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At one time, grand claims were made for the

range and types of behavior that personality theories

could explain, but now personality theorists

are more circumspect, and recognize the significance

of other social characteristics such as age,

gender, and race and ethnicity, or other personal

determinants of behavior, such as attitude.

Apart from the application of idiographic accounts

in psychotherapy, personality theories

from the nomothetic tradition are of interest

and value to those selecting people for different

roles in organizations and teams, or advising individuals

on career choices. Personality tests such as

the Myers–Briggs test, which identifies four dimensions

akin to the five traits mentioned above,

is typical in this regard, and in over sixty years of

use and development it has a reasonable degree of

reliability and validity in many eyes.

DAV ID GOOD

petite bourgeoisie

– see social class.

phenomenology

A philosophical school, which gained prominence

in the course of the twentieth century, etymologically

speaking, phenomenology refers to the

study of phenomena or of how the phenomena

appear to the individual. It investigates the structure

of various forms of experiences and assumes

that this analysis provides a better foundation

for philosophy than, for instance, epistemology

or metaphysics. Amongst phenomenological philosophers,

Edmund Husserl (1859–1938), Martin

Heidegger (1889–1976), and Maurice Merleau-

Ponty are particularly well known. Some hermeneutic

philosophers like Hans-Georg Gadamer and

Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005) partly draw on the

phenomenological tradition. Existentialist philosophers

like Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–80) and Karl

Jaspers (1883–1969) also rely on insights from

phenomenology. Phenomenology had a significant

impact on sociology, especially through the work

of Alfred Schutz. Phenomenological sociology is

a particular version of interpretative sociology.

It shows affinities with other types of interpretative

sociology such as ethnomethodology (which

was strongly influenced by phenomenology),

symbolic interactionism, and hermeneutics. Phenomenology

also influenced the writings of Peter

L. Berger, Harold Garfinkel, Georges Gurvitch,

Thomas Luckmann, and Maurice Natanson. Phenomenological

sociology pays attention to the

ways in which people make sense of social reality

and act accordingly. It tends to oppose neo-positivist

appeals for a unity of method between the

social and the natural: contrary to the natural,

the social is already “pre-interpreted,” and this

begs for an interpretative methodology. In American

sociology, phenomenological sociology emerged

in the 1960s in opposition to the dominant

orthodoxy of structural functionalism.

The aim of Husserl’s phenomenology was to

capture the universal structures of people’s subjective

orientation towards their external environment.

Schutz was a student of Husserl and very

much influenced by him. Where Husserl’s preoccupation

was purely philosophical, Schutz on

the other hand explored the sociological relevance

of phenomenology. Max Weber and George

Herbert Mead also impacted on Schutz’s thought.

In The Phenomenology of the Social World (1967) and

in his Collected Papers (1962–6), Schutz was particularly

interested in the way in which individuals

use interpretative schemes to make sense of their

personality phenomenology

438


everyday surroundings. This “stock of knowledge”

enables them to attribute meaning to what others

say or do. People are not normally aware of the

stock of knowledge they employ; it is part of tacit

knowledge. In this context, Schutz talked about

everyday rationality as opposed to scientific rationality.

Whereas scientific rationality is characterized

by theoretical knowledge and systematic

doubt, everyday rationality draws on practical

knowledge and suspension of disbelief. Schutz’s

phenomenology paves the way for a sociological

inquiry into how people attribute meanings to

their surroundings. Influenced by Schutz and Sartre,

Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction

of Reality; A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

(1967) focused on how everyday conceptions of

reality are constructed and maintained.

Harold Garfinkel and Aaron Cicourel’s ethnomethodology

drew on Schutz’s writings, but unlike

Schutz – who remained a pure theorist – their research

was empirical. In Studies in Ethnomethodology

(1967) Garfinkel investigated the interpretative procedures

that people employ to make sense of their

social environment. In a number of experiments,

Garfinkel and his teamalso studied what happened

when these encounters do not square with people’s

expectations. In those situations, they discovered

that people did not question their presuppositions.

Rather, individuals drew on their presuppositions

to make sense of their surroundings, and

they did so in ways that maintained or reinforced

those very presuppositions. Garfinkel called this

the “documentary method of interpretation.”

For a long time phenomenology remained on

the margins of sociology, because its premises

were in opposition to the reigning orthodoxy. Phenomenology

contradictedE´mile Durkheim’s guidelines

in his Rules of Sociological Method (1895 [trans.

