud and Scruton)

    Authority is the right to enforce obediance. A crook with a gun may have the power to force you to obey, but does not have the authority to do so.

    Hobbes argued that submitting to force can create a duty to obey, but Rousseau replied:

    "Force is a physical power, and I fail to see what moral effect it can have. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will - at the most, an act of prudence. In what sense can it be a duty? Let us then admit that force does not create right, and that we are obliged to obey only legitimate powers"

    We tend to say that a government has authority if is legitimate.. This is the way that Max Weber defines authority as a type of power. He says:

    "the legitimate exercise of imperative control... is.. authority"

    Authority and arbitrary power

    Authority can be contrasted with reason. This appears to be what Mary Wollstonecraft does in Vindication of the Rights of Woman, chapter one, where she is discussing "The Rights and Involved Duties of Mankind". She says

    "any ... maxim deduced from simple reason, raises an outcry - the Church or the State is in danger, if faith in the wisdom of antiquity is not implicit; and they who ... dare to attack human authority, are reviled as despisers of God and enemies of man"

    Here, authority is the people in power, and it is associated with what Max Weber called "traditional authority" and Wollstonecraft calls "the wisdom of antiquity".

    Wollstonecraft is supporting what we might call the "authority of reason". She associates (traditional or established) authority with arbitrary power. Arbitrary power is not governed by reason (See absolutism). She associates reason with the power of the people, when informed by the free discussion of ideas, and says:

    "when once the public opinion preponderates, through the exertion of reason, the overthrow of arbitrary power is not very distant"

    Authoritarian and authoritarianism

    Authority is an old English word, coming from French and Latin after 1066 (the Norman conquest). Authoritarian (late 19th century) and authoritarianism are relatively new words. Authoritarian means in favour of obedience - in politics, the family, or wherever. An authoritarian style of government is called authoritarianism.

    Here is the definition of Authoritarian from a 1939 Political Dictionary (English). In 1939, Italy (Fascist) and Germany (Nazi) were proud to be authoritarian:

    "Authoritarian: a term denoting a more or less dictatorial system of government, as opposed to the democratic system based on the people's sovereignty. Adherents of authoritarianism criticise the alleged disunion and inefficiency of the democratic system, and praise the alleged advantages of a strong State authority. The question where the bearers of this authority derive it from is left open."

    Autonomous - Autonomy See also autonomous learner

    Autonomous means self-
    governing; acting independently or having the freedom to do so. It is self determination as opposed to being controlled by others. Instead of being dependent, as a baby is, we are self dependent.

    Auto is Greek for self. Hetero is Greek for other. Opposites of autonomous are: heteronomous (subject to another's law or rule) and dependent.

    [Heteronomy usually means other-directed, but it can also mean that more than one law or priciple is operating.]

    Hetero and homo

    Homos is Greek for same, in contrast with hetero for other. A homogeneous sample consists of items of the same kind.

    If things are homologous they agree or harmonise (have the same logus). In a prize winning passage, Judith Butler wrote about

    "a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways"

    Average and Normal

    Average or normal person

    The idea of an average or normal person is an historical construction. This is reflected in the history of the word "normal". An important stage in the development of the concept was the idea of "the average man" (l'homme moyen) put forward in the work of Quetelet (1835). But what we mean by normal or average can mean different things. See, for example, the different mathematical meanings for average.

    See also norms - type - and deviance

    "I don't drive a beautiful car
    And I don't own an elegant home
    I don't have thousands to spend
    Or a seaside cottage for the weekend
    I'm just an ordinary guy"

    Normal curve

    In 1835 Adolphe Quetelet published his conception of the qualities of an average person as the central values of measurements grouped in "curve of possibility" - which we now call a "normal curve".

    This bell shaped picture drawn by Quetelet illustrates a distribution according to laws of probability.

    Quetelet showed that the distribution of naturally occurring features, such as the heights of adult men, approximated to the same shape. So, there would be very few very short men (left), large numbers of medium height men (around the central axis) and very few very tall men.

    Hidden in this picture was the possibility of measuring normality and abnormality (deviance) "scientifically".

    The normal curve is also called the bell curve

    See The Bell Curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life - The statistics this uses were cricised by Donald D. Dorfman in the May 1995 issue of Contemporary Psychology

    Base and Superstructure

    See Marx and Engels: Scientific Socialism section on Marx's economics

    A base is something on which a thing stands or by which it is supported. This might be the foundations of a building. The word superstructure first applied to the part of the building above the foundations.

    Henri Saint Simon's theory of history includes the idea that, ideally, the ideas of a society will be supported by its social structure. When, due to the developement of new classes, the social structure of society alters, the ideas of the society have to alter to come into line with the new social structure.

    Marx, in 1859, described the "economic structure of society" as its "real foundation" and argued that "a legal and political superstructure" "arises" on these foundations. These correspond to "definite forms of social consciousness".

    Belong - belonging - belongings
    Include - inclusion
    Detach - detached

    If something belongs to you, it is your property and you own it. If someone else owns you and you belong to him or her, in this sense, you are a slave. Rousseau argued that owning people as property is unnatural because it contradicts the second sense of belonging, which is the sese that naturally makes us human.

    In the second sense, if you belong to a group you are a member of it. To belong is to be part of. In this sense, Vanessa May argues that belonging is the basis of how we relate to the world.

    Kofi Annan is reported to have said that although we have different religions, languages, and skins, we all belong to the one human race. He added that "we all share the same basic values".

    Belonging includes our relationships to other people, to cultures and to the material world of time and space. It has many dimensions. I belong to my family and my friendships are an essential part of my belonging. I belong to the multi-cultural society of Hackney, where I live, but I am also part of the English speaking world and a European. As Kofi Annan suggests, I also identify with the whole of humanity. Like many others, I feel identity with all that exists.

    But not everyone wants me to be part of their group. I may want to be a member, but not be accepted.

    To include is to count as part of. To exclude is to count as not part of.

    To be part of a group you may need to be recognised or acknowledged as such. To say "I question his membership" is to suggest he is not really part of the group and that he should be excluded. [See Vanessa May ]

    To attach is to join. To detach is to separate.

    See exclude - other

    In the late 1950s and early 1960s "something called 'detached youth work' appeared in Britain". Mark K. Smith in The Encyclopedia of Informal Education

    Binary In twos: See binary arithmatic - computers think in twos

    Binary Opposition - opposition binaire

    Saussure (1916) argued that

    "concepts... are defined not positively, in terms of their content, but negatively by contrast with other items in the same system. What characterizes each most exactly is being whatever the others are not"

    See Wikipedia: - Binary opposition
    See archive of anonymous article on binary opposition
    See Tahira Manji on binary opposition

    Compulsory binary gender system: Children are divided into boys and girls at birth. Judith Butler explains: binary gender - binary restrictions - binary system - binary opposition - binary gender system - binary options - binary switch - binary framework -


    From Greek word for life. It has two distinct meanings in

  • the course of a person's life (as in biography) and
  • relating to living things (as in biology). Biodiversity relates to biology.

    Biography, autobiography and
    narrative in sociology

    Biography is a life story (narrative). Bio meaning life and graphy meaning writing. Auto meaning self makes autobiography the story of one's own life.

    Sigmund Freud used the technique of psychoanalysis to explore the hidden biographies of his patients. From this he developed theories of how the individual is integrated into culture.

    Freud's theories were incorporated into main-stream USA sociology by Talcott Parsons. Parsons argued argued that Freud and Durkheim were converging towards similar positions with respect to the relationship of individual biography, society and culture. (Parsons 2.1952) He added that a similar path was taken in the work of George Herbert Mead. (Parsons 1964 p.2)

    In 1959, C. Wright Mills wrote of "the interplay .. of biography and history", arguing that a "sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and external career of a variety of individuals" and referring to "social science as the study of biography, of history, and of the problems of their intersection within social structure."

    In 1972, Peter Berger and Brigitte Berger structured a textbook for introductory sociology around what they called a "biographical approach". this had chapters on becoming a member of society (socialisation), the family, the community, education, youth, work and leisure, old age, illness and death.

    Personal narrative in research

    Phenomenological approaches to sociology have led some social theorists to construct their empirical research around autobiographical or biographical narratives. A recent example of this is David Webb's 2010 Thinking about Suicide: Contemplating and comprehending the urge to die, based around his own life story and supported (in his original thesis) by a second volume that places that in its theoretical context.

    Writing about your own experiences and relating them to what happens to other people seems such a natural thing to do that it can come as a shock to find out that what you are doing is autoethnography. This is what happened to Sarah Carr

    autoethnography See ethnography and autobiography

    In plain English, autoethnography means writing about things that have happened to you and relating them to things that happen to other people and/or society.

    Elizabeth Ettorre defines autoethnography as "a study of culture that involves the self". She argues that its strength is that it "locates [the] research experience in the changing ebb of emotional life"

    Carolyn Ellis, Tony Adams and Arthur Bochner say

    "autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience"

    Elizabeth Ettorre method is to make transcriptions of narratives and research notes, but to "write from the heart, bring the first person in my work and merge art and science'" She recalls the feelings that she had in relation to her interviews, "processing data through me". her write-up involves both "emotional recall" and "sociological introspection". Sociological introspection appears to mean that she relates what she is thinking in relation to the interview to sociological theory.

    Elizabeth Ettorre says autoethnography is part of the "turn" from modernism to postmodernism and contrasts "modernist observers" with "postmodernist witnesses". Post modernism, she argues "moves away from universalistic conceptions of respondents and embraces multiple, embodied forms of narrative representations, replete with uncertainties."

    Biology See Natural World and Natural Science.

    Biology (the 'science of life') is the study of living organisms. See also body.

    Term came into use in the early 19th century. "The science of life, dealing with the morphology [form], physiology [functioning], anatomy [structure], behaviour, origin, and distribution of living organisms" (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Botany deals with plant life and zoology with animal life.

    Talcott Parsons distinguishes biological systems from personality - social - and from cultural systems. In this sense, the biological relates to the physical organism and its processes as distinct from the processes relating to the structure and organisation of the personality, of social inter-relations and of culture and language.

    Biological identity

    See the Science Museum's online exhibits "Who am I?", which are divided into body, brain and genes


    This word is used by Michel Foucault. It includes forms of knowledge - (discourses). For example, medical theories about how women should give birth to their babies are a form of power. This kind of knowledge shapes what women do with their bodies.

    Birth - Conception - Generation
    Of babies and

    body Conception is getting pregnant

    Pregnant is before birth (as in the picture left)

    Birth is the coming of a new life from the body of a mother (human or animal) who bears (carries) it.

    To generate is to beget or reproduce.

    Labour is the mother of all work

    natal: related to birth - prenatal is before birth - perinatal is before and after (around about) birth - postnatal is after birth

    See conceive an idea

    There are perspectives in mythology, religion and social theory that understand the world as the birth (generation) of form from formlessness...

    Official statistics are generated (produced - socially constructed) by agencies such as government departments...


    The material frame of humans or animals. The word derived, at one stage, from the word for corpse. It is the flesh as distinct from the spirit.

    body image - body language
    embodiment - form - organism
    mind - nature - modesty - sex

    René Descartes argued that the body is a machine which, in humans, but not animals, is directed by the soul.

    A biological analysis of the body as a machine only gives us one view of it. (See Foucault) Human bodies are also shaped and organised by society. This is sometimes expressed by saying bodies are socially inscribed. Michel Foucault says

    "the body is also directly involved in a political field; power relations have an immediate hold upon it; they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, to emit signs."

    Associated concepts: embodiment - embodied self -
    See Grosz - habitus - Mead - Sawicki -

    The word physical is often used to distinguish things related to the body from things related to mental or psychological activities. Carnal comes from flesh and means bodily. Carnal knowledge is a phrase for sexual intercourse.


    Explained by Oby Barnes, May 2007 essay:

    Body image is the picture of my body that I have in my mind. It is different from the body that I actually have. My body image may be fatter than I really am. In other words, I imagine myself to be a bit on the fat side. I may also imagine myself to have smaller breasts than I have. Perhaps I see a man with a floppy chest and think "he has bigger breasts than me". If I compared, I would see that I have breasts and he has just got a floppy chest, but my feelings give me a picture of my body that is different than the real body. My body image is not the same as my real body. It is not the same as the image I have in my photograph album. The image of my body that I see in the mirror is somehow related to what I imagine in my mind - But my mind's body image is what I have even when I am not looking in the mirror, and it can be very different.

    Quotation from Elizabeth Grosz used by Oby in illustration:

    "The ego is like an internal screen on which the illuminated images of the body's outer surface are projected. It is not a veridical map, a photograph, but a representation of its degrees of erotogenicity, of the varying intensities of libidinal investment in different body parts. The ego is an image of the body's significance or meaning for the subject; it is as much a function of fantasy and desire as of sensation and perception. (Grosz. E. 1992 pp 268-269)."

    Body Language

    Body language is one of the systems of communication, apart from speech, that humans use. It is a language that does not distinguish us from other animals. Most of it consists of (unconscious) behaviour rather than (deliberate) action. Examples of body language are the way we sit and the gestures we make. In a group discussion, leaning forward may indicate an interest in what is being said. As with speech, body language can communicate false messages. If someone leans back and closes his eyes in order to concentrate, other group members can interpret it as lack of interest. Body language can be brought under the control of the conscious mind and used to improve relations. Smiling and nodding at a speaker can improve the speaker's confidence by suggesting support and interest from the listeners.

    George Mead called body language a conversation in gestures:

    " Language is part of social behaviour. There are an indefinite number of signs or symbols which may serve the purpose of what we term language. We are reading the meaning of the conduct of other people when, perhaps, they are not aware of it. There is something that reveals to us what the purpose is - just the glance of an eye, the attitude of the body which leads to the response. The communication set up in this way between individuals may be very perfect. Conversation in gestures may be carried on which cannot be translated into articulate speech."

    See Semiotics   Darwin

    Embodiment and Embodied self

    In philosophy and social science, theories that relate human thought and identity to the body are sometimes called theories of embodiment or of the embodied self.

    Mead: presents the self and the mind as "the importation of the conversation of gestures into the conduct of the individual organism".

    A gesture is an action of the body that is cut short and becomes a symbol. Thus a dog's snarl is the start of a bite that is not carried through. Mead calls the interchange of snarls and barks between dogs a conversation.

    In human beings, symbolic conversations of gestures become internalised so that one human being repeats in his or her own head the responses of other human beings to his or her own gestures. So, if we snarl, we also understand how others will perceive our snarl and understand how and why they respond.

    Mead talks of the "individual organism" 'taking' the "organised attitudes" of other people which are "called out by its own attitude, in the form of its gestures" . This image of ourselves as others see us, is a pattern of their responses to our gestures which we have taken inside us, or internalised.

    This ability to think of ourselves as others may see us - to see and respond to our own gestures as if we were someone else - is part of the process whereby - in the course of evolution - mind, self and society develop from the interaction of animals.

    Wikipedia gives as one of the possible meanings of embodied or embodiment: "embodied cognition (or the embodied mind thesis), a position in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind emphasizing the role that the body plays in shaping the mind"

    Bond See nexus

    The word bond is linked to ideas of being enslaved, to ideas of being tied up, and to ideas of being emotionally attached.

    A bond is "anything that binds, as a cord or band; link or connection; an obligation or promise" (An 1887 Dictionary)

    A bond is "a strong feeling of love or friendship which unites people" ... " When someone is tied up you can call the rope they are tied up with their bonds" (Plain English Dictionary 1996)

    See solidarity and slavery

    Brute - Beast - Animal

    "What is man...? .. made a little lower than the angels... thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field" (Psalm 8)
    "In what does man's pre-eminence over the brute creation consist? The answer... in Reason." (Mary Wollstonecraft)

    "Humanity is not an animal species, it is a historical reality." (Simone De Beauvoir


    Engels speaks of brutalisation repeatedly in his The Condition of the Working Class in England. He means that social conditions reduce people to responding like animals, or even things.

    The idea relates back to Rousseau's idea that society transforms people from an animal state to a human state in which they act morally (in accordance with the general will) rather than according to natural desires. Natural animal desires are thought of as determined - the animal just does what its instincts lead it too - whilst the human, moral, will is free and self- determined.

    "Under the brutal and brutalising treatment of the bourgeoisie, the working-man becomes precisely as much a thing without volition as water, and is subject to the laws of Nature with precisely the same necessity; at a certain point all freedom ceases."

    In Engels' analysis, society can not only make us human, it can also undo our humanity. And when society brutalises, it also de-moralises. But Engels argues that rebellion offers the worker the choice of freedom rather than determination and, consequently, the opportunity to restore humanity.

    "When people are placed under conditions which appeal to the brute only, what remains to them but to rebel or to succumb to utter brutality?"

    " The workers... strive to escape from this brutalising condition, to secure for themselves a better, more human position"

    Bourgeoisie, Borough, Bourgeois, Burgher ,

    The bourgeoisie are a social class who make their money from the capital they own. They make money from money, or from owning businesses. They are distinguished from the landowning aristocracy, who make their money from rents, and the working classes who make their money by their labour. The word comes from the same source as borough. Originally the bourgeoisie lived in towns (like the city of London) where they had freedoms to trade and govern themselves granted by the king.

    Because they are the class between the aristocracy and the labouring class, bourgeoisie is sometimes used as another word for middle class. Because many of the richest and most powerful people in modern society make their money from finance or business, bourgeoisie is sometimes used as another word for upper class. In using the word you need to be sensitive to its context. A landowning Earl, for example, is upper class, but not bourgeois.

    Burgher is someone who lives in a borough. Visit Kalmar County Museum's "Meet the Middle Ages" website for the 11th and 12th century background (in Sweden).

    Bourgeois is also used as a word for attitudes that some people believe to be typical of the bourgeoisie. If someone calls you bourgeois, they probably do not mean that you make your money from capital, or that you live in a town. They probably do mean that you are conventional, humdrum, unimaginative or selfish and materialistic. They could mean that you are an opponent of communists.

    Petty bourgeois: small (petite)

    Bureaucracy a Raymond Williams keyword

    In 1818, Sydney Morgan (Lady Morgan) wrote in an Irish nationalist novel about "the Bureaucratie, or office tyranny, by which Ireland has been so long governed" (Florence Macarthy 2. 1. 35 , quoted Oxford English Dictionary).

    In 1837, John Stuart Mill wrote about a "vast net-work of administrative tyranny..that system of bureaucracy, which leaves no free agent in all France, except the man at Paris who pulls the wires." (Westminster Review 28. 71, quoted Oxford English Dictionary)

    The word bureaucracy was created from bureau the French word for a writing desk, such as one would find in an office, and ocracy meaning rule.

    It is rule by people in a (government) office.

    Max Weber argues that bureaucracy is the kind of authority that typifies modern society. - See Social Science History

    1987 Douglas Adam's interactive computer game Bureaucracy is about inefficiency and frustration.

    Zygmunt Bauman argues (see Modernity and The Holocaust) that bureaucracy robs us of our morality.

    See govern or control and manage

    See Weber, for whom business affairs had become separate from family affairs, since the middle ages. Business is associated with the office or bureau. Weber considers the Civil Service (part of the State) as public business and private enterprise as private business. [See parts of society]

    Business management

    See Weber: "The management of the modern office is based upon written documents ('the files'), which are preserved in their original or draught form".

    Making the Case for the Social Sciences No. 6 - Management 18.6.2012


    capital relates to head. A capital letter stands at the head of a sentence, capital punishment is the head punishment (death - "off with his head")

    In economic terms, capital refers to funds or stock that are available to fund a business. Political economists divide the factors of production into three land - capital - and labour

    Human capital distinct from material capital

    "There is such a thing as investment in human capital as well as investment in material capital. So soon as this is recognised, the distinction between economy in consumption and economy in investment becomes blurred. For, up to a point, consumption is investment in personal productive capacity. This is especially important in connection with children: to reduce unduly expenditure on their consumption may greatly lower their efficiency in after-life. Even for adults, after we have descended a certain distance along the scale of wealth, so that we are beyond the region of luxuries and "unnecessary" comforts, a check to personal consumption is also a check to investment" (Pigou, Arthur Cecil A Study in Public Finance, 1928, Macmillan, London, p. 29, quoted Wikipedia)

    Different types of capital and social reproduction - Pierre Bourdieu

    In "Ökonomisches Kapital, kulturelles Kapital, soziales Kapital" (1983) (translated as The Forms of Capital), Bourdieu suggests three form of capital:

    "Depending on the field in which it functions, and at the cost of the more or less expensive transformations which are the precondition for its efficacy in the field in question, capital can present itself in three fundamental guises: as economic capital, which is immediately and directly convertible into money and may be institutionalised in the forms of property rights; as cultural capital, which is convertible, on certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalised in the forms of educational qualifications; and as social capital, made up of social obligations ('connections'), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalised in the forms of a title of nobility."

    Malcolm Richardson's notes" "Capital is a resource, a form of wealth, which individuals who possess it can invest in different fields to acquire power or some other valuable resource, like educational qualifications."

    Writing about Bourdieu in Contested Knowledge: Social theory in the postmodern era Steven Seidman says

    "There are many forms of capital - economic capital (wealth), cultural capital (credentials, knowledges), symbolic capital (honor, prestige), and social capital (social ties, confidence)."

    There are four (not three) items in Seidman's list and the quotation suggests that there could be more.

    Bourdieu 2001:

    "Among the factors that explain the permanence of inequality you have first the transmission of capital. A rich father can leave his son money to launch a business, for example."

    "But today there is another kind of capital, which I call cultural capital. This is more difficult to define. It is language first of all. A certain mastery of language, like speaking proper French. Of course, everyone in France speaks French, even immigrants who have just arrived speak French to. But they speak a French which is worthless on the school market. If you speak that kind of language you will earn a straight F."

    Measures of economic, social and cultural capital were used in the Great British Class Survey to develop new concepts of class.

    Capitalism See Traditional and Modern
    Capitalism is a Raymond Williams keyword

    Capitalism has become the term for the present period of social history that Henri Saint Simon, in 1817, called industrial and Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in 1848, described as modern bourgeois society

    Industrial now is usually associated with the development of machinery and, especially, machinery powered by steam (mid 18th century on). Saint Simon and Marx both date the origins of present society well before this.

    Saint Simon divided the history he knew about at two crucial points: at about the third/fourth century AD and about eleventh/twelfth century AD. These divided the three systems that scientific history could identify: that based on slavery, which had polytheist ideas; that based on feudalism, which had theological ideas; and the industrial system that had positive or scientific ideas.

    The fully developed systems were divided by critical periods of turmoil and change. At the time he wrote, Saint Simon considered that the industrial system had not yet achieved its maturity, and the last remnants of the feudal system were not yet extinct. It was a long slow process. Comparing the turmoil of the early 19th century to that of the third/fourth century AD, he writes:

    "The philosophical revolution which then took place consisted in the passage from polytheism to theism. Once this revolution was completed, once theism was organised, a corresponding political revolution resulted, which consisted of the passage from the ancient social order which had existed amongst the Greeks and the Romans to the one that was later established among modern peoples...

    The transition which is now taking place is composed, like the preceding one, of two elements: one philosophical and one political. The first consists in the passage from the theological system to the terrestrial and positive systems; the second, in the passage from the regime of arbitrary rule to a liberal and industrial regime.

    The philosophical revolution has long since begun, because we should trace its origins back to the study of positive sciences introduced into Europe by the Arabs more than ten centuries ago. To complete this revolution we have to accomplish only one more thing: we must finish the comprehensive work necessary for the organisation of a positive system, whose elements now exist isolated.

    The transition in its political form can be said to date from Luther's Reformation. Although this political transition has been less catastrophic than the political transition from polytheism to theism, it has already produced great misfortunes; it was the issue behind the Thirty Years' War, the two English Revolutions of the seventeenth century, and the French Revolution"

    Stages of capitalism

    From Wikipedia:

    In Late Capitalism, Mandel argues for three periods in the development of the capitalist mode of production.

    1. freely competitive capitalism (1700 to 1850) characterised largely by the growth of industrial capital in domestic markets.

    2. monopoly capitalism (1850-1940) characterised by the imperialistic development of international markets as well as the exploitation of colonial territories.

    3. late capitalism emerging out of the Second World War, which has as its dominant features the multinational corporation, globalised markets and labor, mass consumption, and the space of liquid multinational flows of capital.


    Of, or belonging to a prison. Word came into English in the sixteenth century from French.

    Ted Odgers is an imaginary left-wing university lecturer invented by Laurie Taylor. His April 2006 analysis of university reforms shows how the carceral system (below) can be used to explain almost everything:
    "When you analyse all these new management tools, you begin to see that they are nothing more than a subtle way of controlling the workforce. What we are seeing here is an extension of what Foucault called the carceral archipelago. We're all in a Panopticon now. You know, one of those round things where the guards in the middle can see everyone in the cells. Just transplant that to the university and you'll see what I'm getting at" (Laurie Taylor's University of Poppleton Calendar 2006 The Times Higher Education Supplement)

    Incarcerate: To imprison. To confine. To shut away. As in "those who are incarcerated in mental hospitals lose their voice"

    Carceral system The system of prisons and related institutions.

    Michel Foucault refers to the carceral system which became complete in 1840.

    Foucault's images of a carceral system are related to his analysis of a response to a plague stricken city and Bentham's model institution, the Panopticon. Foucault says:

    " The panoptic schema, without disappearing as such or losing any of its properties, was destined to spread throughout the social body; its vocation was to become a generalised function. The plague-stricken town provided an exceptional disciplinary model: perfect, but absolutely violent; to the disease that brought death, power opposed its perpetual threat of death; life inside it was reduced to its simplest expression; it was, against the power of death, the meticulous exercise of the right of the sword. The Panopticon, on the other hand, has a role of amplification; although it arranges power, although it is intended to make it more economic and more effective, it does so not for power itself, nor for the immediate salvation of a threatened society: its aim is to strengthen the social forces - to increase production, to develop the economy, spread education, raise the level of public morality; to increase and multiply."

    See subject index care

    From pre-Anglo Saxon words for grief and lament and a bed of sickness. In Old English (Anglo-Saxon) care meant mental suffering. It also meant paying serious attention to matters. It also meant looking after or guarding.

    1939: institutional or community care

    Medical care

    Social care Services provided by local authorities and the independent sector to people either in their own homes or in a care home. Also day centres which help people with daily living. Services like help with washing, dressing, feeding or assistance in going to the toilet are also included, as are meals-on-wheels and home-help for people with disabilities. (BBC)

    Formal care is paid care provided professionally. Informal care is care provided by family, relatives, and friends.

    Carer Someone who cares for someone else in the sense of looking after them. In the UK the term is applied both to paid workers and family and friends who adopt caring roles. The unpaid carers are also called informal carers. (See 1981)

    See subject index care and family

    Paid carers refers may be referred to as care workers or care assistants.

    Self care In Health Education in Self-care: Possibilities and Limitations Geneva (1983) the World Health Organization used self care to mean

    "activities individuals, families, and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health."

    Career - occupational career - criminal career - moral career

    In its broadest sense, a career is a path through life. In popular use it a word for the paid occupation or occupations that a person has in life, but in the social sciences the word is used in its broader meaning.

    Occupational career Career in this sense is a Raymond Williams keyword

    Daniel Cohen, Richesse du monde, pauvretes des nations Paris: Flammarion, 1997, p. 84 as quoted by Zygmunt Bauman (2000, p.58 in English. 2009 in French)

    "Qui débute sa carrière chez Microsoft n'a aucune idée de l… oò il la terminera. La commencer chez Ford ou Renault s'était au contraire la quasi-certitude de la finir au même endroit' "
    "Whoever begins a career at Microsoft has not the slightest idea where it will end. Whoever started it at Ford or Renault, could be well-nigh certain that it will finish in the same place."

    See Elizabeth and Ulrich Beck (2002) on changing occupational careers

    Criminal career

    In 1930, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck published a book about Five hundred criminal careers, a detailed study of former inmates of the Massachusetts Reformatory. Follow-up studies of the same men were published as Later Criminal Careers in 1937 and Criminal Careers in Retrospect in 1943.

    Moral career

    Erving Goffman (1961) writes about the moral career of patients to distinguish the path through changing social roles and expectations from the path taken by any underlying disease. He says

    "Traditionally the term career has been reserved for those who expect to enjoy the rises laid out within a respectable profession. The term is coming to be used, however, in a broadened sense to refer to any social strand of any person's course through life" (Goffman E. 1961A p.119)

    When someone enters a total institution, he or she

    "begins some radical shifts in his moral career, a career composed of the progressive changes that occur in the beliefs that he has concerning himself and significant others." (Goffman E. 1961A p.119)

    This is a development of Parsons' idea of the sick role. We can see the person's social role developing. What happens in the course of his illness is a combination and interaction of his or her changing social roles (moral career) and the physical and psychological progress of the disease.

    Moral career, objective social processes and subjective emotions
    Moral career and the reconstruction of self

    Moumina Khan 2013 argues that Goffman's moral career model allows us to relete objective social processes to subjective emotional processes.

    In Goffmen's case, he relates the objective processes of social shaming by identification as deviant to the subjective processes by which the deviant re-constructs his or her self-image. The model can be adapted to other uses in the sociology of emotions. Consider, for example post-natal depression:

    Socially, a mother is expected to be happy about having a child. When she experiences depression this triggers a social process (perhaps a combination of shaming and understanding). In reletion to the interventions on her life, the mother re-constructs her self-image.

    Caste See Class -

    Caste is a European word for a European understanding of social divisions in Hindu India. Websters (American) 1913 dictionary says that the laws of Brahmanism divide people into four hereditary groups: the Brahmans, or priests; the Kshatriyas, or soldiers and rulers; the Vaisyas, or husbandmen and merchants; and the Sudras, or labourers and mechanics. Men of no caste are Pariahs, outcasts. "The members of the same caste are theoretically of equal rank, and same profession or occupation, and may not eat or intermarry with those not of their own caste."

    Caste is also used in other contexts where social stratification appears to be hereditary.

    See 1936 William LLoyd Warner "American Class and Caste"

    1944 "When we say that Negroes form a lower caste in America, we mean that they are subject to certain disabilities solely because they are "Negroes" in the rigid American definition and not because they are poor and ill-educated" (G. Myrdal 1944 An American Dilema)

    Celibate and celibacy

    The words celibacy and celibate come from a Latin word meaning unmarried. However, just as marriage is a social obligation, entered into through a ceremony, and not just a state of cohabiting, so celibacy has been considered a state entered into as an obligation.

    See Council of Trent 1563 on marriage and celibacy

    Ceremony - ritual - rite

    A ceremony is a special procedure by which the importance of something is marked. Examples of ceremonies include marriages and funerals, blowing out candles on a cake at a birthday, shaking hands, and graduations and coronations.

    A ritual is something related to a rite. Some ceremonies are rites of passage. A rite is formal procedure in a religious or other solemn observance.

    Examples. See Shabbat evening home ritual - United Methodist sacraments, rites and rituals - Quakers and ritual - Practices and rituals of Islam


    Moving onward, across, or past. Movement from one place to another.

    Moving from one point in your life to another (See adolescence)

    Rite of Passage a ceremony marking a new stage in a person's life.

    Liminal: limen is Latin for threshold. Liminal means on or crossing the boundary or threshold.

    A bridegroom carrying a bride over the threshold of their new home is a popular rite of passage.

    Arnold van Gennep used the term liminality in his Rites de Passage in 1909 to analyse rites in simple societies. He suggested three stages to a rite of passage:

  • preliminal rites (or rites of separation) in which something is left behind

  • liminal rites (or transition rites) in which the old is destroyed and the person passes through to the new.

  • postliminal rites (or rites of incorporation) in which the person is re-instated in society with a new identity.

    Children in 1818

    See Age - Family - Equality - Freedom
    Mother - Hierarchy - Internalise
    habitus durable - Infantilise - Latency


    Child abuse - sex and children

    Childhood is the period from birth to puberty. The earliest part may be called infancy and the passage to adulthood (at puberty) may be called adolescence.

    Human beings have a long childhood:

    "No other mammal grows at so a tempo as man, there is none that takes so long to grow up after birth; none with so long a senility" Louis Bolk

    The Dutch theorist, Louis Bolk (1866-1930), argued that human beings are distinguished from other animals by retaining features that in other animals are left behind in the womb.

    Our embryonic, foetus like, characteristics, make us more adaptable than other animals. A particular feature of this is the long period of "childhood" when we are particularly adaptable.

    Originally, in English, the word child was similar to the word for an unborn baby. This may relate to there being a much shorter period of childhood in the past than now.

    # Childhood, however, is more than a biological period. It is socially structured as well.

    In modern society, children are nurtured into society through the different structured and protected environments of family and school - and develop autonomy through the environments of different peer groups.


    "Nor can any one doubt the general prevalence of play-groups among children or of informal assemblies of various kinds among their elders. Such association is clearly the nursery of human nature in the world about us" (Cooley, 1909 p.24)

    "... children, especially boys after about their twelfth year, live in fellowships in which their sympathy, ambition and honor are engaged even more, often, than they are in the family," (Cooley, 1909 pp 24-5)


    Based on a three way conversation between David Porteous, Lucy Neville and Kevin McDonald at the Socrimology book club on 19.2.2014

    Circumstances are the conditions that stand around (circum) an action or an event. The English socialist Robert Owen argued that human behaviour is not decided by free action, but by the interaction of biology and the environment. (See Owen on the interaction of brain and environment to form human character).

    Against this, the German socialist Karl Marx argued that we make our own history, but not under circumstances of our choosing (See quote)

    Over 350,000,000 years separate Ichthyostega from the agency of language
    The Socrimology book club considered this in an evolutionary context.

    To explain what happened when life first formed in the primordial soup or amphibians emerged from the primeval swamp, we need only consider biology and environment and not agency.

    According to Jean Jacques Rouusseau and George Herbert Mead, agency only begins, millions of years later, with the formation of the general will (Rousseau) or mind (Mead). For the sake of a better date, the development of language

    Mind remains embodied and the agent remains subject to the circumstances of his or her environment, but the agent can now reflect on these circumstances and attempt to change them. Marx also says

    "The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men."

    So, from the point of view of the social sciences, we must consider biology, environment and agency. Agency, however, is not just something added on. Human beings reflect, and Judith Butler adds to Marx's comments on changing the environment that

    "there is no recourse to a body that has not always already been interpreted by cultural meanings".

    See discussion of genetics in Sociology October 2013

    Citizen See Borough - City - Equality -

    The word citizen was used for someone who lived in a city (town, borough). The cities and boroughs of medieval Europe gained rights from the monarch that allowed them to trade and gave freedoms to the people who lived in them that people in the feudal countryside did not have.

    A broader meaning of citizen is someone who is a full member of his or her nation, with full rights and responsibilities. The 1911 Encyclopedia contrasts citizen in this sense with "alien".

    Citizenship is a form of political membership usually studied as a product of European history. It has been suggested that exploring social movements helps us recognise more global dimensions of being political.

    City and Urban Also see politics and civilisation
    a Raymond Williams keyword

    "The city is ... the natural habitat of civilised man... all great cultures are city-born... world-history is the history of city men. Nations, governments, politics, and religions - all rest on the basic phenomenon of human existence, the city." (Oswald Spengler, Untergang des Abendlandes, 4, p. 106, quoted by Robert Park)

    The term city is used, quite generally by social theorists, to indicate urban (town) environments in contrast to rural (countryside) ones.

    Eridu, in Mesopotamia, may have been the world's first city.

    The book of Genesis (origins) in the Hebrew Bible associates early cities with sin. See Sodom.

    The Greek city states had their own constitutions.

    Medieval European cities had charters granted by monarchs that gave them special freedoms.

    From this we get the original meaning of citizen as someone possessing the rights of a freeman in a city.

    See also Borough

    Engels says that it was in the towns of medieval, feudal, Europe that the bourgeoisie and proletariate of modern capitalism began to develop:

    "In the Middle Ages, [there] were the serfs of the land-owning nobility, ... In the Middle Ages, and indeed right up to the industrial revolution, there were also journeymen in the cities who worked in the service of petty bourgeois masters. Gradually, as manufacture developed, these journeymen became manufacturing workers who were even then employed by larger capitalists." (Engels, F. 1847 point 6)

    1886 New York and Liverpool: World Cities

    1925 The City

    1994/1995 City lights

    Clan   Gens   Tribe   Sib Also see politics - state - nation - race

    Each of these words is used to describe a society based on family ties. Clan is a word from the Scottish and Irish languages. Some anthropologists use clan for groups that trace their descent through the mother (matrilineal); gens for ones that trace their descent through the father (patrilineal) and sib to cover both types. [See Weber]

    Gens (plural gentes) was a sub-division of the Roman curia or tribe. Engels uses the term in a more general way for a political group organised around the family. [See Engels on gens]

    Tribe was used by anthropologists to describe a grouping of smaller family units thought to have preceded the nation in the evolution of society. This is the definition from the 1911 encyclopedia:

    "any aggregate of families or small communities which are grouped together under one chief or leader, observing similar customs and social rules, and tracing their descent from one common ancestor. Examples of such enlarged families are the twelve tribes of Israel. In general the tribe is the earliest form of political organisation, nations being gradually constituted by tribal amalgamation"

    Gentile See Gens

    In Latin gignere meaning "give birth to" in the sense "beget" (Adam and Eve beget Cain, who beget someone else, etc) gave rise to gens for clan or race, and gentilis for people belonging to other clans/races. In the Latin Bible (Vulgate) gentilis (translated into English as gentile) was used for people who are not Jews.

    Nineteenth century anthropology used gentile for people organised politically in families (gens - tribes), instead of states.

    Classic - Classical

    The word comes from class and can mean first class and excellent examples. In 17th century England it was applied first to the great writers and artists of ancient Greece and Rome, who were taken as setting an example.

    Plato and Aristotle were classical Greek writers when set examples which subsequent social theorists have developed.

    The Queen's House, Greenwich, England 1619
    In architecture, the "classical era", developed after Andrea Palladio (1570), in Italy, recovered the proportions and principles of Greek and Roman architecture. His ideas were established in Britain by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren

    The idea is that the past provides us with our examples of excellence. This is how the word is used in classical sociology, where Marx, Weber and Durkheim (or other authors), from the 19th century and early twentieth century, are held to provide models that other sociologists have followed.

    In classical criminology the idea is more of contrasting two types of criminology.

    Class a Raymond Williams keyword
    See status

    In general terms a class is any number of people or things grouped together, graded together or thought of separately from other groups, especially if we are thinking in terms of quality. First class passengers and second class passengers on trains, for example, are distinguished by the quality of the carriage and seats they have paid for. In education a class is a group of people taught together, or the quality of a British degree.

    Class in sociology
    Theory of Social Class
    Proletariat and Wage
    Indentifying and measuring class

    See Caste
    In sociology, class usually refers to a division of society thought of as a kind of layer in the social cake. We speak, for example of upper class, professional class, lower class and working class. A class is always part of the whole (society), never the whole itself.

    Social mobility: Social mobility refers to movement between classes. This was traditionally measured by comparing an adult's class to that of his or her father (parents nowadays?) to see if he or she had the same class or had moved "up" or "down".

    Theory of social class Identifying and counting social class

    Developing the theories of Saint Simon (see below, under capitalism), Marx and Engels argued in the Communist Manifesto that conflict between changing social classes is the motor that moves history from one stage to another.

    "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles"     [See below under political economy]

    In the theories of Marx and Engels, as in those of other political economists, classes are defined by their relation to production. They divided European history into a series of modes of production, each of which had a different class structure. The three main modes are ancient slavery - medieval feudalism and modern capitalism.

    Engels explained in Principles of Communism (1847) that the working class of each period was a different working class:

    In antiquity, the workers were the slaves of the owners, whe were freemen. In ancient Rome, freemen were either plebians or common people or patricians of noble birth.

    In the Middle Ages, they were the serfs of the land-owning nobility.

    The two main classes of capitalism are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Engels in Principles of Communism (1847) calls the proletariat the "working class of the 19th century". They are people who live by selling their labour-power - Wage earners. In The Condition of the English Working Class (1845) he traced the origin of the proletariat to the industrial revolution.

    A wage is payment made in return for work or service, especially a fixed regular payment. Slaves and serfs do not receive wages.

    Indentifying and measuring class

    In order to count the number of people in a social class, we need an indicator to identify class.

    Registrar General's Classification 1913 on

    British measurement of the hierarchy of social class began about 1913. (Rose, D. 1995) - The indicator used was "occupation".

    Social Class based on Occupation ... was initially introduced by the Registrar General in its 1913 General Report... it favoured a hierarchical view of occupations based upon occupational skills. It comprised five main categories, ranging from 'professionals' to 'unskilled manuals'". Walthery, P. 2006

    The original grades were: 1) Professional - 2) Intermediate - 3) Skilled Manual - 4) Intermediate - 3) Unskilled Manual.

    The Register Generals five part scheme could be collapsed into a popular culture three part scheme: upper class (professional), middle class (intermediate 2 and possibly skilled manual) and lower class (intermediate 4 and unskilled manual). This was reresented in a comedy sketch in 1966: I look up to him because he is upper class but I look down on him because he is lower class.

    Registrar General's Classification 1971 on

    Since 1971 the Registrar General's Classification has distinguished skilled non-manual from skilled manual occupations, as in the following table from Fulcher and Scott. Fulcher and Scott comment that the whole scheme could be collapsed into a popular culture three part scheme: middle class (from professional down to skilled non-manual) and working class (from skilled manual down to unskilled)
    Official description Example
    1 Professional etc occupations Exclusively non-manual: accountant, doctor, lawyer, university teacher
    2 Intermediate occupations Predominantly non-manual: aircraft pilot, farmer, nurse, police officer, school teacher
    3 (N) Skilled non-manual occupations Exclusively non-manual: clerk, shop assistant, secretary, waiter
    3 (M) Skilled manual occupation Exclusively manual: bus driver, carpenter, cook, miner, electrician
    4 Partly skilled occupations Predominantly manual: farm worker, bus conductor, bar worker, postman, telephone operator
    5 Unskilled occupations Exclusively manual: labourer, office cleaner, kitchen hand, window cleaner

    Socio Economic Groups

    Due to the second world war, the 1951 census was the first UK census for twenty years. The socio economic groups analysis was developed with the assistance of David Glass.

