Dictionary of Critical Social Sciences

Dictionary of Critical Social Sciences

Dictionary of Critical Social Sciences

Dictionary of Critical Social Sciences

Synopsis

Contemporary theory building in the social sciences has witnessed an explosion of new ideas and new points of view with which to interpret social phenomena and social life. Disciplines such as sociology, law philosophy, economics, social psychology, and political science have developed many of these critical perspectives. The Dictionary of Critical Social Science is the first text to bring these new perspectives together in one volume, in a systematic, practical format. The Dictionary of Critical Social Science is a teaching dictionary, with the goal of de-mystifying current social science theory in a comprehensive, accessible format. It carefully and methodically focuses on important terminology in progressive, radical, critical Marxist, feminist, left-liberal, postmodern, and semiotic contexts. Written specifically for undergraduate students and the scholars who teach them, the dictionary considers relevant, topical examples designed to make abstract ideas more approachable. Examples from health care, agriculture, the family, education, work, sports, housing, and crime are incorporated into the text as a way of grounding theoretical principles. Students immersed in social science literature will find this an invaluable resource for interpreting and critiquing new theories in the field.

Excerpt

Twenty years have passed since this dictionary's beginnings. Much has changed in both the socialist and the capitalist worlds. in the socialist world, the Soviet Bloc has collapsed to be replaced by a mélange of political economies.Some of these economies are brutal and viciously ethnocentric (e.g., Serbia or the former Yugoslavia). Others are corrupt and indifferent to common need (e.g., what is now Russia). Still others are trying hard to find a decent accommodation to the difficult times in which they exist (e.g., Hungary and Poland). in China, a curious form of capitalism has emerged, about which it is far too early to make judgments.Indeed, in such a sprawling country, judgments usually last but until the next town or province. Cuba has made some accommodations with the new realities, inviting private capital in from Latin American countries but trying to retain some of the gains of the socialist revolution.Castro, now more than seventy, is open to liberation theology and market dynamics more so than in the 1970s when the first editions of the dictionary appeared.Vietnam inches closer to transnational economics. Recently, the country signed a protocol with the United States for official recognition.

The capitalist world is in great turmoil. the globalization of the economy continues apace—a globalization that will transform significant areas and peoples and that will greatly alter existing politics in Europe and North America.Whole cultures will disappear, absorbed in the rush to industrial/urban life. in brief, without the Socialist Bloc to stabilize politics, and in the face of emergent competitors in the third world that destabilize economics, a dramatic swing to the Right has occurred in both Europe and North America.Canada recently elected a very conservative prime minister, and the weak democratic center in the United States is under heavy political stress. the story, in short, is that programs of social justice are difficult to support without profits from the third world, deficit spending, and/or full employment. Each of these suffers immensely.

In spite of dramatic and disturbing changes, most people live and manage to survive. Amidst the billions in India, China, South America, and, indeed, the developed countries, young people fall in love, get married, find work, raise children, attend to some kind of religious impulse, and, more . . .

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