1958]), notably his dictum that social facts need

to be treated as “things.” In the 1970s sociologists

became interested in phenomenology, partly

through the writings of Anthony Giddens and

Pierre Bourdieu. Ironically, this interest went

hand in hand with a growing recognition that

this philosophical tradition was one-sided. Phenomenology

focused too much on how individuals

make sense of the world, and it ignored the constraining

and external nature of social structures.

Sociologists became preoccupied with bridging

the gap between phenomenological approaches

and structuralism, taking insights from both. In

The Constitution of Society; Outline of the Theory of

Structuration (1984), Giddens proposed a structuration

theory, which investigated how people draw

on tacit, practical knowledge in their everyday

life, and, in so doing, contribute to the reproduction

of society. Likewise, Pierre Bourdieu’s Outline

of a Theory of Practice (1972 [trans. 1977]) attempts to

transcend the opposition between “subjectivism”

(phenomenological approaches) and “objectivism”

(structuralist approaches). Bourdieu’s notions of

habitus and hexis rely on phenomenology. The

habitus is a set of “dispositions” that allow for the

perception and account of the world in a particular

way. The hexis points at the bodily aspects of the

habitus. In Bourdieu’s writings, however, the habitus

is linked to broader structural concerns and to

the reproduction of inequality.

More recently, sociologists have been drawn to

Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology at the expense of

Schutz’s, especially Merleau-Ponty’s The Phenomenology

of Perception (1945 [trans. 1962]). In this

work, Merleau-Ponty paid attention to the role of

the body in perception. His notion of the “phenomenal

body” (in opposition to the “objective”

body) undermined the objectivism at the core of

the natural sciences. Although in some respects

close to Sartre, the closing chapters of The Phenomenology

of Perception include strong criticisms of

Jean-Paul Sartre’s ideas. The increasing interest

in the body explains why sociologists have recently

been drawn to Merleau-Ponty’s work. Bryan

Turner’s Sociology of the Body (1984) was one of the

first books to point out the relevance of Merleau-

Ponty for sociological purposes. PATRICK BAERT

Phillips curve

In A. W. Phillips’s famous article “The Relationship

between Unemployment and the Rate of

Money Wages in the UK 1861–1957,” in Economica,

he argued that when the unemployment rate was

low, the labor market was tight and employers

had to offer higher wages to attract scarce labor.

At higher rates of unemployment, there was less

pressure to increase wages. When the economy

was expanding, firms would raise wages faster

than “normal” for a given level of unemployment;

when the economy was contracting, they would

raise wages more slowly.

Policymakers used the Phillips curve to determine

economic policy. For example, if unemployment

increased, the government might stimulate

the economy to lower it. Monetarist economists

challenged the theory by arguing that only real

wages mattered: the inflation-adjusted purchasing

power of money wages. Thus, the more quickly

worker expectations of price inflation adapt to

changes in the actual rate of inflation, the less

successful governments will be in reducing unemployment

through monetary and fiscal policy.

phenomenology Phillips curve

439

There are more fundamental objections: the



meanings of both unemployment and inflation

are not constant over time. The former is measured

by the definition of what being employed

constitutes: in Australia today, for instance, if employees

are employed for more than one hour a

week, they are classified as “employed,” and thus

the unemployment rate can be represented as 5.3

percent. If the measures used to define unemployment

twenty years ago were still used, it would be

closer to 15 percent. Similarly, inflation is constructed

from an index that measures the price

of a bundle of commodities. As these items are

changed, or their weights change, then what is

being measured ceases to be constant. The measures

are socially constructed. STEWART CLEGG

philosophy of the social sciences

Philosophy of the social sciences is a metatheoretical

reflection on the workings of the social

sciences. Some philosophers of social science prescribe

guidelines for social researchers, for instance

about how to make research scientific or

how to make it a proper critique. Some philosophers

focus on other issues, for instance, the relationship

between values and facts or the validity

of particular theoretical frameworks.

Initially, sociology had strong links with a positivist

philosophy of social science. Positivism assumed

a unity of method between the social and

natural sciences. If the social sciences employ the

method of the natural sciences, then they will

uncover scientific laws or law-like generalizations.