    "From the 1951 census onwards a second classification, the Socio Economic Groups (SEG) was established. It was made of seventeen occupational groups, and was aimed at bringing together people with jobs of similar social and economic status (Rose, Pevalin et 2005:9). It was also closer to similar systems used in other countries for example by the INSEE in France, or the international classification ISCO. It has been used until 2001 by most government departments, as well as various surveys, such as the General Household Survey or the BHPS." Walthery, P. 2006

    1.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc (large establishments)
    1.2 Managers in central and local government, industry, commerce, etc (large establishments)
    2.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc (small establishments)
    2.2 Managers in industry, commerce, etc (small establishments)
    3 Professional workers - self-employed
    4 Professional workers - employees
    5.1 Intermediate non-manual workers - ancillary works and artists
    5.2 Intermediate non-manual workers - foremen and supervisors non-manual
    6 Junior non-manual workers
    7 Personal service workers
    8 Foremen and supervisors - manual
    9 Skilled manual workers
    10 Semi-skilled manual workers
    11 Unskilled manual workers
    12 Own account workers (other than professional)
    13 Farmers - employers and managers
    14 Farmers - own account
    15 Agricultural workers
    16 Members of armed forces
    17 Inadequately described and not stated occupations

    1979: "the working-class 'aesthetic' is a dominated 'aesthetic' which is constantly obliged to define itself in terms of the dominant aesthetics"

    1987 substitutes for social class?

    National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification 2001 on

    "In order to harmonize these two systems and following a review, the ONS" [Office for National Statistics] "adopted in 2001 the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC) as their main tool for classifying the population according to occupational groups. As such, NS SEC is intended to be used in surveys, census, as well as for administrative registration purposes."

    Higher managerial and professional occupations
    Lower managerial and professional occupations
    Intermediate occupations (clerical, sales, service)
    Small employers and own account workers
    Lower supervisory and technical occupations
    Semi-routine occupations
    Routine occupations
    Never worked and long-term unemployed

    2011: "Great British Class Survey" and the Class Ceiling

    The Great British Class Survey

    This survey claims to have revealed that there are seven classes in Britain. The conclusion is based on statistically derived groupings (how data cluster together) of the responses to an online quetionnaire that sought to measure where people fitted in terms of Pierre Bourdieu's three types of capital: economic capital - social capital and cultural capital.

    The seven classes are

    Elite: This is the most privileged class in Great Britain who have high levels of all three capitals. Their high amount of economic capital sets them apart from everyone else.

    Established Middle Class: Members of this class have high levels of all three capitals although not as high as the Elite. They are a gregarious and culturally engaged class.

    Technical Middle Class: This is a new, small class with high economic capital but seem less culturally engaged. They have relatively few social contacts and so are less socially engaged.

    New Affluent Workers: This class has medium levels of economic capital and higher levels of cultural and social capital. They are a young and active group.

    Emergent Service Workers: This new class has low economic capital but has high levels of 'emerging' cultural capital and high social capital. This group are young and often found in urban areas.

    Traditional Working Class: This class scores low on all forms of the three capitals although they are not the poorest group. The average age of this class is older than the others.

    Precariat: This is the most deprived class of all with low levels of economic, cultural and social capital. The everyday lives of members of this class are precarious.

    Lecture on Stratification, class and status in relation to identity and social structure

    Classification - Division - Segregation

    Classification means to organise in classes


    Segregation is separating or dividing. The word started as describing a shepherd dividing his sheep so that some were "set apart from the flock". In sociology it is used for social divisions where some kind of barrier (visible or invisible) sets people apart.

    racial segregation

    occupational segregation

    horizontal segregation is when groups of people (men and women, for example) are separated into different roles. Usually thought of as a matter of degree as when most nurses are women and most train drivers are men.

    vertical segregation is when groups of people are separated into different ranks. An example would be if most of the members of a government had a private education and most of the members of the parliament from which they were drawn had not.


    Old English had a word that sounded like "clath". Babies were wrapped in child clath - adults wore clath - boats could move with the wind in their clath. The word covered cloth one wore and cloth generally as fabric. [Textiles: see web]

    In the history of art education, subjects like embroidery and dressmaking became "women's crafts" and then "textiles/fashion". Clothes have a complex relation to gender and to class. Consider The song of the shirt (1843).

    The construction of a sociology of clothes - the garments human beings wear - can be found in Sartor Resartus (the clothes maker repaired) by Thomas Carlyle. He compares clothes to customs, which Montesquieu had written about in The Spirit of the Laws. Carlyle imagined a professor who studied the "spirit of clothes" because, he argued, what we wear is not "accident", "but the hand is ever guided on by mysterious operations of the mind." "Body and the cloth are the site and materials whereon and whereby .. a person, is to be built".

    Body and the cloth are the site and materials whereby a person is to be built.

    The picture is from Your Pattern Cutting by Sheila MacEwan and, in this case, the person might be described as a 1950s woman.

    Carlyle's imaginary German professor appears to have been a post- Hegelian, possibly someone like Feurbach, trying to root ideas in a human-centred material history. The professor says that

    " all visible things are emblems ... Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some idea, and body it forth. Hence clothes, as despicable as we think them, are so unspeakably significant. Clothes, from the king's mantle downwards, are emblematic,.." [emblematic = serving as a symbol of a particular quality or concept - see entry on Carlyle]

    "On the other hand", the professor continues "all emblematic things are properly clothes, thought-woven or hand-woven: must not the imagination weave garments, visible bodies, wherein the else invisible creations and inspirations of our reason are, like spirits, revealed... Men are properly said to be clothed with authority, clothed with beauty, with curses, and the like."

    Quoting Carlyle as saying that clothes as designed objects are "unspeakingly meaningful", the social historian Cherl Buckley says that "dress and dressmaking are cultural sites where identity, place and memories figure prominently"

    She uses her own family history to explore these issues. Clothes, like other made objects, act as an aid to memory, as she shows in family photographs. They express our identity and its relation to the rest of our society and culture. And they are situated in specific places, as is especially clear with home-made clothes. (Buckley, C. 1999, chapter 3 in Burman 1999)

    Clothes are props in the presentation of self in everyday life that Goffman wrote about in 1959. (See everyday life and common sense ). Through them we express our identity.

    In 1961 Goffman published his book Asylums with essays based on the social situations of mental patients and other inmates. Goffman speaks of inmates stripped of self identity, unable to express their self through their body because unable to choose their clothes.

    Collective Conscience
    Common Conscience
    Also see common sense and spirit of the age
    general will - culture

    "The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to average citizens of the same society forms a determinate system which has its own life; one may call it the collective or common conscience." (Durkheim 1893 pp 79-80)

    Freud uses the concept of the Collective Mind

    Collective Representations
    Cultural Constructs
    See Represent

    A collective representation is the way that a Durkheimian theorist might refer to what a Weberian might prefer to call a cultural construct. Both refer to things that exist for everyone's use, like calendars, languages, symbols, social institutions, stories and myths. For example, the Christian image of the cross, is a Collective Representation and a Cultural Construct. We may have private, personal meanings for the cross symbol, but out there in society it has a collectively understood meaning.

    The difference between Durkheimian and Weberian theory is that the Durkheimian treats such objects as social realities external to individuals: realities that shape individual lives. (The Durkheimian treats "social facts as things"). The Weberian thinks of these things as being constructed (at some time) by individuals for use in social activities.

    Durkheim says

    "Collective representations are the result of an immense cooperation, which stretches out not only into space but into time as well; to make them, a multitude of minds have associated, united and combined their ideas and sentiments; for them, long generations have accumulated their experience and their knowledge"


    Commodity - Commodification - Commerce - Trade

    In John Martin's 1840s picture of local store a lady appears to use her front room to sell sweets and toys.
    A commodity in 1900 was something useful, especially something moveable that was bought and sold, such as goods, wares, agricultural and industrial products.

    Commerce is trade: buying and selling goods, it developed along with transport. See Solomon - coins - Egypt - Roman Empire - sugar - Viking Age - Royal protection - Silk Road - guilds - Lübeck - cargo boats - sailing ships change - Hanseatic League - ocean trade - 1453 - slaves - Columbus - Spice Islands - galleons - triangular run - 1624 - 1697 - 1746 - Corn Law - rail - World Cities - coastal cargoes - 1931 Census

    "A trade" is an occupation, and not the same as trade.

    In a brief entry, a Raymond Williams says commerce has been a normal English word for trade [buying and selling] since the sixteenth century. The term commercialism, he says, was coined in the mid-nineteenth century "to indicate a system which puts financial profit before any other consideration".

    Commodity fetishism

    Karl Marx began his major work, Das Kapital (Capital) in 1867 by saying

    "The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as "an immense accumulation of commodities," its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity." [Read more]

    A fetish has a hidden meaning. An African doll that is regarded as having magic powers, or a child's toy that an adult finds sexual are both fetishes. Beneath the innocence of the sweet and toy store may lie something else:

    Commodity fetishism Marx wrote about "the fetishism of commodities and the secret thereof".

    In the Theory of Capitalist Development (1942 ii. 35) Paul Sweezy said that: "In his doctrine of Commodity Fetishism, Marx was the first to perceive this fact... In commodity production, the basic relation between men 'assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things'."

    According to Marx, hidden in the "thing" (the sweet, the commodity) is the labour of those who produced it and the relation between the labourer and his or her employer. The price of the commodity is a measure of labour time and the price of the labour is less than the price of the commodity. It is from this relationship that the employer derives profit. This is the secret of the fetishism of commodities.

    The word commodification appears in the 1970s. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "the action of turning something into or treating something as a (mere) commodity".
    Compare with marketing

    The earliest (1975) use of the word recorded in the Oxford dictionary links "objectification, commodification and institutionalisation". Turning people into objects, turning them into commodities and institutionalising them may somehow be related.

    Communicate - Communication

    To communicate is to transmit or share ideas, messages, feelings or even touch. I am trying to communicate with you now. You can try to communicate with me.

    Communication is a rich field of thought for the social sciences. See, for example, speech, language and signs - culture - dialogue - communicative action - reason - media and mass media

    a Raymond Williams keyword
    See Subject index
    see different types of group
    Academic - Belonging - - Ecological - Therapeutic - Virtual -
    External links: Wikipedia - New World

    A community of can mean sharing, rather than referring to a group. For example, "community of possessions" means having joint ownership in possessions. A more bizarre example is "community of women".

    A community can mean a group of people living in the same area. This place based definition is central to the idea of an ecological community, which is a significant concept in social theory.

    However, community more usually refers to a group that you belong to, that you feel you belong to, and that you share important things with. - A definition that does not apply to animal and plant communities, or to many aspects of human communities when considered as based on place.

    The word community has been part of the English language since the 14th century . It came from French and Latin words that link to the idea of things being held in common.

    Raymond Williams says that its complexity of meaning is due to its being used to refer to matters that are of "direct common concern" (e.g. a community of interests) and also to various forms of organisation (e.g the university community) which may reflect those common interests.

    Although, in this way, community can refer to organisation, it has a warmth and closeness compared with the coldness and distance of the "state". It also has a breadth of values, compared with the narrow focus of economics. It can, therefore, be meaningful to divide society into state, economy and community. When this is done, a central part of the community is the family.

    Williams says that community differs from other terms for social organisation, such as state, nation and society, because it is never used unfavourably. It is always a good word. ( Williams, R. 1976 pp 65 to 66)

    See classification of groups by warmth, closeness and sameness

    Charles Horton Cooley 1909 on community

    "Common-sense, moderately informed, assures us that the individual has his being only as part of a whole. What does not come by heredity comes by communication and intercourse; and the more closely we look the more apparent it is that separateness is an illusion of the eye and community the inner truth. "Social organism," using the term in no abstruse sense but merely to mean a vital unity in human life, is a fact as obvious to enlightened common-sense as individuality." (p.9)

    Primary groups and community

    "By primary groups I mean those characterised by intimate face-to-face association and cooperation. They are primary in several senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual." (p.23)

    "The most important spheres of this intimate association and cooperation - though by no means the only ones - are the family, the play-group of children, and the neighbourhood or community group of elders." (p.24)

    "Of the neighbourhood group it may be said, in general, that from the time men formed permanent settlements upon the land, down, at least, to the rise of modern industrial cities, it has played a main part in the primary, heart-to-heart life of the people. Among our Teutonic forefathers the village community was apparently the chief sphere of sympathy and mutual aid for the commons all through the "dark" and middle ages, and for many purposes it remains so in rural districts at the present day." (p.25)

    Community and some concepts that can be related:
    active citizenship - participatory democracy

    Community commodified

    "Community has been stripped of its original identity and turned into a commodity for private consumption which makes it a concept made to the measure of the current liquid modern for shaping and training its inhabitants "as consumers first,and all the rest after'" (Bauman, Z. 2004? p.66)

    External link: Communitarianism
    Professor Steve Fuller, Warwick and Tokyo

    Nazi ideas on community Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf develops ideas of natural selection through the struggle for survival. The simplest (earliest) biological organisms struggle with one another as individuals. The struggle at a human level is between racial organisms. Hitler says: "The instinct for the preservation of one's own species is the primary cause that leads to the formation of human communities. Hence the State is a racial organism, and not an economic organisation.". The evolutionary movement from self-preservation to community-preservation is made possible by the development of sacrifice

    Ecological Community

    The word community is also used for a group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or inhabiting the same locality. [Environment]

    As this is applied to associations of plants and animals, it has none of the subjective feeling of identity that is attached to usual uses of the word in a human context.

    When Park and Burgess apply the ecological term community to human groups, they apply it to relationships that are not necessarily conscious (see index), whereas society is applied to relationships that are necessarily conscious (see index). Human community, in their concept, therefore range from ones with little or no conscious (subjective) identity, to ones with a lot.

    Wirth (in the same book) distinguishes community and neighbourhood on the basis of "sense of unity". In simple societies, he says, local community and neighbourhood are the same. Kinship and common tradition bind people together. In the city, however, this sense of unity may be lost. Here, Wirth is using "community" in its more familiar use, not its ecological use (which includes neighbourhood).

    Park and Burgess define community by place:

    " Community is the term which is applied to societies and social groups where they are considered from the point of view of the geographical distribution of the individuals and institutions of which they are composed."

    [Problems with the place based definition of community are that some communities (nomadic ones) move and others are dispersed (for example the "diaspora" and others are virtual

    Starting from this concept of people and institutions relating together within a defined space, Burgess distinguishes three distinct conceptions of community:

    ecological community

    cultural community

    political community

    Virtual Community

    Virtual indicates an electronic equivalent of something in the real world. An early use (about 1987) was virtual reality which is the impression of being in a real space, whereas the experience is really created by a computer. You might, for example, feel you are sitting at the wheel of a car and have to avoid obstacles. In the early 1980s, science fiction writer William Gibson coined the term cyberspace for the "consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions ... in every nation ... A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system".

    Virtual now means something imagined rather than physically present. The Open University, for example, started a course in the spring of 1992 that was taught almost entirely on computer networks "to explore the possibilities of virtual classrooms"

    The Whole Earth Review (1989) spoke of computers creating a "shared reality" for their users. It is this shared reality , and those that use it. that we speak of as a virtual community. Howard Rheingold published a book with this title in 1993.

    In this sense, the internet has created a world wide academic community by enabling a free and open expression of ideas. But it is one that does not have the warmth of face to face relationships. A 1999 paper from the web team at Middlesex University described how they envisage the university intranet helping to build community.

    The relationships between computers and humans in academic life are analysed by Charles Crook in Computers and the Collaborative Experience of Learning. See also some suggestions I made about the relation of computers to the academic community and some discussion points, including the alternative concept of collegiate learning.

    Academic Community

    "A University should be an academic community inter-twined with a social community: A community that talks about issues over coffee, but argues its points with research and initiative" (David Medawar)

    Discussions with staff and students show that, for many, the idea of an academic community is something they value, or regret when it is absent. The idea includes not only the warmth of mutual support, but also the vibrance of debate, the excitement and stimulation of ideas, and the defence of the right to hold and express ideas. I discussed some of these issues in "Freedom, Community and North Circular" in 1998.

    Skills valued by an academic community

    Community of women [Community of (sharing) women is very different from a community of women]

    There is a passage in the Communist Manifesto that says

    "you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the whole bourgeoisie in chorus"

    As it later explains, this means women "being common to all" [men].

    Many socialists (communists) in the first half of the 19th century had radical ideas about altering the relationships between men and women. As far as I know, no one advocated men sharing a pool of women. As I read it, Marx and Engels are saying that communists are being misrepresented as having this objective.

    In an earlier draft of the Manifesto, Engels wrote that communism:

    " will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage, the dependence rooted in private property, of the woman on the man and of the children on the parents."

    Women's communities or communities of women
    Men's communities or communities of men

    A community of women could be a group of women living together - just as a community of men could be group of men living together. St Katharine's College, Tottenham (a teacher training college) was one example of a community of women. Such a gender segregation is a common feature of socially constructed communities.

    Community Disintegration Theory
    Social Disintegration Theory

    The early 19th century saw many theorists argue that political, economic and social changes were undermining community. This was seen as a cause of insanity by Esquirol.

    Ashley Cooper said that the disintegration opened the door for the "demons" of chartism [democracy] and socialism. Thomas Carlyle, in 1843, called the money relationship that replaced community the cash-nexus. Engels ( 1844 and 1845) built on Carlyle and, in the Communist Manisfesto (1848), Marx and Engels wrote:

    "The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left no other bond between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment."

    Durkheim argued that the political, economic and social changes establish new bonds more than they undermine old ones. He argued that the division of labour in modern society creates an organic solidarity between people. Community disintegration, if it happens, is not, according to Durkheim, the normal, healthy development of modern society, but the result of abnormal forms of the division of labour.

    Ironically, many theorists interpret Durkheim as arguing the community disintegration theory.

    To take an easily accessible example, Joe Dunman says:

    "Industrialisation in particular, according to Durkheim, tends to disolve restraints on the passions of humans. Where traditional societies--primarily through religion--successfully taught people to control their desires and goals, modern industrial societies separate people and weaken social bonds as a result of increased complexity and the division of labor...Perhaps more than ever before, members of Western society are exposed to the risk of anomie"

    Durkheim thinks modern society strengthens bonds between people by the division of labour (organic solidarity). Joe Dunman, himself, begins with the quote from Durkheim

    "...The state of anomie is impossible whenever interdependent organs are sufficiently in contact and sufficiently extensive. If they are close to each other, they are readily aware, in every situation, of the need which they have of one-another, and consequently they have an active and permanent feeling of mutual dependence."
    By clicking on this quote, and reading it in context, you will see that Durkheim argues that norms are spontaneously generated between people who have a mutual dependence if they can inter-act freely. It is not division of labour that makes people unsure of norms, but the anomic division of labour.

    The community disintegration theory is widely ascribed to Durkheim. Anthony Giddens' textbook on Sociology, for example, suggests Durkheim argued anomie is a consequence of the loss of traditional constraints in modern society. It says "... the notion of anomie was first introduced by Emile Durkheim... who suggested that in modern societies traditional norms and standards become undermined without being replaced by new ones. Anomie exists when there are no clear standards to guide behaviour in a given area of social life..." (Giddens 1997 p.177). Earlier in the book he writes: "According to Durkheim, processes of change in the modern world are so rapid and intense that they give rise to major social difficulties, which he linked to anomie, a feeling of aimlessness or despair provoked by modern social life. Traditional moral controls and standards, which used to be supplied by religion, are largely broken down by modern social development, and this leaves many individuals in modern societies feeling that their daily lives lack meaning." (Giddens 1997 p.9) No references are given. If you read my article on Norms and Anomie you will see that Giddens has omitted Durkeim's analysis of modern society as fundamentally healthy, and replaced this healthy picture with allusions to Durkheim's description of the abnormal forms of modern society. In doing so, he represents Durkheim as arguing for a theory that Durkheim was arguing against! Some of these issues are discussed by students on The Durkheim and Merton Page

    According to Roger Hopkins Burke "Social disintegration theory has its origins in the notion developed by Emile Durkheim that imperfect social regulation leads to a variety of different social problems, including crime; as developed by the Chicago School there was a call for efforts to reorganise communities to emphasis non-criminal activities." Hopkins Burke, R. 2009 page 350)









    Samuel Johnson's dictionary said conflict means a violent opposition or fight. He said it can happen between substances (chemicals), but its usual meaning would be between people. However, one can also have a conflict of ideas, and so conflicts are not necessarily violent.

    Johnson said competition is "The action of endeavouring to gain what another endeavours to gain at the same time. rivalry, contest."

    One of the main uses of the word competition in the social sciences is for rivalry in economic markets. [See capitalism" - commerce.

    For Jeremy Bentham, economic competition was the peaceful alternative to the conflict of war and colonialism. In 1793 he wrote an article "Emancipate your Colonies" in which he said "From high profits in trade comes influx of traders - from influx of traders, competition among traders - from competition among traders, reduction of prices".

    In their Principles of Sociology (1921), Park and Burgess distinguish between competition, which they say takes place without social contact, and conflict which involves social contact.


    According to Marx and Engels:

    The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    cooperate: to work together. Samuel Johnson's dictionary (1755) said that to cooperate is to labour jointly with another to the same end.

    collaborate and cooperate both mean working together to achieve something. Mutuality has a related meaning.

    See cooperation and time management

    See three levels of involvement: consultation - collaboration - control.

    conform: to keep to the (social) form. Johnson (1755) said that to conform was to assume the same form and that a conformist was "one that complies with the worship of the church of England; not a dissenter"

    According to Robert Merton

    To the extent that a society is stable,... conformity to both cultural goals and institutionalised means is the most common and widely diffused [adaptation]. Were this not so, the stability and continuity of the society could not be maintained...

    consensus having similar thoughts and feelings. The word comes from consent. Johnson (1755) gives consent three meanings: 1) to be of the same mind, to agree. 2) to cooperate to the same end. 3) to consent: to yield, to give consent to., to allow, to admit.

    Consensus and conflict models of society

    Ralph Dahrendorf (1958) suggests two models of society , with opposite explict postulates:

    In the first model, societies have persisting patterns, with well- integrated elements, each of which contributes to the way the society functions. In this model, "every society rests on the consensus of its members".

    In the second model, societies are changing (or subject to forces of change) all the time, their elements are in conflict, and the conflicting elements contribute to the change. Instead of resting on consent, "every society rests on constraint of some of its members by others".

    Consciousness - Conscience

    "society can exist only if it penetrates the consciousness of individuals and fashions it in 'its image and resemblance'".

    Consequences Effects
    Intended consequences Desired effects
    Unintended consequences Side effects

    1936   Robert Merton: "The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action"

    2006   Ulrich Beck: "we must distinguish between ... side effects, and intentional catastrophes"

    Conservative and Liberal

    The root of the word liberal is "free". It is a political philosophy that puts the emphasis on freedom. The root of conservative is conserving. It is a political philosophy that puts the emphasis on preserving the established order.

    Roger Scruton relates conservativism to a family model of society and liberalism to a contractual model.

    See discussion at WEA meating

    Out of the middle ages

    In the middle ages, Katie Priest suggests, people thought of themselves as part of a divine order. They were part of God's creation and the church taught them to see the political order as part of a divine plan. As with Roger Scruton's version of conservatism, the individual is seen as part of a pre- established whole.

    16th and 17th centuries

    Hand in hand, individualism, the modern state and liberalism grew together. individuals began to see theselves as separate and used themselves as the starting point for political theory. They ceased to see the state as God- given and began to imagine it as something they could have made. To imagine men and women without the state they used the idea of a "state of nature".

    Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was a conservative theorist who pioneered the idea of imagining how separate individuals could have created a society and a state.


    Click on me to
to see what I am
made of
    Hobbes argued that the power and authority of the state (conservatism) makes economic freedom (liberalism) possible.

    Hobbes' liberal successor, John Locke (1632-1704), argued that individuals entered society to protect their property, a term he defined rather widely to mean "life, liberty and estate" (The Second Treatise of Government, chapter 7). The citizens of Locke's state are free, equal before the law and bound together by mutual respect for one another's rights. This is reinforced by the "Magistrate" if self-interest gets out of hand.

    18th and 19th centuries

    In the early 19th century liberalism was linked to the free-market economics of Adam Smith and David Ricardo and the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. One of the main people making these links was James Mill (1773 - 1836). His son, John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), began to file apart the link his father made between liberalism and the free-market.

    Liberalism is freedom.
    Utilitarianism is happiness
    Free-market is profit
    (Jamie Andrews)

    If liberalism is about freedom rather than the market then John Stuart Mill remained a liberal. In his Principles of Political Economy (Book 2, chapter 1, paragraph 3) he said:-

    "After the means of subsistence are assured the next in strength of the personal wants of human beings is liberty".

    Freedom for J.S. Mill, was at the heart of self-development. But freedom as self-development need not be linked to the free-market or competition. In co-operatives, for example, people might obtain freedom in the sense of independence from an employer. They might be self-determing rather then other determined. Mill explored this issue and the possibility that socialism would diminish freedom and described himself in his autobiography as as a qualified socialist.

    20th and 21st centuries

    John Stuart Mill's development of liberalism towards socialism led to a new liberalism in the 20th century.

    Neoliberalism refers to two very different political views: In order to know which is reffered to, you need to know the period of history.

    New (neo) liberalism - 1906 to 1978

    Social liberalism

    Before 1979, new liberalism or new liberalism usually referred to liberal policies that were moderated by social provision for pensions, sickness and unemployment pay, education, housing and other state interventions. It was particularly associated with Lloyd George's government of 1906 to 1922

    New (neo) liberalism - 1979 to the present

    Free-market liberalism or Thatcher/Reaganite conservatism

    What was once called Thatcherism is now called neo-liberalism. Before 1979 neo (new) liberalism meant more state intervention:

    Washington Post 10.9.1978: "Political necessities are headed..toward much more serious government intervention in the private economy. If you're looking for a shorthand phrase, it might be more accurate to predict a period of 'neo-liberalism'."

    Then came Thatcherism and Reaganomics

    From the 1990s people began to call this neo-liberalism

    "Globe and Mail (Toronto) 1.5.1992: "These ideas include, beside free trade: privatisation, deregulation, competitiveness, social- spending cutbacks and deficit reduction. The ensemble may be called neoconservatism, neoliberalism, the free market, [etc.]."

    2.4.2015 "what exactly is neoliberalism?" . Timothy Shenke discusses with Wendy Brown, who says:

    "for neoliberals, humans are only and everywhere homo oeconomicus [economic humans]. This was not so for classical economists, where we were market creatures in the economy, but not in civic, familial, political, religious, or ethical life." [See Adam Smith on moral sentiments]


    A constraint binds tightly together (con: together plus strain: to tightly bind)

    If something constrains you, it limits your freedom to do what you want.

    Nature constrains us

    Our ideas constrain us

    Social facts constrain us

    Community disintegration theory explains social problems as due to the loss of traditional constraints in modern society

    An absolute monarch is free of the constraints of law.

    Construction - Social Construction - Generation

    The related words constitute and institute are both based on "setting up". See also construe. See also Wikipedia social construction

    To construct is to build. The idea of physically building can be extended to mental building - forming something in one's mind.

    Berger and Luckmann published a book called The Social Construction of Reality in 1966. In this, they argued:

    "reality is socially constructed... the sociology of knowledge must analyse the process by which this occurs... The man in the street inhabits a world that is 'real' to him... and he 'knows'... that this world possesses such and such characteristics... He takes his 'reality' for granted. The sociologist cannot do this, if only because of his systematic awareness of the fact that men in the street take quite different 'realities' for granted as between on society and another"

    This concept of knowledge being constructed was applied to the knowledge contained in statistics by Jack Douglas in The Social Meanings of Suicide (1967). "Official statistics" are generated (produced - socially constructed) by agencies such as government departments, and, Douglas argued, one has to study how they are generated before making use of them (or not) to draw scientific conclusions.

    A fairly simple illustration of the argument that official statistics should not be accepted at face value concerns incidents of suicide that are hidden and not recorded. If suicide statistics from a Catholic culture show a lower rate than from a Protestant culture, the reason may be that suicide is considered more of a disgrace in the Catholic culture and so people make greater efforts not to record a death as suicide. If this is the case, it would not be safe to conclude from the statistics that the (real) suicide rate is lower in Catholic cultures. (See Douglas, J. 1967, pages 206 following)


    "All knowledge, then, is socially construed. All knowledge is gained through communal interchange" Personal Construct Therapy: A Handbook edited by Linda L. Viney 1996

    Deconstruct See Construct

    To deconstruct means to take something apart to examine how it has been constructed. This may be done with pieces of writing or with systems of ideas.

    Content analysis - Discourse analysis - Semiotic analysis

    The glossary of Nigel Gilbert's Researching Social Life defines content analysis as

    "a method by which textual or visual documents are analysed to produce quantitative data. A sample of documents is chosen and aspects of these are systematically coded into different categories, producing variables, which can then be presented using figures, charts, graphs or tables, or can be analysed with statistical techniques."

    Lougborough's New Methods for the Analysis of Media Content says "most methodologies for media analyses do not fall into neat boxes". It categorises them (in historical order) as Content analysis - Evaluative Assertion Analysis - Frame analysis - Discourse analysis

    Discourse Analysis examines how the social world is constituted through discourse. The Loughborough site lists conversation analysis and ethnomethodology; sociolinguistics; discursive psychology; critical discourse analysis; Bakhtinian research; and Foucauldian research as forms of discourse analysis.

    Semiotic analysis is the analysis of signs (symbols) and what they signify. Considering what a picture in a newspaper might mean to its readers, and relating that to the society's culture, could be called semiotic analysis. Semiotics is the study of signs and sign systems.

    Context - Contextualise - Recontextualise

    The context of a piece of writing is the words around it. These words may give it its meaning. For example, the word "mother" has a different meaning in "My mother loved me" than it does in "That was the mother of all wars". The words around it give it a different interpretation.

    But everything, not just words, has a context. That is, a setting or surrounding. This setting helps us to interpret it. We understand a person running, for example, differently if he or she is racing towards a bus, racing away from the police, or racing along a race track.

    To contextualise is to place something in its context. To recontextualise is to change something's context.

    Con (together) tingent (touch)

    The direction this ball takes is contingent on what happens next.

    If the boot hits the ball it will fly in one direction. If it misses it will just bounce on the ground.

    If something is contingent, it may or may not happen, depending on whether something else happens. It may or may not be true, depending on....

    Continuity discontinuity

    See Robert Merton on stability and continuity - Antonio Gramsci on traditional intellectuals - Radcliffe-Brown on social institutions - Emile Durkheim on tissue - Michel Foucault on historical continuities and discontinuities.

    If something continues it carries on. The word started as meaning "holding together". In social theory it is the concept of conservation: "a tendency to preserve or keep intact and unchanged". (Oxford English Dictionary)


    If something changes, it continues but becomes different.

    Vanessa May (2011) argues that " social change cannot be" [completely?] "predicted because it is the combined result of individual people reacting to new situations in, to some degree, idiosyncratic rather than completely patterned and predictable ways". She gives as her authority for this position Elias N (2001) The Society of Individuals pp 63-64 and Bourdieu P (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice, p.73

    Contract - Compact - Exchange - Division of Labour

    The idea of contract is linked to that of exchange. A great deal of social theory is based on the idea that society can be explained as a series of exchanges between people. Adam Smith, in particular, presents exchange as a foundation of society. It leads to a complex division of labour between people from which civilisation is constructed. (See Social Science History)

    In his book on The Division of Labour, Emile Durkheim, by contrast, says that

    "The hypothesis of a social contract is irreconcilable with the notion of the division of labour"

    He is arguing that an intellectually successful theory of society cannot be built on the idea of a social contract.

    Covenant Whilst a contract can be called a covenant, the word often has a more religious or transcendent significance. It is a special agreement, like God's covenant never to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:8) , or the covenant between two people (or families) in society. Durkheim argues that even commercial contracts have an element of this transcendent covenant: There is some in them that goes beyond (transcends) the simple agreement of the parties.

    See gift


    To converge means to bend together: to move towards the same point.

    In Euclidean geometry, any two straight lines on the same flat surface will converge in one direction and diverge in the other, unless they are parallel

    Social realities can also converge. For example, Judith Butler said

    "I came to understand how the assertion of universality can be proleptic" [representing something future] "and performative, conjuring a reality that does not yet exist, and holding out the possibility for a convergence of cultural horizons that have not yet met." (See IGLHRC)

    convergence of theories

    In the development of science, Talcott Parsons argued that we can observe theories from different areas growing together or converging. (See Parsons). In the social sciences in the 1930s to 1950s this was demonstrated by the convergence of positivistic and idealist traditions in the voluntaristic theory of action. Another example he gave was the convergence of sociological and psychological theories of morality

    Corporate See Corporatism

    The original word meant a body, and survives in this meaning in the word corpse, which is now used for a dead body.

    Corporate and Corporation usually refer to an organisation (a business, for example) which has a legal existence distinct from its individual members.

    Park (1925) says we can think of the city as

    "the place and the people, with all the machinery and administrative devices that go with them, as organically related; a kind of psychophysical mechanism in and through which private and political interests find not merely a collective but a corporate expression."

    Here corporate has its source meeting of like a body. The parts are not just collected together, they are "organically related"

    Corporatism See corporate

    R. E. Pahl and Jack Winkler argued in 1974 that a political vocabulary that "sees the alternative pure forms of economy as simply capitalism or socialism" is "blinkered". They wanted to re- introduce the term Corporatism as "a distinct form of economic structure". This was the term that Mussolini used for the economic organisation of Italy under fascism. Pahl and Winkler argued that it fitted the social order that was emerging in response to the the crisis of capitalism that people saw in the 1970s.

    "This corporatism is a comprehensive economic system under which the state intensively channels predominantly privately owned business towards four goals, which have become increasingly explicit during the current economic crisis: Order, Unity, Nationalism, and Success."

    It was a direction in which political economic development might have gone - but it did not

    Crime and Deviance See Normal See also
    crimes - punishment and response
    Subject Index Crime
    Statistical deviation

    To deviate is to turn off the path. Latin via: road or path. In sociology, it can be used for turning of the paths set by social norms and for deviating from the average type. Durkheim argues that deviance is normal in society and that crime is just one kind of deviance. He says

    "there cannot be a society in which the individuals do not differ more or less from the collective type, it is also inevitable that, among these divergences, there are some with a criminal character. What confers this character upon them is not the intrinsic quality of a given act but that definition which the collective conscience lends them."

    Macionis and Plummer define crime as "the violation of norms a society formally enacts into criminal law"

    See Durkheim on crime, especially The Division of Labour, Book one, chapter two

    Macionis and Plummer define deviance as "the recognised violation of cultural norms". That is, they argue that a deviation from a cultural norm that is not responded to as deviance, is not deviance.

    Again, see Durkheim on crime

    Phil Bartle says that

    "The difference between deviance and crime is that crime is a social deviance for which a law has been passed to forbid it, and for the state to punish someone who breaks the taboo."

    The following extract from an essay by Nilufer Demirci illustrates the difference between crime and deviance.

    " Suicide is usually seen as deviance, as going against the norms of society. In most countries it is not, however, nowadays, a crime. Suicide once thought of as a crime has evolved with society to now being decriminalised in today's secular society."

    What Americans thought was deviant in 1965

    Homosexuals: 49% mentioned - Drug addicts: 47% mentioned - Alcoholics 46% mentioned - Prostitutes 27% mentioned - Murderers 22% mentioned - Criminals 18% mentioned - Lesbians 13% mentioned - Juvenile delinquents 13% mentioned - Beatniks 12% mentioned - Mentally ill 12% mentioned - Perverts 12% mentioned - Communists 10% mentioned - Atheists 10% mentioned - Political extremists 10% mentioned. (Simmons, J. L. Autumn 1965)

    Doubly deviant

    "We regard men as "naturally" violent, women as non-violent; but when they are violent we look for reasons to explain why we punish them, not only for their violence but also for transgressing their sexual identity." (Blurb for Ann Lloyd's Doubly Deviant, Doubly Damned: Society's treatment of violent women 1995.

    "those who are 'doubly deviant' ... have committed a criminal act and they are deemed to be mentally abnormal" (Rogers and Pilgrim 2010, pages 213-214)

    Statistical deviation See Deviance

    Statistical deviation is the deviation of a set of data from its average (mean). The average (which can be regarded as the normal) represents the mid-point of the data, the deviation represents how spread out the data is.

    Karl Pearson wrote

    "Now we shall define a deviation to be the amount by which any individual differs in a given character from the type. Here the type may be measured by the mode or the mean, usually we take deviations from the mean." (Pearson, K. 1892/1900 , p.385)

    Francis Galton, in 1877, spoke of the produce of peas of the same class which

    "deviated normally on either side of their own mean weight"

    Pearson introduced Standard Deviation as his measure of it in 1893

    Read "How deviant am I?" by Erik Cobo and Michael J. Campbell in Significance 22.11.2012


    White-collar crime

    Non-violent, especially financial crime.

    Edwin Sutherland 1949: (White Collar Crime)

    "White collar crime may be defined approximately as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (p. 9)

    Edwin Sutherland 1939: (White-Collar Criminality)

    Speech concluded with the following five points:

  • White-collar criminality is real criminality, being in all cases in violation of the criminal law.

  • White-collar criminality differs from lower-class criminality principally in an implementation of the criminal law, which segregates white-collar criminals administratively from other criminals.

  • The theories of the criminologists that crime is due to poverty or to psychopathic and sociopathic conditions statistically associated with poverty are invalid because, first, they are derived from samples which are grossly biased with respect to socioeconomic status; second, they do not apply to the white-collar criminals; and third, they do not even explain the criminality of the lower class, since the factors are not related to a general process characteristic of all criminality.

  • A theory of criminal behavior which will explain both white-collar criminality and lower-class criminality is needed.

  • A hypothesis of this nature is suggested in terms of differential association and social disorganisation.

    See Subject Index Crime

    Criminal Law

    Civil Law

    "Most systems of law distinguish between civil and criminal proceedings. Civil proceedings are taken in order to assist individuals to recover property or enforce obligations in their favour. Criminal proceedings are taken to suppress crime and punish criminals, and are under the control of the state" (Kiralfy, A.K.R. 1954/1960 p.9)

    Offences and punishment

    One of the meanings of the word offence given by the Oxford English Dictionary is: "a breach of law, rules, duty, propriety, or etiquette; an illegal act, a transgression, a sin, a wrong, a misdemeanour, a misdeed; a fault.

    Bentham says the idea of punishment presupposes the idea of offence: punishment, as such, not being inflicted but in consideration of offence.

    He later divides "sanctions" (punishments broadly defined) into four. The first are consequence of one's own negligence (perhaps falling over and hurting oneself?). The second are "punishments" (narrowly defined) inflicted by the law - in response to the offenses we might call crimes. The third are moral punishments such as declining to help someone because you do not approve of what they have done. The fourth are religious punishments.


    The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest example of criminology (1872, USA) is rather similar to the definition of criminalist as an authority in criminal law in a 1900 Dictionary.

    Criminology is the "study of crime and criminals.. as an academic discipline" (Oxford Dictionary)

    In Italy, the terms criminology - positive criminology and classical criminology were generated together in the last quarter of the 19th century in the writings of Cesare Lombroso and his colleagues, including Raffaele Garofalo and Enrico Ferri.

    Garofalo's Criminologia (1885) was translated into French as La Criminologie in 1887 and into English as Criminology in 1914

    Ferri's lectures in 1885 do not use the term criminology (He had written of "Criminal Sociology" in 1884), but contrast classical and positive schools.

    The idea of criminology as the "study of crime and criminals.. as an academic discipline" (Oxford Dictionary) is clear in the lectures of Ferri in 1901, which contrast the classical school with the positive school of criminology.

    Classical criminology

    In this case, the word classical appears to mean no more than the older, established, set of ideas, contrasted with the newer set of ideas (positivism) that are replacing them. A similar use is in referring to classical economics.

    In Italy, classical criminology is traced back to Cesare Beccaria and positive criminology is traced back to Cesare Lombroso. Ferri in 1885 says that the classical school used an "a-priori" method of abstract reasoning to relate the offence to the penalty. It did not deal with the real offender as such. The positive school began with the study of facts and was concerned to find the "natural causes" of crime as well as effective remedies "natural and legal" for it.

    See Positive criminology


    Descriptive and Critical
    Expositor and Censor

    See Critical thinking - Also weblinks

    See Critical related to crisis

    Considering Law as a social ("moral") science, Jeremy Bentham said

    "To the ... Expositor it belongs to explain to us what, as he supposes, the Law is: to ... the Censor, to observe to us what he thinks it ought to be. The former, therefore, is principally occupied in stating, or in enquiring after facts: the latter, in discussing reasons."

    Exposition describes something and may also explains or interpret it.

    Censorship comes from a Latin word for giving an opinion, rating or assessing. The Censor in Ancient Rome was someone who compiled censuses of its citizens and supervised public morals.

    Bentham's distinction between exposition and censorship is similar to the distinction between being descriptive and being critical.

