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around the world. They publish their findings

and use publicity to focus the world’s attention

on human rights abuses. Most of these organizations

base their work on the Universal Declaration of

Human Rights which was adopted by the United

Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948,

and which declares:

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights

have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged

the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a

world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of

speech and belief and freedom from fear and want

human capital human needs


has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of

the common people. Whereas it is essential, if

man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last

resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression,

that human rights should be protected by the rule

of law.


human relations

– see management.

human rights

– see rights.

human sciences

This term has its origins in the work of Wilhelm

Dilthey (1833–1911), who, in his 1883 Introduction

to the Human Sciences, argued for a conception of

the human sciences that contrasted with existing

perspectives and practices in many parts of the

humanities and nascent social sciences. He argued

for an interpretivist and hermeneutic approach to

socio-historical studies, seeing them as united

under the heading Geisteswissenschaften, in contrast

to Naturwissenschaften or the natural sciences. Central

to this was his emphasis on the meaningfulness

of human lived experience and its primacy in

the genesis of human action. Thus the psychology

of the individual and individual consciousness are

seen as part of broader historical inquiry and

many traditional boundaries that now exist between

disciplines are avoided. A central part of

Dilthey’s work was an attempt to provide a secure

philosophical foundation for the Geisteswissenschaften

that would afford them the same integrity and

status as Naturwissenschaften.

In conducting social-historical research, Verstehen

was afforded a central role, and a wide variety

of materials and sources were brought within the

purview of this kind of inquiry. Verstehen is a

German word which may be roughly translated

as “the understanding of meaning,” and as a

method it has been described as seeking the empathic

understanding of the outlook and feelings

of others. As an approach and a philosophy,

this work has its clearest descendants in social

anthropology and interpretative sociologies.

In contrast to Dilthey’s original definition, the

term human sciences is used very broadly and

loosely, and most commonly in the name of university

faculties, departments, and research

groups. Typically these uses do reflect his desire

to bring together the different parts of the humanities

and social sciences. A number of them

also include various parts of the biological

sciences too, but rarely do they follow the philosophical

and methodological precepts which

Dilthey sought to establish. DAVID GOOD


The synthesis of different cultures or social identities,

resulting in a new third form, this term

originates in horticultural studies to refer to the

crossbreeding of two different species which produces

a new species. In the nineteenth century,

the term was sometimes used to refer to the

mixing of races, synonymous with miscegenation.

Typically it had a negative connotation. In the

early twentieth century, the negative connotations

were shed by anthropologists who used it

as a descriptive category. Some anthropologists

claimed that the mixing of races produced a new

“social type” which they called the “hybrid.”

In linguistics, hybridity is used to refer to the

combination of languages. Examples include

“pidgin” and “creole” languages. The most recent

uses of the term in social analysis have been partially

influenced by the work of Mikhail Bakhtin

(1895–1975). He argued that linguistic difference

also corresponded to differences between forms of

social consciousness and social classes, such that,

in his view, a hybrid refers not only to the combination

of linguistic elements but to the social

elements as well. Hybrids mark innovation, creativity,

and change in social spaces. Bakhtin’s

idea has been expanded to encompass not only

linguistic combinations but also combinations of

social identities, ideas, and cultures, typically produced

through cultural encounters during colonialism

or through globalization. Culture theorists

like Stuart Hall have tried to shed the negative

connotations of the term and replace them with

positive meanings. In this use of the term, hybrids

reveal the inadequacy of essentialism. The underlying

idea is that all cultures and identities are

hybrids. There is no such thing as a completely

unified culture or identity; they are always

formed by a process of negotiation or interrelationships

between differences or opposed terms,

categories, or ideas. Hybridity therefore emerged

as an important analytic concept in culture theory

because it highlights that identities and meanings

are formed relationally. Some strands of postmodernism

and postcolonial theory have also used the

term to show the importance of cultural difference

without falling into the trap of essentialism.



– see globalization.

human relations hybridization



– see hypothetico-deductive method.