In addition, some positivist authors argued that

we should keep a clear separation between facts

and values (one cannot be inferred from the other)

and between theory and observation (observations

ought to be theory-independent). Since the mid

twentieth century, various schools within the philosophy

of the social sciences have developed in

reaction to positivism.

Karl Popper introduced falsificationism or critical

rationalism. According to this view, scientific

theories are falsifiable rather than verifiable. That

is, they can, in principle, be refuted. Various psychological

and sociological theories purport to be

scientific but are not, because they are immunized

against refutation. For example, Alfred

Adler (1870–1937), Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx

present non-falsifiable theories.

Influenced by hermeneutics (see, for instance,

Charles Taylor) or Ludwig Wittgenstein (see,

for instance, Peter Winch), some anti-naturalist

authors stress the differences between the study

of the social and that of the natural. According to

this view, there are no significant laws or law-like

generalizations in the social realm.

Critical realism rejects the positivist “regularity”

notion of causality, according to which

the regular observation that “X is followed by

Y” is both sufficient and necessary for saying that

X causes Y. Critical realists argue that both natural

and social sciences try to uncover the underlying

structures or powers that affect the observable

level. These structures or powers are not necessarily

immediately accessible to observation.

Critical theory disagrees with the view that

social research is a purely descriptive or explanatory

endeavor. Critical theorists like Theodor

Wiesengrund Adorno, Max Horkheimer, or Ju¨rgen

Habermas contend that social research should also

aim at a critical assessment, possibly leading to

self-emancipation. This calls attention to the question

of what criteria or procedures can be used in

order to arrive at a judgment. Habermas believes

that the notion of an open, unconstrained debate

provides the key to answering this question.

Pragmatism argues against foundationalism

(any attempt to find atemporal foundations of

reliable knowledge) and against the spectator

theory of knowledge (any view that sees knowledge

as representing the inner nature of the external

world). Instead, pragmatists prefer to see

knowledge as active and tied to cognitive interests.

Habermas’s critical theory relies heavily on

Charles Peirce’s pragmatism. For Habermas, different

types of knowledge accomplish different

goals. Empirical-analytical knowledge aims at

prediction and control, hermeneutics is directed

towards understanding, and critical theory

combines both to achieve self-emancipation.

PATRICK BAERT

pilot study

Just as naval pilots guide larger vessels safely into

port, so too are pilot studies intended to secure

the passage of research projects from a tentative

and questioning approach to the issue in question,

to a secure berth as a substantive contribution

to knowledge in sociology. As such, pilot

studies are often designed to act as either smallscale

replicas of a much larger research project

and/or to act as a “test bed” upon which potentially

problematic methodological or procedural

issues can be tried out and resolved. The size of

any pilot study will be variable, and determined

by the nature of the research methodology being

used. Some pilot studies may thus be much larger

than full-scale studies using tried and tested

instruments.

philosophy of the social sciences pilot study

440

For example, if a study in a new area of enquiry



wished to examine the relationship between, say,

religious affiliation and car-buying intentions,

questionnaires may be designed to effect the

measurement of both variables via a representative

sampling of the wider population to which

inferences are to be drawn. A pilot study, using a

small (possibly even a convenience) sample, may

then be used to trial the newly minted questionnaires

to ensure that items are not infelicitously

phrased, ambiguous, or incomprehensible to research

respondents. Should problems be identified

at this stage of the research process (via

debriefing of interviewers, for example), steps

may be taken to rewrite or otherwise disambiguate

the measures in question prior to the execution

of the full-scale study. It is not unknown for

second pilot studies to be required to confirm the

successful rectification of methodological, study,

and measure design difficulties.

MARK RAPLEY AND SUSAN HANSEN

plural society

This concept refers to a society that respects differences.

In one sense, all societies are plural since

it is impossible for individuals to relate to one

another unless they have differences that each

respects. But a plural society is one in which

these differences are explicitly and consciously

accepted, and they are seen as a strength rather

than a weakness.

But differences generate conflict and these conflicts

have to be resolved. A plural society is not

therefore a society without conflict, but a society

in which conflicts can be managed, rather than

suppressed, in which compromise and conciliation

prevail over the use of force and violence.

Should conflicts be violent, then the case is likely

to be made for a strong state able to employ

counterforce, so that instead of a plural society

we have an authoritarian one in which differences

are seen as disloyal and problematic.