    Critical theory See Critical

    The ancestry of critical theory has been traced from Rousseau, through Kant and Hegel, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

    The term critical theory is usually applied to the work of members of the Frankfurt School - notably Max Horkheimer (1895-1973) - Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) - Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) and Jurgen Habermas (born 1929). Other theorists associated with the Frankfurt School include Friedrich [or Frederich] Pollock, Leo Lowenthal, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm (1900-1980) and Franz Neumann (1900-1954)

    See also Zygmunt Bauman

    Max Horkheimer's essay "Critical and traditional theory" introduced the term critical theory in 1937

    Critical theory was opposed to traditional positivist science whose goal, he argued, is pure knowledge. Critical theory, on the other hand, was committed to emancipation.

    Emancipation means setting free. As well as being applied to the setting free of slaves, it is applied to a child growing up and becoming free from the control of his or her parents. Horkheimer relates his belief that the goal of freedom should be part of social theory to the 1784 essay by Immanuel Kant called What is Enlightenment? which explains the whole process of modern knowledge as one in which humanity grows up and takes control of its own destiny, morally and scientifically.

    In particular, Horkheimer identifies "positivism" and "pragmatism" as two important schools of traditional theory. His reason for singling out these two scientific theories of knowledge is that

    "Among the various philosophical schools it is the Positivists and the Pragmatists who apparently pay most attention to the connections between theoretical work and the social life-process."

    Horkheimer did not think that social theory could be separated from the society in which it developed. So it was a good point about positivism and pragmatism that they related theoretical work and the social life-process.

    However, the way that pragmatism and positivism related themselves to the existing society was not critical of the present society. They accepted its goals and science served to achieve them. Horkheimer believed that a criticism based on human values should be an intrinsic feature of the relationship between social theory as a critique and the society it operates in.

    See (Swingewood, A. 2000, p. 131) and Horkheimer's essay

    Earlier, in 1930, Horkheimer had redefined Marx's "historical materialism" as a critique rather than a science and argued for the reintegration of philosophy with social science. (Swingewood, A. 2000, p. 131)

    Critical theory, as defined by Horkheimer, is therefore critical of interpretations of marxism that make it a science, and of sociology that understands itself as positivist science.

    In Reason and Revolution (1941/1955), Herbert Marcuse (a critical theorist) used the term negative philosophy for the kind of critique that critical theory thought should be at the centre of social theory. He argued that positivist philosophy (positivism), as developed by Saint Simon and Comte had tried to remove critical element from social theory that had been present in the work of theorists such as Rousseau, Kant and Hegel. Marcuse says:

    " Hegel's critical and rational standards, and especially his dialectic, had to come into conflict with the prevailing social reality. For this reason, his system could well be called a negative philosophy, the name given to it by its contemporary opponents. To counteract its destructive tendencies, there arose, in the decade following Hegel's death, a positive philosophy which undertook to subordinate reason to the authority of established fact." (Marcuse 1941/1945, p.vii)


    Crisis, from a Greek word for decision, originally (1543) entered English as a medical term for the turning point of a disease in which it was decided whether the victim would die or recover. Something is critical if it relates to a crisis.

    Astrologers (1603) then used it to refer to a time when an unfortunate conjunction of the planets interfered with the normal influence the stars and heavenly bodies were believed to have on human affairs, bringing about the turning point in disease or a turning point in human affairs.

    It was used about a political turning point in 1628 and about the economic problems following banks failing in the early 19th century.

    crisis as re formation

    According to Saint-Simon and Comte, founders of the new (in the nineteenth century) science of "sociology", their society was in transition, it was re-forming itself. This was what the "revolutionary crisis which is tormenting the civilised nations of the world" [1830- 1853] was all about.

    Society was outgrowing its old clothes and making new ones to fit it. But as it was society itself that was being changed, Thomas Carlyle (1831) said that the clothes maker was being re-made.

    The Crisis was seen as a transition from one form of society to another and Robert Owen launched a penny paper in 1832 called The Crisis. Or the change from error and misery to truth and happiness

    "It is now evident to every one who observes passing events, and who reflects upon the new public opinion which is arising through out the various Nations of the World, that some great Change in the condition of man, either for good or for evil, is about to take place - in fact, that a momentous Crisis is at hand. Be it our task to discern the signs of the times - to watch the progress of this Crisis, and to direct it for good instead of evil. For good and evil, in a pre-eminent degree, are now before the world; and it cannot longer defer making a choice whether it shall adopt general measures to attain and secure the former, or to ensure a continuance and increase of the latter. "

    In the Communist Manifesto of 1848 Marx and Engels wrote about commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on trial. They followed Owen in seeing these crises as the result of "over-production" (meaning producing more than would sell - not producing more than was needed). Marx and Engels argued that, for "many a decade", "productive forces" had been "in revolt" against the "conditions of production". Crisis was the result of what they called a contradiction in the conditions of modern production. (paragraph 3.1b.4).

    Some crises since 1945

    1947 - 1970: The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology - 1972 moral panic - 1973 The Fiscal Crisis of the State - 1973 Legitimation Crisis - 1978 Policing the Crisis - 1984 Accumulation Crisis - 2008 - 2010 After the Crisis - 2014 Sociology and the Global Economics Crisis

    Dowling and Harvie 2014 say that the world is now undergoing a "multi-faceted, global crisis". with three facets (aspects): a crisis of capital accumulation - a crisis of social reproduction - and a fiscal crisis of the state. I think the crisis of over-production identified by Owen and Marx and Engels fits in with capital accumulation - the fiscal crisis concept relates back to James O'Connor's The Fiscal Crisis of the State. The crisis of social reproduction relates to society requiring to keep quiet about how much unpaid labour it depends on.

    These three crises are the real, or basic, crises of Dowling and Harvie's analysis. The moral crisis, or moral panic, that they identify is important, but it is a "displacement" of attention.

    "'Broken Britain served as a rhetorical device with which to identify and decry a moral crisis exemplified by ... figures deemed responsible for the situation - 'feral youth', 'benefit-scroungers','greedy bankers' and 'tax-dodgers' " (Dowling and Harvie 2014 p.872)

    cultural: relating to culture or the cultivation of the mind and behaviour. The cultural system is distinguished from the biological - personality - and social systems by Talcott Parsons.

    Culture   See cultural system as part of human reality and cultural constructs. Our culture, of which language is only a part, provides us with relatively fixed sets of symbols to understand the world.

    Culture comes from cultivation. The idea of tending crops was applied to the education of people. Then, in the 19th century, people spoke of a society's culture, meaning (at first) the level of mental achievement the society had achieved, and then the way of life, language, ideas, religion, arts and sciences of a society or group.

    In 1871, Edward Burnett Tylor's Primitive Culture said:
    "'Culture' is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society"

    Culture changes over time and differs from society to society. Tylor argued that the similarities and differences between cultures could both be explained by scientific laws.

    "The condition of culture among the various societies of mankind is a subject apt for the study of laws of human thought and action. On the one hand, the uniformity which so largely pervades civilisation may be ascribed, in great measure, to the uniform action of uniform causes; while on the other hand its various grades may be regarded as stages of development or evolution, each the outcome of previous history, and about to do its proper part in shaping the history of the future" Tylor, E.B. 1871, v.1, p.1)

    Culture and society: In 1817 Saint Simon distinguished between political or social systems and philosophic systems. His idea of philosophic system was probably as broad as Tylor's description of culture. (See L'Industrie). Following Saint Simon, social theorists have attempted, in different ways, to relate the development of cultures to the development of social systems.

    The politicization of 'culture' by Susan Wright (1998) describes the history of the concept and some current political uses. Clicking on the title should take you to a copy on The Royal Anthropological Society's web site. (Another copy)

    Culture is one of Parsons' four sub-systems of human action. The cultural system specialises in the function of pattern-maintenance.

    Words related to culture:

    Tradition The word tradition comes from a word for gift. It is something that is handed down to us, a gift from the past. Traditional beliefs of customs have existed for a long time.

    Max Weber calls tradition the "eternal yesterday". He says it is

    "the authority of the "eternal yesterday", i.e. of the mores sanctified through the unimaginably ancient recognition and habitual orientation to conform."

    In modern society, traditional beliefs or assumptions may be seen as everyday common sense, or they may be seen as old-fashioned.

    Precedent A yielding to what has gone before. In law, a precedent is a judicial decision that becomes a source of law for later cases of a similar kind.

    Zeitgeist mid 19th century german word from Zeit time and Geist spirit. It means the spirit of the age. It is about movement in culture and society: the trend of thought or feeling in a period. This can be seen, for example, in the simultaneous, but independent development of similar themes in literature and art. The spirit of the laws refers more to cross-cultural comparison.

    World-view or Weltanschauung. See Wikipedia




    Cultural goals and institutionalised norms and cultural ideals

    Robert Merton says that two elements of social and cultural structures are of immediate importance:

    1) "culturally defined goals, purposes and interests, held out as legitimate objectives" for members of a society. "They are the things 'worth striving for'".

    2) Regulatory norms acceptable in achieving these goals. Many procedures which from the standpoint of the individuals would be most efficient in securing desired values - the exercise of force, fraud, power - are ruled out of the institutional area of permitted conduct.

    Together, we might consider the goals and norms of a society as its ideals. The ideals of different societies differ, and to explain why people behave in any particular way we need to consider, amongst other things, the cultural ideals of the society they belong to.


    Does the "American Dream" define the culturally defined goals of the United States?

    Is "equality of opportunity" a political and cultural ideal in the United Kingdom. If so, how does ideal relate to reality?

    How does goal attainment relate to politics?

    Is the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen a cultural ideal for France and/or the world?

    Is Islam a cultural ideal?

    Can ideals and social structures conflict? What happens if they do?

    Elite and popular cultures

    Cultural studies

    From the early nineteenth century a more specialised meaning for culture developed in which culture meant a refinement of mind, tastes, and manners. Matthew Arnold spoke of the "great men of culture" and the trade unionist Emanuel Shinwell asked "of what use is culture to a labourer?"

    The distinction between elite and popular culture arose from this concept of culture being extended from what the most highly educated participated in to what everyday people enjoyed.

    Work on what we now call popular culture was carried out in the folk lore tradition by Iona and Peter Opie, after the second world war, reporting on children's rhymes and games in the playground.

    In October 1952, Roland Barthes compared popular, and very down-market, French and USA wrestling matches to the classical Greek theatre:

    "Even hidden in the most squalid Parisian halls, wrestling partakes of the nature of the great solar spectacles, Greek drama and bullfights"

    In England in 1957, Richard Hoggart published The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of working-class life, with special reference to publications and entertainments

    In the same year, Barthes, in Paris, published a collection of his articles in a book called Mythologies which analysed not only wrestling, but film haircuts, detergent advertisements (psychoanalysed), Charlie Chaplin films, common features of the defence of the social order and margarine advertisements, Elle magazine on the children of women novelists, children's toys, tastes in food, Parisian striptease (not sexy like amateur striptease), the 1957 Citroen car, the use of photographs on election manifestos, the new plastics, and similar items as items of culture. There is only one mention of television (considered as an aspect of electoral photography) in Mythologies, which is basically about pre-television popular culture, but Barthes was interviewed about it on television after publication.

    Inaugurating the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University in 1963, Richard Hoggart, criticised the narrowness of the way English literature was taught in schools and suggested a broadening to what he "provisionally called Literature and Contemporary Cultural Studies".

    Hoggart was impressed by a book called The Popular Arts by Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel that was published in 1964 and, in 1968, Hall was appointed as the Director of the Centre. ( Norma Schulman's intellectual history)

    See Stuart Hall on the popular


    A cultural group or class within a larger culture, especially one having beliefs, interests or customs, at variance with those of the larger culture. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 1997)

    Fan - fandom - fan mail - fanzine

    A fan is an enthusiast for a particular person or thing. Celebrities have fans. So do football teams and comics (manga) and animations anime. The fan community is known as a fandom

    Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom.

    Cultural heritage

    Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.

    Tangible heritage includes buildings and historic places, monuments, artifacts, etc., which are considered worthy of preservation for the future (UNESCO)

    Intangible cultural heritage, also known as 'living heritage', refers to the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills transmitted by communities from generation to generation. (UNESCO)

    Custom See Culture and Norms

    A habitual or usual practice; a common way of behaving; usage, fashion, habit. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Data Set and Database See Big Data and data banks and Cyberspace

    A data set is a collection of data. Quite often this is arranged in a table. You may be quite used to entering numerical data into a spreadsheet on a computer.

    In computing, dataset usually refers to data selected and arranged in rows and columns for processing by statistical software. A database is an organised collection of data. It has been described as a container for datasets.

    Geoffrey Bowker has said that

    " Perhaps the most powerful technology - if only in English we could remove from the word technology its purely material dimension (Foucault's untranslatable 'dispositifs techniques' are better) - in our control of the world and each other over the past two hundred years has been the development of the database. Starting with the rise of statistics ... and the role of the archives commissioners in the 1830s through to the present, we find the ability to order information about entities into lists using classifications as a contemporary key to both state and scientific power. Databases are not a product of the computer revolution; if anything the computer revolution is product of the drive to database" (Bowker, G.C. 2005 p.108)

    Compare with Manuel Castells

    Very large collections of data are known as big data

    Data that is available for anyone to use is known as open data

    Small data In April 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation called on us all to forget big data because small data is the real revolution

    Data Revolution

    "New technologies are leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available, creating unprecedented possibilities for informing and transforming society and protecting the environment. Governments, companies, researchers and citizen groups are in a ferment of experimentation, innovation and adaptation to the new world of data, a world in which data are bigger, faster and more detailed than ever before. This is the data revolution." (A World that Counts November 2014)

    Big Data

    Very large quantities of (statistical and other?) data created in the digital age by computers. Very large collections of data sets was officially launched in January 2010 - See Wikipedia - It includes links to Social Trends

    2014 Big Data and Society: "Google Trends reveals that ... in 2007 almost nobody was searching the Internet for 'big data'. It was only towards the very end of 2010 that the term began to register, just ahead of an explosion of interest from 2011 onwards."

    Your recent Amazon purchases, Tweet score and location history make you 23.5.% welcome here (Thierry Gregorius 16.6.2011)

    Moving beyond "analytics, algorithms, volume, and velocity", Big Data and Society "provides a space for connecting debates on how Big Data Practices are reconfiguring academic, social, industry, business and government relations, expertise, methods, concepts and knowledge. Rather than settling on a definition, the journal makes Big Data an object of interdisciplinary inquiry and debate, explored through studies of a variety of topics and themes."

    Volume: Data as we knew it was organsied into tables by individuals. Big data is created by machines, networks and human interaction on systems like social media. The quantity (volume) to be analysed is massive.

    Velocity The pace at which data flows in from sources.

    Statisticans become data analysts Vincent Granville wrote on 24.7.2014: "Many professionals who were called statisticians 10 years ago, have seen their job title changed to data scientist or analyst in the last few years." (16 analytic disciplines compared to data science)

    Big Data Explained in Less Than 2 Minutes - To Absolutely Anyone by Bernard Marr.

    A Brief History of Big Data by Bernard Marr.

    "big data and its associated algorithmic techniques are bringing about 'the end of theory' and disciplinary expertise" Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine 23.6.2008 quoted by Ben Williamson 10.2.2014

    Open Data

    See Wikipedia: open data

    A brief definition of open data given by the Open Knowledge Foundation is:

    "Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose." Open Knowledge Foundation blog

    Link to the Open Knowledge Foundation website.

    Open data is more than just data that is freely available.


    If things or people degenarate, they get worse in some way.

    If you say someone is degenerate, or a degenerate, you mean they behave in an immoral or disgusting way. Behaviour like this is called degeneracy. (Collins Plain English Dictionary).

    Degeneration Theory Dissolution

    Used by E. H. Ackernecht, (1959 ch.7) for a theory that the human race is in danger of deteriorating morally and physically and that this is demonstrated by the hereditary transmission of insanity. Ackernecht says the "theory of degeneration" was "formulated by J. Moreau de Tours (1804-1884) who since 1850" had been arguing that causal explanations of insanity should be sought in "a multiform hereditary predisposition which could, for example, account also for scrofula and rickets". Such predispositions could be recognised by "stigmata" (body signs). The fully blown degeneration theory was developed by Benedict Augustin Morel [See 1857]. Also Rousseau 1755 and atavism

    Degenerate art (Entartete Kunst) was the art typified by the exhibits at the exhibition of degenerate art in Munich in 1937. Most of what is thought of as "modern art" was included. Hitler spoke of these artists as people who

    "see in the shapes of our people only decayed cretins; who feel that meadows are blue, the heavens green, clouds sulfur-yellow".
    He said that

    "these art-stammerings of the last few decades were ... like the achievements that might have been produced by untalented children". "It probably is not as developed as the art of the Stone Age period, when people scratched pictures of their environment on the walls of caves." "They talk of primitive art, but they forget that it is not the function of art to retreat backward... The function of art can only be to symbolize the vitality of this development." The "type of human, which we saw last year during the Olympic games" ... exuded "proud physical strength", but the "prehistoric art-stutterers" manufacture "deformed cripples and cretins, women who inspire only disgust, men who are more like wild beasts, children who, if they were alive, would be regarded as God's curse!".

    They would not be publicly displayed in Germany, and if their disorder turned out to be hereditary, the Ministry of the Interior would "deal with the problem of preventing the perpetuation of such horrid disorders". If their art was just "attempting to annoy the nation", it would be "a matter for a criminal court".

    Dissolution See Degeneration Theory and Evolution

    In Herbert Spencer's theory of evolution and dissolution, everything that exists is either coming into being and developing or breaking down and going away.

    Gypsy with self-respect Gypsy humiliated.





    The words listed along with degradation, above, are associated with it by Erving Goffman, who says that, on becoming inmates in prisons or mental hospitals, we begin: "a series of abasements, degradations, humiliations, and profanations of self" in which "self is systematically, if often unintentionally mortified". This process "begins some radical shifts" in our beliefs about ourself and people who matter to us.

    Degrade literally means to lower in grade or rank, but it commonly implies a lowering or corrupting of moral standards, and/or of self respect, as in "the degrading aspects of prison life".

    All the words Goffman associates, relate to intense feelings. If someone is degraded by an experience, they feel less human and less respectable as a result. If you are mortified, you feel great shame or embarrassment. If you are humiliated, you are made to feel stupid or ashamed.

    They also relate to a lowering of social status. To abase is to lower, humiliate and/or degrade. And to how people treat us: To profane (in this context) is to abuse or defile rather than treat with respect.

    They relate to how we feel about ourselves and how other people feel about us, and they relate in a corresponding way to how much control we have, or are allowed, over our lives.

    Goffman argues that our conception of self is made possible by the stable arrangements in our social world. If this world is changed we may be forced to change our concept of ourselves. Garfinkle and Goffman argued that there are degradation and mortification processes that we can be subjected to which try to bring about such changes.

    Status degradation ceremony See stigmatisation

    During the McCarthy period in the United States, alleged communists were interrogated and denounced before committees of the Senate and House of Representatives. This process was contrasted unfavourably with the procedures courts followed. Shortly after the downfall of McCarthy, but whilst hearings continued, an American sociologist, Harold Garfinkel, published an article on "Conditions of Successful Degradation Ceremonies", saying:

    "Any communicative work between persons, whereby the public identity of an actor is transformed into something looked on as lower in the local scheme of social types, will be called a "status degradation ceremony."

    With Goffman's assistance, Garfinkel created a concept of status degradation ceremony that included the courts and congressional committees and which Goffman could apply to procedures in prisons, mental hospitals and other total institutions.


    Democracy is one of the six forms of Government analysed by the Greek philosopher/scientist Aristotle. He divided forms of government into two groups according to whether they were in the interest of the people or the interest of the rulers. Each group was then divided into three according to whether the rulers were one, a few, or many.

    See Aristotle's table

    For most of Western history, democracy has been considered a bad form of government that made it difficult for politicians to act in the common good. Today, democracy tends to be considered a good form of government in that it encourages politicians to act in the common good. A useful exercise would be to think about what made the difference.

    Demography See also statistics

    Ed Stephan (11/12.1995) says "Demography is the study of population: its size, growth, geographic distribution, social and economic composition, and anything which might influence or be influenced by such variables."

    Stephan says that John Graunt (1620-1674)' Observations on the Bills of Mortality, published in 1662, "gave birth to demography"

    Dependent - Dependant - Dependency See also autonomous

    Dependent means relying on. A dependant is someone who relies on another for support.

    Depression - Melancholy - Misery - Sadness - Grief

    All these words describe emotions.

    If you are sad, you are unhappy.

    Strong emotions can lead to tears (crying). Usually this is associated with sadness, but one can also have tears of joy.

    Grief is extreme sadness, often associated with loss, particularly the loss of someone who dies.

    Depression is a state of deep sadness. A 1900 dictionary describes depression as

    "a sinking of the spirits; dejection, a low state of strength; a state of debility, a state of dulness or inactivity"

    Depression (previously called melancholy) is also used to describe a state considered as a mental illness

    See Mental Health History Words: melancholy - depression

    1621 First edition of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy. What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics and several cures of it... Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically opened and cut up.

    To depress is to press down. Physically a depression can refer to a sunken place in the ground or a weather system with low pressure, often accompanied by rain. Economically a depression is a period of low economic activity, a slump. Emotionally a depression is a period of low spirits.

    UK National Health Service: Distinguishes between low mood and depression

    Anxiety is often linked to depression.

    Postnatal depression is depression after childbirth. It is also called postpartum depression. See Wikipedia. Perinatal depression is depression that happens any time from becoming pregnant to one year after a baby is born.

    Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - external link


    If you desire something, you want it. Desire is wanting. Perhaps the Latin origin of the English word means [want to bring] "down from the stars".

    See Stephanie Allfree and the starlight years.

    In Greek the word thessasthae means to desire or call, and this has been linked to prayer to God by theologians and to erotic fantasies by artists.

    In the Hebrew creation story, a tree stands in the middle of the garden whose fruits yield wisdom and the knowledge of morality, are good for food and pleasent to the eye, making those who eat them "as gods", but also revealing the body's nakedness and bringing sorrow, shame and death. Eve, the mother of all, desires it and, after she eats it, childbirth becomes inextricably linked to labour pain and women become subject to male rule.


    Necessity and freedom Determinism and Voluntarism

    The word determine has many meanings. One that is important for social theorists is when it means to make something happen - to force something to happen. In this sense, we can distinguish between other- determination when something other than our choice makes us do something and self-determination when we choose to do it.

    Determine used on its own usually means that we have no choice in the matter. Blumer, for example, says

    "From the standpoint of symbolic interaction, social organisation is a framework inside of which acting units develop their actions. Structural features, such as 'culture', 'social systems', 'social stratification', or 'social roles', set conditions for their action but do not determine their action." (H. Blumer, 1969, Symbolic Interactionism, p. 88).

    Here "determine their action" means force them to do something. Blumer maintains that we (the "acting units") retain freedom about how we interpret the symbols that culture provides, and what we do in response to a situation. Determination can be contrasted with agency


    "Determinism is the belief that everything that happens is the result of other things which have already happened, and so people's choices are already made for them" (Plain English Dictionary)
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz 2008
    sociologists confront genetic determinism and essentialism

    Development See Evolution

    Like evolution, development refers to a process of unfolding. Development tends to be used for the unfolding of individuals or economies, evolution for the unfolding of all things, of life in general, or of whole societies and cultures.

    In his first book (1893), Durkheim studied the

    " steadily growing development of the division of labour in society"

    Theories of individual development within society are likely to include elements of biological development, psychological development and socialisation

    Just as theorists of evolution have suggested stages through which society evolves, so theorists have suggested stages of individual human development. William Shakespeare's seven ages of man is a well known example.

    Durkheim's theories of child development distinguished three stage: development within the family, within the school and within society. Each of these three stages is, however, part of society. Durkheim's developmental studies were built on in the "developmental psychology" of Jean Piaget and the sociology of Talcott Parsons. Both Piaget and Parsons attempted to integrate the social development described by Durkheim with the personality development described by Sigmund Freud.

    Economic development

    Terms like economic development, underdevelopment, and developing countries, were created during the twentieth century. They became especially important after the second world war (See President Truman's inaugural address in 1949)


    To recover is to be restored to a former, usual, or correct state. Recovery is a path of improvement or development after a path of deterioration or degeneration. However, someone or something that has never previously been in the desirable state will still be spoken of as recovering if they improve.

    Economic recovery

    Economic historians argue that there are cycles in economic development. Periods of economic crisis are followed by economic recovery.

    Recovery - self- development and self-help

    Historic roots of self-help and self-development are in self-knowledge

    Recovery means getting better. Self-development means to improve one's condition. Self-help in the nineteenth century referred to individual self-reliance, but in more recent times has referred to groups of people who share a condition helping each other. Some of these groups have also called themselves recovery groups

    Recovery and self-management

    Beyond help

    Disability, mental distress and learning difficulty have their positive aspects, but they are generally experienced as problems. (See disability)

    At times in history, disabled and mentally disordered people have been divided into the curable and incurable or the educatable and the ineducatable. For those who are incurable or ineducatable, there is no hope of improvement. To be considered such could mean to be "written off" by society, to be shut away in institutions, and to be considered worthless.

    The recovery and the normalisation movements

    However, history provides many examples of people thought mentally ill or handicapped who have revolted against being written off.

    The recovery movement and the normalisation movement regard recovery and self-development as inter-active issues that involve changes in society and other people as much as they involve the person. We are victims of social disability as much as we are victims of our own inabilities.

    Dialectic a Raymond Williams keyword See Dialogue

    The dialectical method is based on an analysis of the way thought moves in conversation when it is seeking truth. A thought is put forward. It describes reality inadequately. The inadequate thought generates its own negation or contradiction. We are confronted with two opposing thoughts, but this conflict is resolved (transcended) by a new thought that somehow unites the two opposing thoughts in a new, more adequate, representation.

    Many words used in social science evolved from the word dialogue. These include dialectic and discourse. Whilst the original meaning of dialogue is a conversation between two or more people, social theorists sometimes extend the meaning to cover an interaction between things in which the nature of each alters, as in the "dialogue between cultural and material reality".

    External link Wikipedia on Dialogic

    Discourse See episteme - and the discursive

    The general meaning is dialogue, conversation.

    The kinds of dialogues or conversations we have provide us with a shape to our world. Our understanding of who we are can be undermined by someone who appears to use our language, but alters its meaning. Roy Porter wrote (1987)

    " The writings of the mad challenge the discourses of the normal"

    This reflects the idea of Michel Foucault in Madness and Civilisation that sanity and madness are separate conversations that only communicate with difficulty.

    See how discourse relates to the idea of self

    Building on this idea of separate language worlds, Foucault, and social theorist generally, have used the word discourse to describe whole structures of thought within which discussion takes place (see also ideology). Feminism, for example, might be described as a discourse or a set of discourses. The idea is that there are structures of thought that are not rigid dogmas, but which guide the thinker and close off options.

    Lois Shawver roots Michel Foucault's use of the word discourse in a quote from Archaeology of Knowledge (page 138)

    "Archaeology tries to define not the thoughts, representations, images, themes, preoccupations that are concealed or revealed in discourses; but those discourses themselves, those discourses as practices obeying certain rules."

    Foucault uses different words for structures of ideas. Alain Grosrichard lists episteme - knowledge - discursive formations - apparatuses - and disciplines (See p.196 in Foucault 1980)

    Here is Foucault's definition of episteme (the Greek word means knowledge);

    "I would define the episteme retrospectively as the strategic apparatus which permits of separating out from among all the statements which are possible those that will be acceptable within, I won't say a scientific theory, but a field of scientificity, and which it is possible to say are true or false. The episteme is the 'apparatus' which makes possible the separation, not of the true from the false, but of what may from what may not be characterised as scientific" ( Foucault 1980 p.197)

    The discursive means the field of discourse. See Stuart Hall for a use of the phrase. It should not be confused with being discursive, which means rambling in one's discourse.

    Discursive practice Term used by Foucault in The Archaeology of Knowledge for "a body of anonymous, historical rules, always determined in the time and space that have defined a given period, and for a given social, economic, geographical, or linguistic area, the conditions of operation of the enunciative function" (p.117).


    Michel Foucault (22.2.1969) writes of "founders of discursivity". These are writers who "have created the possibility for something other than their own course, yet something belonging to what they founded". His examples are Marx and Freud. Frank Pearce argues that Durkheim was another example.

    Discuss - Confer - Consult

    Consult To ask for advice.

    The word comes from gathering together and dictionaries refer back to the Latin phrase consulere senatum "to gather the senate" (to ask for advice)


    The Diaspora, from Greek for "sowing amongst", is a term for Jews being dispersed amongst non-Jewish nations and a term for all Jews who live outside the biblical land of Israel. A diaspora can also to any body of people living outside their traditional homeland.

    A diaspora is created if the people dispersed maintain their identity in some way. Much of the population of the northern kingdom of Isreal is said to have been moved about 722BC, but a Jewish dispora was not created as they did not retain their identity as Jews. The Diaspora appears to have followed with the exile of Jews from the southern kingdom of Judea to Babylonia after the destruction of the first Temple of Jerusalem in 586 BC. In the following centuries, the number of Jews living in the Diaspora was greater than that Israel (Judea).

    The destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in AD70 and the defeat of Simon bar Kokhba in 135 were important further events in the creation of the Diaspora. Folowing the sack of Jerusalem, Jews were dispersed even more widely throughout the Roman world and beyond.

    See Shekhinah

    At the time of Josephus, there was a large jewish community in the homeland around Jerusalem (Palestine) and in Babylonia (Babylon) [see Talmud], what was then Syria (especially Antioch and Damascus) and Egypt (especially Alexandria).


    To differentiate is to become (or to make something) different or specialised.

    The word is used by Herbert Spencer (1864) in his The Principles of Biology when he describes the "differentiation of functions" in the development of an organism. This is the process that leads to different parts of the animal or plant doing different things.

    See the extracts from Spencer and compare with Parsons

    In the early 1950s, Robert Freed Bales and Philip Slater (colleagues of Talcott Parsons) made studies of small groups in which they showed how members of the groups developed different roles within the group. This was reported as "Role Differentiation in Small Decision-Making Groups". Morris Zelditch (another colleague of Parsons) compared families in different societies to show similar specialisation of mother and father figures. This was reported as "Role Differentiation in the Nuclear Family: A comparative study". (See Parsons, T. and Bales, F.B. 1955)

    In The Social System (1951) Talcott Parsons says (paragraph 1.54) that his main concerns are

  • the categorisations of the structure of social systems

  • the modes of structural differentiation within such systems

  • the ranges of variability with reference to each structural category between systems

    Which may mean that he wants to create a theoretical system for analysing social systems into their parts, to theorise about the way in which parts become different, and to examine in different social systems how much the different parts can vary. The process of differentiation may be what is often called the division of labour within a social system

    In the following passage (paragraph 1.54) he talks of the "differential consequences for the system of two or more alternative outcomes of a dynamic process". This may mean that he is considering the effects on the social division of labour within a system of particular changes to and within the system. He says these consequences should be looked at in terms of whether they maintain stability in the system, promote change, or disrupt the system.

    In "The School Class as a Social System: Some of its Functions in American Society" (1959) Parsons argued that the family differentiates its children on the basis of their sexual biology. By the time the children go to school they have the personalities and social roles of being a girl or a boy. These, however are the only roles that they have learnt. Other roles are differentiated (separated) by what happens at school. It is what happens at school for example, that largely decides if the child will become a professional like a doctor, or a skilled manual worker, or an unskilled labourer.

    Parsons concluded that

    "the main process of differentiation (which from another point of view is selection) that occurs during elementary school takes place on a single main axis of achievement. Broadly, moreover, the differentiation leads up through high school to a bifurcation into college-goers and non- college-goers" (Parsons, 1959/1964 p.133)
    This means that school divides pupils into those who will go to college afterwards and those who will not go to college. It does this on the basis of their achievements rather than who they are. As Parsons also says,
    "completion of high school is increasingly coming to be the norm for minimum satisfactory educational attainment, and the most significant line for future occupational status has come to be drawn between members of an age-cohort who do and do not go to college." (Parsons, 1959/1964 p.131)

    Dimension or dimensions See figure

    From the word for measure. In geometry it is a measurement of space, such as length, breadth, area and volume. Dimensions are thought of geometrically as ways in which a line could be extended: the line is one dimension; extended to form a surface, such as a circle or square, it becomes two dimensions, extended to form a solid, such as a cube or sphere, it becomes three dimensions.

    A point does not have any dimensions
    A line has one dimension

    A square is a surface and has two dimensions

    A cube is a solid and has three dimensions

    Dimension can refer to the size of something abstract as in "the dimensions of the recession were not anticipated" or to an attribute of something abstract, as in "the sociological dimension of this issue is not clear".

    Herbert Marcuse wrote about "One-Dimensional Man" when he wanted to infer that modern society impoverishes our experience and humanity by directing us to shallow ends.

    Julie Ford (2008) calls narrative a one dimensional story and diagrams two-dimensional thinking. Her three dimensions include surfaces vibrating producing sound and movement and also bodies of knowledge such as sociology. She also writes about a "four dimensional consciousness" and when I have a clue what that is I will let you know.


    To discern is to recognise difference. In a fog, for example, you might discern the shape of a person coming towards you. You can separate that form from the fog.

    From this comes discrimination meaning telling the difference between one thing and another, as in discrimination between good and bad.

    Discrimination also has the special sense of making an unjust or prejudiced distinction, of distinguishing between people unfairly. This use developed from dicriminating against.


    The following translations from a French dictionary (French Academy 1932-1935) shows how the word "distinction" is related to both class and taste.

  • A distinction is an action to clearly separate one thing from another. "This book makes no distinction between chapters"

  • La distinction du bien et du mal means the mental action of separating what is good from what is bad. (In morals and taste)

  • A distinction is something that establishes or indicates a difference between people: Hierarchical distinctions - social distinctions
    "Lifestyles are thus the systematic products of habitus, which, perceived in their mutual relations through the schemes of habitus, become sign systems that are socially qualified (as distinguished, vulgar etc.). (Bourdieu, P. 1979/1984 p. )

    See article Taste/Taste Culture by Michèle Ollivier and Viviana Fridman - International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Distress origin of term - subject index

    1900 Dictionary: anguish of body or mind - Oxford English Dictionary: Severe pressure of trouble, pain, sickness, or sorrow; anguish, affliction; hardship, privation, lack of money or necessities.

    Mental distress or just distress

    Cromby, J., Harper, D. and Reavey, P. 2013 use the distress as a "generic term to refer to all the phenomena and experiences that are sometimes called psychopathology or mental illness" (p.9)

    They say the experiences can include:

  • strong or overwhelming emotional states of various kinds that disrupt everyday life and prevent people from functioning.

    They have a chapter on sadness and worry

  • habitual and repetitive patterns of acting - for example, in relation to personal hygiene, or to do with safety and security - that create anxiety if they are not carried out.

  • experiences of seeing and hearing things that other people do not see or hear, or holding beliefs that are considered by others to be unusual and extreme.

    They have a chapter on madness

    Diverse - Diversity

    Diverse is being different. Diversity is having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.. Diversity also means having people of different cultures in a group.

    Thinking styles - Language - Ethnicity - Religion - Perspectives - Experiences - Nationality - Job level - Race - Culture - Skills - Gender - Physical abilities - Sexual orientation - Age


    Drugs used to include any substance used in chemistry, dyeing, or other technical processes. These are now called chemicals, and drugs is restricted to substances that affect the physical or mental functioning of living organisms.

    Prescription drugs are ones prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition.

    Drugs that affect mental and emotional functioning are called psychotropic (mind turning)

    See Jock Young 1971 The Drugtakers

    Psychotropic drugs used in medicine are called psychiatric drugs

    Recreational drugs are drugs that people use for pleasure or relaxation.

    See Wikipedia article on religion and drugs


    The word was coined in Germany by Ernst Haeckel in 1866, who defined its as the study of the relationship of organisms with their environment. By 1900 the word was sufficiently unknown in Britain to be absent from The Concise English Dictionary. Literary, Scientific and Technical and, in 1902, a British magazine specialising in ecology was called The New Phytologist

    The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica defined oecology, or ecology as "that part of the science of biology which treats of the adaptation of plants or animals to their environment".

    A concept of plant ecology that later became important for human ecology is succession. The Chicago botanist, Henry Cowles developed this concept in study of the vegetation of sand dunes.

    "Cowles argued that the natural succession of plant forms in time could be traced in physical space as one moved inland from the open lake beach across ancient shorelines through the shifting dunes to the interior forest. Along this route, scrubby beach grass would give way to flowers and more substantial woody plants, cottonwoods and pines would be seen yielding to oaks and hickories, and one would finally encounter the climax forest of beeches and maples" (external source)

    Animal ecology was developed by Charles Christopher Adams (1913 USA) and Charles Elton (1927 United Kingdom), amongst others.

    The term Human Ecology was used by the Scottish theorist, Patrick Geddes, in his writing on city development on 1904 and 1915 [source].

    The Chicago (USA) sociology of Robert Park and Ernest Burgess was centred on ecological concepts. In their 1921 textbook of Sociology they developed concepts of competition - conflict - adaptation - accommodation and assimilation which allowed them to adapt theories used for the analysis of "plant communities" to the analysis of human inter-relations. Of these concepts, conflict accommodation and assimilation are particularly relevant to the human world, whereas competiton was typical of plant communites. They wrote

    "It is only in the plant community that we can observe the process of competition in isolation, uncomplicated with other social processes. The members of a plant community live together in a relation of mutual interdependence which we call social" [see example] "probably because, while it is close and vital, it is not biological. It is not biological because the relation is a merely external one and the plants that compose it are not even of the same species. They do not interbreed. The members of a plant community adapt themselves to one another as all living things adapt themselves to their environment, but there is no conflict between them because they are not conscious. Competition takes the form of conflict or rivalry only when it becomes conscious, when competitors identify one another as rivals or as enemies."

    In his Presidential Address to the American Sociological Association in 1925, Park said:

    "The sociologist's interest in human ecology is in man's relation to other men as found in the definite and typical patterns which the population assumes in natural areas. In so far as social structure can be defined in terms of position, and social changes in terms of movement of the population, social phenomena are subject to mathematical measurement."

    Park's Chicago web biography says

    " Human ecology was a phrase Park coined, borrowing concepts of symbiosis - invasion - succession - dominance - gradients of growth, superordination, and subordination from the science of natural ecology. Such concepts of interaction and dynamic mobility in society were useful in redirecting sociology from reform to scientific analysis without denying the social importance of knowledge."

    ecology only part of the story

    Park and his Chicago colleagues argued that ecology is one of three fundamental processes shaping the city. The other two are cultural and economic. The ecological forces are the result of competition and are "not the result of the design of anyone"

    See environmentalism - ecology as politics


    "Eco" in ecosystem comes from ecology. It means the system of living beings occupying an area with common features (for example, a lake, a field or an area of a city) together with the physical environment they interact with. Living beings includes human beings.

    Arthur Tansley introduced the concept of ecosystem to ecology in 1935. His earlier (1920) work on psychology shows the importance of systems to his theoretical understanding of human reality.

    The three main parts of ecosystems are the

    Abiotic: non-living physical and chemical parts of the ecosystem.

    Biotic: living or once-living organisms in the ecosystem.

    Human: a special part of the biotic which creates (manufactures) its own large-scale abiotic and biotic parts.

    Human ecosystem: External link: Wikipedia -

    Education See Age - Culture - Family - Reproduction - Socialisation -

    Education and learning are interrelated concepts. Education is "a process through which a society passes on the knowledge, values and skills" and learning is "acquiring ... new skills, knowledge, and values". (

    The English word to educate come from Latin words that relate to drawing out a person's potential. For most people, the first stage of education takes place within the family. For most of human history most education has been family, household and/or work based. Schools deeloped as part of the division of labour in society.

    A school provides formal education for children, outside the family.

    Durkheim suggests that nursery schools are "a substitute for the family". These two institutions together (where nursery schools exist) guide and structure what Durkheim calls the "first stage of childhood" (Durkheim, 1925 p.17)

    The "second stage of childhood" is guide and structured at elementary school, which is also called primary school. These are the schools for pre-adolescent children which which became free and compulsory for most children in Europe and the USA in from the late nineteenth century.

    Speaking of France, Durkheim wrote

    " It is in our public schools that the majority of our children are being formed. These schools must be the guardians par excellence of our national character. They are the heart of our general education system." (Durkheim, 1925 p.3)

    Everywhere apart from England will correctly understand public schools as ones provided by the state for everyone. In England the term is used for exclusive private schools such as Rugby, Harrow, and Eton. The "Board School" in Bernard Shaw's parody of English class education was what Durkheim would have called a public school.

    Secondary education, for adolescent children, became free and compulsory for most children in Europe and the USA in the twentieth century.

    Further education and higher education refer to stages of education beyond the school. Included in higher education is university education.

    Timeline: 386BC - 859 - University of Bologna - Paris and Oxford - 13th century - 14th century - 15th century - 1693 - 1791 - 1857 - 1867 - 1870 - 1900 - 1902 - 1903 - 1909 - 1927 - 1944 - 1946 - 1958 - 1962 - 1963 - 1965 - 1969 - 1970 - 1971 - 1972 - 1977 - 1982 - 1987 - 2000 -

    What is a University? "various categories of traditional intellectuals experience through an "esprit de corps" their uninterrupted historical continuity and their special qualification, they thus put themselves forward as autonomous and independent of the dominant social group." (Gramsci: See Intellectual)

    University and Polytechnic

    In 1969, George Brosan said

    "It is the job of the universities to be aloof from society, to provide the essential element of detachment and feedback which is required for the progress of the universities and society. It is similarly the vital task of the polytechnics to be wholly involved with industry and society." (Bits of Enfield College 29.1.1969, p.8)"

    Family, household and work based education

    Apprentice "One bound, often by legal document, to learn some art, trade or profession" (1900 Dictionary). See the Wikipedia article

    The Daily Express Encyclopedia of 1934 says "fomerly, under the Guild System, apprenticeship was the rule in all trades, but the Industrial Revolution brought in a great influx of non-skilled labour, and swept away the system, which now only survives in a few special cases". See 1935.