hypothetico-deductive method

This method is in fact a theory of how science is

supposed to work. The scientist makes hypotheses

about reality and then tests them by looking for

evidence to confirm these hunches. That is, a scientific

hypothesis must be testable and based on

observable empirical data. We deduce from a hypothesis

what we should be able to discover as an

explicit observable feature of reality. If observed,

then the hypothesis is supported; if not, then

the hypothesis must be given up. The immediate

contrast is with the inductive method that

suggests that science proceeds by collecting

empirical instances of an event and then producing

a hypothesis about what was going on


However, the hypothetico-deductive method

does not resolve problems of what constitutes a

scientific explanation. In the first place, what is to

count as an observation is not clear, and scientists,

when confronted with disconfirming evidence,

can dismiss it on other grounds, such as,

for example, that the measuring instruments are

wrong. Following the work of Thomas Kuhn on

paradigms, it is now clear that scientists actively

work to protect their theories from disconfirming

evidence, rather than actively working to falsify

them. The strongest rejection of the hypotheticodeductive

method was put forward by the philosopher

of science Karl Popper. In his account, for a

theory to be scientific, any hypotheses it produces

must specify explicit observable outcomes that are

capable of falsification, rather than searching for

data that are able to verify the original set of

hypotheses. KEVIN WHI TE

hypothesis hypothetico-deductive method



ideal type

Max Weber defined the nature and use of the ideal

type, though many of the elements of his discussion

originated with his colleague Heinrich Rickert

(1863–1936). Ideal types are pure concepts

that make no claim directly to describe or explain

empirical events. They are constructed by social

scientific investigators as conceptually pure benchmarks

for contrasts and comparisons with facts

collected from historically specific cases. Thus,

one may use several different ideal types to specify

the historical significance and cultural meaning

of any given constellation of events. For example,

in studying socially disadvantaged groups in a

modern nation-state, one might use ideal types

of both social class and social status.

According to Weber, sociology as a discipline

devotes itself to the construction of ideal types.

Though sociological ideal types can make no empirical

claims, they gain the advantage in conceptual

precision on the level of meaning. Weber’s

compendium of ideal types in Economy and Society

(1922 [trans. 1978]) demonstrates this advantage.

Each ideal type includes actions defined by typical

subjectively assigned meanings, all of which

are logically integrated into a complex concept.

Beyond conceptual precision, distilling ideal types

from historical sources requires great erudition.

Ideal types may be developed on many levels of abstraction.

Weber’s well-known ideal type of social

action is historically unlimited. His ideal-typical

model of the routinization of charisma is applicable

only in a particular range of situations, and

his ideal type of the Protestant ethic applies

only to a small group of early modern religious

confessions and sects. I RA COHEN


A view of the world that sees reality as ultimately

composed of ideas rather than a realm existing

outside human consciousness, idealism reaches

this conclusion on the grounds that, without

ideas, humans could not function. Because human

activity is conscious activity, the world itself is

ultimately composed of ideas.

All religious attitudes, conventionally understood,

are idealist in character, but they can be

described as forms of objective idealism. Objective

idealism does not doubt the existence of a reality

outside the individual mind, but sees the real

world as the creation of gods or God, so that

worshipping God or appeasing the gods is essential

for human control over nature. In its “deist”

form, objective idealism argues that, while the

world is ultimately created by God, science studies

its regularities and character without assuming

any further divine intervention.

Objective idealism needs to be distinguished

from subjective idealism. Subjective idealists argue

that the real world is created by individual ideas.

Since all data must be processed by the human

mind, it is impossible to prove that there is a

world beyond these data. It is difficult to see how

subjective idealism can rebut the criticism that it

leads to a paralyzing skepticism and an inability

to distinguish the subjective from the objective.

Idealism in general is unable to provide an analysis

of how consciousness itself is a product of

history. JOHN HOF FMAN


The idea of human beings having an identity or

identities has come to replace previous notions

of character. Whereas identity is assumed to be

socially constructed and invented, character signified

individual attributes that were fixed and permanent.

Identity then has an intersubjective

dimension. In the social sciences, the view of

George Herbert Mead that identity is dependent

upon the recognition of others introduced more

complex forms of understanding. Mead argued

that human identities develop out of a three-way

conversation between the I, Me, and generalized

Other. It is by “taking the attitude of the other”

that we learn reflexively to monitor our identities

and present them to others. Identity is formed

out of the constant ebb and flow of conversation

between ourselves and others. When there is a

conflict between the demands of the community

and the self, individuals are thrown back on


themselves in a reflective attitude, thereby examining

whether their values and beliefs are in

need of revision. On this reading all identity is

reflexively produced.

If all identity is produced in the context of community,

many have sought to look at the ways

society seeks to regulate and manage its production.

Many have sought to criticize Mead’s views

for neglecting the role of power and culture in

helping shape identity. The modern state has

been involved in the regulation and monitoring

of identities through a number of institutions,

from prisons to the courts and from the education

system to border controls. Further, these features

of identity are related to the rise of identity politics

over the course of the twentieth century. In

opposition to the way many of the dominant features

of modern societies have sought to police

and control identities, many have used claims to

identity as a means of organizing themselves politically.

The most prominent amongst these movements

has been feminism, which has historically

sought to deconstruct overtly masculine assumptions

about human identities, while promoting

new forms of inclusion and respect for women.

On the other hand, other social movements have

more explicitly sought to claim an absolutist identity

as a means of engaging in politics. The politics

of identity includes a number of social movements

and networks, some of which provoke critical

questions, while others defensively reaffirm

communal connections.

The impact of more complex models of identity

in the wake of Mead (not forgetting the impact of

psychoanalysis) and identity politics has led to a

growing appreciation of the complexity of identity.

Indeed many now prefer the term “identities,” signifying

the idea that no one source can explain the

complexity of the modern self. Modern selves are

the product of a range of shifting and diverse social

and cultural categories and identifications that are

rarely stable. For many the capacity to have an

identity means the ability to be able to tell a story

about the self and related communities. An identity

is like a narrative that has to be constantly

retold and reformulated in the light of new circumstances.