In an increasingly globalized world, societies

are becoming more and more obviously plural as

people from different cultures and language

groups come together in large, heterogeneous

communities. However, it would be naive to imagine

that differences can be respected unless

there is toleration and accommodation. People

need to have common values if differences are to

strengthen a society, and not cause it to break

down and divide.

Living within a society has to be both a unifying

and diversifying experience. Without conscious

plurality, society becomes suffocating, but without

mechanisms for accommodation, a society ceases

to exist. JOHN HOF FMAN

pluralism

Arguments about the virtues or otherwise of pluralism

span from the works of ancient philosophers

to recent times. It stands as a protest

against “monism” or one-ness, and emphasizes

that difference and multiplicity must be taken

seriously.

In its more recent social science form, pluralism

is identified with the argument that, in a liberal

democracy, interests are diverse so that, although

some groups may (say) be wealthier than others, it

is wrong to regard one factor as ultimately predominant

since other groups may enjoy popularity

or represent large numbers of people. This

doctrine became discredited in the late 1960s

and during the 1970s. The notion that in liberal

societies different groups “balanced” themselves

out was considered to be propagandistic and inaccurate.

A pluralist view of politics and society

excluded the idea that, in the liberal form, a particular

interest might prevail in the form of an

elite or ruling class.

More recently, critiques of the liberal pluralism

of the 1960s have themselves been criticized on

the grounds that an emphasis upon underlying

structures that unify society generates dogmatism,

exclusivity, and authoritarianism. Feminists,

for example, argued that society consisted of two

sexes, not just one, and that liberal (and left-wing)

notions of the individual and humanity viewed

the world through the lenses of men. Some feminists

(the “radicals”) turned liberalism inside out

and argued for the primacy of women and their

outlook, and argued that women need to keep

aloof from men. But why should plurality “stop”

with the acknowledgment that individuals can be

either male or female?

The postmodernist argument enshrines pluralism

as its key value. People can identify themselves

only through their difference from others,

so that it becomes invidious to privilege one difference

over others. Postmodern feminism argues

that not only are women different from men, but

they are different from one another. An infinite

range of other factors need to be taken into account

– a person’s social class, religion, language,

culture, and region. Traditional concepts like the

state and conventional religion, and thought

systems like Marxism and liberalism, are challenged

since they appear to ascribe primacy to

one particular factor over all others. The search

for the Truth or the belief in Reason are dogmatic

plural society pluralism

441

and authoritarian postures that must be challenged



and rejected.

The problem with pluralism is that it can operate

its own system of “privileging.” The danger

with a dogmatic pluralism is that differences

themselves are seen as more important than similarities.

All forms of unity become dissolved into

differences, and these differences lack anything to

hold them together. If women differ among themselves,

does this mean that feminism itself is impossible

since the whole notion of “women” has

been dethroned? If individuals are plural and each

individual may have numerous identities, does

this mean that individuals no longer exist, so that

the concept of the subject becomes redundant?

Pluralism can only be sustained as an outlook

and approach if it operates alongside, and not to

the exclusion of, a monist stress upon sameness.

JOHN HOFFMAN

pluralization

This involves an ethos of deep diversity, as in, for

example William E. Connolly, The Ethos of Pluralization

(1995). While pluralism can be seen as either

accommodation and tolerance of differences or

distribution of power among competing interest

groups, pluralization is an ethos to deepen and

multiply differences that involves a refusal to flatten

them under any kind of pretense or goal:

unity, common ground, or union. The concept of

pluralization emerged out of a discontent with

various forms of politics of recognition that either

essentialized identities (multiculturalism, integration,

assimilation) or imagined their boundless

proliferation (tolerance, accommodation). By contrast,

pluralization aspires to recognize the depth

and multiplicity of differences while recognizing

the necessity for crossing them, for example, Paul

A. B. Clarke, Deep Citizenship (1996). As such, it

remains as a research and activist ethos rather

than a celebrated policy or avowed politics.

ENGIN ISIN

Polanyi, Karl (1886–1964)

Born in Vienna and brought up in Budapest, as a

student Polanyi knew Georg Luka´cs and Karl

Mannheim and became acquainted with the works

of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Georg Simmel.

While he did not, strictly speaking, profess sociology,

these influences and those of E´mile Durkheim

are to be found in his major work, The

Great Transformation: The Political and Economic

Origins of Our Time (1944), which was started during

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