    Engineer comes from engine, which in the late middle ages meant a clever device, usually for killing or hurting. It might be an instrument of torture, or war, or something for catching fish. An engineer was a designer of engines of war. A Corps of Engineers was founded in 1717.

    In 1747 a London magazine published an engraving of "The Engine to Raise Water by Fire", an early version of the steam engine, designed to produce productive rather than destructive energy. In 1805 The young steam engineer's guide, By Oliver Evans, published in Philadelphia, explained, amongst other things, the "principles for making ice and cooling water in large quantities".

    On 2.1.1818 the Institution of Civil Engineers (that is non-military engineers) was formed for

    "The general advancement of mechanical science, ... the art of directing the great sources of power in nature... the construction of roads, bridges, aqueducts, canals, river navigation, and docks, ... the construction of ports, harbours, moles, breakwaters, and light-houses, ... the art of navigation by artificial power... the construction and adaptation of machinery, and the drainage of cities and towns."

    From the early 19th century works on steam engines, including steam navigation, became more frequent. After 1830 they included locomotive steam. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, founded in 1847, largely consisted of representatives of railways. Alongside the railways ran the electric telegraph, and the Society of Telegraph Engineers was formed in 1871, becoming the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1889. Amongst its President was Joseph Swan.

    Some 1998 Definitions were that an engineer is a "creator, bringing together the necessary elements in planning and managing that creation" and engineering is "harnessing the properties and forces of nature to create materials, structures and devices" and ensure the structures and devices continue operating.

    Emotions: See anger - anxiety - depression - desire - distress - fear - grief - happiness - joy - love - pleasure - sadness - pride - shame - guilt

    Words related to emotion include affection - affect - desire - feeling - expression - gratification. Cathexis is linking emotion to an object, as in falling in love with someone or something. [See Parson's evaluative action ]

    An emotion is a movement of the feelings. A 1900 dictionary defines it as "a moving of the mind or soul; a state of excited feeling of any kind, as pleasure, pain, grief, joy, astonishment." It says that the human mind has three fundamental properties: emotion [feeling], volition [will] and intellect [mind in its narrower meaning]

    Discussing fear, Jock Young suggests that we should regard an emotions as a "socially defined process" in which our subjective state alters our body. [Read what he says]. The interaction could, however, be considered as a two way one.

    21st century theories of mind and body relate emotions to the nervous system, to hormones and to neuro- transmitters. There are earlier associations (below) which also have value.

    Since the middle ages, the heart has been the symbol for the emotions, especially love.   Heart is contrasted with ego by some Sufis. The Wesleys heart warming experience freed them. Quakers are urged to listen to love and truth in their hearts, and Giraffes have big hearts

    However, ideas about whereabouts in the body emotions are centred vary. People speak of "gut-feelings" and "bowels of compassion". We also speak of being "shit scared".

    The humours, symbolised below, were thought of as fluids that occur in the body in changing proportions.

    Emotions connected with the four traditional Galenic humours

    1772 woodcut by Johann Kaspar Lavater


    cold and wet


    easily angered,
    bad tempered







    full of black bile


    Emotion is central to Mary Wollstonecraft's evolutionary perspective on society and history. She writes:

    " For what purpose were the passions implanted? That man by struggling with them might attain a degree of knowledge denied to the brutes, whispers Experience. "

    Emotion is central to Emile Durkheim's perception of what makes society real. For Durkheim, solidarity and society are the foundation of our feelings.

    Crime, Durkheim argues, is defined as "an offense to collective sentiments" that are not superficial, but "emotions and tendencies which are strongly ingrained in us"

    Emotion is central to Sigmund Freud's vision of the evolution of society and the individual. In our collective history and personal development we are shaped by the forces of love and sex, betrayal and hatred, murder and guilt, compromise and reconciliation.

    Charles Darwin's Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals is a starting point for George Herbert Mead's analysis of the evolution of mind, self and society.


    In its original old English meaning, love is a strong feeling (emotion) of affection or friendliness.

    Compassion is love that shares in the feelings of others [Com - passion: to suffer with]

    Love has important meanings in religion. In Christianity, for example, there is a statement that "God is love". Islam states that God is the most compassionate.

    See Judaism on line: love of humanity

    Love can be used for devoted attachment to a person, divine or human.

    "we see society constantly creating sacred things out of ordinary ones. If it happens to fall in love with a man and if it thinks it has found in him the principle aspirations that move it, as well as the means of satisfying them, this man will be raised above the others and, as it were, deified" (Durkheim, 1912, p.212

    # Romantic love

    "love is a far more mental than organic fact" (Durkheim)

    See Freud's use

    Spiritual and physical love

    The kissing of Jesus's feet



    From an old English word scamu for feelings of guilt or disgrace. Linked in imagery to the distress one might fell at discovering one's private part are uncovered. Also linked to blushing - cheek-redness - as the "blush of shame".

    In Jewish, Christian and (possibly) Muslim tradition shame, knowledge, nakedness and sin are inter-related in the creation of actually existing humanity. A previous state of innocence is envisaged in which the first man and woman "were both naked ... and were not ashamed".

    Put to shame: To disgrace someone. To cause someone to feel shame.

    The picture shows someone wearing a sanbenito, a penitent's robe and cap. The sambenito was used by the Spanish Inquisition to humiliate those who were convicted for religious offenses. The cap may have inspired the dunces cap used to humiliate children. The 1799 picture is a criticism by Francisco de Goya. Its title (of those powders, these sludges) is a Spanish phrase indicating that bad effects had trivial causes and implies that the shame was in the inquisition.

    See degradation - stigma - humiliation punishments including ones especially for women

    See well of loneliness and feeling worthless. Also the rat.

    Enlightenment (English) - Éclaircissement (French) - Lumières (French) - Aufklärung (German)

    Enlightenment means what its says - a light shines and we see the world. It is the process by which reason and science are supposed to have opened the world up to us.

    Although often linked to specific events, such as the French Revolution, there are four periods of intellectual history (with a focus on different countries) often spoken of as periods of enlightenment. The word is also used generally for a process that may still be going on.

    Immanuel Kant wrote (1784) that

    "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another"

    So enlightenment is also the process by which human beings take control of our lives and become autonomous - self-directing. It is a description of humanity gaining freedom - See, especially, Rousseau - Hegel - and John Stuart Mill's concepts of freedom.


    Hegel used the term Aufklärung fro the process and for the period in which it was said to have taken place. In translating Hegel's Lectures on the Philosophy of History into English in 1861, John Sibree needed a word for Aufklärung, and he chose the French word éclaircissement, which later became enlightenment. He said

    " There is no current term in English denoting that great intellectual movement which dates from the first quarter of the eighteenth century, and which, if not the chief cause, was certainly the guiding genius of the French Revolution. The word "Illuminati" (signifying the members of an imaginary confederacy for propagating the open secret of the day), might suggest "illumination," as an equivalent for the German " Aufklärung": but the French "éclaircissement" conveys a more specific idea."

    Has the enlightenment project failed? See Foucault on the end of "man"

    Some critical theorists claim that the enlightenment has failed, but what do they mean?

    Here is my (over) simple answer -

    At the beginning of the 20th century liberal and socialist theorists expected society to progress towards greater rationality and greater democracy. The continuation of the enlightenment process.

    Then came National Socialism - when German voters "democratically" gave up freedom to a regime that was authoritarian and anti-reason.

    This is the "failure of the enlightenment project" that the critical theorists were analysing after the second world war.

    By this time, most of them lived in America. America got richer. Americans thought they were free. Perhaps the enlightenment project had not failed after all? Oh no! said the critical theorists. It has failed, because modern advertising and things like that have destroyed our freedom.

    But, not everyone agrees that the Enlightenment project has failed. Parsons argues that (despite what critical theorists and others argue) people in America had more freedom (in 1970) in more spheres than at any other time in history - and that the process is still progressive.

    The Nazis saw things differently

    As one might expect, the German National Socialist Party did not see itself as bringing darkness to Germany. Their leader, Adolf Hitler, in 1937, even spoke of "nationalsozialistischen Aufklärung" (Nazi Enlightenment). Oh dear. Had I begged to differ in 1937 Germany it would certainly have been the darkness (curtains) for me!

    Environment See ecology and ecological community

    "Who invented the environment?" by

    The environment comes from the idea of forming a ring around or encircling.

    Since the early 19th century, environment has been used for the circumstances or conditions, especially physical conditions, in which a person or community lives, works and develops.

    From the 1950s a meaning to the environment has developed relating to all the external condition that impinge on organisms living on the earth. In relation to climate change since the ice age, Paul Bigelow Sears spoke in 1955 of "a widespread confidence that this impact of man upon environment can continue indefinitely"

    Environmentalism is concern with the preservation of the environment and the politics or policies associated with this. The word came into use from the 1970s, along with ecology and the word "green" to mean environmental policies and politics. Science News in 1972 wrote

    "The arguments in the United States over environmental problems have not yet reached these basic levels, even though environmentalism got its first major impetus there"

    On 10.5.1971 a new group calling itself Friends of the Earth left 1,500 non-returnable Schweppes bottles on the front steps of the company's London office in a protest aimed at promoting recycling. See forty years of Friends of the Earth in pictures

    1971 was also the origin of the direct action group Greenpeace

    The United Kingdom government in 1979 formed a Department of the Environment by merging its Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Public Building and Works. Environment here appears to mean no more than the basic meaning of surroundings.

    In France, in 1975, Andre Gorz published a collection of articles which he called Ecology as Politics. In the United Kingdom the People Party formed in 1972/1973 changed its name to the Ecology Party in 1975.

    A political party formed in West Germany in 1980 was called Die Grunen (The Greens). In 1987 it had 42 MPs. In 1985 the British "Ecology Party" changed its name to The Green Party.

    The United Kingdom Environmental Protection Act 1990 revised the Control of Pollution Act 1974. The Environment Act of 1995 established an "Environment Agency" and "The Scottish Environment Protection Agency"

    See risk society and environmental hazards

    Equality and inequality Equality is a a Raymond Williams keyword

    Equal from Latin for level. One of its meanings is "on the same level as regards rank, power, excellence".

    If people are arranged on different levels, one above one another, we call that hierarchical

    Inequality may just mean differences of rank, power and/or quality. This was its earliest meaning, but since the 16th century it has also been used to suggest unfairness (inequity) in the treatment of people or distribution of things.

    John Locke lived in and approved of a hierarchical society but wrote that reason teaches us that:

    "being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions."

    Many social theories take as an axiom that there is a natural equality between human beings. The same social theorists may hold that there is a natural hierarchy to human society. The two concepts are not necessarily contradictions. Consider, for example, a parent and child. The hierarchy is evident. The parent controls the child. Does this mean that the parent has a greater value than the child? Or that the parent and child are not "equal and independent" beings?

    We understand the human world by thinking of the other person as ourself. Reading what I write, you understand it by thinking of me as someone like you who is trying to communicate with you. Looking into the face of a baby you do the same without words. This equality of being is an aspect of what social theorists mean by natural equality. It is an equality that exists irrespective of differences of age, rank, race, religion, size, ability, wealth or whatever.

    Arguing against equality as a basis of social policy, the conservative theorist Ian Gilmour writes:

    "The difficulty is that men are manifestly not equal. In some ways of course the difference between them are less important than the similarities. Most people accept that all men are equal in the sight of God, which takes us back to Coleridge's idea that no man should be treated as merely a means to an end. In this sense the phrase 'all men are equal means all men are men and should be treated as such." (Gilmour, I. 1977/1978 Inside Right pp 175-176)

    The way in which the similarities between humans are more important than the differences (in some respects) is the issue that theorists are often highlighting when they make natural equality an axiom of their social theories.

    This natural equality is linked to natural freedom. (Notice Locke's phrase "equal and independent"). Rousseau is adopting the axiom of equality when he writes:

    "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains"

    In the sense I have defined it, a belief in equality, can be found in most social theorists to different degrees and with varying emphasis. It appears to be completely absent from Nazi theory.

    Locke's idea of equality is explored in Social Science History chapter 2

    How does Aristotle combine hierarchy and equality?

    Lecture on inequality, poverty and wealth in relation to identity and social structure


    A state of equal (equi) balance (librium).

    Balance is measured mechanically by scales and the idea of equilibrium is an important part of the physical science of mechanics, going right back to the ancient Greeks. (See Statics)

    Equilibrium has been used in economics, from the late nineteenth century, for the point at which the forces of supply and demand are matched and prices stable. The image here is of a system that balances itself. If prices are high, people do not buy all the goods, sellers lower the prices. If they fall far enough, all the goods are bought and there is a shortage. Prices are raised and this encourages more provision of the goods at the same time as it reduces purchases. In this way, the market moves towards a price that balances supply and demand.

    The idea of a system that is self-balancing has since been applied widely in the social sciences, including psychology and sociology. See, for example, Arthur Tansley's interpretation of Freud and Robert Park and others in The City. The concept was also used by Durkheim and Parsons

    Ethics Morals

    Ethics are the moral principles that govern human behaviour (for example, research ethics) and the name for the branch of knowledge dealing with moral principles. Moral, in this sense, relating to behaviour which is good (moral) or bad (immoral)

    After the moral failures highlighted by the second world war, Simone De Beauvoir reconsidered the ethics of certainty derived from revelation and culture, and devised an ethics of "ambiguity" for an age of uncertainty. This is how Zygmunt Bauman and Tim May describes her work:

    "... people remain moral subjects as long as they are acknowledged as humans... This assumes that the partners to our interactions possess their own unique needs and that these needs are as valid and important as our own...

    Whenever certain persons or categories of people are denied the right to our moral responsibility, they are treated as 'lesser humans', 'flawed humans', 'not fully human', or downright non-human'. To guard against this, as the French philosopher and novelist Simone de Beauvoir put it, this necessitates not treating someone we meet as a member of a class, nation or some other collectivity, but as an individual who is an end in their own right" (Bauman and May 2001, p. 75)

    Center for Ethics, Capital Markets, and Political Economy, Virginia, established 1994, conducts conversation based seminars, workshops, and tutorial programs, which it reconstructs as web discussions with pseudonymms such as Socrates. All the participants appear to agree that there is a "moral crisis" (see topics)

    Moral insanity related words See morals and insanity

    When the term moral insanity was first coined, shortly after the French Revolution it referred rather broadly to people whose thinking was not disordered but whose emotions and behaviour were out of control. During the nineteenth century it took on a narrower focus on people who were said to lack normal ethical sensibilities.

    Terms that have replaced moral insanity include psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder.

    See subject index psychopaths

    Psychiatry and social science develop together. The original concept of moral insanity belonged to a period when both were strongly conscious of environmental (moral) influences. As the nineteenth century progressed, so did evolutionary biological sciences and this was paralleled by a biological emphasis in psychiatry and social science and the development of eugenics. The terms used by the Italian psychiatrist and criminologist, Cesare Lombroso, reflect this change:

    L'uomo delinquente - delinquent human - criminal man - normal - la donna delinquente - criminal woman - la prostituta - and the normal woman

    Successful psychopaths - Corporate psychopaths

    Terms emerging recently to refer to people who succeed in politics, business or other valued activities who are argued to have a similar personality to people defined as psychopaths when they are caught committing crimes.

    See subject index successful psychopaths

    Associated words and phrases: moral insanity - crime and insanity - criminal lunatic - forensic psychiatry - secure services


    Etymology is the study of the origins of words. Its origin is from Greek words for true and word - the study of.

    Evangelical Revival (British)

    The theological term "evangelical" meaning "of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ" has a long history and diverse uses. One that readers of British history and social science often encounter is Evangelical (often with a capital E) relating to an emotional movement of protestant christian thought that started in the eighteenth century. Evangelicals, within the Church of England and dissenting denominations, were (and are) believers in the need for "conversion", a divine transformation of an individual's life that qualifies him or her for heaven. They lay particular stress on the Jewish/Christian Bible as the source religious authority, on the sinfulness of human beings before conversion, and on the death of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice that "pays the price of sin".

    Many social historian's have theorised that the Evangelical revival in Britain was a major contributor to a change of popular culture towards "seriousness" (the "importance of being Earnest" as Oscar Wilde joked), including restraint from gratification, abhorrence of sex, alcohol and gambling; and concern for humanitarian causes from the distribution of Bibles to the abolition of slavery and the provision of religious education.

    The Evangelical revival in Britain was, according to this theory, a major contributor to the creation of Victorian values.

    The history of the evangelical revival conveniently begins with John and Charles Wesley and the pursuit of "methodism" within the Church of England. Methodism (reluctantly) burst out of the established church and became an independent group of denominations. The "Clapham Sect" formed within the Church of England and was associated the teaching of Simeon and others at Cambridge University.

    The Evangelical, William Wilberforce, was active in securing A Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue and for preventing and punishing of Vice, Profaneness, and Immorality, issued by George the Third (June 1,1787) and started the Proclamation Society to see it enforced.

    A inter-denomination magazine called The Evangelical Magazine was founded in 1793. The Conservative social reformer, Ashley was an evangelical. During the 19th Century, Evangelical causes were closely associated with Exeter Hall

    The Clapham Sect is named after rich evangelicals who lived and worshipped in Clapham, South London. Also in Clapham (from 1823) was Clapham Retreat, a religious asylum for rich lunatics. Another asylum (for paupers) initially associated with evangelicalism in the Church of England and methodism is Hanwell. Wesley had conflicted with the established mad-doctors over medical treatment of insanity. The evangelicals (like the Quakers)) promoted its moral treatment

    Different meanings of "Common Sense"

    an old meaning, no longer used
    We have five "external senses" - sight - hearing - touch - taste - smell.
    It has been believed that there is an internal "common sense" that makes sense of these external senses for us. Robert Burton
    (1621) argued that there are actually three inner senses inside our heads: Common Sense - Phantasie (Imagination) - and Memory. "Common sense", he said, "is the judge or Moderator of the rest, by whom we discerne all differences of obiects".

    a modern meaning
    A natural ability to make good judgements

    another modern meaning
    The general sense, feeling, or judgement of mankind, or of a community. George Grote, in 1872, wrote "What Aristotle defines as matters of common opinion and belief includes all that is usually meant, and properly meant, by Common Sense - what is believed by all men or by most men."

    Everyday Life and Common Sense

    Some sociologists give everyday life and common sense an important role with respect to sociology. Bauman and May (2000, p.5) say that the kind of questions that define sociology are "part of the practical realities of every day life" and "Thinking sociologically is also distinguished by its relationship with so- called 'common sense'"

    In Erving Goffman's The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, everyday life is something that he compares and contrasts with another life: the life acted on a theatre stage. He argues that we present ourselves in everyday life in ways that can be analysed (to some extent) as if we were acting,

    So (perhaps), everyday life is the ordinary life that we all live every day as contrasted with specialist lives, such as actor, sociologist, train driver, company director, or whatever, that some of us live some of the time.

    Goffman also calls his approach a "sociological perspective from which social life can be studied". Which suggests social life as another term for everyday life. His analysis is particularly relevant to the life we live in "domestic, industrial, or commercial" establishments - In other words, to the life we live at home and at work.

    In considering the relationship between everyday life and common sense, one can note Goffman's use of the term everyday sense. If everyday sense is like common sense, it suggests that common sense is the sense (meaning) that we attach to ideas in our everyday lives.

    Evolution See Dissolution
    Evolution is a Raymond Williams keyword

    Before we had books, we had scrolls. A book can just be opened at a page and read, a scroll must be unrolled - the message develops as you unroll more. The Latin for unrolling scrolls gave us the word evolution which describes the opening up or unfolding of forms. A flower evolves from bud to blossom, through faded, fertilised, bloom to seed. The idea has long existed that all the forms we find in the world may have evolved. One plant may have evolved from another, one animal from another, one form of society from another. In the mid- 19th century, Charles Darwin and others suggested the mechanism of natural selection as an explanation of how this might have happened.

    In social science history one of the most important interests of evolutionary theory has been the transition from nature to society.

    See State of Nature theory - George Herbert Mead

    In social science history another important interest of evolutionary theory has been the development of society. Parsons refers to this as social evolution (see quote)

    See Herbert Spencer's evolutionary theory

    Some of the words used in the 19th and 20th centuries by theorists of the evolution of human being are have offensive associations and are no longer current in anthropology. Key terms used by earlier evolution theorists (see Engels, for example), with their meaning, were:

    civilisation: from the word civis a city. A 1900 dictionary defines it as "the state of being refined in manners from the rudeness of savage life, and improved in arts and learning".

    A distinction is made between ancient civilisations and modern civilisation..

    Civilised can have an even narrower meaning. For example, in 1847, Engels said that the civilised countries of the world included at least ... England, America, France, and Germany.

    Culture can be used as an alternative word for civilisation, as in "culture and barbarism"

    Parsons contrasts more "advanced" with "primitive" societies (See quote)

    primitive From Latin primitivus, earliest of its kind, from primus, first.

    Durkheim speaks of elementary forms - German has the term Naturvölker - Natural people or people close to nature. See 1863. The 16th century theory of elemental races, revived in the late 19th century, makes the natural link one to earth, air, fire and water.

    External links to 2006 debate on describing Bushman weapons as primitive: House of Lords - Survival International.

    A horde is a nomadic group of families that wanders. The concept was used by some theorists for an imagined transitional group between animal and human societies. These theories relate back to Charles Darwin's speculations about sexual relations before humans became fully human. Discussion of this plays an important part in Freud's theories about the origins of society. The term horde is also used by Durkheim for an imaginary "society whose cohesion was exclusively the result of resemblances". Had such a society existed, it would have been the earliest form of society.

    savagery from silva, a wood. A 1900 dictionary says that savage means belonging to the forest or wilderness, wild... uncivilised... untaught. 19th century anthropologists used savagery as the name for a period of nomadic (wandering) existence, before human beings settled down to cultivation.

    barbarism from the ancient Greek word for (uncivilised) foreigners who did not speak Greek. [See Aristotle 1252b and 1252b15]. 19th century anthropologists used barbarism as the name for a period of agricultural existence, before towns developed. But, like savagery, it is also used as a pejorative word: "barbarity is extremely cruel behaviour" (Plain English Dictionary). In 1947, Adorno and Horkheimer argued (in Dialectic of Enlightenment) that reason was not necessarily civilising, but could become an instrument of totalitarian control. They described anti-semitism as civilisation reverting to barbarism.

    Civil and savage

    Two photographs taken in different parts of the world between 1906 and 1919.

    The first (about 1906) is of a working class Lancashire family, in their best clothes, posing for the one family photograph that will be hung in the front room.

    The second is of a chief and selected companions, posed for a picture intended for the October 1919 National Geographic Magazine. The chief's head dress is made of the hair of enemies he has eaten.

    Click on the Lancashire family to read about civilisation in the twentieth century. Click on the chief and his naked ladies to read Freud's theories of the relationship between the dreams of neurotics and myths of savages

    The small girl on the right in the Lancashire picture is Lily Mckenzie - One of many whose boyfriends won medals in the war for civilisation.

    Freud argues that

    "civilisation enters on the scene with the first attempt to regulate social relationships which affect a person as a neighbour, as a source of help, as another person's sexual object, as a member of a family..." (Freud, S. 1930 par.3.12)

    The pictures above make suggestions in our minds about the relationship between sex and good-neighbourliness (The Lancashire family do not eat their neighbours) and the family (The chief has a group of sexual partners rather than a family with children and responsibities)

    Exclude and Extrude

    Ex at the beginning of a word may mean out

    Exclude means to shut out, that is, to keep outside something that is already outside (external), as when you shut the door on a wind, or prevent people coming to your party.

    See subject index Outsider

    Extrude means to thrust out, as when you throw someone out of your party.

    Similar words: alienate (turn into a foreigner) - exile - outcast - outlaw

    Erving Goffman speaks of extrusory social processes by which people are thrust out of positions where they have relationships (with others) and rights, into positions where they have few relationships and rights. These processes include imprisonment, hospitalisation, divorce, loss of job, disownment, exile, and psychiatric treatment in hospital and in the community.

    Disownment refers especially to a process of expulsion from membership of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). [Oxford English Dictionary. Other uses of the word appear to be rare]

    Essence and existence

    Essence is the substance of which something consists, but for Sartre as for Hegel, essence is what has been.

    Essentialism and existentialism

    These definitions are based on the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Essentialism is belief that things have a set of characteristics which make them what they are, and that the task of science and philosophy is their discovery and expression.

    The leading tenet of existentialism is that a person (unlike a thing) has no predetermined essence but forms his or her essence by acts of pure will. Essentialism is the doctrine that essence is prior to existence.

    See also yexist - a page of notes on existentialism and existential criminal by Ginny Goudy (2003).
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz 2008
    sociologists confront genetic determinism and essentialism
    "What's wrong with essentialism?" by Anne Phillips
    essentialism and the problem of identity


    The word experience comes from Greek or Latin for finding out by trying. Other words with a similar origin are expert, expertise, and experiment.

    One dictionary defines experience as (amongst other things) "the knowledge gained by trial, or repeated trials, or observations" (1900 Dictionary)

    However, we experience things in different ways. Two ways that are significant for social science are what we could call objective experience and subjective experience

    Objective experience: Careful and repeated observation.

    Subjective experience: The way the world feels to you.

    It is in the first sense that empirical means based on experience.

    The second sense is sometimes called "lived experience" from the idea of "living through something".

    It is in this second sense that we say someone who has suffered a bereavement could be considered and expert by their experience.

    To distinguish the two, some commentators draw a distinction between the Latin word experientia (trial) and the German word Erlebnis (living through). [See also the German word Verstehen]

    Fact "the fact that"

    A fact was originally an act, something that has or will be done. In law, we still speak of "before the fact" or "after the fact". From this developed its meaning as truth or reality: "the fact is, you do not know what you are talking about" means "in reality you are telling me fairy tales". When Durkheim says we must

    "Consider social facts as things"
    he means that social reality is as real as a physical object, it is not just an idea in our head.

    British empiricist philosophers in the 17th and 18th century argued that the only reality we can rely on is experience. From this developed another idea of fact. Facts are sensory experiences from which we infer knowledge, or facts are data that we collect as the basis on which to build science.

    It is probably in this sense that John Mason wrote in 1745 that "A curious mind is best pleased with facts".

    Durkheim was not an empiricist. [I am sorry if your text book says he is. Click on the link to read what he says about empiricism.] He criticises empiricism from a Kantian perspective.

    Family a part of society - theoretical implication for social theory
    a Raymond Williams keyword

    Parsons says that the family is an institution around which the structures of kinship, control of sex relations and socialisation [see Education] tend to cluster.

    history of word - history of forms - family and household - family today - family statistics - family and social theory - domestic violence -

    History of the word family:

    Writing over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said the family arose out of relations between husband and wife and master and slave. This should alert us that there are broader concepts of family than just parents and children. [See Large Patriarchal Families and read Aristotle

    domestic: from Latin domus: house

    The Anglo-Saxons word hiwscipe included the husband, wife, children, servants, slaves, animals, buildings, and lands. It began to be replaced by family in the 14th century.

    The origin of the modern English word is also household (Latin familia - from famulus: servant)

    Reflecting the family base of, even earlier, tribal societies, the 1611 Bible uses family for much larger groups than we would today:

    "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.... By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations"

    History of family forms:

    Historically the family has taken different forms. Engels argues that the study of these forms began with a German writer Bachofen in 1861. To gain an broad overview of the forms Engels suggests, see my Summary of Historical Materialism which has links to extracts from Engels.

    Die Familie (1912) by Franz Carl Müller-Lyer outlines three stages in its historic development 1) the tribal stage with the clan, 2) the familial stage with large and then small patriarchal families, 3) the individual era with the asmall family of husband, wife and children

    See Clan

    See Patriarch

    Abraham: A Christian term for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and other revered rulers of families (tribes) in the Bible is the Patriarchs.

    ancient Rome a "very close approximation" to "absolute power" in the Large Patriarchal Family.

    The medieval family

    15th century "the small patriarchal family of medieval society" in which " marriage was arranged by parents with stress upon economic rather than romantic considerations".

    The modern family

    Burgess and Locke (1945/1950) describe the changing family form in modern society as a journey from institution to companionship. Dennis and Erdos (1992) speak of a 1960s' change from "child-centred" relationships to ones in which companionship was central

    Young and Willmott (1973) , in The Symmetrical Family, describe this transition in Britain as having three stages:

    The pre-Industrial family (Pre-1750): Characterised as:
    Productive as an economic unit
    Having economic links with wider society
    Father as head of household, exercising economic control over family

    The asymmetrical family (1750 - 1900)
    Characterised as:
    Disrupted by the industrialisation process
    Involving a clear separation between home and work
    Having "absent" fathers (at work)
    Emphasising women's role as "mother" and domestic labourer

    The symmetrical family (20th century)
    Characterised as:
    Involving greater levels of equality between males and females

    Family and household Family in late Victorian dictionaries: 1870 Dictionary: "household; race, generation; honourable descent" - 1887 Dictionary: - "a household, living in one house and under one head, including parents and children, and primarily, as well as sometimes still, servants" - "those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe or race" - "kindred" ...

    The two meanings: "living in one house" and of common descent illustrate why (today) it is usually best distinguish family and household: because the people who live together may not regard each other as family, and family's may not live together.

    The UK Office of National Statistics uses these definitions of family and household. Both appear to require living together:

    A family is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent with at least one child. Children may be dependent or non-dependent

    A household is defined as a person living alone, or a group of people living at the same address who have the address as their only or main residence and either share one main meal a day or share living accommodation (or both).

    Family today

    Speaking of European and North American societies today, Agnes Miles (1981, p.115) says that most people live in "family groups" which are usefully defined as "relatives living in the same household, sharing common table and living room" (a definition used by census takers).

    Notice that this is a definition of "family groups", not families. A family group lives together.

    Two other definitions she suggests are: elementary or nuclear family, including "parents and their non-adult children only" and extended family, which also includes "grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins".

    Inside a nut, when you crack it open, you find its nucleus or kernel. The nucleus is the centre of something, around which the rest is constructed.

    The nuclear family can mean a household of (just) father, mother, and children, or it can mean father, mother, and children, regarded as a basic social unit and (possibly) living as part of an extended family. Talcott Parsons sometimes refers to the isolated nuclear family to distinguish the household of (just) father, mother, and children from the nuclear family as part of a larger family or family household.

    The following uses of the phrase nuclear family (include the examples from the Oxford English Dictionary) illustrate different uses:

    1924 B. Malinowski in Psyche 4 p.294 "The nuclear family due to a certain type of social grouping". (Oxford English Dictionary)

    1941 George Murdock in Sociometry 4 p.146 "The nuclear or individual family, consisting of father, mother, and children, is universal; no exceptions were found in our 220 societies". (Oxford English Dictionary)

    "the nuclear family is ... universal to all known human societies. The minimal criteria for the nuclear family are, I suggest, first that there should be a solidary relationship between mother and child lasting over a period of years and transcending physical care in its significance. Secondly, in her motherhood of this child the woman should have a special relationship to a man outside her own descent group who is sociologically the "father" of the child, and that this relationship is the focus of the "legitimacy" of the child, of his referential status in the larger kinship system." Talcott Parsons 10.1.1954

    1963 Alastair Heron Towards a Quaker View of Sex p.56 "This taboo is of social origin, designed to protect the basic unit of society the 'nuclear' family from disintegration". (Oxford English Dictionary)

    1990 Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 23 May 23/2 "'The idea of a nuclear family is a very unnatural way to live,' Dave said". (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Other writers have suggested more diverse categories of family groups in countries such as the present day United Kingdom. In addition to the above:

    Lone parent family

    A lone parent is "a parent who does not live with a partner and thus has most, or all, of the responsibility for bringing up a child or children" (Oxford English Dictionary). Other terms are one parent family and single parent family

    Re-constituted family Where individuals separated from one family relationship become part of another. Where children are involved, this creates step-families.

    Co-habiting couples

    Same sex couples

    See UK Office for National Statistics Focus on Families. This "looks at family types and explores similarities and differences between them. It also examines the relationship between families and health, unpaid care and education." - See Subject Index Family Statistics

    Statistics - United Kingdom - 2001
    Source: Focus on Families 2007 Office of National Statistics.
    Based on 2001 Census, Office for National Statistics; General Register Office for Scotland; Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

    Total Families 16,545,777
    with no children 6,796,057
    with dependent children 7,220,594
    with non-dependent children only 2,529,126

    Married couple family 11,641,007
    with no children 5,504,332
    with dependent children 4,559,060
    with non-dependent children only 1,577,615

    Married couple stepfamily 502,150
    with dependent children 377,333
    with non-dependent children only 124,817

    Cohabiting couple family 2,191,165
    with no children 1,291,725
    with dependent children 814,939
    with non-dependent children only 84,501

    Cohabiting couple stepfamily 373,902
    with dependent children 313,328
    with non-dependent children only 60,574

    Lone mother family 2,342,966
    with dependent children 1,664,081
    with non-dependent children only 678,885

    Lone father family 370,639
    with dependent children 182,514
    with non-dependent children only 188,125

    the mother
suckling her
child has a special significance
for Rousseau. Click to find out more

    One of the reasons family is discussed by social theorists is its theoretical implication for social theory generally.

    Robert Filmer, in the 17th century, and and Roger Scruton, in the 20th, for example, both construct views of society around the idea of family. Both theorists contrast the idea that "contract" is the foundation of society, with their own view that society is better understood by thinking about the relations that exist in the family, between parents and children. Scruton sees the family model as a "conservative" model and contract as the "liberal" model.

    The title of Jean Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract shows that it is in the contractual, liberal camp. However he combines his contractual theory with an analysis of family bonds as the basis of society:

    "The family then may be called the first model of political societies: the ruler corresponds to the father, and the people to the children; and all, being free and equal, alienate their liberty only for their own advantage."

    Family relations include those between adult partners as well as those between adults and children. Aristotle conceptualised the difference between these relations, but wives have often been thought of theoretically as similar to children in their relation to the male "head" of the household.

    Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill, two liberal theorists, argued in an 1848 essay that an authoritarian, hierarchical, paternalist relationship in which women are dependent on men is unsuitable to a modern society based on self determination. Mill elaborated on this in The Subjection of Women (1869), arguing that egalitarian families would educate people for democratic political societies.

    Sigmund Freud contrasted his theories of society and human relations, based on an analysis of the unconscious mind, with the consciously rational analysis of Mill (and Taylor). Mill imagined society and family based on freely determined relations been autonomous adults, educating children in a school of freedom. Freud analysed the family as the site of deadly conflicts, conflicts that are paralleled in society and history.

    One of the issues in dispute between these theorists is the nature of science. Those who support the family model against a contract model tend to argue that their model is based on analysis of what is real (a "thing" as Durkheim would say) rather than on a philosophic rationalism that relates more to what some people might want society to be then to what it is. (See the positivist distinction between science and philosophy)

    Dwell - Dwelling

    The word dwell in original old English meant to delay someone. It lost this meaning and became a word for pausing or staying somewhere. Now its two usual meanings are to live somewhere (one's dwelling) and to dwell upon an issue by continually thinking, speaking or writing about it.

    In religious language, dwell can be used to locate God and humans in spiritual space, as in this psalm (91:1): "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty".

    Domestic See family and household

    Something is domestic if it is related to the house or home. A home is where one lives. It is the centre of family life. A house is a building that contains it. (See settlements and houses)

    However, the "home market" in the quotation below refers to the domestic economy of a country rather than a household.

    Domestic science Cookery and other household activities, as subjects to be taught.

    Domestic manufacture - employment - labour - work

    Domestic labour is labour within the home. Today the term is mainly used for unpaid work performed by women in the home.

    Originally, however, most labour was domestic in the sense that households were the main unit of production. A separation differentiation of production and family life has taken place in recent history.

    Domestic manufacture refers to production in the home of products that are more usually produced outside the home nowadays. Writing in 1833, Peter Gaskell said

    "Prior to the year 1760, manufactures were in a great measure confined to the demands of the home market. At this period, and down to 1800... the majority of artisans engaged in them had laboured in their own homes and in the bosoms of their families. It may be termed the period of domestic manufacture; and the various mechanical contrivances were expressly framed for this purpose. The distaff, the spinning wheel, producing a single thread, and, subsequently the mule and jenny, were to be found forming part of the complement of household furniture, in almost every house of the districts in which they were carried on, whilst the cottage everywhere resounded with the clack of the hand-loom."

    Domestic violence - child abuse - violence against women

    Domestic violence is violence within a family or household. As the following quotations indicate, it can be viewed as deviance or normal behaviour.

    The range of behaviour that can be covered is indicated in this quotation:

    "In Women's Aid's view domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour" (source)

    Domestic violence is mainly violence by men against women and/or children. Violence against children is sometimes classified separately as a form of child abuse.

    Violence by men against women may be institutionalised in societies, as suggested by this quotation:

    "Although it is noted that in some African countries, violence against women is a criminal offence, many Governments do not address the issue. Certain traditional practices, rape, female genital mutilation, wife battering, incest, sexual harassment are rampant and are harmful to the health of women and the girl-child. Often these practices affect the perceptions of the girl-child to the extent that she does not see herself as a victim." (source)

    For a possible theoretical structure for patriarchal violence see the 17th century works of Robert Filmer. For the case for controlling patriarchal violence see the 19th century works of John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, especially their 1848 paper and Mill's 1869 book.

    The 2004 The UK introduced a single definition of domestic violence to be used by all government departments so that victims were not faced by different definitions. The Act defines domestic violence as

    "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation'."

    An adult is any person aged 18 years and over and family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family. The definition is supported by an explanatory text that makes it clear that domestic violence includes female genital mutilation, forced marriage and so called "honour crimes". (source)

    In 2011 the government consulted on extending the age rang for "domestic violence" (as distinct from "child abuse") to include 16-17 year olds (its preferred option) and/or to include the phrase to include 'coercive control' and/or to include all ages. (Sources: December 2011 Consultation - 24.10.2011 Impact assessment

    Child abuse See domestic violence and subject index child abuse

    The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has defined child abuse as "any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care" [of a child] "that leads to injury or harm." They say there are four main types:

    physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect."

    Physical violence and children

    See Foucault on slaps

    The word blood, the red body fluid, is also used as a metaphor for relations by biological descent. Sanguis is Latin for blood. The heart, which pumps blood, is related to emotions of love.


    Your kin are your family, race or blood (and marriage) relations

    Since the mid-nineteenth century, anthropologists (and social theorists generally) have used the word kinship for the pattern of relationships (by descent or marriage) recognised in a culture and the way they form the basis for the social organisation of the society.

    Relationships by descent (blood relations) are called consanguineous. Relations by marriage are called conjugal

    However, note Malinowski (1913, p. 182)

    "Consanguinity (as a sociological concept) is therefore not the physiological bond of common blood ; it is the social acknowledgment and interpretation of it."

    Consanguine marriage Engels argues (1884, par 2.1.1) that the first form of the family was one in which everyone in one generation was married (had rights and duties of sexual relations) with everyone else of the opposite sex.

    Fear - Anxiety -

    Fear and anxiety are emotions. Anxiety is also used to describe a state considered as a mental illness


    See Mental Health History Words: fear

    Fear in an American children's story March 1916

    Jock Young says that [human] fear is "a socially defined process". We experience fear subjectively. However, "the subjective state of the individual" affects the body. It "translates itself on the physiological level in the release of adrenaline into his bloodstream." [See autonomic nervous system ].

    Anxiety A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome, or a general state of worry, nervousness, or unease about everything.

    Other words for anxiety include worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, perturbation, fretfulness, agitation, angst, nervousness, nerves, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, misgiving, trepidation, foreboding and suspense.

    UK National Health Service: "Everyone has feelings of anxiety... However, people with generalised anxiety disorder ... find it hard to control their worries". Anxiety is also the main symptom of several conditions, including: panic disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder

    Depression is often accompanied by anxiety.

    Stress origin of term

    Since the mid-20th cetury, biology and psychology have used the word stress for adverse circumstances that disturb normal functioning. Stress on animals in an experiment might be found to lead to enlarged glands, for example. Stress is the stimulus leading to the response, which may be physical (high blood-pressure, for example) and/or emotional (anxiety, for example)

    Post-traumatic stress disorder is a bad psychological state that follows experiencing a traumatic event (an injury or psychological shock).

    Feminism Feminist

    Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, 8th Edition (1932-1935)
    "FÉMINISME. n. m. Doctrine qui a pour objet l'extension des droits civils et politiques à la femme." (Doctrine that has for its object the extension of civil and political rights of women).
    It may have been in the 7th edition (1878) as well, but was not in earlier editions.

    What was once the women's emancipation movement became the feminist movement. The words feminism and feminist, in this sense, emerged in the late 19th century. They are not in Blackie's Concise English Dictionary of 1900, but "feminist" is used in the title of a journal in 1911. Freud criticises the "feminist demand for equal rights" in 1924. The Daily Express Encyclopedia of 1934 has quite a long entry:

    "Feminism, a movement for bringing about equality both legal and social between the sexes...One of the earliest advocates was Mary Wollstonecraft. John Stuart Mill... put forward very advanced views... The Married Women's Property Act... was the first big step.. The Women's Suffrage campaign... proved with what determination women were fighting for their cause... The Divorce Act of 1923... and the Legitimacy Act of 1926... are fruits of feminist movements... Scandinavian countries and Soviet Russia are very advanced both in feminist legislation and social outlook, while France is one of the most backward countries, Germany and England taking an intermediate position. In many states of the USA, women have a considerable advantage over men, especially in regard to divorce..."

    Simone De Beauvoir used the words feminism, feminists and anti- feminists in The Second Sex (1949 - Translated into English in 1953) and I suspect this had considerable influence on the use of the words in English.

    feminist theories

    The early use of feminist was for campaigners for women's rights. Since the 1970s, feminism and feminist have also been applied to a set (or sets) of theoretical perspectives about society. People, therefore, speak of feminist theorists and feminist theories - An example of what Foucault calls a discourse (See Wikipedia article) In 1974, Juliet Mitchell reviewed six theorists as "feminists".

    Wikipedia article on Islamic feminism


    Originally an area of land: as in a field in which farm animals live, or a field of battle, the area where armies fight. The concept is extended to any area, often with the implication that forces operate withing the area. An electrical field, for example, is an area in which electrical forces are operating. The field of sociology just means the area of sociology, or the area it operates in.

    La théorie des champs - The theory of fields

    A sociological concept of fields (les champs in French) has been developed by Pierre Bourdieu (See Bourdieu, P. 1993 )

    A field (or social field) is an area of social organisation in which roles, positions, and relations are produced. In Bourdieu's theory, society is a collection of overlapping fields, including economic, cultural, artistic, political, religious and sporting fields. A field shapes how individuals and collectives within it are interpellated (asked questions about who they are) and how they can occupy the field. A field does not determine how participants respond to it, and so who they become, but the strength of the field has a powerful influence.

    Bourdieu and Passeron's La Reproduction (1970) is about the education system (see reproduction) and its relation to the class system. At one point in this, they say that the "structure of class relations" can be "regarded as a field of forces". This field of forces exerts its influence on "different areas of activities" or "sub- systems" (in this case, the "education system"). However, people's practice within a sub-system "owes its specific form... to the laws proper to each of the subsystems". Which would appear to imply that something like the education system is, itself, a field of forces governed by its own laws. Bourdieu and Passeron compare and contrast this with the social system as described by Talcott Parsons, with its different, inter-related parts. Bourdieu, P. and Passeron, J. 1970/1977 pp 203-204).

    field of contention. Term used by Nick Crossley. The term reflects Crossley's preference seeing society and social movement as based on conflict. A term such as field of discourse could be used to avoid this bias.

    Feudal See Saint Simon chart

    medieval Europe France 1789 Scotland 2000

    The word "feudal" was coined from "feud" in the early 17th century. Feudal tenure was holding an estate in land in return for homage and service to a superior lord who granted the land. The land was held "in feud" or "in fee". The person who held the land was the "vassal" of the "lord" to whom homage and service was owed. In England the highest Lord was the king. Beneath him were superior vassals who were, in turn, lords to inferior vassals, and so on downwards.

    At the bottom of the feudal hierarchy were the serfs: semi-free workers who owed their lord labour on his land and received, in return, the right to work on land where they could grow their own crops.

    Feudal tenures were abolished in England in 1645. By this time, the word "feudal" was used to describe the whole system of administration, jurisdiction and land tenure based on the relationship between vassals and their superiors.

    The feudal system, in the wider sense above, was the political, social and economic system of medieval Europe. Nineteenth century social theorists called it "feudalism". Marx analysed it as the mode of production that preceded capitalism.

    See the class index to the Communist Manifesto, Marx and creativity and the chart of history as Engels saw it

    feudal Homage: Nowadays means a public display of special respect. This comes from the medieval ceremony in which someone (the "man" or the "vassal") pledged allegiance to another (known as the "lord"). As in the picture, the vassal knelt and placed his hands between the hands of the lord.

    Feudalism undermined by capitalism
    A complex process over about six hundred years
    medieval Europe towns and guilds industrial revolution French revolution

    In July 1789 French peasants revolted against Feudal rights and privileges, which were abolished in August 1789. These "seigneurial rights" (rights of the lord) included requirements to use a mill, bakehouse or wine-press belonging to the "lord", special rents, pigeons and rabbits kept by the lord feeding on the peasants' crops, tolls on roads and rivers, and various local dues. Although claiming origin in the feudal period, these rights had not been fading away. The right were bought and sold as a kind of property and professional "feudistes" searched ancient manuscripts to discover forgotten rights that could be imposed to raise more money.

    Feudal Tenure continued in Scotland until abolished by the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act in 2000AD

    Force - Coercion - See also force of nature

    A Plain English Dictionary definition: "If people use force to achieve something, they use physical strength or violence" (See fuller definition below)

    Hobbes says that we are bound to obey agreements, even if agreement was forced on us.

    Rousseau: "force does not create right, and ... we are obliged to obey only legitimate powers".

    Rousseau argues that force cannot create legitimacy. However, a legitimate order uses force to back up the general will: "Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free". I interpret this as meaning that human beings, who have divided wills, are forced to comply with their general will rather than their particular (selfish) will and that complying with the higher goal rather than the selfish goal is true human freedom.

    Different words (synonyms) for force

    Force: to compel by violent means. This can be physical force or mental (social) force. A blackmailer, for examples, forces someone to give him or her money by threatening to reveal a guilty secret.

    Coercion Another word for force. It means to forcibly constrain or impel someone into obedience to or compliance with your will. To force or compel to do. See types of coercion

    Compulsion Compel To drive irrisistably to an end. So it can be used for forcing someone to do something or for forces within us that make us do things.

    Constraint Constrain A restricting force.

    Violence a Raymond Williams keyword
    There is something unruly or unjust about violence. It is rough
    action, or force used to injure or damage. Or it can be used for unruly power, as in the "violence of the storm".

    # Face of an Iraqi soldier on the "Highway of Death," a name the press gave to the road from Mutlaa, Kuwait, to Basra, Iraq in 1990. United States planes immobilized a retreating convoy by disabling vehicles at its front and rear, then bombing and straffing the resulting traffic jam for hours.

    "More than 2,000 vehicles and tens of thousands of charred and dismembered bodies littered the sixty miles of highway. The clear rapid incineration of the human being suggests the use of napalm, phosphorus, or other incindiary bombs." (source)

    Also see symbolic violence

    What kind of violence is this?

    "I grew up understanding something of the violence of gender norms: an uncle incarcerated for his anatomically anomalous body, deprived of family and friends, living out his days in an 'institute'" (Judith Butler)

    Or this?

    "morality that survives in the shape of collective ideas even after the World Spirit has ceased to inhabit them... Once the state of human consciousness and the state of social forces of production have abandoned these collective ideas, these ideas acquire repressive and violent qualities." (Adorno 1996)

    Types of assault or coercion

    Assault - attack

    Intimidation - bullying

    Bullying (from bellowing or shouting at) means (a 1900 definition) to "overbear with bluster or menaces" or (a 1997 definition) to "persecute, intimidate, oppress (physically or morally) by threats or superior force"

    2012 Clive Boddy: [Workplace] "Bullying is usually described as regular and repeated: criticising, ignoring, humiliating, undermining, over- supervising, over-managing, intimidating and ridiculing of a person at work"

    See subject index bullying for references.

    Boddy suggests an area of crossover between bullying and psychopathy in the workplace. Terms for search engines that Boddy suggested are

    Corporate psychopaths. Organisational destroyers

    Corporate psychopaths and bullying

    Toxic leadership

    Corporate psychopaths and corporate responsibility

    Force of nature - economic forces - forces of production - See also force - coercion

    In the history of physical science, force has been thought of as the cause of motion, heat, electricity, etc. It is the power that produces or tends to produce a change. We also speak, in the plural, of forces of nature.

    In the history of social science force has similarly thought of as the cause of changes, as when we speak of economic forces or forces of production.


    The English word form has its roots in a French word that refers to the mould, shape or beauty of something or someone, as in the form of a body or object. Different forms have different contours. The beauty of something may be referred to as good form.

    Identifying forms has played an important part in science. An outstanding example is the work of Luke Howard (1772-1864) who argued that clouds are not ever changing forms that can take any shape, but that we can identify simple forms or categories: - Cumulus (Latin for heap) - Stratus (Latin for layer) - Nimbus (Latin for rain) - Cirrus (Latin for curl) - and intermediate forms - Cirro- cumulus - Cirro-stratus - Cumulo-stratus. (1802 "On the Modifications of Clouds").

    Form can be used as an abstract, analytical concept, as, for example, when we talk about the form and structure of an essay or a painting. George Simmel argued that forms of social interaction, in this abstract sense, are the subject matter of sociology. Sociology can be considered as the study of abstract families of social shapes.

    The form of a word refers to its external characteristics, such as how it is spelt. This is distinguished from its meaning. The form of a work of art refers to its style, design, techniques and media used. This is distinguished from its content, what it depicts, for example.

    Roland Barthes says of semiology that "it is a science of forms, since it studies significations apart from their content"

    Form can also be used for the material way in which we experience something. When we speak of "living forms" it has both the meaning of the body of the organism, and the idea that (like Luke Howard's clouds) things come in families of shapes (species, genre etc)

    George Herbert Mead uses the word form repeatedly to refer to the material reality we see that represents subjective ideas. Love is an emotion (we feel it), but its form may be the expression on this young lady's face. - I wish she was looking at me! The picture comes from Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)

    The "form" is the behaviour. It is what we observe. So Mead speaks of a "parent form" and an "infant form" directing our attention the material bodies of the parent and child, and what they do. [See body language]


    Mead talks about

    "the relation of parent-form to the infant - the stimulating cry, the answering tone on the part of the parent-form, and the consequent change in the cry of the infant-form."

    Lore: a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group, typically passed from person to person by word of mouth.


    The term Folklore was suggested on 12.8.1846 by William John Thoms (born 16.11.1803, died 15.8.1885) in The Athenaeum under the pseudonym Ambrose Merton. It was a term for the "lore of the people". That is for the learning or knowledge of ordinary people. What, Thoms said, was then usually referred to as popular antiquities or popular literature.

    The 1911 Encyclopedia describes it as "the traditional learning of the uncultured classes of civilised nations"

    Freedom and obedience

    The sentences and phrases below are examples of different meanings of the term "freedom" in social theory

    Eve learns about good and evil and Prometheus and Pandora bring hope and industry   Wollstonecraft comments: Man has been held out as independent of His power who made him, or as a lawless planet darting from its orbit to steal the celestial fire of reason

    Socrates: These two harmonies I ask you to leave; the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom

    Philosophers speak of determinism when referring to the principle that necessity (cause) decides things and voluntarism when referring to the principle that free will decides things.

    Aristotle: a state is a community of freemen

    See slaves

    Filmer: I see not then how the children of Adam, or of any man else, can be free from subjection to their parents

    Hobbes: Liberty, or freedom, signifieth properly the absence of opposition [Corresponding to Berlin's negative freedom]

    Locke: men are naturally in... a state of perfect freedom... within the bounds of the law of nature

    Rousseau: Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains... What can make it legitimate?

    Hegel: ethical life is the concept of freedom developed into the existing world

    John Stuart Mill: After the primary necessities of food and raiment, freedom is the first and strongest want of human nature. [See varieties of freedom]

    Durkheim: It would never have been possible to establish the freedom of thought we now enjoy if the regulations prohibiting it had not been violated...

    Sartre: I am condemned to be free [existentialist freedom]

    liberalism   conservatism

    David Levy "the freedom that is man's" [human] "has institutional order as its essential correlate" (Levy, D.J. 1987, Political Order p.41)

    Friend not a féond (enemy) - See fiend

    The Old English word freond has roots in a word for love. A freond is the opposite of a féond (enemy). Friendship is a bond between people, Friends are bound together by ties of affection.

    About 1225: The Ancrene Riwle "no enmity is so bad as false friendship. An enemy who seems a friend is of all traitors the most treacherous".

    Wycliffe Bible (1384?) 1 Maccabees 8. 17 Eupolemus and Jason sent to Rome to establish frendship and fellowship.

    1611 Bible: Called friends (of God) if we love one another (John chapter 15)

    1612 Francis Bacon Essays "Without friendship, society is but meeting"

    Why are Quakers called Friends?


    Functional and Dysfunctional



    Structural functionalism

    Karl Marx (1867) wrote about the functions
    of money and commodities in society

    Herbert Spencer (1876) on
    structure and function in the organic and social

    Emile Durkheim (1893) discusses
    the "function" of the division of labour
    or "what social need it satisfies".

    Gramsci: "All ... are intellectuals ... but not all ... have in society the function of intellectuals."

    Something's function is it performance and the thing it is supposed to do. A computer has many functions, and any of its basic operations is called a function. To be a function, an act must be more than just an occasional act. It needs to be the regular purpose. My function may be to teach if there is regular interaction between teacher and taught. It is not my function if I and another person simply contract that I will teach on one occasion. That is just something I did then and may never do again.

    "Thus, because it can happen that everyone at some time fries a couple of eggs or sews up a tear in a jacket, we do not necessarily say that everyone is a cook or a tailor." (Gramsci)

    In defining a function, and pointing out the difference between function and contract, Durkheim says:

    "if [the division of labour] only brought together individuals who united for some few moments to exchange personal services, it could not give rise to any regulative action. But what it brings face to face are functions, that is to say, ways of definite action, which are identically repeated in given circumstances, since they cling to general, constant conditions of social life."

    Functional and Dysfunctional

    Functional is a relatively old word (mid 17th century) meaning that something serves its purpose. It also distinguished the purpose of something from its structure or form. In the mid 19th century doctors coined the phrase "functional disorder" for a disease without an organic base.

    If something is functioning, it is working.
    If scissors cut, they are functioning
    functioning entity, however, Talcott Parsons appears to that something has properties analagous to a living organism.

    In the early 20th century (1916) a new word dysfunction or disfunction was seen in some medical writing, meaning a fault in the way some part of the body is working. A limp is a leg dysfunction, a heart attack is a major heart dysfunction. The word spread. A gas fire that will not light is "in a state of dysfunction".

    The word dysfunctional was not observed until 1949, when Robert Merton wanted to counter the assumption that everything in society serves its purpose well. He defined functional and dysfunctional thus:

    "Functions are those observed consequences which make for the adaptation or adjustment of a given system, and dysfunctions, those observed consequences which lessen the adaptation or adjustment of the system. There is also the empirical possibility of nonfunctional consequences, which are simply irrelevant to the system under consideration"

    In popular language, a family that does not work is a dysfunctional family - which implies you have a theory of what families are supposed to do when performing their functions properly, what can go wrong, and why. I suspect the term became popular in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of family therapies, modelled on those of Virginia Satir (USA 1916-1988), that seek to heal the dysfunctional family.


    A functional analysis of society tries to explain the parts of the society in terms of the purpose they serve within the whole society. Marx and Engels, therefore, make a functional analysis of classes when they argue that capitalist and labourer (together) are necessary for the production of capital. The emphasis of their Communist Manifesto, however, is on the conflict generated between the classes, and its role in the development of society.

    Functionalism is a term developed in 1930s England to describe theories that emphasise an analysis of parts of the society in terms of their purpose within the whole. Bronislaw Malinowski (1884 - 1942) said that "the magnificent title of the Functional School of Anthropology has ben bestowed by myself, in a way on myself" (Malinowski 1929/1932, Special Forward). He wrote:

    "This type of theory aims at the explanation of anthropological facts at all levels of development by their function, by the part which they play within the integral system of culture, by the manner in which they are related to each other within the system" (1926 Encyclopedia Britannica article, quoted by Robert Merton, 1957, p.22)

    The term (or similar) was also adopted by USA sociologists. Robert Merton (1957) spoke of "functional analysis" and compared it to the "dialectical" analysis of Hegel. and then of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Both ways of analysing society, he argued, could be used by conservatives or radicals. They provide value neutral tools

    Functionalism is often linked to Structure to give "Structural-Functionalism". The essays of the British anthropologist Alfred Radcliffe-Brown (1881-1955) were published in 1952 as Structure and Function in Primitive Society. In 1951, USA Sociologist Talcott Parson wrote that the systematisation of theory in the present state of knowledge must be in structural-functional terms - See Wikipedia

    When Habermas speaks of "functionalist reason" his reference is mainly to Talcott Parsons. For example he says "The systems theory of society first developed by Parsons and consistently carried further by Luhmann views the rise and development of modern society solely in the functionalist perspective of growing system complexity" (1981 chapter on tasks)

    The term functionalist has also been applied to earlier theorists, notably Durkheim, who do not have the same emphasis as the theorists who later called themselves functionalists. I think it is unhelpful to call Durkheim a functionalist. It can be helpful to point out that some functionalists saw him as an intellectual predecessor. Robert Merton argues that "Durkheim adopted a functional orientation throughout his work"

    Many characteristics often ascribed to functionalist theory do not accurately describe Durkheim's theories. However, they also fail to accurately describe Malinowski or Radcliffe-Brown. Ronald Fletcher (The Making of Sociology, 1971, vol.2, p.674) has attempted a description that does (partly) describe Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. I have altered the tense and added links for terms:

    The 'functionalist' approach to the study of society maintains that society is a system of social institutions and attendant patterns of culture. Social institutions are ordered, regulated patterns of social action which are rooted in men's need and interests; which rest upon strongly established sentiments, and - as forms of social regulation - are crucial, organised embodiments of values. Culture is the total material, mental, spiritual apparatus and 'ethos' which is instrumentally related to these institutions. The patterning of 'culture' is concomitant with the pattern of 'institutionalisation'. The total 'social structure' of a 'society' (a 'social system') can be systematically analysed in terms of its institutional 'parts'. However, the whole is a system of interconnected parts. The parts are inter-operative, they work (function) in a process of interdependence with each other. No part can therefore be understood excepting within a knowledge of the whole. The very nature of a part of society lies in its functional interconnections with, and contributions to, other parts in the entire social system. The study of society has, therefore, to rest upon this primary recognition of the social system (of the inter-connectedness of social facts); and could only provide a reliable body of knowledge about its subject-matter if it employed the 'structural-functional' method of analysis.


    An Old English word for amusement (fun), related to having a good time with one another (fellowship). Sometimes applied to love-making. Sometimes applied to prostitution ("on the game"). Especially applied to forms of amusement, usually competitive, governed by rules of play.

    See Olympiad - - quantifying happiness - game of war - game of life - popular culture - microchips - Computing 1981 - John Nash 1994

    Garden trees

    According to one creation story, a garden was the original home of humans:

    "God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made ... to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food ... And a river went out of Eden to water the garden" (Genesis 2:8)

    The Hebrew word gan (garden) in the original story is related to an enclosed, protected area. The English word garden has also been traced back to an old English word for enclosure: geard.

    Trees: See fire - Bouldner - wood - Gilgamesh - Charlotte Mew Men and Trees

    gen- (as in generate): birth. See gender - genitals

    Gender is just one of those things that
    Crona does not know how to deal with.

    One's gender can just mean one's sex in the sense of being either male or female.

    Most people would agree that this is simply decided by whether one has a penis or a vagina. If you "sex" an animal you just look at its genital organs to decide if it is a boy or a girl.

    Knowledge of chromosomes and genes has added another dimension to the definition of biological gender. Having a vagina and two X chromosomes defines being a woman (biologically) and having a penis and one X and one Y chromosome, defines being a man. A minority (1%?) of humans do not fit neatly into one or other category.

    In its richer sense, gender refers to all the characteristics that attach to being male or female, including ones that are of cultural origin. Wearing lipstick, for example, is something that women in my culture often do, but men only do in plays, if dressing up as women ("drag") or making some political point about gender roles (often called sex roles. Such roles are very real: They force themselves on us. Men who wear lipstick are made to feel very uncomfortable. Men who wear a dress may even be arrested. Even wearing a coat with the buttons on the "wrong side" can be embarrassing.

    Judith Butler has argued that even what we regard as our biological sex is shaped by society.

    Barbara Risman (2004) argues that gender should be thought of as a social structure, situating it at "the same level of general social significance as the economy and the polity".

    Gendering "process through which knowledge and practices are shaped by patriarchal relations that embody male power over women (or, more rarely, the opposite). (Fulcher and Scott 2007, p.861).

    Lecture relating sex, gender and sexuality to identity and social structure

    Core gender identity

    See Wikipedia Gender identity

    "gender identity is your own sense or conviction of maleness or femaleness" (1966)

    "Gender identity is a person's inner sense of being male or female, usually developed during early childhood as a result of parental rearing practices and societal influences and strengthened during puberty by hormonal changes." (An internet definition based on the Random House Dictionary 2010.

    Judith Butler:

    "There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender... identity is performatively constituted by the very 'expressions' that are said to be its results" Butler, J. 1990 p.25)

    The following definitions are taken from an online factsheet

    Gender identity refers to how people see and identify themselves; for example, some people identify as female; some people identify as male; some people as a combination of genders; as a gender other than male or female; or as no gender. For example, transgender girls identify as girls but were classified as males when they were born. Transgender boys identify as boys but were classified female when they were born. Everyone has a gender identity.

    Gender expression refers to how people express their gender identity. Everyone expresses their gender identity in different ways: for example, in the way they dress, the length of their hair, the way they act or speak and in their choice of whether or not to wear make-up.

    Transgender is a general term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

    Gender nonconforming refers to people who do not follow other people's ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth.

    "Transgender" and "Gender nonconforming" are umbrella terms that often encompass other terms such as transsexual, cross dresser, gender queer, femme queen, A.G., Two Spirit, and many more. It is important to refer to people with the term they prefer.

    Gender questioning: People who are questioning their gender identity might be wondering whether they identify as a boy, a girl or another gender. They might also be experimenting with different genders.

    Genetics Genetic is a Raymond Williams keyword

    The scientific study of (biological) heredity, with special reference to how variation comes about. Genetics, as a name for the subject, dates back to 1905. The origin of the science is usually traced back to 1900 when papers by Gregor Mendel, originally published in 1866, were resurrected by several biologists.

    In the 1930s the theory developed that the genetic information about what characteristics are inherited are carried in an organic chemical which we now call DNA (Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid). These acids are generally found only in the chromosomes - Thread like structures in cells, see left. Experiments in the 1940s and 1950s, using micro-organisms, showed that DNA was the material that transmitted genetic information.

    The three major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life are proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Before nucleic acid was identified as the transmitter of hereditary information, it was thought the proteins did this.

    In 1953 a structure was suggested for the DNA molecule which has proved correct.

    # 25.4.1953: Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid" [Diagramatic illustration left]

    1959 Penrose - September 1961 Faris - 1978 Genetic engineering - 1984 DNA Profiling - 1995 gene as a cultural icon - 1995 UK National DNA Database - 26.6.2000 Human Genome map - October 2000 Nature Reviews - 1.3.2010 Norway - October 2013 Sociology special issue

    The physical units that carrying the data of what an organism will be are Chromosomes (which are molecules) - Genes (which are relatively small sections of DNA which encode - provide a template for - proteins, and the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) of which the genes are composed.

    Chromosomes are molecules that consist of a very long strand of DNA coiled many times, and a few proteins called histones which hold the whole structure together.

    A genome, from gene plus chromosome, is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell, or in each cell of an organism.

    sex-determination. Most animals (including humans) have their biological sex (gender) determined by the combination of X (female determining factor) and Y (male determining factor) chromosomes in their cells. Females have two X chromosomes (XX) - Males have one of each (XY). The female sex-cell (egg) contains an X chromosome. About 50% of male sperm is X factor and 50% Y factor. If a cell is fertilised by an X factor sperm, it will develop as a female. If fertilised by a Y factor sperm, it will develop as a male.

    A diagram depicting the 23 human chromsomes. Based on a diagram in the glossary of the National Human Genome Research Unit. It shows both the female (XX) and male (XY) versions of the 23rd chromosome pair. (Source Wikipedia)

    Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence;
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz 2008
    sociologists confront genetic determinism and essentialism

    Mitochondrial DNA is found outside the cell nucleus in small bodies known as Mitochondria. Unlike the nuclear DNA, it is transmitted just by the mother, and does not usually change from generation to generation. Because of this it can be used to track ancestry (through the female line).

    Genitals Your genitals are your sex organs.

    Geo- See Space

to read Greek myths

    geo is from the Greek word for earth. In Greek mythology, Earth was both land and a female goddess (Gaia). Gaia gave birth to heaven (Uranus), the hills and the sea without the pleasure of love-making. But she then had sex with heaven and gave birth to a race of giants.

    From geo we get:

    geography for the drawing of the earth

    geometry for the measurement of the earth

    geology for the scientfic study of earth

    geodiversity has been used in relation to geography and geology.

    earth sciences includes geography and geology, as well as ecology and hydrology and the study of the atmosphere.


    Something seen as a whole, which is more than the sum of its parts. From the German word for form or shape.

    Gestalt psychology

    The following summary of gestalt psychology is taken from The History of Psychiatry, a lecture by Larry Merkel, 18.9.2003

    Gestalt psychology began as an attack on Wundtian atomistic psychology. The basic concept was that the combination of sensory elements produced something more than the sum. Kant (1724-1804) in opposition to the British Empiricists felt the mind actively took sensory elements and combined them into a meaningful whole, quite differently than the passive process of association. Early Gestalt psychologists held that the act of perceiving was as important as the content of what was perceived. Experiments in physics and physiology supported this, for example in music a melody evokes a response more than just a series of notes. William James was an early influence on Gestalt psychology. Goethe and the philosophy of phenomenology, the unbiased description of immediate experience, also had an influence. Physics, and the investigation of force fields and wave theory, as opposed to atoms also had an influence. The early German Gestalt psychologists began as Wundtian students [Max Wertheimer (1880-1943), Kurt Koffka (1886-1941), and Wolfgang Köler (1887-1967)]. With the rise of Nazis in Germany Gestalt psychology immigrated to the U.S. They developed principles of perceptual organisation and the notion that learning/problem solving required situational evaluation and mental sequencing, rather than simple trial and error as Behaviouralists argued. Furthermore they argued that learning occurred more effectively when the elements of learning were organised into meaningful wholes rather than simple practice and repetition. Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) the originator of Field Theory is probably the best known of Gestalt psychologists. Gestalt psychology recognizes consciousness and urges it's study while recognizing that the methodology can never be as precise as in behaviourism.

    Gift and exchange

    We think of giving something as not charging for it and selling something as receiving something in return which we call the price. However it is not as simple as that. One of the earliest English meanings of gift referred to something presented by the groom at his wedding, sometimes called the "bride price". On the other hand, before 1000AD, the English word sellan tended to mean give (without a price).

    Bronislaw Malinowski drew atention to the complexity of the relationship beteeen gifts and exchange and the sociological significance was further explored by Marcel Mauss.

    See notes on chapter five of Bauman and May

    Compare R.E. Park (1925) on the change from primary to secondary relations when we move from a village to a town

    "The globe" is a phrase that has been used for the sphere of the world since the late sixteenth century. In 1944 (according to Webster's dictionary) the verb globalise was coined to mean making something worldwide. Then, in the 1960s, the Canadian theorist Marshal McLuhan (1911-1980) popularised the idea that developments in modern media are creating a global village. Today that term means that all the world is thought of as being closely connected by modern communications and markets and therefore inter-dependent. The media is making real, on a world-wide scale, the claim of the 16th century poet Jonne Donne, that:

      "No man one is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent ... if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee"

    In 1960, McLuhan and his colleague, Carpenter, wrote:

      "postliterate man's electronic media contract the world to a village or tribe where everything happens to everyone at the same time. Everyone knows about, and therefore participates in, everything that happens the minute it happens. Television gives this quality of simultaneity to events in the global village." (Carpenter, E. and McLuhan, M. 1960 Quoted in The Oxford English Dictionary)

    In the 1980s, and increasingly in the 1990s, this one world media vision was combined with Adam Smith's vision in The Wealth of Nations (1776) of a world wide division of labour invisibly integrated by the exchange of goods and services for money. This view of a world integrated by markets and media, a world where isolation means extinction, has been called globalisation. - See Global Age

    In economic terms, globalisation refers to an increasing tendency towards an interconnected worldwide investment and business environment. The strength of this, and the penetration of the media, has made most nationally based "socialist" and "communist" economies unviable. Globalisation has become the victory of capitalism over socialist alternatives and the protests against reducing society to the market are now referred to in the media as "anti-globalisation" rallies.

    "Globalization can thus be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa" (Giddens, A. 1990 p.64).

    "Productivity and competitiveness are, by and large, a function of knowledge generation and information processing; firms and territories are organised in networks of production, management and distribution; the core economic activities are global - that is, they have the capacity to work as a unit in real time, or chosen time, on a planetary scale. (Castells 2001: p. 52: "Information Technology and Global Capitalism" in W. Hutton and A. Giddens (Editors.) On The Edge. Living with Global Capitalism London: Vintage

    2016 Referendum "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? argued to be a debate on the kind of society globalisation creates.

    Goal Attainment

    Goal attainment is one of the four basic needs that Parsons says that all Social Systems have. All societies need to define and sustain certain fundamental objectives. In the social system as a whole, this is done by the political system.

    For Habermas, this is part of the system integration

    God See Comte's stages

    In religious belief systems with many gods (polytheism), a god is supernatural being with power over nature and human fortunes. See Greek and Roman myths, for examples.

    In Jewish, Christian and Islamic belief, God is the supreme being who created and rules the universe. The belief in one god is called monotheism.

    The development of social science involved changing theories about how the creator rules the universe. This is evident in the writing of John Locke where God's rule is via "laws of nature" rather than by direct intervention. (See "Two Treatises of Government", index "God")

    God's dwelling - Shekhinah - spiritual space

    This entry considers conceptual systems that locate God and humans in spiritual space.

    God or gods have often been placed above the bright blue sky, in heaven

    Shekhinah is a Hebrew word literally meaning the dwelling, which has been used since the first century AD to refer to where God is present (dwells) in the human. It is used for God's presence mentioned in the Bible as in the Tabernacle, the Temple, among the people of Israel, in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, and in a burning bush. - See Jewish Encyclopedia and Wikipedia. But the earthly presence of God is also located in the home, at meals; in sleep and illness, as protection; in the human heart and as God made flesh.

    Tabernacle and Temple

    "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle". Exodus 40:34 "Then the Cloud of Glory overspread the tabernacle of ordinance, and the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Mosheh" [Moses] "was not able to enter the tabernacle of ordinance, because the Cloud of Glory rested upon it, and the glory of the Lord's Shekinah filled the tabernacle". (English translation of the Palestinian Targum)

    In the Tabernacle and Temple, there was a most holy place (the holy of holies) where the presence of God dwelt.

    From Temple to home - Shabbat meals

    The Talmud contains this passage

    "'He who draws out his meal', because perhaps a poor man will come and he will give him something, as it is written, The altar of wood three cubits high. and he said to me, This is the table that is before the Lord [Ezekial 41:22 - Now the verse] opens with 'altar' and finishes with 'table'? [Rabbi] Johanan and [Rabbi] Eleazar both explain that as long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel, but now a man's table atones for him" (Tractate Berakoth. Folio 55a).

    A Limmud Shabbat (present day book for the jewish sabbath) comments (page 61) "Your Table is an Alter According to tradition, the Temple was a home for the Shekhinah (the Divine presence). When the Temple was destroyed, Rabbis taught that the shechinah now dwells inside the home".

    A Prayer for Protection at Night

    In the name of Adonai
    the God of Israel:
    May the angel Michael be at my right,
    and the angel Gabriel be at my left;
    and in front of me the angel Uriel,
    and behind me the angel Raphael...
    and above my head
    Sh'khinah (Divine Presence).

    This is an English translation of a traditional Kriat Sh'ma Al HaMitah, (bedtime Shma) made available by Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

    Quakers and Methodists

    See The Trivial Sublime: Theology and American Poetics by Linda Munk and Roberto Bizzocchi. Springer, 4.2.1993.

    1663 God in churches, or God in people? [John Crook, from Christian Quakers, drew my attention to the concept of Shekhinah. For Quakers, John says, God's dwelling is within each human heart, rather than within a building.

    1739 Charles Wesley in Hymns and Sacred Poems "Our eyes on earth survey the dazling Shechinah! Bright, in endless glory bright now in flesh He stoops to dwell".

    Above the bright blue sky

    1579   heaven above the earth.

    1859   Albert Midlane Good News for the Little Ones.

    1969   Somewhere in outer space

    Gods - devils - demons

    The Devil is the supernatural opponent of God. Both are spiritual beings. The related term, demon, meant originally a "deity, divine power or lesser god". The Devil in Jewish, Christian and Muslim belief was originally an angel who disobeyed God and became his enemy.

    Evil personified appears with different names in the Jewish Bible: nahash the serpent (Genesis) - Satan (Job) (otherwiss diabolis Devil) - and Lucifer, son of the morning (Isaiah). Milton in Paradise Lost makes the interpretation that Lucifer was an angel who raised a rebellion against God, was cast out of heaven and later took on the form of a serpant to tempt Eve to disobey God.
    For Milton, Satan is the fiend or arch-enemy of mankind. In Doré's illustration, above, he travels outer space in his mission to pervert.

    The Cambridge Advaned Learners Dictionary says that to demonise is to try to make someone or a group of people seem as if they are evil. Example "The Nazis used racist propaganda in an attempt to demonise the Jews". If you are a demon you are, by nature, evil.

    Govern - Government - Control government rule

    In its original meaning, to govern is to control or direct. So a ship's captain governs the direction of his ship, a person should govern his or her own conduct, and rulers of a country govern it.

    The political meaning is the commonest. "The Government" is the body that rules a society. The word can be used as an alternative to "The State", or it can be used for just the part of the state at the top.

    If we talk about "Government and State" we are probably distinguishing between the people who rule the whole (the Prime Minister and his government, for example) and the whole apparatus that carries out their wishes: civil service, army, police etc.

    governance: controlling and directing. This can be control of public or private issues. Public governance is the government of society generally. Family governance is the government of the family.

    Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary: governance is "the activity of governing a country or controlling a company or an organisation; the way in which a country is governed or a company or institution is controlled".

    Government rule

    As well as its general meaning, rule can mean "control, government, dominion" (Oxford English Dictionary), as when someone says "under the rule of Queen Victoria, the British people enjoyed a long period of prosperity" (source)

    The "rule of" in this sense is a government. It is the control of a group of people and a special kind of power.

    Weber uses the German terms Macht and Herrschaft (Power and Rule).

  • Power (Macht) "is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his own will", whereas

  • Rule (Herrschaft) "is the probability that a command with a given specific content will be obeyed by a given group of persons" (my emphasis).


    Controlling was originally checking accounts (from contra against and rotulus roll.

    A control group in a controlled experiment is the sample against which the results are checked for significance.

    Now control usually has the general meaning of governing or regulating.

    If you keep control of yourself, you do not give way to your feelings.

    If someone controls you, they decide what you do See heteronomy

    If you control yourself, you decide what you do. See autonomy

    See order and disorder.

    Discipline (from disciple) is a system of order imposed on pupils, soldiers, or others under authority. It is also the system by which a Church maintains order and exercises control over its members.

    Durkheim argues that the first element of morality [is] the spirit of discipline

    Manage See govern and control

    From the Latin word for hand. A horse is managed when it is handled, trained and directed. A ship is managed when its sailing is under control.

    One can manage a household or a business, an institution or a state, even a football team or a herd of cattle. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Group See Community

    A number of people or things that belong together, or which we class together, so that they form a whole.

    We could group any assortment of people together in our minds. You could group together Margaret Thatcher, your nearest relative, the person who sat opposite you last time you were on a bus, Santa Clause and that man who sells crack cocaine to the local infants' school.

    A human group, however, means more than just an assortment of people. Something has to hold them together as a whole. Some social scientists say, that to be a human group, people must:

    • interact with one another
    • perceive themselves as a group

    See cooperate - and working in groups

    Groups divided by closeness, warmth and sameness
    community society
    family state
    communism capitalism Marx and Engels
    mechanical solidarity
    See solidarity
    organic solidarity Durkheim
    gemeinschaft gesellschaft Tönnies
    see discussion
    primary group secondary group
    [term possibly not used by Cooley]

    Habit - Habitus See also prejudice as predisposition

    The common word, habit, and the technical term, habitus, both come from a Latin word for the way one holds oneself.

    Centipede who has forgotten
how to walk A habit is a way of behaviour that is really ingrained. It is one explanation for regular patterns of human behaviour. Habits, actions that we do without thinking, are necessary. If you think too closely about how you are walking, you may fall over. Most of our living is governed by habit.

    Community of habits See tradition

    Following Comte, Durkheim argued that society could not arise from individuals choosing to cooperate, but that cooperation could only develop in a pre-existing society. Groups are formed in the first place by

    "mechanical causes and impulsive forces, such as affinity of blood, attachment to the same soil, ancestral worship, community of habits etc." (Durkheim 1893 p.278)

    These habits are real things (social facts) that resist being altered. They are not just ideas or concepts. The "forms of collective existence" are

    "within us ... they are a product of repeated experiences, they derive from repetition and from the habit resulting from it, a sort of dominance and authority. We feel their resistance when we try to shake them off." (Durkheim 1895 p.18)

    Many sociologists argue that the origin of society involves behaviour becoming a habit, by habitualisation.

    Habitus was used (late 19th century) as a medical term for a habit (disposition) of the body. So if you had a "consumptive habitus" you would have a disposition to the disease consumption (tuberculosis)

    Marcel Mauss, and other sociologists, used habitus for the ways we behave that have become second nature to us: techniques that our body has learnt.

    Pierre Bourdieu has extended this to include beliefs. Our habitus is the whole body of ways of behaving and thinking that have become second nature to us. The dispositions (inclinations, habits) that make up your habitus are things you have learnt so well that they are natural for you. We are not usually aware of most of our habitus, but people do become aware of what they do habitually, and reflect on it. If we do this, we probably see our dispositions or habits as part of our identity.

    "Habitus refers to our accumulated baggage from childhood (attitudes, beliefs, confidence, competence aspirations etc). Unlike personality which is a de-contextualised psychological concept, habitus is definitely social in its orientation because it points to the social origins of who we are. It retains the idea that the colours and images of those social origins are reflected in embodied people. Hence 'embodiment' is another term that Bourdieu made popular in sociology. (David Pilgrim Survivors History Forum 10.2.2009)

    Bourdieu argues that people from the same social class develop a similar habitus. This leads to them making similar choices in a wide range of different situations. This is Bourdieu's formal definition of habitus in Outline of a Theory of Practice (French 1972)

    "systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and representations which can be objectively 'regulated' and 'regular' without in any way being the product of obedience to rules" (1977, p. 72).

    In The Logic of Practice (French 1980) he wrote:

    "The conditionings associated with a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles which generate and organise practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them. Objectively 'regulated' and 'regular' without being in any way the product of obedience to rules, they can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organising action of a conductor." The Logic of Practice, p.53,

    One's habitus is durable in that it is the product of a long process of inculcation, beginning in early childhood, and lasting a lifetime. It is transposable in that it generates practices in different fields of activity. So a working class habitus will lead to behaviour of a similar pattern at school, at work, at play, etc. Structured structures suggests that the patterns of behaviour incorporate the social conditions in which they were learnt (the working class environment, for example), and structuring structures means that they generate practices that shape different situations in a typical way. And all this is a kind of habit, rather than conscious decision.

    Originally based on Randal Johnson p.5

    Habitualisation - Habitualised

    This word habitualisation, used by Berger and Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality, means making a habit of something. In a section on the Origins of Institutionalisation, they say

    "All human activity is subject to habitualisation. Any action that is repeated frequently becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with an economy of effort" (Berger and Luckmann 1966, pp 70-71)

    They then say

    " Institutionalisation occurs whenever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualised action by types of actors. Put differently, any such typification is an institution" (Berger and Luckmann 1966, pp 70-71)

    See the way types - typifications create society, in Berger and Luckman's theory, by making subjective meanings objective.

    Habitus and change

    The ideas of habitus and habitualisation appear to be about fixing habits so that we do not change. The idea of resistance habitus, developed for Bourdieu by Nick Crossley, integrates habitus and habitualisation with movement.

    Resistance habitus describes how social movements develop "durable dispositions towards contention". Crossley says;

    "Habitus are not always or just formed in periods and contexts of stability . They can be born in periods of change and discontent and can give rise to durable dispositions towards contention and the various forms of know-how and competence necessary to contention. Putting it another way, protests and insurgency do not arise out of nowhere and neither do they die away into nowhere. They persist in habits of resistance and political opposition." (Crossley, N. 2002 p. 190)

    Happiness and Pleasure See Utilitarianism

    Originally meaning favoured by good fortune, happy has come to mean a state of emotional pleasure. It has one of the best known symbols of our time, which is counterbalanced by the symbol for sadness.

    A high is a state excitement, euphoria or just high spirits. It is also used to mean being in such an emotional state because of being intoxicated by drugs such as alcohol, cocaine or marijuana. [See Jock Young's The Drugtakers]

    Harmony and discord

    Harmony is where the parts work together well to form a pleasing and orderly whole. The word derives from a Greek word for fitting together or joint.

    A discord is where the parts (people, things, musical notes) disagree and are in conflict. A discord upsets the heart. It jars

    See the "warm" heart of community

    Health Origin of term - See Wealth

    Sound condition of body. Freedom from disease.

    Extended to include one's moral condition, as in the English Book of Common Prayer (1549 and 1662)

    "We have offended against thy holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, And there is no health in us, But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders; Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults, Restore thou them that are penitent..."

    Also used with respect to society as in the 1611) Bible concerning Israel and Judah:

    "For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after." (Jeremiah 30:17)

    Unhealth (word not used now) Old English for for bad health, sickness, weakness or infirmity. Disease - ill-health

    Concepts have been applied to mind and body:

      Macbeth How does your patient, doctor?

      Doctor Not so sick, my lord, As she is troubled with thick coming fancies, That keep her from her rest.

      Macbeth Cure her of that. Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain and with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart?

      Doctor Therein the patient must minister to himself.

      Macbeth Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it

    See mental distress - mental health - mental illness

    Diseases are diagnosed (identified) and doctors make a prognosis (prediction) about what will happen to the patient. They are considered as entities with a path to follow

    Hegemony a Raymond Williams keyword

    From Greek for lead. Hegemonic may mean ruling or it may mean the ruling principal. Hegemony is political or cultural leadership and dominance within a group.

    [Political] hegemony

    In ancient Greece a hegemony was an alliance of a number of city- states under the direction of one dominant state.

    By Lenin and other marxists the term was used for the leadership (dominance) of one class in an alliance of classes.

    [Cultural] hegemony See symbolic power

    Antonio Gramsci argued that nation states require the hegemony of a class to unify the nation.

    Gramsci associated the term hegemony with the idea that the working class had to establish "intellectual and moral leadership" of an "historic bloc" of classes, capable of forming a new state.

    Gramsci's works began to be published in 1957 and in 1976 Raymond Williams included Hegemony in his 110 keywords for the understanding of culture and society. It had become important, he wrote in one form of twentieth century marxism

    "... it extends the notion of political predominance from realtions between states to relations between social classes, as in bourgeois hegemony... [and] includes, as one of its key features, a particular way way of seeing the world.." [world-view]

    This affected thinking about revolution. which would not just involve the transfer of political or economic power, but also "the overthrow of a specific hegemony".

    For the new, culturally conscious, marxists, revolution was as much a matter of intellectual struggles as it was of class struggle.

    Stuart Hall wrote in 1981

    "Popular culture is one of the sites where this struggle for and against a culture of the powerful is engaged: it is the stake to be one or lost in that struggle. It is the arena of consent and resistance. It is partly where hegemony arises, and where it is secured. It is not a sphere where socialism, a socialist culture -- already fully formed -- might be simply "expressed". But it is one of the places where socialism might be constituted. That is why "popular culture" matters." (Read in context)

    Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe's 1985 book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy uses semiological and structural-linguistic ideas. It explains hegemony as a system of concepts which recognises the social functions of different strata while stitching all concepts into a more or less closed system, capable of regulating social life while making any "outside" impossible to talk about or even imagine.

    Hereditary - Heredity See Genetics

    In law, an heir is someone who succedes someone else in the possession of property or rank. The eldest son, for example, might be the father's heir.

    Hereditary means descended from an ancestor to an heir. The term used in relation to property and rank was soon used also for anything transmitted from one generation to another - including biological features.

    Heredity is the biological process by which characteristics are passed on in the genes from parent to child (Plain English Dictionary)

    Stratification, the arrangement of society in strata (layers - as in rock formations), is another word for hierarchy. See Parsons. However, stratification is a more recent word than hierarchy and has a more restricted meaning.

    In 1706 a dictionary defined strata as "layers or beds of different kind of earthy matter, that lie one over another". A single layer is a stratum

    19th century social theorist began to compare this to the structure of society. In 1850, for example, Thomas Carlyle wrote "in the lowest broad strata of the population..are produced men of every kind of genius."

    Social stratification used to be used (as by Carlyle above) just in reference to class, but more recently some social theorists have argued that common characteristics such as race/ethnicity and gender also rank people into strata.

    Hierarchy Hierarchy was one of the earliest aspects of social structure to be analysed. See, for example, Plato on the just State.

    Hierarchy is the vertical organisation of society. By vertical is meant that people are ranked above and below one another according to their authority. Some societies are more hierarchical than others. All human groups, however, have some hierarchy.

  • Some theorists argue that hierarchy is a product of a social contract between equals to adopt a hierarchy for the sake of the benefits it can bring. [See social contract]

  • Other theorists argue that hierarchy is the natural order of society, modelled on the family where children are born into an authority structure, without any choice. Looked at this way, it becomes evident that without hierarchy there can be no culture and no society, because adults are necessary to socialise children and introduce them to culture. [See mother - child - father]

    In the original Greek, a hierarch is a sacred ruler. Durkheimian theorists argue that it is through religion that society first perceives itself. The rational, secular, analysis of society that social science engages in is a product of society, not its origin. State of nature and social contract theories, therefore, are not an account of how society actually formed, but an attempt to analyse society.

    See also Equality

    Lecture on Stratification, class and status in relation to identity and social structure

    Hierarchy and Power

    Power is the ability to do something. Individually we are weak compared to our power in organised society. The early sociologist, Montesquieu, in fact imagined human beings in a state of nature as so weak that they would be frightened at a leaf trembling. In society, however, this sense of weakness vanishes. (read Montesquieu). However, whereas we all draw strength from society, the strength is unequally distributed and those high in the hierarchy of society have power over those lower down - which they may use for the collective or for personal advantage. (read Montesquieu).

    Durkheim, following distinctions made earlier by John Stuart Mill, used the idea of forced versus natural division of labour to illustrate an aspect of social power. The hierarchy of society is natural if individuals tend towards occupying the positions that they are best suited to. It is forced if there are barriers to people entering positions other than their abilities.

    Words such as domination and subjection are used for forcefully putting people low in the hierarchy. They are medieval Latin words, relating to feudal society where all were bound to one another obligations of allegiance, owing service or paying tribute. The force in this is echoed in the Latin origin. Subject means to "throw under", dominate means to make oneself lord, ruler or master.

    Although subjection and domination are political words, applying to government, they can also be applied to other aspects of society. Thus John Stuart Mill writes about The Subjection of Women when he argues that the division of labour between men and women is forced.

    Hierarchical distributions of power can be contrasted with pluralist distributions
    Hierarchical power can be analysed into authority and force

    Oppressed means pressed down on.

    Oppression is when hierarchic power presses down unfairly, unjustly or cruelly.

    From hierarchy and force to equality and law?

    John Stuart Mill argued that history is moving from a society of brute force to a society of justice. Hierarchy is the political theme of the society of brute force. Equality is the political theme of the society of justice. Brute force was the dominant theme in bygone society because of the importance to survival of protection, but it is not the natural condition of society:

    "command and obedience are but unfortunate necessities of human life; society in equality is its normal state".

    "there is no sociology worthy of the name which does not possess a historical character" (Emile Durkheim). Not everyone agrees. Some people say "history is about the actions that took place in the past, whereas sociology concentrates on current actions". (See Bauman and May) - History is a Raymond Williams keyword

    History See memory and movement

    What is history?
    Classic theories of history
    From ahistorical to historical
    Different combinations of history and system
    20th century social theory and history
    Marx and marxists - Should we always historicise?
    History according to Durkheim
    History of Ideas by Foucault

    See time - history as research method -
    historic social structures - history of family forms
    historical materialism - time space and dis(order)
    subject index for history

    The Sankofa bird flies forward while looking backward with an egg in its mouth. The egg symbolizes the future. We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today

    By history we usually mean the story of past events - or a story of past events. Narrative is another word for story.

    But we also talk of history as being that part of the story since writing - so we have prehistory (before writing) and history (the story that has been written down)

    One concept of history for which I have an affection is given (critically) by Michel Foucault. He says that history was

    "an age-old collective consciousness that made use of material documents to refresh its memory".

    In this picture we have stories about who we are that we share and records that we can consult to check the credibility of our stories. It seems to me that history is still, first and foremost, the interweaving of the stories that we tell one another about who we are.

    In a story the events follow one another meaningfully, they unfold or evolve - Hence evolution

    Classic theories of history drawn on by social sciences include those of Mary Wollstonecraft - Hegel (described by Marx as idealist) - Henri Saint-Simon - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - Auguste Comte - Charles Darwin

    From ahistorical social science to the rhythm of history

    Some theories about society are ahistorical. That means that they do not have a historical perspective or context. Look, for example at the theory of society in the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. This suggests that any society "founded on simple and irrefutable principles, will always tend towards the maintenance of the constitution and the happiness of everyone". The idea that a society should be judged by the happiness of its members has been called utilitarianism. In this example, there is no suggestion that what leads to happiness may be different at different periods. Instead, one set of deductive reasons can work out the ideal society for all time.

    Georg Friedrick Hegel (Germany) - Henri Saint-Simon - and Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill (United Kingdom)

    Hegel, Saint-Simon and Taylor and Mill were amongst the theorists who made the ahistorical reasoning of the Declaration of the Rights of Man part of a social science theory of history.

    Hegel and Saint-Simon's theories of history were particularly influential on Marx and Engels, who developed a "materialist" theory using what they described as the "dialectical" approach of Hegel. They called this historical materialism

    Saint Simon's theory of history see chart) was developed by Marx, Engels (see chart 3), Comte and John Stuart Mill (see chart 2).

    Saint Simon argued that there are "organic" historical periods, in which the dominant ideas fit the organisation of society, succeed one another and that there are "critical" (revolutionary?) periods between the organic periods when the organisation of the society is moving in advance of its ideas due to new classes developing.
    from utilitarian deduction to
    a rhythm of history
    What is rhythm?

    Different theories of society combine history and structure (or system) in different ways. Comte expressed this need to explain both how a society is organised at any one time and how it changes over time as the need for statics and dynamics - where the dynamics is the way that history happens.

    20th century social theorists who have provide theories of history include most marxists. See, for example Jurgen Habermas - Antonio Gramsci - Louis Althusser. Not unrelated historical approaches are those of Stuart Hall and Zygmunt Bauman. Talcott Parson's approach to history may appear very different from these, but Habermas adapted Parson's analysis of social structure to his theory of history. Simone De Beauvoir's criticism of Engels does not completely reject the idea that we are shaped by our history, but it does raise problems. Arguably some of these problems are addressed by Michel Foucault's approach to history.

    Marx - History - Structure

    Fredric Jameson is a modern marxist who seeks to relate cultural change to social and economic change. Change is a historical process and Jameson says that the slogan "always historicise!" is "the one absolute ... imperative of all dialectical thought". (Jameson, F. 1981, Preface)

    To historicise is to make or represent as historical. Given that Marx and Engels said that the "history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" you will not be surprised to find marxists stressing history.

    The extent to which history is stressed varies, however. Althusser wrote an article called "Marxism is not an historicism" (1979) which is critical of theories that make history the shaping force in Marxist analysis. Marxist theorists like Althusser want to give more emphasis to structure (system)

    Durkheim - Sociology - History

    In 1892, Durkheim dedicated his Latin doctoral dissertation (on Montesquieu) to historian Fustel de Coulanges. In the preface to the first volume of L'Année sociologique, Durkheim argued that sociology and history were destined to "merge into a common discipline where the elements of both become combined and unified" (Durkheim, 1899: iii). In 1908 Durkheim argued that "there is no sociology worthy of the name which does not possess a historical character" ("Debate on Explanation in History and Sociology" 1908/1982 p.211). (George Steinmetz, 2011 "Bourdieu, Historicity, Historical Sociology", p.48)

    Different kinds of history

    Michel Foucault divides into two:

    1) history Wikipedia: history. History had ceased to be an enumeration of political events and was now concerned with the deep, continuous causes of those events.

    2) history of ideas, history of science, the history of philosophy, the history of thought, and the history of literature (we can ignore their specificity for the moment) Wikipedia: history of ideas - science - philosophy - [no thought] - literature -

    Memory is another way of thinking about history

    The mind-map of memory suggests to us where we are going.

    Memory also collects what is precious to us to enable us to carry on.

    The egg in the beak of the Sankofa bird symbolizes the future

    go back to history

    Memory attaches itself to objects, such as poems, photographs and clothes, and embodies itself in stories. In Japan, a person's mementos, the personal belongings that people may remember him or her by, are carefully collected on his or her death and distributed amongst his or her family, friends and neighbours. This is called Katami-wake or keepsake division. If the mementos do not find a home, they may be deposited in a religious shrine.

    Human Rights

    A human right is a right that people believe can justifiably be claimed by anyone.


    Identity is what something or someone is. Your identity is who you are. Who do you think you are?

    We use names (labels) to identify people, including ourselves, and these help to create identities.

    A video called Self labelling and Identity presents twelve different people and the names they chose to identify themselves as. One lady says

    "I am a mother, a grandmother, a crazy, a survivor, a lesbian, a woman"
    The commentator says "that is a lot of hats", suggesting she might use different labels in different circumstances.

    It can be useful to distinguish between biological identity, one's genes, for example; psychological identity (personality); and social identity, including the roles one plays. These are not, however, completely distinct categories. It is particularly important to remember that humans are conscious of our biological identity and use social ideas to attach different significances to it and, sometimes, adapt it.

    In relation to humans, identity is a concept similar to self. We can talk about the identity of something that is not conscious, as when we identify a particular plant, but the plant has no awareness of its identity. It is not self-conscious. (See Ecological Community)

    But how much of our social identity are we actually aware of? See habitus

    The first part (three chapters) of Bauman and May's Thinking Sociologically (2000) is about how we identify ourselves. From this you may infer that for many sociologists today, the individuals idea of who he or she thinks s/he is is an important issue.

    Part two of Fulcher and Scott's Sociology is about "Social Identities". Theories about how we acquire our identities they discuss include symbolic interaction, in which they include George Herbert Mead and Erving Goffman. They also discuss Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis. Both of these theories are most relevant to primary socialisation within the family. In connection with secondary socialisation, at school, you could consider Emile Durkheim's book on Moral Education

    Lecture relating socialisation, identity and interaction to social structure

    Social theorists relate identity to changing social structures and movements in different, but often related ways. Ulrich Beck (1998) argued that a changing feature of "risk society" is the move from identities based on inter-connectedness (such as membership of a working-class community) to identities based insecurly on on individualisation. Zygmunt Bauman in Work Consumerism and the New Poor 1998/2005 contrasts life-time identities of producer society with consumable identities. The second volume (1997) of Manuel Castells' The Information Age is called "The Power of Identity".

    Identity politics Identity politics is a form of political activity based on the collective experiences and memories, including memories of injustice, of identity based groups. In a 2005 review of writing on the subject, Mary Bernstein says the term has been used to cover phenomena as diverse as multiculturalism, the women's movement, civil rights, lesbian and gay movements, separatist movements and violent ethnic and nationalist conflict. (offline copy)

    Roland Barthes (1957) looked at the media identity of a boy soldier

    Stuart Hall "the black subject and black experience ... are constructed historically, culturally, politically - and the concept which refers to this is 'ethnicity'"

    Simone De Beauvoir (1949) hesitated to write a book on woman, as "enough ink has been spilled in quarrelling over feminism"

    Judith Butler asked questions about body identity in the light of De Beauvoir's book.

    Ed Roberts from California called out "Cabbages of the World Unite!" in 1980

    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz
    Dragon by Rebecca Postanowicz 2008
    sociologists confront genetic determinism and essentialism
    essentialism and the problem of identity

    Personal branding Wikipedia
    This event took place at Middlesex University on 27.5.2014
  • TC Melewar, Middlesex Professor of Marketing [left] offered "an academic perspective on personal branding in his own inimitable style"
  • Middlesex alumnus and networking guru Mikael Angesjo [mid left] advised to dress appropriately, carry a pen at all times and "use business cards even if you don't work for a company."
  • Sky 1's body language expert Dr Jack Lewis [mid right] offered his 'A- H of body language secrets', which covered effective eye contact, body posture signals and positive gestures in interview situations
  • Reggae Reggae Sauce originator Levi Roots [right]. To be a success "you must be yourself."
  • Advice for the unbranded personality Do not pay attention to what other people think. You can dress a pig with a Gucci dress, and it will still be a pig. (Yahoo answers)

    Me look small (-: Me feel small
    Me look stoopid in a Gucci dress

    me look small

    Ideology - Idea systems

    The French philosopher Destutt de Tracy (See Wikipedia) coined the word idéologie in 1795 for a general science of ideas. His text book of this science, Eléments d'idéologie was published in 1817-1818.

    Today we might call the science of ideas the "sociology of knowledge". Ideology came to be used for a system of ideas that one might study.

    Discourse, when it means a system of thought that constrains what can be thought, may be equivalent to ideology. A related concept is Weltanschauung (world view)

    Ideology of a class (Barthes)

    "From the Marxist point of view adopted by Barthes in Mythologies, ideology is the product of social and economic interests . It is the cultural manifestation of the class system. Since dominant ideas within a society tend to be those of the dominant classes, ideology is one of the means used by these classes to oppress other social groups. An important characteristic of ideology is that it appears to be self-evident and it appeals to 'common sense'. As a result, it can lead people to believe that their position in society is part of the natural order of things. Indeed, as Barthes points out, the greater its apparent self- evidence, the greater its political potency as a tool of oppression." Ribière, M. 2010 Kindle Locations 222-227

    Ideology as distinct from science (Althusser)

    "Ideology is the 'lived' relation between men and their world, or a reflected form of this unconscious relation, for instance a 'philosophy', etc. It is distinguished from a science not by its falsity, for it can be coherent and logical (for instance, theology), but by the fact that the practico-social predominates in it over the theoretical, over knowledge. Historically, it precedes the science that is produced by making an epistemological break with it, but it survives alongside science as an essential element of every social formation, including a socialist and even a communist society." Althusser Glossary 1969

    Image See Represent
    Image is a Raymond Williams keyword

    The word image is related to imitate. Its first meaning was for representation of the external form of a person or thing in sculpture, painting, etc; especially a statue, of a saint for example, used as an object of veneration. (Oxford English Dictionary)

    Since the 1830s, an increasing number of images have been created mechanically by photography.

    An image can also mean a mental representation of something; an idea, or a conception. (Oxford English Dictionary)

      The image in this diagram is a copy of the real thing. But the carrot could be seen as a symbol and the image in the persons mind might be about gardening, hair colour, food or even sex .

    Imagination, society and science

    Hobbesian individuals are a stream of impressions that imagine using or destroying other people.

    John Locke's individuals imagine what it is like to be the other person, and so discover the collective reason which Rousseau develops as the general will.

    In Durkheim, the imagination becomes collective, and it is society that thinks.

    Imagination is also relevant to science, either in distorting observations, as Locke fears, or as the motive of investigation and source of theory, as Mary Wollstonecraft sees it.


    Imperative comes from a word for command. It is something you must do. It is concerned not with what is but with what ought to be.

    Individualism individualisation

    Term developed in the early 19th century Self-centred feeling or conduct as a principle; a way of life in which an individual pursues his or her own ends or ideas. Robert Owen contrasted with the spirit of cooperation. See altruism and egoism. Individualism can be equated with egoism. Also associated with free and independent individual action or thought. See liberal. By the middle of the 19th century, individualism was a term used for a social theory which advocates the free and independent action of the individual, or laissez-faire.

    Durkheim saw the development of individualism as something that strengthens society. Individual and society are thus in healthy support of one another. However, the development of the individual could be at the expense of the person's roots in society, and this would create the strain towards egoistic suicide. (See lecture)

    The worship of self under the eyes of the barbarians

    The titles of novels by Maurice Barrès caught the imagination at the end of the nineteenth century. His trilogy was called collectively Le culte du moi (The worship of the ego, or self). The first volume was Sous l'oil des barbares (under the eyes of the barbarians). Morality, religion and sense of nationality, he argued, had collapsed. Asserting "me" would make modern people think for themselves and not just repeat formulas. Young people, he said, assert themselves: "the first point is to exist. When they feel strong enough and owners of their soul, they look to humanity and seek a common pathway to harmonise". Patriotism developed from egoism. It was collective selfishness.

    "Barbarian" in Barrès' work is applied to those who live by a contrary vision to ours. When the hero of his novel complains about living "under the eye of the barbarians", "it is not that he feels oppressed by men without culture or by traders; his grief is living among people whose life is the opposite of the dream he has composed. They are for him foreign opponents." However, the word invited comparison between races. It invited the idea that civilised countries were those that encouraged self-interest and self-respect, in contrast to the savages of the world's jungles. In Men and Trees (1913), Charlotte Mew replied by criticising the destruction of the Congo, the Amazon and the people who live there in order to produce rubber for the new motor cars of Europe and America. She defended the "barbarian" against the "culte du moi".


    Individualisation: a shift in our social relations which values individual autonomy over inter-connectedness

    The term is used by the German theorists Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim and their English associate Anthony Giddens

    Risk society: towards a new modernity Part two: "The individualisation of social inequality - life-forms and the demise of tradition" pages 87-88

    [Individualisation of the "free wage labourer" is associated with the] "dynamics of labour marker processes, labour mobility, education and changing occupation. The entry into the labour market is associated with liberations... from traditional networks and constraints of the labour market. Family, neighbourhood, even friendship, as well as ties to a regional culture and landscape contradict the individual mobility and the mobile individual required by the market. These surges of individualisation do compete with the experiences of a collective fate (mass unemployment and deskilling); however, under the conditions of a welfare state, class biographies, which are somehow ascribed, become transformed into reflexive biographies which depend on the decisions of the actor"

    Speaking of Western Germany, Urich Beck says that, since the mid 1950s

    "the unstable unity of shared life experiences mediated by the market and shaped by status, which Max Weber brought together in the concept of social class, began to break apart. Its different elements (such as material conditions dependent upon specific market opportunities, the effectiveness of tradition and of precapitalist lifestyles, the consciousness of communal bonds and of barriers to mobility, as well as networks of contact) have slowly disintegrated' (Beck, U. 1986/1992 p.96)

    Individual and society

    Michel Foucault (1926-1984), Stuart Hall (1932- ) and Judith Butler (1956-) have different approaches to the relationship between the individual and society, but their work inter-relates.

    Important concepts linking individual to society are role and identity.

    With Michel Foucault we can think of your identity as a sane, law abiding citizen, or we can think of my identity as mental patient.

    With Stuart Hall we can think of the identity of white working class people living the 1950s and 1960s when people from Asia, the Carribbean and Africa came in search of work.

    With Judith Butler we can think of a person's confidence (strong or weak) that he or she is a man or a woman.

    How do such individual and group identities relate to society? One way that Foucault, Hall and Butler would all suggest is through our response to interpellation. Society calls out to us with images of what we might be in notices that say "no blacks", in unwritten rules that say "do not mention mental illness" and in images of "real men", and our identity is formed in the dialogue of our response.

    Industry - Industrial -
    Industrial revolution - industrial regime - Industrial society

    The industrial revolution was an economic and a technical revolution

    See steam

    Industrial society is a social order:

    Industrial society (the industrial regime) replaces Feudalism (the feudal regime)

    Between 1815 and 1825, Saint Simon wrote about the political Ancient Regime (l'Ancien Régime) and system of feudalism (régime féodal) in France, which were abolished by the French Revolution (from 1789) and said that "habits acquired under the old institutions are great obstacles to the establishment of a really new regime". [Les habitudes contractées sous les anciennes institutions, opposent de grands obstacles à l'établissement d'un régime vraiment nouveau].

    The new regime that he saw struggling to become established was an industrial regime (le régime industriel) run by artists, scholars and industrialists (les artistes, les savants et les industriels).

    The English word industry comes from the French for diligence. If someone is being industrious, he or she is working hard. Saint Simon argued that the future lay with the industrious classes of business managers, administrators, scientists, artists, thinkers, professional and labourers of all kinds. The old aristocracy was becoming redundant. In the early nineteenth centure, he argued "it is in industry that, in the final analysis, all real forces of society reside". (C'est dans l'industrie que résident, en dernière analyse, toutes les forces réelles de la société).

    In his draft (1847) for The Communist Manifesto (1848), Friedrich Engles wrote that "The Proletariat originated in the industrial revolution, which took place in England in the last half of the last (18th) century, and which has since then been repeated in all the civilised countries of the world". See capitalism

    Speaking of "industrial society" often involves two ideas

    Industry can be used as a word for part of the economy: Manufacturing and trade as distinct from agriculture and services. This idea is joined with the idea of an industrious social order in most concepts of an industrial society

    The relation between industry and education is explored in the article on
    the history of Middlesex University

    Solid modernity, hardware or heavy modernity are Bauman's terms for a period of industrial history of "weighty...machines" (linked to steam), "factory walls" (the link is to 1836), "rail engines" (the link is to 1838), and "ocean liners" (the link is to 1837). In 1842, the poet Tennyson looked into the future as far as he could see and saw "all the wonder that would be - In the steamship, in the railway"

    Bauman also uses the term heavy capitalism.

      Engineer Brunel in 1857 with solid chains

    Fordism is one development of industrial society. It refers to a system of mass-production developed by Henry Ford (1863-1947) in the car factories he set up in the United States. These became a model for the low-cost production of standard goods for a mass market. "Mass production and mass-consumption were interdependent and linked by the advertising provided by the mass media" (Fulcher and Scott 2007, p.693).

    "The Soviets and electrification make up the base of the new world." Soviet poster in 1924 depicting Lenin organising the workers. (1924) [Source] Fordism in the west coincided with the establishment of Soviet Communism in Russia. Bauman links the two, saying that communism wished to clean the Fordist model of the imperfections of market-generated chaos. [He quotes Lenin in April 1918]. Bauman argues that the Soviet regime sought to enable the scientific organisation of labour "to spill out from inside the factory walls in order to penetrate and saturate the whole of social life".

    So, in east and west, Bauman argues "Fordism was the self-consciousness of modern society in its 'heavy', 'bulky', or 'immobile' and 'rooted ', 'solid' phase."

    Bauman says this period is "now coming to its close" as modernity develops into liquid modernity


    As heavy industry has become a less important part of advanced economies, the idea of a post-industrial society has developed. This term was used in a book title by the French sociologist Alain Touraine in 1969 and by the USA sociologist Daniel Bell in 1973.

    Post Fordism

    A similar contrast has been made by Zygmunt Bauman when he distinguishes between solid modernity which is related to railways and factories and liquid modernity which is related to computers and networks.

    1955 - 1959 "it's late" - 1969 Post-industrial - 1973 again - 1979 postmodern - 1986 post - 1988 new times - 1996 information age - 1997 new global age - 1998 complexity turn - 1999 reflexive modernisation research - 2000 heavy to liquid - 2010 Bauman Institute -


    Infantilise means to treat as children. It is a mid-20th century word, but it could be used to describe the legal process that Mill and Taylor identify (1848) by which women are classed with children and protected as if they (women) are not able to make their own decisions.


    Once upon a time, information formed or shaped one.

    In the 1611 Bible translation, when the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel:

    "he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding." (Daniel 9:22)

    Information was an inspiration, as when the same angel Gabriel informed Muhammad that he was the messenger of God. For William Blake, imagination became his inspiration, and he too was informed by angels.

    But to inform could also mean to accuse, to give information against someone.

    Today, these meanings are lost in the simple idea of a transmitted message, or a sequence of symbols that can be interpreted as a message.

    Wikipedia illustrates its article on information with a passage of binary (computer) code spelling out the word Wikipedia. Information is becoming data and the information age a huge database

    Information Technology

    In November 1958, Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler wrote in the Harvard Business Review

    "Over the last decade a new technology has begun to take hold in American business, one so new that its significance is still difficult to evaluate...

    The new technology does not yet have a single established name. We shall call it information technology. It is composed of several related parts. One includes techniques for processing large amounts of information rapidly, and it is epitomised by the high-speed computer. A second part centers around the application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision-making problems; it is represented by techniques like mathematical programing, and by methodologies like operations research. A third part is in the offing, though its applications have not yet emerged very clearly; it consists of the simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs...

    The New Technology

    Information technology has diverse roots-with contributions from such disparate groups as sociologists and electrical engineers. Working independently, people from many disciplines have been worrying about problems that have turned out to be closely related and cross-fertilising. Cases in point are the engineers' development of servomechanisms and the related developments of general cybernetics and information theory. These ideas from the "hard" sciences all had a direct bearing on problems of processing information-in particular, the development of techniques for conceptualising and measuring information."

    Communications technology

    Information and communications technology (ICT)


    To inscribe is to write or engrave. So to say that the body is socially inscribed is to say that society has written its characteristics onto it.

    Institute, institution, institutional, institutionalisation

    Words with multiple meanings: Institute to establish and established institution - institutional patterns - Parts of society - Organisation - Building - Total Institution - Institutionalisation as setting up patterns - as putting in an institution - as loss of community skills or institutional neurosis
    Institutions and mind

    To institute something is to set it up, bring it into use, start it or establish it by practice. Christian clergy speak about instituting a cleric in his or her post. A father might speak of instituting some changes in his family - (Perhaps forcing the children to be respectful, and not giggle at his words).

    An institute may be something that has been set up. However, it has acquired the meaning "established" and may imply something so ancient that no one knows its origins. We may theorise that it must have been set up once (as state of nature theorists do about society), but that is a theory. If we speak of the "institution of marriage" we may mean a custom that was established by the members of a particular society, a practice established by God, or just an established and respected practice (with no reference to its origin).

    Institutional is used frequently in the writing of Robert Merton and similar sociologists. Possible meanings: institutional patterns: established ways of behaving - institutional requirements: laws - institutional norms: established rules - mores or institutions rules that almost have the force of law or are laws - institutional controls: established way a society controls people - institutional procedures: rules - institutionally prescribed conduct - keeping the rules de-institutionalisation: getting into a state where rules are ignored. The reason why such theorists use institution so often may be because of the importance of the concept of institutionalisation to their idea of society.

    Institution is used about parts of society, not the whole. An association of women calls itself the "Women's Institute", an association for working class education called itself a "Mechanic's Institute". Law, marriage, the family, property, royalty, religion, even prostitution, can all be spoken of as institutions.

    "different institutional forms (e.g. economic, political, patriarchal)"

    From the early 18th century, institutions has been used for organisations set up to serve a special purpose in a special building. In a sermon to raise money for hospitals in 1707, the preacher spoke of

    "such Wise, such Rational, such Beneficial Institutions"

    This has given rise to a distinct use of the term for hospitals, asylums, orphanages, old people's homes and prisons. When we are told that our grandfather is in an institution, it does not mean that he is a member of the royal family or an Oxford college.

    Talking about a large building for the care or custody of old, sick or insane people as an institution is probably the commonest use of the term. Erving Goffman broadens this. He argues that the "everyday sense" is a place, like a building, in which activity of a particular kind regularly goes on. He uses the term Total Institution for somewhere that embraces everything that its inhabitants do - where they live, work, play, sleep, day in day out.

    "A total institution may be defined as a place of residence and work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life. Prisons serve as a clear example, providing we appreciate that what is prison-like about prisons is found in institutions whose members have broken no laws" (Goffman E. 1961A Introduction)

    Institutions as I have described them are rather solid things. Royalty is most resistant to republican sentiment and the family continues to survive speculation about its death. Marriages that break can cause their broken parts enormous pain. The organic school of sociology would expect this, as it treats the social bond as real (solid).

    Institutional may mean organised or belonging to organisation. Institional racism was defined by William Macpherson in his report on the death of Stephen Lawrence as "the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin".

    There is a general distinction being made here between attitudes and actions society (or part of it) leads to and ones that are chosen by the individual.

    In the early twentieth century we can say that there was an institutional pre-disposition in Europe and America to put people with mental disorders in institions. This has given way since the mid twentieth century to an institutional pre-disposition against institions for people with learning difficulties or suffering mental distress and in favour of community care.

    Theorists, like Talcott Parsons, who believe society is created by the interaction of individuals, need a way of explaining how the solid bits of society come about. Parsons calls this institutionalisation. He says we start with individuals interacting, they establish ways of interacting that are acceptable or unacceptable. When a way of behaviour is both emotionally satisfying and leads to rewards from others, it is institutionalised. We might say that partners who establish a kind but plain speaking relationship with one another, and make it rewarding, "institutionalise honesty" in their personal relations. In this way, patterns of behaviour are established, and the pattern we come to expect from another person is his or her "role". The role we expect a police officer to perform, for example, contains lots of expected behaviour patterns that have been established by social interaction in the past, are rewarding if kept to, and punished if broken.

    The use of institution for hospitals, prisons, etc, gives rise to a completely different meaning for institutionalisation than the one Parsons makes. When we speak of a patients being "institutionalised" we can mean put into an institution, or we can mean that his or her behaviour has adapted so much to living in an institution that the skills needed to live outside have been lost.

    Institutions and Mind

    We could distinguish between

    From a Durkheimian point of view, the institutions of a society and the state of consciousness of the society's members are related in an intimate dialogue. Durkheim says that

    "political society as a whole or some one of the partial groups it includes such as religious denominations, political, literary and occupational associations etc"

    are the "substratum" of social "facts"

    "A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint"

    Social facts impose their constraint on individuals by providing, maintaining and enforcing the collective representations (ideas) within us with which we order and structure our individual experiences.

    In Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Durkheim shows how an institution (a religious cult or church - the regular collective practice of rituals) is the basis or substratum of our energy and shapes our thought. We may think that the institution is just an expression of our ideas, but in reality our ideas get their energy and shape from our participation in the institution.

    What Durkheim argues about the cult or church applies, in different ways, to other institutions. The family is the obvious example, but it applies to our participation in the whole of society, and its part (institutions). Mind is generated and shaped within institutions, and the mind of any place and time needs to be related to the institutions of that time and place.

    To give an example from mental health history, this mean that we need to relate the way people think about sanity and madness in any particular period, to the social institutions of the time. The institutions (state, madhouses, lunatic asylums, mental hospitals, community care, whatever) of the time provide the substratum of social facts on which the society and the individual's ideas are based, and ideas in their turn, are the basis on which the institutions are maintained and developed (changed).


    To integrate is to make whole. With respect to society one can think of this as putting together parts and combining them into the whole (State of Nature Theory) or as maintaning, restoring and creatively developing the natural solidarity. (Durkheimian Theory).

    Integration is one of the four basic needs that Parsons says that all Social Systems have. All societies need to maintain internal order. All societies need to ensure that their values are maintained and symbolised. In the social system as a whole, this is done by religion.

    Integration achieves and maintains the appropriate emotional and social relations between the people cooperating in goal-attainment and in a system of action looked at as a continuing entity.

    Integration is needed because societies need to create and maintain solidarity despite the emotional strains of individuals cooperating over goal seeking and the strains of sharing the fruits of cooperation.

    For Habermas, integration is part of the lifeworld

    Intellect and Intellectual See Mind

    [we are all intellectuals
    but there are people with a function as intellectuals - professional intellectuals]

    "All men are intellectuals ... but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals. (*) When one distinguishes between intellectuals and non-intellectuals, one is referring in reality only to the immediate social function of the professional category of the intellectuals, that is, one has in mind the direction in which their specific professional activity is weighted, whether towards intellectual elaboration or towards muscular- nervous effort. This means that, although one can speak of intellectuals, one cannot speak of non-intellectuals, because non-intellectuals do not exist." (*) "Thus, because it can happen that everyone at some time fries a couple of eggs or sews up a tear in a jacket, we do not necessarily say that everyone is a cook or a tailor." (Gramsci Selections p.140)

    "... there are varying degrees of specific intellectual activity. There is no human activity from which every form of intellectual participation can be excluded: homo faber cannot be separated from homo sapiens. [Man the maker cannot be separated from Man the thinker]. Each man, finally, outside his professional activity, carries on some form of intellectual activity, that is, he is a "philosopher", an artist, a man of taste, he participates in a particular conception of the world, has a conscious line of moral conduct, and therefore contributes to sustain a conception of the world or to modify it, that is, to bring into being new modes of thought." (Gramsci Selections pp 140-141)

    [traditional intellectuals]

    "various categories of traditional intellectuals experience through an "esprit de corps" their uninterrupted historical continuity and their special qualification, they thus put themselves forward as autonomous and independent of the dominant social group. This selfassessment is not without consequences in the ideological and political field, consequences of wide-ranging import." (Gramsci Selections p.138)

    [organically created intellectuals]

    "Every social group, coming into existence on the original terrain of an essential function in the world of economic production, creates together with itself, organically, one or more strata of intellectuals which give it homogeneity and an awareness of its own function not only in the economic but also in the social and political fields." (Gramsci. Selections pp 134-135)

    Intelligence See Intellect

    Intelligence is the ability to know, understand or comprehend. It is a capacity of the mind as distinct from the body and as distinct from our feelings and will power.

    We all have specific abilities that can be given names. These might include our skills in language, mathematics, music, working with shapes, etc. In 1904, Charles Spearman published a paper suggesting a measure of general intelligence underlying these specific abilities.

    The Binet-Simon Scale for measuring intelligence was introduced in 1905.

    In 1912, William Stern used the phrase Intelligenz-quotient for a child's mental age divided by his or her chronological age

    In 1916 - Lewis Terman published the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale

    In 1921, London County Council's Mental and Scholastic Tests, by Cyril Burt said:

    " If a child's mental age be divided by his chronological age, the quotient will state what fraction of ability the child actually possesses out of the sum total of ability which at his age he should theoretically possess both amounts being measured in terms of years. This fraction may be termed, with Stern, the child's " intelligence quotient," or, more euphoniously perhaps, his "mental ratio."

    Burt (an others) argued that the distribution of intelligence between people would fit a normal pattern of distribution (normal curve), just as physical abilities do

    The theories of Jean Piaget suggested that teaching should focus on how children were reasoning rather than on how well they might recall facts for an IQ test. Following Piaget, research by USA psychologists in the 1960s, sought to prove that the child's ability to perform was not dependent on a fixed IQ, but on the sort of stimulant he or she is provided with.

    Piaget himself wrote:

    "intelligence is adaptation ... to say that intelligence is a particular instance of biological adaptation is thus to suppose that it is essentially an organisation and that its function is to structure the universe just as the organism structures its immediate environment." (Piaget 1963 p.3-4)"

    Entry draws on work by Denise Greene and Dina Ibrahim

    In scoring systems based on the normal distribution, about 95 percent of the population will score between 70 and 130 (within two standard deviations from the mean), and about 99.7 percent of the population will score between 55 and 145 (within three standard deviations from the mean). (Taken from Spark Notes)

    70 is the traditional point below which someone is considered mentally retarded (mentally defective)

    "I examined this man (Peter Whitehead) on the 1st of November, 1954, and found him able to conduct a normal conversation and give a good account of himself. He appeared to have derived considerable knowledge of the world from reading and seemed to be capable of looking after himself. On the L Revision of the Revised Stanford Binet he has an I.Q. of over 90. There was a considerable scatter (variability of results), and I would regard this as a low estimate of his intelligence. This score was confirmed by the Mill Hill Vocabulary Tests, which showed him to fall between 25 and 50 percentile. In view of this and the history he gave me I cannot see how he can be deemed certifiably mentally defective." (Doctor consulted by the National Council for Civil Liberties, quoted Roxan pp 201-202)

    Inter... between. Inter-personal between people. Internet connections by an open (public) network

    Intra... within. Intra-personal within one's own person. Intranet connections by an closed (private) network

    Interaction See also Action and Symbolic Interaction

    Interaction is the action or influence of persons or things on each other

    The German theorist, Georg Simmel attempted to create a sociology that is based on forms of interaction between people. He was influential on the development of American social theory through his student, Robert Park (below) and the translations of Albion Small. His theories also influenced the development of symbolic interactionism. (below)

    Interactionist theorists, such as Park and Burgess in Chicago, analyse society in terms of the interaction of individuals. In this they derive indirectly from State of Nature Theory. More directly, Chicago sociology built itself on the problems raised by Darwinian concepts of the struggle for survival. Park and Burgess argued that competition and conflict are the basic forms of interaction. Competition is common to all forms of life, whether plant communities or human communities. Conflict emerges from competition when it becomes conscious. It takes place only in human societies.

    George Herbert Mead (also in Chicago) developed what became known as symbolic interactionism. Mead's theory provided an explanation of how self-consciousness, the human mind, and society, developed from the natural (animal) world. [See Student Reviews]

    Lecture relating socialisation, identity and interaction to social structure

    a younger child's guide to intervention
    Intervene - Intervention Intervention theory

    "If someone intervenes in a situation, they become involved in it and try to change it. Becoming involved in a situation like this is called an intervention" (Collins Plain English Dictionary)

    In social thory, the term intervention is used where one person or organisation acts to alter the path that another person or social entity is taking. Here are some examples:

    "Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments." (Part of the definition of Social Work adopted by the International Federation of Social Workers in July 2000)

    "The common ground between social workers and psychiatrists is the study of and intervention in social situations. That is not all social workers or psychiatrists do, but it is something we are always doing, whatever else" (Ronald Laing "Intervention in Social Situations" May 1968)

    The example of an intervention Laing gives is a doctor who "orders" (his word) a patient into hospital for an operation or investigation. A decision like this, he says, has "massive reverberations in a whole network of people, with consequence to many other than the patient alone".

    Here, intervention is considered in relation to social situations, rather than focusing on it in relation to the individual.

    Intervention can also be considered in relation to moral careers (Moumina Khan 2013). Goffman (1961) refers to people who make "moves" in relation to others and distinguishes between "the person who makes the first move, but it is the person who makes what turns out to be the first effective move". Moumina Khan refers to these moves as interventions.

    See Subject index intervention

    Intervention theory

    In an intervention, someone intervenes in a situation playing an explicit, implicit or inferred social role. Implicit in the interaction will be an intervention theory that defines the nature and desired outcome of the intervention. Some of these theories have been described as models.

    The model most often referred to is the medical model. This may be the same, or have similarities with, the treatment model. These medical models may be associated with someone in the situation occupying the sick role

    Family models of intervention view individual problems in relationship to other people in the family and work with family members to change dysfunctional family patterns.


    The process or manner of behaving towards or dealing with a person or thing (from the mid 16th century) or The application of medical care or attention to a patient for an ailment (from the mid 18th century)

    Medical treatment:   The term medical intervention is sometimes used.

    Knowledge Truth Relativism

    Knowledge is what we know and the theory of knowledge (epistemology) tries to establish the grounds on which we can say we know something. One school of thought says that we only know something if it derives from or can be tested by experience. Another school of thought says that there are essential categories of thought that we cannot derive from experience. These categories include time and space. Mentally we organise everything in time and space. We need these categories of thought to organise our empirical experience - They do not come from the empirical experience.

    Durkheim argued that the categories derive from religion and that religion is a reflection of society. "All the men [people] of a single civilisation represent space in the same way". But different societies have different ways of organising experience:

    "There are societies in Australia and North America where space is conceived in the form of an immense circle, because the camp has a circular form; and this spatial circle is divided up exactly like the tribal circle, and is in its image"

    We could, therefore, speak of societies as having different knowledges: The way one society organises its experience being different from the way another society organises it.

    In his description of "regimes of truth", Foucault appears to describe similar systems of social knowledge to Durkheim.

    Another concept that Foucault uses in describing social knowledge is discourse. Concepts people use in describing Foucault's theory of knowledge include structure, structuralism and post structuralism. Also language and reality

    Relativism The argument that there is no way to say what is true, or to seek what is true (in the way Socrates did, for example), but only to seek what is true within a given thought system. See external link to Emrys Westacott , who says "Cognitive relativists do not simply assert that different cultures or communities have different views about which beliefs are true; no-one disputes that. Nor do they merely claim that different communities operate with different epistemic norms - i.e. criteria of truth and standards of rationality. That, too, seems to be obvious. The controversial claim at the heart of cognitive relativism is that no one set of epistemic norms is metaphysically privileged over any other".

    External link on "is Foucault a relativist?" and "is there a real Foucault theory?" [Sorry - we seem to have lost them]

    Main Emrys Westacott article on relativism in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Follow through to moral relativism, cognitive relativism, and aesthetic relativism. David Pilgrim in "The real problem for postmodernism" (2000) contrasts relativism with realism and suggests a critical social realism as an alternative.

    Knowledge Society

    "A knowledge society, whose economic basis is the creation and exchange of immaterial goods and services" can be contrasted with an industrial society based on material goods. See Memorandum 2000: "Europe has indisputably moved into the Knowledge Age"

    Different types of knowledge

    In Self-knowledge, a treatise shewing the nature and benefit of that important science and the way to attain it (1745), John Mason wrote:

    "Desire of knowledge is natural to all human minds, and nothing discovers the true quality and disposition of the mind more than the particular kind of knowledge it is most fond of. Thus we see that low and little minds are most delighted with the knowledge of trifles: as in children. An indolent mind with that which serves only for amusement or the entertainment of the fancy. A curious mind is best pleased with facts. A judicious penetrating mind with demonstration and mathematical science. A worldly mind esteems no knowledge like that of the world. But a wise and pious man before all other kinds of knowledge prefers that of God and his own soul." (pages 1-2)

    Self- knowledge John Mason said that:

    "Self-knowledge is that acquaintance with ourselves which shows us what we are and do and ought to be and do, in order to our living comfortably and usefully here and happily hereafter. The means of it is self-examination; the end of it is self-government and self-fruition." (page 8)

    The Oxford English Dictionary, which gives John Mason as one of the main roots of the idea, defines self knowledge simply as "Knowledge of oneself, one's character, capabilities, etc."

    In 2015, Nelsy wrote

    "As an adventurous and lonely researcher, self-research has continuously enlightened me on self-knowledge. I now know that I have my own Natural Healthy Resources and the more I use them the better I feel. My self-knowledge process has revealed my Real Self-identity, and my awareness of my Real Identity has generated my health Naturally."
    Nelsy relates self-knowledge and self-research to autobiography and autoethnography , which is to say that she relates knowledge of self to knowledge of others and knowledge of society.

    Labels and labelling theory

    A label is the name we put on something or someone in order to identify it, him or her. If you put a label that says "treacle" on a tin of shoe polish, that will not turn the shoe polish into treacle. If, however, you repeatedly say that one child is "good" and the other child is "bad", that can alter the behaviour of the children.

    See stigma

    Latent before psychoanalysts, and then sociologists, used it, can be seen in this 1900 Dictionary extract "from Latin...for lurk; allied to the Greek for to escape notice. Not visible or apparent; not seen; under the surface. Latent heat... exists in a body without producing any effect upon another, or upon the thermometer. See Charlotte Mew's use in 1898. She qualifies it with "crude" meaning raw, or unripe: still waiting refinement.


    Latent means to lie hidden. A latent disease is one you have, but which has not yet produced any symptoms. Latent heat is hidden heat that you cannot measure with a thermometer. When water freezes a quantity of heat is needed to change its state, without altering its temperature, and when ice melts that heat is released.

    When social theorists use the word latent, you can often replace it with hidden with no loss of meaning. For example, manifest functions are functions that are not hidden and latent functions are ones that are hidden. (See Function)

    Freud thought that dreams have a manifest aspect that we remember and a hidden part. Nightmares are frightening but underneath them (he argued) is a hidden desire:

    "our doctrine is not based upon the.. obvious dream-content, but relates to the thought-content, which, in the course of interpretation, is found to lie behind the dream. Let us compare and contrast the manifest and the latent dream-content. It is true that there are dreams the manifest content of which is of the most painful nature. But has anyone ever tried to interpret these dreams - to discover their latent thought-content? ... there is always the possibility that even our painful and terrifying dreams may, upon interpretation, prove to be wish fulfilments." (Freud, S. 1900 par.4.4)

    Latency is a period when things are hidden. Freud called the period of childhood between (about) five and puberty latency, because it was a period of a lull in sexual activity. Physiologists speak of a latent period when there is a delay between a muscle being stimulated and responding. This may both be origins of Parsons' use of the word (below). Latency may be a period of recharging one's batteries before getting on with the business of life.

    Pattern Maintenance
    See Pattern and Pattern Variables

    Pattern Maintenance is one of the four basic needs that Parsons says that all Social Systems have. This can be related to the "problem of order" that Parsons identified in The Structure of Social Order. Human desires have to be shaped or patterned by society if we are to work together constructively, and these patterns of behaviour have to be maintained.

    Parsons identified the church, the school and, in modern societies, the family, as organisations mainly concerned with maintaining patterns

    For Habermas, this is part of the lifeworld

    Motivation is what drives one to do something. If a social system motivates its members it provides them with an incentive to act. Motivations, according to Parsons, are the "products of the interaction of genetically given need components with social experience". That is, our biological needs are given shape by socialisation. All societies need to motivate people to perform their roles. In the social system as a whole, this is done by the family and by socialisation.

    Latency is an interlude between goal-attainment processes in a particular system, which restores, maintains or creates the energies, motives and values of the cooperating units. Latency is a break from goal seeking in the system it is latent towards, but may be goal seeking in its sub-system. For example, cooperating in planting a garden is goal seeking from the family's point of view, but latent from the point of view of society. The latency problem is to make sure that units have the time and facilities, within a suitable conditioning environment, to constitute or reconstitute the capacities needed by the system.

    Latent class analysis

    Latent class analysis is a statistical technique for discovering groups (classes) hidden (latent) within a lot of mixed data. It works out how the data clusters into groups.

    For example, the social scientist asks a lot of people a lot of questions related to the idea of social class. These include questions about musical tastes (what kind of music do you like?), eating (do you like vegetarian food?), education (what kind of school do your children go to?), income (how much money do you get each week), work (what kind of job do you do?). At the end of the process there are a lot of answers to different questions, but what can be done with them? Latent class analysis finds out if the answers tend to group in relatively simple ways. Does the data fall, relatively naturally, into (say) seven groups of people with common characteristics? For example, having children at private school, liking vegetarian food, having lots of money, listening to classical music and being a lawyer, dentist or something similar. If it does, the social scientist then gives the groups names.

    Latent class analysis was used to pick out the classes in the Great British Class Survey

    Law See also: Rules and Norms

    Code of Ur-Nammu Mosaic

    Law is a fixed rule. But who is it fixed by? There is an ages old distinction between natural law and positive law.

    • Natural law is held to be common to everyone - whatever society they belong to.

    • Positive law is laid down by human beings. It is the law of particular societies.

    Positive laws

    Laws that are laid down by human beings, whether international, laws of nations, or laws of other associations, statute law or common law, or whatever, are all Positive laws. See weblinks for such laws. Such laws are usually divided in two areas: criminal law and civil law.

    Jurisprudence once meant skill in (human) law.
    It now means, either, the philosophy or the science of (human) laws.

    See social sub-structures of justice, law, crime and punishment

    The study of laws made by humans (positive law) plays an important part in many social theories. The social contract theorist, Cesare Beccaria (1764) writes:

    "Laws are the conditions under which men, naturally independent, united themselves in society. Weary of living in a continual state of war, and of enjoying a liberty which became of little value, from the uncertainty of its duration, they sacrificed one part of it, to enjoy the rest in peace and security. The sum of all these portions of the liberty of each individual constituted the sovereignty of a nation and was deposited in the hands of the sovereign, as the lawful administrator."

    And Emile Durkheim (1893) says:

    "Law and morality are the totality of ties which bind each of us to society, which make a unitary, coherent aggregate of the mass of individuals"

    Natural Law

    At the time that social science began to develop in Europe, the dominant theories of natural law were theological. Natural law was held to be the law of God, that we could discover through reason or by God's direct revelation to us (in the ten commandments, for example). Positive law is the law that humans make.

    Many writers use the term natural law for two ideas:

    1. the idea that God has laid down laws that govern creation

    2. the idea that the world is governed by laws intrinsic to its nature (whether made by God or not)

    It can avoid confusion if we call the first, natural law, and the second laws of nature. The ideas are not, however, worlds apart. The idea that God has laid down laws can develop easily into the idea that nature is governed by laws whose author (if there is one) we do not know. In this way, theological theories of nature and society, developed into philosophical or scientific theories that did not require God as part of their explanation.

    At the time of writing, the Wikipedia article on natural law just distinguishes between positive and natural law. It than has three types of natural law - Christian - Hobbesian - Liberal. Liberal, it argues, combines Christian and Hobbesian. On this analysis, Thomas Aquinas, and Robert Filmer, are Christian natural law theorists. [I just call them natural law theorists]. Thomas Hobbes is, of course, Hobbesian, and John Locke is liberal. [I call both of them state of nature theorists].

    Sometimes people speak of "natural law" in contrast to "supernatural intervention". Here the idea is of "laws of nature" that can be discovered by reason and/or observation and experiment, and such divine acts (if there are such) as are pure acts of will, unguided by law. If creation is the result of a "big bang" that can be explained by scientific laws, this would classify as "natural", but if the big bang is an act of God beyond explanation by scientific laws, this is supernatural.

    Natural law should not be confused with state of nature

    Here is how Camiele Watson explains the difference:

    Robert Filmer was a theological and natural law theorist. The meaning of theology is "the study of religious beliefs and systems of thinking about God (or gods)" (Scott, J. 2005). A natural law theory has a close relationship with theology. I would say that they both go hand in hand with each other. "Natural law refers to the principles of law and morality, supposedly universal and binding on human conduct. Natural law was held to be a God given system." (Scott, J. 2005)

    John Locke, on the other hand, was a state of nature and social contract theorist. "State of Nature theorists work out what society and politics are about by imagining human beings stripped of social characteristics. They try to show how the needs of those individuals explain their need for society and politics (This dictionary). As theology and natural law theories have a link, so do state of nature and social contract theories. A social contract is "an unwritten agreement between the state and its citizens" (Scott, J. 2005). The way I understand this is that a social contract is like the quote says an unwritten agreement that moves human beings from a state of nature into a civilised society.

    Chapter 17 of Ed Stephan's The Division of Territory in Society is a discussion of Sociological Laws that begins with David Hume, focuses on Auguste Comte, and discusses Robert Merton and many other sociologists.

    See also Common Law

    There are different kinds of law

to read Joan Hughes poems

    As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, Sharia law or Shariah law is "the Islamic code of religious law, based on the teachings of the Koran" [Quran] "and the traditional sayings of Muhammad". Rather than "traditional sayings of Muhammad", muslim scholars usually say that Shariah is based on the Quran and the Sunnah. Sunnah is an Arabic word meaning "habit" or "usual practice". Whilst the Quran is understood by muslims to be the word of God (Allah), the Sunnah is the body of texts which records the life and practices of the prophet Muhammad.

    See Types of punishment - Introduction of Sharia in Sudan 1983 - subject index

    Right (jus) and Law (lex)

    Thomas Hobbes says:

    " jus and lex, right and law ... ought to be distinguished, because right consisteth in liberty to do, or to forbear; whereas law determineth and bindeth to one of them: so that law and right differ as much as obligation and liberty, which in one and the same matter are inconsistent."

    Legitimacy See also authority

    The original meaning of legitimate is lawful. (See Social Science History)

    Legitimate (Latin legitimus from lex legis law). Concise Oxford Dictionary: adjective: lawful, proper, regular, conforming to standard type. verb: Make legitimate by decree, enactment, or proof; justify, serve as justification for.

    Political philosophy and sociology have extended and altered the use of the term. Different theorists argue that legitimacy is conferred by different things. Rousseau, for example, thought that legitimacy is conferred by a government seeking the general will of the people. This is not the same as the will of the people or the consent of the people. For example, if the majority of people want to exterminate a minority because they do not like them, that is not the general will but a widespread and illegitimate passion. The general will is found by seeking to find what is in the interest of all of us if we are to live together successfully. (The interest of the whole society). This relates to the old meaning of legitimate as lawful in that Rousseau (and Kant, who followed him) believed that the legitimacy of law lay in its seeking the general interest of all. A law that says tall skinny people should be exterminated because they (we) are tall and skinny would be illegitimate.

    Many sociologists, following Weber use legitimacy to mean being supported by the beliefs of the people. This should not suggest that democracy is necessarily legitimate or that other forms of government are illegitimate. Different belief systems support different forms of government. Two types of belief system he outlined are the traditonal and the rational/legal. These, and charisma can confer legitimacy of a ruler and reduce the need to use force

    We tend to say that a government has authority if is legitimate. We also tend to relate legitimacy and authority to the power of ideas (especially positive ideas about a ruler) rather than the power of force or fear.

    See Weber on legitimate rule


    German: Lebenswelt translated Lifeworld. The world as we experience it in living, before reflecting on it through science or philosophy. The universe of what is self-evident or given, a world that we can experience together. The everyday world which we and other members of our community think and feel we inhabit. People from different cultures inherit different lifeworlds.

    "the cultural tradition shared by a community is constitutive of the lifeworld which the individual member finds already interpreted" (Habermas, J. 1981)

    Lifeworld and system

    Habermas (1981) suggests that social theorists should "conceive of societies simultaneously as systems and lifeworlds". Each of these worlds is related to a different way of society being integrated.

    Habermas argues that the integration of society can be achieved in two ways

    "Steering" media is a term from Parsons indicating the way the market and administrative bureaucracies automatically (without deliberative thought) "decide" what will happen. This spontaneous (self-regulated) order is contrasted with that brought about by Communicative Action. Hayek makes a similar contrast between spontaneous and constructed order.

    The progress of social and system integration in the modern world

    "At the same time as communicative action in the lifeworld, the pursuit of agreement in language, becomes increasingly a matter of argumentation and discursive justification, the mechanisms of market and administrative state power also become more sophisticated and tend to undermine the scope of communicative action and the pursuit of agreement." ( Outhwaite, W. 1994 p.79, describing Habermas, J. 1981)

    Communicative Action

    Habermas uses this concept to describe cooperative action undertaken by individuals based upon mutual deliberation and argumentation (Wikipedia 7.1.2011)

    Habermas says

    "I shall speak of Communicative Action whenever the actions of agents involved are coordinated not through egocentric calculations of success but through acts of reaching understanding. In communicative action participants are not primarily orientated to their own individual success; they pursue their individual goals under the condition that they can harmonise their plan of action on the basis of common situation definitions. In this respect the negotiation of definitions of the situation is an essential element of the interpretive accomplishments required for communicative action" (Habermas, J. 1981 p.285?)

    "We use the term argumentation for that type of speech in which participants thematize contested validity claims and attempt to vindicate or criticize them through argumentation." (Habermas, J. 1981 p.18)

    Mad and madness See distress - origin of terms - subject index

    Almost 600 years before Christ, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians, is said to have lost his reason and spent several years eating grass like an animal. Even earlier, David, king of the Jews, is said to have pretended to be mad, scrabbling against a door and dribbling on his beard to get out of a difficult situation.

    Madness, the loss of reason or the presence of unreason, has a long history. Reason and unreason are opposites. See the discussion of Reason.

    "Mad" is an old English word. Possibly older words that we may still recognise are "giddy" and "witless" (about 1,000 AD). Later "brain sick" and "lunatic".

    From an early period, words distinguished between people who were born without reason (idiots) and those who had lost their reason, and might possibly recover it. These were called lunatics.

    The term insanity is mainly a legal one. In English law (as in much law) "total idiocy, or absolute insanity, excuses from the guilt" (Blackstone 1765-1769). That is, if someone commits a crime is a total idiot or absolutely insane, they should not be punished for it, but treated in some other way.

    The legal concept is distinct from common culture ideas such as "mad" and "idiot" (which we have discussed) and "dangerous", which distinguished the minority from the overwhelming majority who are of no risk to others.

    The idea that madness might be a medical issue has a long history. The phrase mental illness as an expression of this idea is comparatively recent. We can see the change over in the title of a book: "Lunacy Practice: a practical guide for the certification and detention of persons of unsound mind" (1905) by William Herbert Gattie became "Legal Aspects of Mental Illness" in 1933.

    The terms idiocy, moron and feeble minded, gave way to mentally defective, mentally subnormal, mentally handicapped and, eventually learning disability or learning difficulty.

    Mental disorder is a general term that came into use in the 20th century to cover mental illness, incomplete development of mind (learning disability) and psychopathy (antisocial personality disorder).

    People who experience these states of mind often choose to terms to describe themselves. Two frequently used terms are "mental health service user" and survivor

    Mad Studies Survivors History - Survivor Research

    Mad Studies is a term that originated in Canada about 2011 to describe a "new" [academic] "discipline" with different, possibly contradictory, definitions. Two Canadian definitions are given below:

    One: A discipline combining aspects of survivor research with aspects of anti-psychiatry.

    Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies was published in 2013. The glossary of this says that Mad Studies is an "umbrella term" for a "body of knowledge" that has "emerged" from "psychiatric survivors" and "mad-identified people, antipsychiatry academics, critical psychiatrists, and radical therapists".

    [The Mad Matters glossary defines psychiatric survivors so as only to include those who are ideologically committed to anti-psychiatry. It says a psychiatric survivor is "someone who considers herself/himself to have survived psychiatric treatment - often someone who has been treated by force".]

    Helen Spandler comments that the above definition "potentially includes more non-survivor academics than it does survivors/patients/users". (email 23.2.2016).

    Two: An inclusive discipline developing from and rooted in survivor research.

    David Reville writes as if mad studies was about patients' views as distinct from doctor's views. He was one of the first to use the term - in connection with his course A History of Madness. This, he said, was "a project aimed at creating a space for mad studies". "We're on the brink of seeing the birth of a new discipline - mad studies". "There's lots of literature written from a medical perspective. Mad people's history, though, features writing by people who have experienced madness themselves".

    Subject index: survivor research - voice

    Mad Studies courses in Holland, Scotland and England may operate with different concepts from those in Canada. The link between survivors in Toronto and Edinburgh goes back, at least, to 2001 and led to a Mad People's History module from 2014, but activities are not called "mad studies" in Scotland. The first posting on Mad Studies - Voor high-knowledge crazies in Nederland was made on 6.8.2013. The first major English "mad studies" events took place in 2014. A conference was organised in 2015.


    In "Magic, mentality, and city life", Robert Park distinguishes between magic as a form of thought and logical reason.


    Look at the way "magistrate" is used in the following 17th century text:

    Magistrate is from a Latin word whose meanings include master, chief, president, tutor or teacher. In general political theory it meant a public official with power, and could include the king himself. David Hume wrote "The king was too eminent a magistrate to be trusted with discretionary powers". This general meaning is preserved in the United States of America when the President is spoken of as the "first magistrate" or "chief magistrate"

    In England and Wales, magistrates are now people who act as judges in courts that try minor offenses. Most of them are unpaid (honorary). These magistrates are also called Justices of the Peace (JPs for short). They are appointed by the crown from local people. In the 18th and early 19th century the Justices of the Peace had much more power. They were the local government for most of England and Wales. Justices met in Quarter Sessions to administer their counties, as well as running a court. During the nineteenth century, however, most of these administrative functions were taken away and passed over (usually) to elected local governments. (See, for eaxmple, the 1888 Local Government Act)

    Man, Mankind, Humanity Raymond Williams keywords

    "Man" can mean human or male. The reader has to tell from the context which is meant. In its gender free sense, it can mean the human species or it can mean a human individual. Again, the context should tell you which is meant.

    In many important writings about society, man is used as the most general and the most inclusive concept for humans. It means everyone: male, female, adult and child, from the beginning of humanity to the end. For example, an English translation of Aristotle says:

      "it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state". (Aristotle 1253a7)

    "Man" here is being contrasted with other "animals". Elsewhere, however, the same translation uses "man" for "male".

      "Out of these two relationships between man and woman, master and slave, the first thing to arise is the family..." (Aristotle 1252b9)

    1847 "all is race" (Disraeli) and "human race" (Marx)

    The position of man in the order of things

    See both divine space and evolution

    A Jewish psalm says God created man a little lower than the angels and with dominion over other things, including animals.

    Mary Wollstonecraft asks In what does man's pre-eminence over the brute creation consist?, and answers that humans have reason.

    Erving Goffman says a person with stigma is treated as not quite human

    Humanity - nation - family

    Emile Durkheim told his students:

    " man always lives in the midst of many groups. To mention only the more important, there is the family in which one is born, the nation or political group, and humanity. Ought one to commit oneself to one of these groups to the exclusion of others? This is out of the question....

    Family, nation and humanity represent different phases of our social and moral evolution, stages that prepare for, and build upon, one another." (Durkheim 1925a p.73)

    Women - Womanhood - The sociology of being a woman

    What can men do that women cannot? The answer appears to be that some men can inseminate women, but women cannot inseminate.

    What can women do that men cannot? The answer appears to be that some women, if inseminated, can produce children.

    Being a woman appears to be the most important part of producing and reproducing humanity. How this has become the basis for oppression has been an interest of feminists. But that is only the negative aspect of the sociology of woman. Arguably, the sociology of woman should be the foundation of all sociology.

    The sociology of woman would study everything that nature, history and society have "given" to human beings apart from insemination - including everything that history and society have "given" to women - everything that they have "made" women into - everything that has been constructed around the ability of some women to biologically reproduce and suckle, and everything that women have made of themselves and society. It would be a general sociology with being a woman at the centre.

    The sociology of woman would give more attention than is normal to production and reproduction (labour), kinship and relations, sex, pregnancy, birthing and midwifery, child care, education, agriculture, cooking, cleaning, clothing and textiles, self- presentation, housing, cohabitation, family and households, mancare, family care, cycles of incapacity, sickness and medicine, housework, cooperation, community, trade, merchandising and shopping, prostitution, emotional labour, caring, communication and organisation, age and relationship rites of passage, funerals, religion, craft, art, mythology, and science, and primary groups in relation to society as a whole, as well as to patriarchy and domestic violence.


    The Oxford English dictionary dates this term from the early nineteenth century and gives these different meanings, amongst others:

    The quality of being human; devotion to human interests or welfare.

    An outlook or system of thought concerned with human rather than divine or supernatural matters.

    A belief or outlook emphasizing common human needs and seeking solely rational ways of solving human problems, and concerned with humankind as responsible and progressive intellectual beings

    Louis Althusser says that humanism (humanisme) "is the characteristic feature of the ideological problematic from which Marx emerged, and more generally, of most modern ideology". Althusser describes "Feuerbach's anthropology" as "a particularly conscious form of humanism ... which dominates Marx's Early Works".

    Althusser is distinguishing between ideology and science. As a science, he says, "historical materialism, as exposed in Marx's later works, implies a theoretical anti-humanism. 'Real-humanism' characterizes the works of the break (q.v.): the humanist form is retained, but usages such as 'the ensemble of the social relations' point forward to the concepts of historical materialism." Althusser Glossary 1969

    humanism and the death of man

    Michel Foucault was a student of Althusser. Clare O'Farrell says that "during the 1960s, Foucault was noted for his critiques of humanist philosophy, which is founded on the belief that something called 'human nature' or 'man' is at the centre of all knowledge and morality. "

    O'Farrell also says that Foucault linked the "death of man" (that is the death of belief in a human nature) to the "death of God."

    Newcastle's Evening Chronicle> 1962. Clipping preserved by Britain since 1948 (Newcastle) - Download lesson for date

    In January 1965, Andrew and Valerie were looking for their first home together (in Manor Park, East London). Flats and rooms were advertised on postcards in shop windows and on boards. Andrew did not want to live with people who wrote "no coloureds" on their postcard, but could only find two without these words. He went to visit the first. The card had been written by a family from Jamaica. (Mr and Mrs Limoth) who had not expected white people to come. Mr Limoth consulted Mrs Limoth and they provided Andrew and Valerie with their first home.

    Margin See space.

    Marginalise - marginalisation

    Stuart Hall argues that the "marginalisation of the black experience in British culture" was not something that just happened - not a "fortuitously occurring at the margins". The black experience was "placed, positioned at the margins, as the consequence of a set of quite specific political and cultural practices which regulated, governed and 'normalised' the representational and discursive spaces of English society." (Stuart Hall 1988, paragraph 3)

    Englishness, he argues was an ethnicity "doomed to survive... only by marginalising, dispossessing, displacing and forgetting other ethnicities. (Stuart Hall 1988, paragraph 16)

    Market - A market - The market - To market

    A market is a place where people buy and sell.

    See commodities.

    The market is a general concept of an economy, or aspect of an economy, where prices, supply and demand are decided by freely selling and buying.


    To market something is to prepare it for selling:


    In 1900, moving from its original meaning of a warning to a new meaning of "a printed and paid notice in a newspaper or other public print". By 1936, Hornsey School of Art had a Department of Pictorial and Advertising Design. By 2011, advertising had long been a sub-division of marketing at Middlesex University.

    Marketing Compare with commodification
    Jump to branding

    The Oxford English Dictionary has examples of marketing meaning buying or selling (especially in a market) dating back to the sixteenth century and examples meaning bringing or sending a commodity to market dating back to the late nineteenth century. Such meanings are illustrated by a cookery school in 1894 which advertised a

    "thorough training In artisan, plain, and superior household cookery, scullery-work, housekeeping, marketing, and general management."

    Despite the examples of early use, the word marketing does not appear to have entered popular dictionaries until the 1970s or 1980s. Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English (1987) defines it as "the branch of business concerned with advertising, publicity etc". When Roland Barthes analysed the marketing and branding of soap powders and detergents (Lux - Omo) in 1954, he just called it advertising.

    When George Brosan sought to promote Enfield College in 1964, he called it public relations and spoke of booklets and leaflets having a house style. However, in 1963 he had spoken of the importance of production engineers becoming "marketing men". Brosan's (1963) concept of marketing was more than selling, which was something at the end of production. It was something involved throughout. Marketing is concerned with "every aspect of the business to meet the needs of the customer". His contrast between selling and marketing runs parallel with changes in the name of the UK Sales Managers' Association founded in 1911, which became the Institute of Marketing and Sales Management in 1960 and the Institute of Marketing in 1968. (Wikipedia). Clive Boddy was awarded a Diploma in Marketing by the Institute in 1985.

    In the 1960s, even for a progressive like Brosan, products had marketing but education had public relations. The absorption of education into the imagery of production, commodification and marketing appears to have taken place at Middlesex University in the 1990s.

    1992 Middlesex, as a new University, adopted a logo

    1995 Middlesex University mission precedes marketing

    1997 Middlesex University from relations to marketing


    Thirty branding definitions including "Brand is a known identity"

    2003 Middlesex University re-branded "It wasn't just a logo, it was thinking about the words we used to describe ourselves, our values and objectives," (Michael Driscoll)

    Personal branding

    Marriage - husband - wife conjugal society - cohabitation

    In this Fifteenth century woodcut, the mythical Melusina lies in bed with her husband to be, Raymont. A bishop blesses their wedlock, making them husband and wife.

    Marriage is a religious or civil ceremony that joins a man and a woman in a permanent (until broken) relationship which is usually completed (consummated) by their sexual union. Biology being biology, this usually creates children and makes a nuclear family

    Conjugal, meaning yoked together, refers to the kind of physical and personal relations found within marriage. That is, it relates not to the ceremonies of marriage, but to the bonding together of people by sexual, loving and domestic relations, with or without formal marriage.

    In kinship theory, consanguin relations are relationships by descent, conjugal relations are relationships by some form of marriage.

    Cohabition - "living in sin"

    Cohabiting just means living together, but has acquired the meaning of living together as sexual partners without formal marriage.

    Chambers Cyclopedia of 1728 says that "Cohabitation implies a Concubinage, Copulation, or Carnal Knowledge between two Persons."

    An 1870 Dictionary defines cohabitation as "living with one another as husband and wife". An 1887 Dictionary just says that cohabitation and cohabitant refer to living together, but says cohabit means "to live togaher as husband and wife, usually applied to persons not legally married"


    Sexual intercourse which a husband or wife has within someone they are not married to.


    Sex outside marriage, either of people who are not married or including adultery.


    Originally, in the USA (1930s/1940s), a husband or wife cheated on the other when they had sex with someone else. Nowadays "cheating" is used for sex outside any relationship that people believe implies not doing so. A girl-friend cheats on one boy-friend, for example, if she has sex with another boy-friend.

    Mother - child - father See Matrix
    Mother, child and father are all old English words. The word child is related to words for womb and pregnant. The child is the "fruit of the mother's womb". [See birth]

    The mother nourishes or nurtures the child.

    The picture (from Webster's Modern European History Massachusetts 1920) depicts a "family of the Puritan faith" in the time of King James 1st

    USA soldiers going to war in 1917 are reported to have said they did so for "mom and apple pie", which became "for motherhood and apple pie"

    go to big pictures go to history go to history Stone images survive from before any record of words to suggest that motherhood has always been seen as of central importance.

    See Judith Butler Why is it pregnancy by which that body gets defined?

    See family - family theory - marriage - sex - body - childhood - lover - hierarchy

    The potential for motherhood is the main basis on which social distinction has been made between men and women. Speaking to German women at Nürnberg on 14.9.1934, Adolf Hitler said

    "Woman has her battlefield. With each child that she brings to the nation, she fights her fight for the nation" (quoted by Mary Beard)

    See Richard Heymann's (1900 - 1973) depictions of motherhood at I am a child.

    The son of a saddle-maker and wall-paperer, Heymann studied "decorative- painting". His paintings were exhibited at the Great German Art Exhibitions from 1937 and seven of them were bought by Adolf Hitler. His main theme was woman with healthy children and he was called the 'painter of German mothers". He also painted nude women. (source)

    In a picture by F. Staeger, also in the Great German Art Exhibition, we see a man ploughing with a boy helping him to drive the oxen. Men and women had different roles with respect to children.

    Different roles in the family roll over into different roles in society. Mary Beard quotes Goebbels' Diary on 29.3.1932, reporting Hitler's policy on women:

    "Woman is the companion of man in work... She has always been so and always will be... Formerly in the furrows, now in the offices, woman is his organ for carrying out plans. This conception is modern and lifts us above all the deutschvölkische Ressentiment"


    body Matrix is from the Latin for mother, with special reference to a pregnant mother or to a womb.

    It can, therefore, be used for the cultural, social, or political environment in which something develops.

    In Gender Trouble (1990) Judith Butler speaks of a "heterosexual matrix for conceptualising gender and desire", meaning a cultural environment in which heterosexuality is assumed, without question, to be he norm and anything else is deviation.

    "I use the term heterosexual matrix throughout the text to designate that grid of cultural intelligibility through which bodies, genders, and desires are naturalised. I am drawing from Monique Wittig's notion of the "heterosexual contract" and, to a lesser extent, on Adrienne Rich's notion of "compulsory heterosexuality" to characterise a hegemonic discursive/ epistemic model of gender intelligibility that assumes that for bodies to cohere and make sense there must be a stable sex expressed through a stable gender (masculine expresses male, feminine expresses female) that is oppositionally and hierarchically defined through the compulsory practice of heterosexuality." (Butler 1990, footnote 6 on p.151)

    Material Materialism and idealism are Raymond Williams keywords

    The matter which something is made of is its material. In times past it would particularly apply to the wood with which a house (for example) might be built. Material is the solid substance of things. It is the substance of which physical things exist. It is "that which has mass and occupies space; physical substance as distinct from spirit, mind, qualities, etc". (Oxford English Dictionary)

    A materialist is someone who thinks of the world basically as matter. David Hume spoke of "materialists, who conjoin all thought with extension" - that is, everything has to occupy a physical place in space. An idealist, on the other hand, gives much more weight to ideas. Bertrand Russell even says that that "idealists tell us that what appears as matter is really something mental".

    Examples of materialists include Karl Marx. Examples of idealists include Georg Friedrich Hegel

    Judith Butler develops Hegel's thought to argue that

    "there is no recourse to a body that has not always already been interpreted by cultural meanings"

    Marxism - marxist

    Originally the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Oxford English Dictionary first records marxist in 1873 and marxism in 1883

    Now refers to quite a diverse range of theories based, more or less loosely, on some aspect of Marx and/or Engels' writings.

    Marx and Engels conceptualised their theories as "scientific socialism" and/or "historical materialism"


    A meeting can be just an occasion when two or more people meet: A meeting of friends, for example. It may not have an explicit or defined purpose, and it may not have been planned. Other meetings are planned, and explicitly held to discuss issues and/or to make decisions. Academic meetings tend to be more about discussion than decision. Business meetings are more about decisions.

    Advice about academic meetings


    Methodology is the study (ology) of methods - of the way we do things.

    It is a contentious issue. In Summer 1977, the journal Daedalus (issue 54) wrote

    "The quest for science has led to a.. battle of methodologies, in answer to a ... question: Whatever it is we want to study, how should we do it?".

    The methods we use in scientific (or other) research should be related to the theories we have about what knowledge is and how we acquire it. That is, methodology should be related to epistemology (the theory of knowledge)

    Durkheim's rules of sociological method

    See Robert Alun Jones 1986 extracts The Rules of Sociological Method (1895)

    See extracts from Emile Durkheim's Rules of Sociological Method

    Durkheim's methodology is not just a way of doing things. It starts with a rule that says we should think about society in a certain way. It is not something like empiricism or rationalism that tells us how to work out what we should believe. It starts by telling us what we should believe about the nature of society if we are to be sociologists. But Durkheim argues that this basic belief (that society is real) is tested by his work.

    Rule 1

    "The first and most fundamental rule is: Consider social facts as things."

    Rule 1.1

    "All preconceptions must be eradicated"

    Rule 1.2

    "The subject matter of every sociological study should comprise a group of phenomena defined in advance by certain common external characteristics"

    Rule 1.3

    In the investigation of an order of social facts

    "endeavour to consider them from an aspect that is independent of their individual manifestations."


    Media - mass media - social media

    "Mass media represents the most economical way of getting the story over the new and wider market in the least time" G. Snow wrote for advertisers in 1923. Artists work in media such as paints and pastels, advertisers would use such "advertising media" as "newspapers, journals, magazines and such-like printed publications" (E. O. Hughes 1929). .

    At the end of the second world war, UNESCO was formed to advance "the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication". Its Director General, Julian Huxley, said this "somewhat cumbrous title" was "commonly abbreviated to Mass Media", including "the radio, the cinema and the popular press, which are capable of the mass dissemination of word or image".

    James Fulcher and John Scott's Glossary defines "Media (plural of medium" as "means of communication that mediate between those who provide information between those who provide information and those who receive it" and Mass media as "media which can reach large numbers of people".

    Writing in German, in 1944, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer argued that the media had taken over from religion the role of providing cultural order.

    "culture now impresses the same stamp on everything. Films, radio and magazines make up a system which is uniform as a whole and in every part." (Adorno and Horkheimer 1944/1977 "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception").

    Adorno and Horkheimer described the media industry as an "iron system" which imposes a view on the audience without giving them the opportunity to think for themselves.

    Their attention was particularly directed to the cinema:

    "The stunting of the mass-media consumer's powers of imagination and spontaneity..." [must be ascribed] to the objective nature of the products themselves, especially to the most characteristic of them, the sound film." (Adorno and Horkheimer 1944/1977 "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception").

    Marcuse: One Dimensional Man

    Stuart Hall has developed an analysis of media effects which breaks away from the "iron system" idea and recognises that mass media messages are not simply accepted in the way they were intended, but that audiences have to 'decode' or reinterpret them in their own way.

    Media effects

    See Young, J. 1.2003 Constructing the Paradigm of Violence: Mass Media, Violence and Youth

    mass society

    James Fulcher and John Scott's Glossary defines mass society

    "the atomised society of isolated individual which, according to some theorists, such as William Kornhauser, resulted from the decline of community after industrialisation and urbanisation. Atomisation made it easy for political leaders to manipulate people"

    Social Media

    In 2008, Ahlqvist, Bäck, Halonen and Heinonen wrote

    "As a functional definition, social media refers to the interaction of people and also to creating, sharing, exchanging and commenting contents in virtual communities and networks"

    They say their definition is built on "three key elements":

    1) User created content of a wide rang of types including information, photos, pictures, and videos.

    "Creating and uploading content and participating become interesting when there are other people doing the same thing."

    2) Communities. "Social media typically lets people communicate either directly - which has been common on the internet since early days - or via media objects.

    3) Web 2.0. (or social web): The development of digital technologies for content creation and sharing, together with web technologies and applications that let people easily participate on the internet. "Without the technology, people and content could not meet to the same extent".

    See 2006

    Tom Standage (2013) argues that the idea of social media does not need to be tied to the technology, and can be traced back in history for over two thousand years. His definition is:

    "Media we get from other people, exchanged along social connections, creating a distributed discussion or community"

    Medical model Compare with Sick Role

    A medical model could be thought of as a paradigm for understanding derived from medicine.

    1961 See Erving Goffman's (1961) article "The Medical Model and Mental Hospitalisation; some notes on the vicissitudes of the tinkering trades"

    1968 Ronald Laing discussed the medical model as a way of intervening in social situations, in a May 1968 lecture.

    "My impression is that much social work is based upon, or heavily influenced by, a medical model derived from psychiatry that psychiatry has itself derived from general medicine: that this psychiatric model has been taken, up until very recently at least, on trust even by psychiatrists." (Laing 1972, p.24)

    1972 "The 'medical model' concept in psychiatry : a classical heritage" by W.K. Tomlinson and P.J. Dowling, in: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of the History of Medicine, London, 2-9 September 1972 pages 450-455

    1973 [Educational] "intervention programs operate with some of the assumptions of the medical model. Someone who is sick generally elects to go to a physician, because the disease is not expected to subside without his intervention.." (Sigel and others in Stanley. J.C. 1973 p.26)

    2014 Beresford, Nettle and Perring in their research survey notes argue that a medical model of illness considers something to be wrong with a person. The problem is an individual defect or pathology. Similarly, a medical model of disability locates the problem in the individual. There is something wrong with the person; their arm/leg/sight or brain does not work or something is missing. Beresford, Nettle and Perring contrast this with a social approach and social model. With respect to illness, the social approach would appear to correspond to what is known public health. The social approach to health and illnes, they say, links "illness, distress and mental health problems" with social factors, which play a part in causing the problems and have to be addressed if people are to be well. The social model, however, is "stronger than the social approach".

    Mental: relating to Mind

    Mental health origin of term subject index

    Mental disorder origin of term subject index

    Mental disorder is a broader term than "mental illness". It has been used to include mental illness, learning disability and psychopathic disorder.

    See the entry for mad

    As the term implies, mental disorders are usually considered as undesirable states of mind that are also not normal. These usual considerations are questioned in some cases by some theorists. See, for example, David Pilgrim 2005 and Cromby, Harper and Reavey 2013

    See under Subject index for mental disorders in alphabetical order

    What can be disordered?

    Reading the classifications of psychologists and psychiatrists, it would appear that disorder can be of

    The mind - specifically of thinking (cognition). This includes the traditional madness or insanity.

    Learning abilities.

    The emotions.



    Mental illnesses origin of term - note on concept

    When doctors speak of mental illnesses they often refer to clusters of symptoms. In some case, there is believed to be a known physical cause for those clusters of symptoms. This is the case with what was known as General Paralysis of the Insane, which was very common in asylums before the second world war. This was found to develop as a late stage of syphilis and it became uncommon as successful treatments for syphilis developed.

    Dementia describes a group of symptoms including memory loss, confusion, mood changes and difficulty with day-to-day tasks which are usually associated (nowadays) with ageing. This association suggests that there are likely to be underlying physical cause. The website of Alzheimers Research uk has useful information. [See International Classification of Diseases]

    For many other mental illnesses, the cluster of symptoms is the illness and no underlying physical cause is known (or necessarily present). There may, however, be learnt functional (psychological rather than physical) disorders underlying the clusters of symptoms and different theorists (psychoanalysts and behaviourists, for example) analyse these differently.

    Mental illnesses have been divided into the psychoses, or psychotic illnesses, and neuroses or neurotic illnesses. Psychoses correspond more with the traditional view of madness in which the person experiencing the condition is thought to have lost contact with reality. [See International Classification of Diseases]

    "psychotic symptoms ... may include hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, with the person seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling or believing things that no one else does."

    "In a 2001 survey, 15% of British adults reported experiencing 'neurotic symptoms' in the previous week. - Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis" [See International Classification of Diseases]

    Mental Health System

    The twentieth century mental health system developed from the nineteenth century asylum system. The diagram below, depicting the 1970s, shows the United Kingdom system in transition from mental hospital care to community care

    click for origin of the term community care


    At the start of a word, meta usually means with or after or, possibly, beyond (above),

    In metaphysics, metalanguage and metatheory, it has the sense of being of a higher order or more fundamental kind.

    A metalanguage is a language in which one talks about (another) language. See Wikipedia

    At one point, Roland Barthes speaks of mythologies (his second order of signification) as a metalanguage.

    "It can be seen that in myth there are two semiological systems, one of which is staggered in relation to the other: a linguistic system the language (or the modes of representation which are assimilated to it), which I shall call the language-object , because it is the language which myth gets hold of in order to build its own system; and myth itself, which I shall call metalanguage, because it is a second language, in which one speaks about the first."

    But, at another point he speaks of the "metalanguage of the linguist".


    Microcosm means little world. To say that one social organ is a microcosm of another means that its is a smaller community that has matching features. It is a miniature version of the larger. Some people have argued, for example, that the family is a microcosm of political society.

    See, for example, Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 12.83

    Catriona Woolner writes:

    "the family may have been seen as a microcosm of political society insofar as the many roles required within the one had their counterpart in the other. For example, both need to concern themselves with shelter, finance, health, education, external relations, future planning, defence (or order), and the most efficient application of available resources." (Woolner, C. 1997)

    Others have argued that lunatic asylums should be a microcosm of the ideal society.

    See model and isomorphic

    epitome (Greek for cut short) is a word used to describe a summary. It can also be used as an alternative for model or microcosm: A thing that represents another thing, in miniature.

    Migration - Immigration - Emigration

    Migration is the movement of people in or out of a territory. Immigration is the movement into a territory. Emigration is the movement out of a territory.

    Related words: Assimilation - Integration - Multiculturalism - Short-term Migration - Transnationalism - Globalisation - Receiving society

    Mind Mind and brain - - Brain - Neuroscience

    Mind is perceiving, thinking, reasoning, feeling, imagining, desiring, remembering.

    If body is the flesh as distinct from the spirit, then mind is spirit. It is the world of ideas, of thoughts, passions and imaginings.

    According to Mary Wollstonecraft, humanity differs from other of parts of the animal world in the inter-relationship of reason, morality, emotion, lawful society and meaningful history. (See Wollstonecraft 1792, 1.2 to 1.5). It is this whole felt and thought self-conscious world (of individuals and society) that we speak of as mind - as distinct from body.

    Picturing the mind

    Picturing the mind requires a high degree of creative imagination. - Compare with picturing the brain and picturing society

    Freud's diagram of the mind Sigmund Freud's diagram of the mind

    Pcpt Cs = Perceptual-conscious system

    The diagram is from his 1933 lecture on "The Dissection of the Personality". He says:

    "I should like to portray the structural relations of the mental personality... in the ... sketch...

    Mind and brain

    In his last work, Sigmund Freud wrote

    "We know two kinds of things about what we call our psyche (or mental life): firstly, its bodily organ and scene of action, the brain (or nervous system) and, on the other hand, our acts of consciousness, which are immediate data and cannot be further explained by any sort of description."

    He is writing of what we are aware of. The brain is a body organ, we think the mind operates there, but what we experience as mind is consciousness. They are two distinct worlds which we believe are related - the physical brain, which is part of our body and which can be examined in post-mortems on dead people - and the conscious mind, the experiencing of things that takes place, for example, when we examine our bodies.

    The nervous system

    From Alvin Davison, Health Lessons New York: American Book Company, 1910, p.154 - (FCIT collection)
    Nerves communicate messages of heat, touch, taste, pain, sight etc to the brain and messages from the brain that control actions. Cerebrum is Latin for brain, but in anatomy it just refers to the large top or front part. Behind and below this is the cerebellum, which is the larger part of the hind-brain.

    It is believed that thought takes place in the cerebrum whereas balance and muscle tone are controlled by the cerebellum.

    The central parts of the system (the brain and the tracts running from it) are protected by the bones of the scull and the spine. The rope of nerves running through the spine is called the spinal cord.

    The brain itself is a great mass, a power-house, or nervous tissue. It is connected to the spinal cord by the medulla oblongata (long pith) or brain-stem which is both the top of the spinal cord and the bottom of the brain.

    To explain behaviour by the physical nervous system we start with the basic unit of a reflex arc or sensori-motor arc:. A sensation travels along the nerve into the body, and then outwards to a muscle or gland to produce an action motor effect. For example, air blown on the eye is sensed and the message travels along the nerves to produce an almost instantaneous blink. The sensation is the stimulus, the action is the response. [In this case, action is being used for behaviour rather than for meaningful acts] - Read about unconditioned and conditioned response

    From Henry Gray Anatomy Descriptive and Applied New York, NY: Lea and Febiger, 1913 - (FCIT collection)

    In the above diagram, the word "cerebrum" is on the parietal lobe, the frontal lobe is the large area pushing out towards the text, the occipital lobe is tucked behind on the left, and the temporal lobe is below the parietal lobe.


    In evolution, the cerebrum (Latin: brain) was the last part of the nervous system to develop. It is most developed in humans. In humans, the cerebrum surrounds the older portions of the brain, which are shown in the diagram as if they were spread out below it.

    The cerebral cortex (cortex = outer layer) of folded grey matter of the human brain is divided into two hemispheres (left and right), each divided into four lobes: the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe (from front to back across the top) and temporal lobe (on the side).

    The autonomic nervous system regulates the functions of our internal organs (the viscera) such as the heart, stomach and intestines. The autonomic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system and it also controls some of the muscles within the body. We are often unaware of the autonomic nervous system because it functions involuntary and reflexively. For example, we do not notice when blood vessels change size or when our heart beats faster. However, some people can be trained to control some functions of the autonomic nervous system such as heart rate or blood pressure.

    The autonomic nervous system is most important in two situations:

    In emergencies that cause stress and require us to "fight" or take "flight" (run away)

    In nonemergencies that allow us to "rest" and "digest.

    [Eysenck's] "conception of conscience allows for the inbuilt punishments of the autonomic nervous system: anxiety and alarm, of which the classicists and criminologists were unaware." (Young, J. etc 1973)

    Neuroscience See mind and brain

    Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system and brain. It is a multi-disciplinary science that includes neurochemistry and experimental psychology as well as biology

    Nature Review of Neuroscience description

    Neuroscience is the archetypal multidisciplinary science encompassing a variety of fields that share the common goal of attempting to provide a complete understanding of the structure and function of the central nervous system. A series of advances in molecular, developmental and cognitive neuroscience, stimulated by the advent of powerful new experimental techniques [See neuroimaging] and theoretical approaches, have now rendered some of the most enduring neurobiological questions increasingly tractable. This explosion of knowledge has in turn created a need for new tools to efficiently organise and communicate this information. Nature Reviews Neuroscience covers the breadth and depth of modern neuroscience by providing an authoritative, accessible, topical, and engaging first port of call for scientists who are interested in all aspect of neuroscience -- from molecules to the mind.

    Subjects covered

    Cellular and molecular neuroscience
    Development of the nervous system
    Sensory, motor systems and behaviour
    Regulatory systems
    Higher cognition and language
    Computational neuroscience
    Disorders of the brain

    Picturing the brain
    Compare with picturing the mind


    A PET Scan of metabolic activity in the living brain of Adrian Raine

    See Wikipedia: Neuroimaging

    Picturing society

    See social structure and statics and dynamics

    Body, mind and society - Readings

    In marxist terms, the human body is a material base to society. Its material existence is one reason that some theorists argue that scientific ideas about society should start with the individual.

    Given (as Marx pointed out) that spirit (mind) is not disembodied, but develops in a material world, how does it develop? This was a question that George Herbert Mead (but not Herbert Blumer who adapted some of Mead's ideas for symbolic interactionism) investigated at depth. You can read extracts from Mead's work here

    When a child is born people often ask what it is, and the answer is not supposed to be a "child", but a "boy" or a "girl". People decide this by looking at the shape of the organs between the child's legs. It is a body matter. Simone De Beavoir discusses how a child (girl or boy) relates to its body as s/he develops. Judith Butler discusses this in Butler, J. 1986 "Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir's Second Sex" in Yale French Studies, No. 72 (1986), pp. 35-49.

    Price, Janet and Shildrick, Margrit, 1999. (Editors) Feminist Theory and the Body: A reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    Price and Shildrick say that "the body matters" ... "to all forms of theory" (page 2). Conventional "biological and racial" classifications assume "a given nature" based on the body. By them "it is taken for granted that sexual and racial differences are inherent qualities of the corporeal" (page 3).

    This is a collection of feminist writings exploring many different theoretical approaches to the relationship between the individual's body and mind, self and society. It includes "My body, myself: How does a black woman do sociology" by Felly Kkwelto Simmonds and two extracts from Judith Butler: "Bodies that Matter" and "Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions"

    Mode of Production social production of existence
    social production of wealth

    One of the meanings of "mode" is to distinguish different shapes or forms of doing things. Railways and roads are different modes of transport. Post and email are different modes of communication.

    The different types of organisation of societies in order to produce the things they need are called modes of production. A society that produces its wealth by slave labour has a different mode of production to one that does so by employing free labour. [See class]

    The social science that analyses a society's mode of production is called political economy. It is one of the major ways of tracing shape and structure in the totality of society. Well known political economists include Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Hayek.

    Karl Marx argued that understanding a society's mode of production is a key to understanding everything about its social, political and intellectual life:

    "In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness." (Marx K. 1859 Preface)




    Production: making things.
    agricultural - industrial - and service

    Reproduction: making more people to take over production.
    Biological reproduction See sex (conjugal relations) and children
    Social reproduction See below

    Consumption: eating things, using things, buying things.

    Engels, in 1884, wrote (my emphasis)

    "According to the materialistic conception, the determining factor in history is, in the final instance, the production and reproduction of the immediate essentials of life. This, again, is of a twofold character. On the one side, the production of the means of existence, of articles of food and clothing, dwellings, and of the tools necessary for that production; on the other side, the production of human beings themselves, the propagation of the species. The social organisation under which the people of a particular historical epoch and a particular country live is determined by both kinds of production: by the stage of development of labour on the one hand and of the family on the other.""

    Since then, the word production has often been applied to creating the means of existence (the economy) and the the word reproduction to re-creating the human beings who make the society. This re-creation is not simply biological, it includes the whole process of education (socialisation) through the family and the education system.

    Pierre Bourdieu calls this social reproduction. Two dimensions of social reproduction are the economic and the cultural. Bourdieu stresses the importance of cultural reproduction in social reproduction. This, as much as direct economic influence, is what decides who gets the best education and the best chances in life.

    Describing economic and cultural influences, Bourdieu said:

    "Among the factors that explain the permanence of inequality you have first the transmission of capital. A rich father can leave his son money to launch a business, for example."

    "But today there is another kind of capital, which I call cultural capital. This is more difficult to define.

    It is language first of all. A certain mastery of language, like speaking proper French... It is what you acquire in a cultured family, from daddy telling you stories, from reading books, even children's books." Bourdieu, P. and Carles, P. 2001

    Consumption - Consumer - Consumerism consumer is a
    Raymond Williams keyword

    Eating is a form of consumption, so the word was extended to refer to the use of anything that is produced. By the end of the 19th century (1900 Dictionary) a consumer was "one who uses commodities as distinguished from the producer of them".
    Consumerism developed in the 20th century as a word with two different meanings. One meaning is the protection of the interests of consumers. The other meaning is the belief that a sound economy means ever increasing consumption.

    1957; Consumers Association founded by Michael Young - consumer research in mental hospitals - 1978: Microchips - 12.3.1984 the "victory of consumerism over producerism"? - 2010: Bauman Institute

    Consumer Economy and Consumer Society and Consumerist Society

    The 2009 revision of the Oxford English Dictionary describes these phrases as meaning an economy (society) "in which the buying and selling of consumer goods and services is the predominant (social and) economic activity".

    18.1.1957 Washington Post "Americans take pride in what we have. We think our Consumerist Society offers the most for the most."

    1997: Constructing the New Consumer Society edited by Pekka Sulkunen and others, argues that "a new consumerism" in affluent societies marks a distinct phase of modernity. Limits of production no longer confine consumption to what is necessarty or instrumental. Demands for increasing production no longer shape ideology and culture. Morality, the body, citizenship and inequality are placed in a new theoretical light. Nutrition, consumer policy, environmental risk and health are discussed in the light of these new codes of happiness in consuming products, culture and entertainment.

    Zygmunt Bauman 1998/2005 Work Consumerism and the New Poor, page 24:

    "Ours is a 'consumer society' ... the society of our predecessors (modern society in its industrial phase ...)... a 'producer society'"

    Bauman, Z, 2000 Liquid Modernity p.158

    "modern society in both its 'solid' and 'fluid', producer and consumer stage"

    P Boultis "A Theory of Post-modern Advertising" International Journal of Advertising Vol. 19, No. 1, 2000

    A "principle of affluence" took hold in the 1950s. By the 1960s, society was seen as "driven by irrepressible want". [Nowadays] "advertising ... is no longer regarded as subordinate to production. Instead, it is a mirror to consumer society - to the constant turnover of superfluous cultural commodities or fads".

    Production and Consumption

    See summary and quotations from Zygmunt Bauman 1998 Work Consumerism and the New Poor

    See quotations from and online text of Bauman 1999 "The Self in a Consumer Society"

    Bauman and May 2001, chapter 9 "The Business in Everyday Life: Consumption, Technology and Lifestyles"

    See quotations from Bauman 2007 Consuming Life

    Consumer's voice

    See Subject Index Consumers' voice

    Modern and Modern Civilisation See also capitalism and very (post) modern

    The idea of modern civilisation belongs to a theory of the development of society from the uncivilsed to the civilised. The period of civilisation is divided into the classical period (ancient Greece and Rome), the medieval, or middle period, and the modern period. Some (very) recent theorists think we may have entered a post-modern period. The next few hundred years may tell.

    The most popular date for starting modern history is about about 1450 with Gutenberg's printing press

    Another suggested transition is "towards the end of the sixteenth century" when social theory began to move from a God-order model to the idea of society as based on a social contract between humans.

    Even 1789 (the start of the French Revolution) has been used.

    The Modern State Weber (1918) wrote about the modern state and the modern servant of the state. The modern state monopolises the use of legitimate force, so (in Europe) the modern state is created when the private armies of the feudal lords are suppressed and the king (queen)'s army becomes the only legitimate army within a given territory.

    modernity Sometimes this just means "the modern period". "Late modernity", for example, means the late modern period. But a fuller meaning of the word is the quality (or qualities) of being modern (modernness). Various authors make lists of modern qualities which they say developed as a cluster. These qualities define the modern period and what it is to be modern.

    Wikipedia article on modernity. Also see solid modernity - liquid modernity - reflexive modernity - consumer society

    Moderrnity and capitalism are not the same. But their inter-relationship is illustrated by how often the following description from The Communist Manifesto is qoated as a description of modernity

    "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts in air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind."

    post before a word often means after. So postnatal depression is depression that a mother gets afer she has given birth.

    It is not words like postnatal that Ulrich Beck was thinking of in 1986 when he wrote that "post ... is the key word of our times. Everything is post... alternatively called late or trans."   The words he cites are post-industrial, postmodern and post-enlightenment. Post-enlightenment, he says, is a concept "so dark even a cat would hesitate to venture in". Beck says that his book Risikogesellschaft (Risk Society) is an attempt to understand the "meanings that the historical development of modernity" gave to the word post over "the past two or three decades".

    See very modern for other ways of saying this and post-industrial for a list of dates and it's late to listen to the music.

    Very modern
    in 2014

    Terms for very recent periods of history include:

    Postmodern means after the modern. But this does not mean after the present (which would be the future), but a period of very recent history.

    Social theorists do write about the future. It is called fiction.
    At the time that I write this, 2073 is still the future

    Jean-François Lyotard's La condition postmoderne was published in 1979. - "an avalanche of literature" about postmodernism 1989/1990 - Fredric Jameson (1991) is said to have established it as "a distinct period with its own specific social and cultural forms"

    The terms below are all ones that social theorists have resorted to avoid the problems of the term post-modernism whilst retaining what it discusses that they consider real.

    Risk society - Reflexive modernity   See Ulrich Beck

    Late capitalism See Fredric Jameson and Wikipedia

    Advanced capitalism See Habermas

    Late modern or late modernity. See Jock Young

    Digital Age - See big data and entries below
    Digital = related to computers. The digital age is the age of computers, which have processed information in digital form since the 1940s.

    Information Age   See Manuel Castells and Zygmunt Bauman

    # The digital age is more or less the same as the information age and, as such, brings in the possibility of virtual reality or Cyberspace (in which, you are probably reading this). The possibility of a global digital age was created by the world wide web in the early 1990s.

    Networked Society Network Society
    Related to digital information communication systems
    See Manuel Castells

    Liquid Modernity is Bauman's term for the "liquid phase of modernity" when "social forms (structures that limit individual choices, institutions that guard repetitions of routines, patterns of acceptable behaviour) can no longer (and are not expected) to keep their shape for long". (Bauman, Z, 2007 p.1)

    With respect to institutinal change, Ulrich Beck's concept of Reflexive modernity also appears to have a liquid aspect. He says that it "throws ... basic social principles into flux": That previously "stable ... coordinates" are changing, and asks "How can one make reasonable decisions about the future under conditions of such uncertainty?"

    The Bauman Institute uses liquid for its logo - Contrast with the chains of solid modernity

    To flex is to bend, to flux is to flow. Compare liquid modernity to David Harvey's flexible mode.

    Postmodernism and Postmodernity See very modern

    A theory about the development of style in physical construction (architecture) that has become a theory about stages of development in the history of society. The stages are pre-modern, modern, and post-modern. The key to understanding would appear to be working out what is "modern"?

    See Bob Saunders on defining post- modernism and John Lea in Criminology and postmodernity "Postmodernism is a bit like criminology in that it too is best described as an area, a loose collection of themes, rather than as in itself a coherent philosophy". Also see Richard P. Richter's ("mothballed") The postmodern programme at sixth avenue archive

    As modern is used to describe things that happen now or in the recent past, it seems supremely illogical to describe the present as post-modern (after the present). There are some who argue that logic belongs to modernity and post-modernity has a different way of thinking.

    Others, such as Jock Young, use terms like "late modernity" to preserve the logic of language. Zygmunt Bauman distinguishes solid from liquid modernity. (external link)

    Who are the postmodernists?

    Anthony Elliot in Contemporary Social Theory: An introduction discusses the following theorists in his chapter on "Postmodernity". Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari - Jean-François Lyotard - Jean Baudrillard - Fredric Jameson - Zygmunt Bauman. As he points out, "the concept of postmodernity is rejected by Bauman in his more recent writings in favour of the notion of 'liquid modernity'" (Elliott, 2009 p.294). Others have added David Harvey to the list.

    Relax with the postmodern generator - direct link


    Modest (1889 Dictionary) means restrained by a sense of propriety; not forward, presumptious or arrogant; un-obtrusive; diffident; not loose or lewd; chaste; moderate". From the Latin for observing due measure.

    Prude (same dictionary) "a woman who affects great or superfine modesty"

    Both modesty and prudery are often associated with covering the body. By analogy, Sigmund Freud said of John Stuart Mill

    "His autobiography is so prudish... that one could never gather from it that human beings consist of men and women"

    Moment See movement

    A moment is a brief period of time - But it can also be a definite stage, period, or turning-point in a course of events.

    Sociological use of the term plays with the two meanings: Referring sometimes to something brief and passing and at others to something that is a turning point in history.

    Movements have moments - See Stuart Hall.

    "For Hegel, only the whole is true. Every stage or phase or moment is partial, and therefore partially untrue. Hegel's grand idea is "totality" which preserves within it each of the ideas or stages that it has overcome or subsumed. Overcoming or subsuming is a developmental process made up of "moments" (stages or phases). The totality is the product of that process which preserves all of its "moments" as elements in a structure, rather than as stages or phases." Hegel for Beginners, by Llyod Spencer and Andrzej Krauze,

    Movement See history - subculture

    Intellectual movement: A movement in the history of ideas. The renaissance and the enlightenment are large examples. On a smaller scale intellectual trends like structuralism and postmodernism have been described as movements.

    Social Movement - Social Movement Organisation

    The idea of a social movement appears to be used in two main ways:

    1) A current, force or trend in history, including ones that give voice to the interests of sections of society: For example "the Labour movement", "the women's movement", "the movement towards self development". This sense is similar to Durkheim's idea of currents running through society. (See Durkheim)

    This definition relates to movements within the substance of society and history that will manifest in different forms, with diverse objectives. The "women's movement", for example does not cease to be a movement in 19th and 20th century history because women did not agree about their objectives, and the Labour movement takes a multitude of different forms, not all of which are harmonious. Such movements arise from the bowels of society, from the movements of deep inner structures analysed by perspectives such as those of Marx and Durkheim.

    2) People campaigning for broadly similar objectives. "A movement is a group of people who share the same beliefs or aims ... The Civil Rights movement" (Plain English Dictionary). Or "a group of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certain general goals" (Free Dictionary online). Paul Almeida's article on Social Movements in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences Second edition (2008) defines one as "a collectivity with mutual awareness in sustained interaction with economic and political elites seeking to forward or halt social change". He sees them as usually outside of conventional political power and ready to use unconventional methods. Another American theorist, Charles Tilly writes about "social movements as political struggle" and "vehicles of popular politics across the world"

    A definition as a campaign is one more acceptable to theorists who do not accept that society has substance, but think of it as a summation of individual actions. This is the dominant approach and one that makes use of tools of analysis such as "charismatic leader", created by Max Weber and others who seek to explain society from individuals.

    The two definitions can be mixed in various ways. You could, for example, use the first, deeper or broader, definition, but focus on parts of the movement that do share some significant beliefs or aims. This approach would have a broad movement perspective, a focus on aspects with common stated aims, and, probably, descriptions of the Social Movement Organisations that are formed in pursuit of those aims. A study of the Labour Movement, for example, might focus on Trade Unions and describe the Trades Union Congress and its component organisations.

    Social movement theories

    Sergey Mamay (1990) separates the following main approaches to sociological theorising about social movements.

    Collective behaviour theory - Key example: Neil Smelser 1962 Theory of Collective Behavior. Smelser argues that six things are necessary for a social movement to emerge:

    • Structural conduciveness - things that make or allow certain behaviours possible (e.g. spatial proximity)

    • Structural strain - something (inequality, injustice) must strain society

    • Generalised belief - explanation; participants have to come to an understanding of what the problem is

    • Precipitating factors - spark to ignite the flame

    • Mobilisation for action - people need to become organised

    • Failure of social control - how the authorities react or do not react

    The action-identity approach - Key example: Alain Touraine 1978/1981 La voix et le regard - The Voice and the Eye: An Analysis of Social Movements. Touraine says a social movement is

    "the organised collective behaviour of a class actor struggling against its class adversary for the social control of its historicity". (Touraine 1981: p.77)

    Resource mobilisation theory - Key examples: Mayer N. Zald and John David McCarthy (Editors) 1979 The Dynamics of Social Movements: Resource Mobilisation, Social Control and Tactics. Social movements arise because rational actors, seeking their own ends, form and join organisations to get resources and mobilise others. Individuals join social movements as rational means to an end, and social movement organisations act rationally to secure their ends, and preserve themselves. The model is an economic analogy and speaks of an organisation "marketing its products". (See Stu Crawford)

    New Social Movements interpretations - Key examples: Jürgen Habermas 1981 "New Social Movements" and Claus Offe 1985 "New Social Movements: Challenging the Boundaries of Institutional Politics". Habermas says that new conflicts:

    "no longer arise in the areas of material reproduction; they are no longer channeled through parties and organisations...Rather, the new conflicts arise in areas of cultural reproduction, social integration and socialisation." (Habermas 1981, p.34)

    Sociology as a social movement

    Durkheim and Fauconnet wrote in May 1903

    "Sociology exists; it has a history displaying its nature; there is, therefore, no place for efforts to imagine what it is. We can observe it. Though no good purpose is served in disputing in abstracto what the science ought to be, there is on the contrary a real interest in becoming acquainted with the course of its development, in giving an account of the various elements whence it resulted, and of the parts they occupy respectively in the whole structure."

    This provides an alternative approach to the study of social movements to those offered by the theoretical approaches outlined above. It is an approach that takes the real hitorical phenomena, analyses the course of its development and its parts, and relates both to the whole structure of society.

    Social and Political Movements 1986

    Andrew Roberts class at Middlesex Polytechnic in "Social and Political Movements" in the spring of 1986 began by discussing the mass base of fascism and elements of Nazi ideology including social-darwinism, Aryan dominance, eugenics and anti-semitism. The syllabus was then (in this order) the student movement (1960s and 1970s' rebellions in western Europe and the USA) - black people's movements (black consciousness, black power, black is beautiful. Included an outside speaker on children's books) - women's movement (included the distinction between radical and socialist feminism) - welfare rights movements (movements of unemployed or claimants in Britain and USA before or after world war two. Included an outside speaker from Tower Hamlets Claimants Union) - disabled people's movements (self-advocacy for mentally or physically disabled people. Contrasted social darwinism and normalisation as social movements) - green movement (analysed elements and considered relationship to other movements)

    "'anti-psychiatry'... provided many people in the mental patients' movement with an ideology"

    Social movements and citizenship

    It has been suggested that recently citizenship and social movements have been increasingly "colliding and interacting".

    Occupy, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Gezi Park, Sans Papiers, No Borders

    "Aided by technological transformations" social movements emerge as both local and global. "Social movements themselves provide alternative spaces for the play, disruption and even (re)theorisation of citizenship. Importantly for Citizenship Studies, the participation of those without formal rights in social movements complicates our sovereign understanding of the citizen."

    environmental rights, animal rights, gender and sexual rights, migrant and refugee movements to demands for colonial reparations and indigenous land claims.

    Movement intellectuals

    The term movement intellectuals is used by Cresswell and Spandler (2012) for people who do their thinking within a social movement as distinct from academics. Cresswell and Spandler relate this to Gramsci's concept of organic intellectuals.

    The concept is broad, encompassing thinkers as different as Karl Marx and Louise Pembroke.

    Myth a Raymond Williams keyword

    Based on Mythologiae, a fifth century Christian collection of stories (in Latin) about Greek Gods, the word mythology became the English word for such stories. Sometimes people spoke of a mythical age that went before history.

    Myth was used from the early 19th century for such stories. This is its definition in The Concise English Dictionary. Literary, Scientific and Technical of 1900:

    "[Greek mythos, a word, a fable, a legend] A fable or legend of natural upgrowth, embodying the conviction of a people as to their gods or other divine personages, their own origin and early history and the heroes connected with it, the origin of the world etc - in a loser sense, an invented story..."

    1903 Durkheim and Mauss Primitive Classification

    Claude Lévi Strauss

    1988 Penguin Dictionary of Sociology under Myth:

    "Nineteenth century anthropology sought to discover the origin of myths, treating them as unscientific explanations of social institutions and practices. For B. Malinowski, myths provided legitimation of social arrangements.

    Contemporary perspectives have been profoundly influenced by C. Lévi Strauss, who treats myths as a series of signs from the perspective of structural linguistics. For Lévi Strauss, myths are not legitimating charters of institutions and they do not attempt to explain social arrangements. The function of myth is essentially cognitive, namely to account for the fundamental conceptual categories of the mind. These categories are constituted by contradictory series of binary oppositions - nature and society, raw and cooked, man and woman, left and right". (Abercrombie 1988, p.161)

    Myth today

    Roland Barthes introduced the concept of modern myths or "myths today". These are not ancient stories embodying the beliefs of a people, but modern stories generated by present day society and its history.

    The first story he analysed in this way (1952) was the French wrestling match. He argued that this was a form of theatre that carried in it classical images of a combat between good and evil. But the way that this ancient imagery was generated by present day society was shown by comparison with wrestling in the United States, where the story told was of the conflict between (good) American freedom and (bad) communism.

    Barthes argue that modern myths are ways of distorting reality in people's minds by making what is historic, and disputable, appear natural, and indisputable. An example is a newspaper headline in France in the 1950s when the government was taking measures to control inflation. This said (in French):


    Barthes says that reading this casually freezes in the reader's mind the "myth" that prices have fallen as a result of government action, whereas the small print reveals that the fall is mainly due to seasonal factors.

    "Le mythe est une parole", Barthes says. Parole can mean a word or speech. It can be a headline, a magazine cover, an image, many things, but because it is speech it can be analysed as language.

    This diagram from Barthes' book on Mythologies illustrates the two basic levels of the analysis. These are the level at which we analyse the language and the level at which we analyse the myth. The third level (introduced later) is the level at which we relate the myth to history. This is the level at which semiology (the analysis of signs) passes over to ideology (the analysis of history).

    Name and Nominate

    See interpellate - label - performativity

    Exnomination [Un-naming]

    Exnomination is a term used by Roland Barthes for the process by which social groups hide their group identity by appearing to be general. The bourgeoisie remains anonymous by succeeding in presenting its ideology as everyone's idea system.

    Lindabeth (Don't ya wish your girlfriend was smart like me?) says

    " What is unnamed is what is seen as a 'natural' commonsensical category.

    In conversation (your own and others'), watch how people are described. Typically, we use "identity" descriptors only with reference to women, gay men, lesbians, people of color, non-Western ethnicities, (and also non- Christian religions) other words, the default category for a "person" is a white, hetero, male. A person is only someone "other" than that when specified. "


    A narrative is a story.

    Julie Ford describes it as a "thread or thesis... a simple one-dimensional story ... a narrative or tale which makes things comprehensible by setting them along a singe line" (Ford, J. 2008, p.14)

    See biography, autobiography and narrative in sociology

    History and written history

    Boring stories

to read Joan Hughes poems

    Cultures contain different stories that explain the same thing. If you have sexual intercourse, for example, you might explain it as a result of falling into sin, or as an expression of love, or as rape, or as satisfying desire, or as part of a date, or as a mistake, or as a commercial transaction, or as an act to conceive a child. These (and more) are all stories that you could tell to explain the same event, and each of them puts you and what happens in a different light.

    Analysing stories

    "The deepest level of narrative is what we think of as mythology" (Ford, J. 2008, p.15)

    Julie Ford divides myths into three basic types:

    creation stories which provide an explanation of where we came from.

    legitimating legends which give reasons for accepting an authority.

    cautionary tales in which transgression leads to catastrophe from which (some?) are rescued by special intervention (Noah's arc or superman) and learn not to repeat their mistakes.

    Nation - nationalism Also see politics - state - clan - race

    Nation is from the Latin word (nasci) for be born. We could think of it as people born together. It is used for very large groups united by common factors that may include origin, culture, language, history, territory or belonging to the same state.

    The 1611 Bible describes how the sons of Noah divided the world in their "lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations". Nation in the Bible appears to be a general word for the groups into which humanity is divided.

    Many historians link the emergence of the modern nation state to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 - So it should not surprise us that the 1611 Bible does not use the word nation in this way.

    The meaning of nation varies. For example the "Five Nations" are five confederations of native American tribes that are collectively called the Iroquois. They have a clan structure. The Iroquois were hunting tribes, and did not have a fixed territory. Each member, however, could state his family relationship to the group. By contrast, the United States of America, has a fixed territory and a state, but its citizens come from all over the world. It is one of the few countries in the world whose children regularly pledge an oath of allegiance. The words of which include "one Nation indivisible".

    Nature natural and supernatural
    State of Nature
    Nature is what one is born with. It is 'that which gives birth to everything' and it is the qualities it gives. We can say for example that "nature is kind" or "nature is cruel", and we can also say of a woman that "her nature is to be kind" (or cruel).

    According to Aristotle, everything is born with much more than it has at the moment of birth. It has potenital to become, and that potential is the defining character of its nature. An acorn is the seed that has the potential to become an oak tree, a female is the being that has the potential to give birth and (in many species) nurture. Humanity ("Man") is the species that has the potential to become society and state. Our social being is given to us by nature.


    from Latin Natura birth See also body and organism

    "the nature of a thing is its end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a horse, or a family. Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best. Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal." (Aristotle's Politics par. 1252b28)

    Unnatural: contrary to the usual course of nature.

    Although nature makes humans social, nature can also be contrasted with the social. The state of nature theorists contrast nature with convention. Convention being that which comes about because of people meeting together and agreeing, or contracting, matters. But, even with this distinction, there is not separation. Rousseau, a state of nature theorist, says that, to be secure, convention must be rooted in nature:

    "Will the bonds of convention hold firm without some foundation in nature? Can devotion to the state exist apart from love of those near and dear to us?" (Rousseau, 1762, Emile)

    Implicit in this is the idea that the family and nurture are closer to nature than the state and legislation, even though society and the state are the nature of humanity. As it is women who have the potential to conceive and suckle, women are the centre of the family and so closer to nature than men. Men, however, are better equipped to fulfil the nature of humanity, which is political. Between the two natures - the biological and the conventional - Rousseau imagines a dialogue in which women and family inspire men to be social, and socialised men structure the lives of women who are the emotional heart of any society.

    The development of speech, through society, brings reason into being. Rousseau believed that men are stronger in reason and women in nature. Before an ungrateful France cut off her head, Olympe de Gouges argued that the "laws of nature and reason" were now combining. Only education is needed to allow us all, men and women, black and white, legitimate and illegitimate, to take hold of our common humanity in the family that is society.

    "The alarm bell of reason is making itself heard throughout the universe ... The powerful empire of nature is no longer beset by prejudices, fanaticism, superstition and lies." ... "The laws of nature and reason forbid all actions that are harmful to society" ... "Law must be the expression of the general will ... men and women ... must ... concur in its formation ... being equal before it." (Olympe de Gouges, 1791, The Rights of Women, paragraph m and items 5 and 6)

    The distinction between nature and convention made by State of Nature theorists is similar to one made, long before, by Aristotle, between what has its beginning in itself, called physis, and what has its beginning in another, called techne.

    The wind blowing in the trees has its beginning in itself, and is not made by a human being. The wind blowing in a wind-tunnel has its origin in a machine that humans made to create winds.

    We use "physis" in our modern word "physics", referring to a major branch of the science of nature. We use "techne" in our modern word "technician" for someone who knows how to change the world for the better. A physicist studies how the natural world works, a technician alters it.

    A similar distinction is made by modern social theorists between nature and culture. or nature and society.

    Zygmunt Bauman says that these pairs of concepts were formed as people distinguished between everything seen as "ruled by its own logic" and governed by "laws of nature", on the one hand, and "products of ... legislation, management and intervention". Bauman and May 2001, p.125

    According to Bauman:

    "Culture concerns making things different from what they are and otherwise would be and about keeping them in this made-up, artificial state" Bauman and May 2001, p.126

    Bauman argues that there was a time (roughly three centuries ago) when nature and society were not set sharply apart. Social differences, like those between nobles and serfs were seen as "laid down by forces beyond human control".

    "With very few exceptions the human condition the human condition seemed solidly built and settled in the same manner as the rest of the world. In other words, there was no distinction between nature and culture." Bauman and May 2001, p.117

    Natural world contrasted with social world or moral world See Nature - Natural Science

    When Bentham in 1776 said the natural world was teaming with discovery, he was comparing progress in exploring the world and in identifying what it is made of with progress in the "moral world" of law and what we call "social science". Here he suggested, some people thought we already know everything, but Bentham thinks there are discoveries to be made.

    Physics was the term used for the study of the natural world by Aristotle. The social world included ethics and politics. Since the 15th century, physics has been distinguished from chemistry and biology as a science of the natural world. Its subject matter includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.

    The original chemistry may have been based on doing things with plant juices and/or on working with boiling metals. As a science today it deals with the basic substances (atoms) of which matter is composed, their combination and the change which they display in combining and separating.

    Natural and supernatural

    When natural is contrasted with supernatural (example) the contrast is between earthly things that obey laws of nature and unearthly things that may not. Supernatural means above or beyond nature. In this context, nature would include society. The supernatural (unearthly) may be God, gods, spirits, angels, the devil, devils, demons, spirits of one's ancestors, fairies, evil forces, witchcraft, magic, visitations - Anything that is not constrained by the laws of nature.

    State of Nature Theory is one example of a natural as distinct from supernatural theory. (There are many others). Theological theories start with the supernatural creator of the natural. However, many (historically - most) theories involve elements of both natural and supernatural explanation, and it is often possible to translate one type of theory into the other. Auguste Comte divided the history of ideas into theological (supernatural), philosophical and positive science stages. Philosophical and positive are natural explanations. [See lecture notes]

    State of Nature
    Do not confuse with natural law
    Social Contract

    This is the entry for State of Nature in Rune's Dictionary of Philosophy

    State of Nature theorists work out what society and politics are about by imagining human beings stripped of social characteristics. They try to show how the needs of those individuals explain their need for society and politics.

    According to state of nature theorists, the movement from the state of nature to civilisation is based on some kind of agreement. This was called a contract. So we get social contract for the agreement that forms society.

    Nourish - Nurture

    To nourish is to feed, to foster and to cherish.

    Nurture is that which nourishes. It is used for the process of bringing up or training a child.

    Nurture is also used for the social environment as an influence on or determinant of personality and, as such, is contrasted with nature.

    Nurture has also been given a social and political significance, See Rousseau and family.

    This is sometimes symbolised by a woman breast feeding, as in Van der Kooi' 1826 painting, or just with bare breasts, as in Eugène Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty leading the people"

    Nature and nurture

    In the early part of the nineteenth century, scientific discussion of the relation between nature and nurture focused on the contributions of faculties believed to be localised in parts of the brain (nature), and environmental influence, particularly education, (nurture). These discussions were associated with the science of phrenology

    Nature, in the twentieth century came to be associated with genetic predispositions (heredity) and nurture with the social environment.

    The debate has swung in phases between nature and nurture.

    In the first half of the twentieth century the emphasis was on nature. Evolutionary theory and genetics put the emphasis on nature and the eugenics movement was a powerful influence.

    After the second world war and the defeat of National Socialism, the emphasis shifted to nurture as the dominant factor in the determination of personality.

    Since about 1990, there has been a revived emphasis on nature.

    See Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee 1995 The DNA Mystique: The gene as a cultural icon.

    read about networks for study Networks


    read about networks for study

    The idea of a network starts with the concept of a net (like a fishing net), where horizontal and vertical lines intersect. That is very geometrical.

    A railway network's lines are not geometrical, they wind and curve all over the place, linking people and places together, and new lines can be laid, or lines removed, when the needs of the people change.

    The points at which the lines of a network intersect are called nodes. Node is a Latin word for knot. In a fishing net the nodes are the points at which the string is tied together.

    Network is used to describe a group of people who exchange information, contacts and experience for professional or social purposes. Students, for example, set up networks for the exchange and development of their ideas. We can call these social networks

    Another word from Old English that has led to similar ideas is web. A web is a woven fabric with threads criss-crossing. [See Shakespeare]

    society as web of interactions Web is a word that is often used instead of network. The spider's web is a network of strands.

    The sociologist, George Simmel, understands society as a web or network of interactions between people.

    Thomas Carlyle thought society and social change could be understood through the imagery of weaving and clothing.

    "judge the historical and sociological interest of the weaver's craft from the multitude of words by which it has enriched the language" (Elsie Davenport 1948, p.8)

    Network also describes interconnected computers , which can exchange information. The internet is a world wide linking of computers that is growing rapidly. [See world wide web]

    Networks have been contrasted with communities.

    Bob Saunders argues that community is changing to become networks and some theorists of modernity have spoken of a networked society.

    Social network

    We can imagine society, and social structure, as a network made up of people or groups as the nodes, linked together by relationships. This would be a social network.

    In a Presidential address "On Social Structure" to the Royal Anthropological Institute, published in 1940, Radcliffe-Brown said that

    "social institutions... constitute the machinery by which a social structure, a network of social relations, maintains its existence and its continuity" (Radcliffe Brown 1940 p.9)
    In 1952, he talked of social structure as a "network of actually existing relations".

    In 1949, Meyer Fortes published a book called The web of kinship among the Tallensi. Elizabeth Bott wrote about Urban Families: Conjugal roles and social networks in 1955 and Family and Social Network in 1957. These were using networks to describe the patterns of kinship relations.

    The term social network had been coined by John Arundel Barnes in an article published in Human Relations in February 1954 "Class and Committees in a Norwegian Island Parish". His study of a Norweigian fishing village concluded that its social life could be seen as "a set of points, some of which are joined by lines" to form a "total network" of relations. He published a book on Social Networks in 1972.

    Siegfried Frederick Nadel's The Theory of Social Structure in 1959 used the term network to describe interaction between people based on role relationships. A collection edited by James Clyde Mitchell in 1969. Social Networks in Urban Situations: Analyses of personal relationships in Central African towns was based on a seminar held at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1964 and 1965.

    In the 1970s, a psychiatrist, Richard Crocket wrote about "Social Network Theory" in relation to therapeutic communities. Social network theory was about drawing diagrams of the relationships between people in communities. He described how "the introduction of community large groups" had changed what happened in the hospital in ways that people did not understand. The diagrams were drawn to try to discover what was happening.

    "First efforts to answer these questions concentrated on making notes and records of who were in the groups, where they met, and what people did and where they went in between the groups. Many diagrams were drawn. These exercises focused attention on the fact that space and time were being 'used' in different ways" Crocket, R.W. 1979 p.128)

    Nexus See bond

    From the Latin word meaning bind.

    A nexus is a connection, a bond or a link.

    The cash-nexus is the bond or link created between people by money.

    An obligation is a bond. It is something one is required to do. We are born into many obligations because we are born into society. Other obligations we enter into by ceremony or contract. [See rite of passage

    The Durkheimians argued that ceremony preceded contract historically in that markets developed within ceremonial engagements between societies. [This is the fundamental argument of Essai sur le don. Forme et raison de l'échange dans les sociétés archaïques - Essay on the gift. The form and reason of exchange in old societies - by Durkheim's nephew Marcel Mauss in 1923/1924]

    Object - Objective - Objectivism

      Object Oxford English Dictionary: A thing placed before the eyes or presented to one of the senses; a material thing (that can be) seen or perceived. ... The thing of which an observation is made or an image produced.

    Objective Oxford English Dictionary: Dealing with or laying stress on what is external to the mind; concerned with outward things or events; presenting facts uncoloured by feelings, opinions, or personal bias; disinterested.

    Objectivism - Subjectivism

    A dichotomy in social theory, suggested by Pierre Bourdieu, between theories focused, or starting from, the inner, meaningful "subjective" life of human beings (Weber's, for example) and theories focused of the "objective" social realities that impose themselves on the inner life. (Durkheim's, for example)