If social and cultural change in respect of

globalization and technology has aided the reflexive

capacity of identities, it has also increased the

capacity of many to claim more fundamentalist

versions of identity. The rise of the internet and

new forms of communication have offered new

opportunities for new forms of identity conflict

and contestation that are no longer contained by

the nation-state. NICK STEVENSON

identity politics

– see identity.


Generally used to point to the ability of ideas to

affect social circumstances, the function of ideology

has thus been described as the capacity to

advance the political and economic interests of

groups or social classes (Karl Mannheim, Ideology

and Utopia, 1936; Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,

The German Ideology, 1846), or, alternatively, the

capacity to produce cohesion (N. Poulantzas, State,

Power, Socialism, 1978) and resolve social strain

(Talcott Parsons, The Social System, 1951). In Marx

and Engels’s early formulations, ideology belonged

to the cultural superstructure of social formations

while material forces of production were described

as the foundation or base. Contradictions in the

mediation between base and superstructure were

understood to be signs of strain and class conflict

that in turn produce social change. This general

notion treated ideology as materially effective

representation, although it often carried with it a

connotation of false representation and concealment

of power. Ideology was associated with

systems of beliefs that naturalized inequality

through false consciousness. So powerful was the

association between ideology and political mobilization

that, by the end of World War II, writers

such as Daniel Bell (in The End of Ideology, 1960)

described the ensuing period of conformity and

political quiescence in some advanced capitalist

societies as the eclipse of ideologies, post-political

politics, broad social consensus, and the emergence

of the administrative state organized for efficiency

rather than contests between opposing claims

concerning power and justice.

Few contemporary scholars claim that ideology

is a grand set of ideas that in its seamless coherence

imposes belief. It is not a system of ideas

that strictly determines what people think, their

consciousness, false or otherwise. The most promising

formulations propose that ideology is not a

body of abstracted ideas at all (static, coherent,

or otherwise). Rather, ideology is a complex process

“by which meaning is produced, challenged,

reproduced, transformed” (M. Barrett, Women’s

Oppression Today: Problems in Marxist Feminist Analysis,

1980; M. M. Bahktin, The Dialogic Imagination,

1987; M. Billig, Ideology and Opinions, 1991). Ideology

as a process of meaning making is not, however,

to be equated with culture or structure in

general, or with social constructionism as a transactional

process in general. An ideology always

embodies particular arrangements of power and

identity ideology


affects life chances in a manner that is different

from some other ideology or arrangement of


Within this constructivist or constitutive framework,

consciousness and ideology are understood

to be part of a reciprocal process in which the

meanings given by individuals – in transactions

with others – to their world become patterned,

stabilized, and objectified. These meanings, once

institutionalized, become part of the material and

discursive systems that limit and constrain future

meaning making.

Meanings can be said to be ideological only

insofar as they serve power; thus ideology is not

defined by its specific content but by its contextual

construction and function (P. Ewick and S. S.

Silbey, The Common Place of Law, 1998). This view

recognizes that ideology continues as in the nineteenth

century to be associated with power, inequality,

and domination, but is not simply a

tool to hide or create a distraction from the real.

Rather, the social meanings we define as ideological

are constitutive of domination; they are

ideological precisely because they appear to be

non-ideological (P. Ewick, Consciousness and Ideology,

2004). Ideologies vary, however, in the degree

to which they are apparent, contested, or conventionalized.

Thus, ideology can be understood in

relationship to hegemony as the ends of a continuum.

At one end of the continuum, the visible

and active struggles referred to as ideology. At

the other end, the term hegemony refers to situations

where these struggles are no longer active,

where power is dispersed through social structures,

and meanings are so embedded that representational

and institutional struggles are no

longer visible (J. Comaroff and J. Comaroff, Of Revelation

and Revolution, 1991). Although moments of

resistance may be documented, in general subjects

do not notice, question, or make claims

against hegemony.

In Ideology and Modern Culture (1990), J. B. Thompson

offers a useful typology of how ideology generates

meaning and truth claims by creating

ways of knowing and not knowing by suppressing

alternative meanings. Focusing on ideology as process

and technique, Thompson suggests that ideology

produces legitimacy, authorizing, sustaining,

and reproducing social relations and organizations.

By drawing boundaries around objects and

processes, ideologies both unify and fragment coalitions

and groups, creating and suppressing

opportunities for action. Most importantly, ideological

processes also reify and deceive. Ideology

reifies social relations by masking their social and

historical character, treating as concrete what is

an ongoing process in the making. By naturalizing

and thus making inevitable what is a human

process of social construction, ideology not only

reifies social relations but also deceives and is

mobilized to sustain or achieve domination.


imagined communities

A theory of nationalism, the phrase entered the

lexicon of modern sociology through B. Anderson’s

Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin

and Spread of Nationalism (1983). Anderson argued,

on the basis of a historical study of the struggle for

Javanese independence from Japan in Java in a

Time of Revolution (1972), that nations are created

or imagined rather than naturally occurring entities

waiting to be discovered. Although nationalists

typically like to think of their nation as

existing from the dawn of time, nations are the

products of modern revolutions. He defined a

nation as an “imagined political community”

that is both limited and sovereign.

It is imagined because, even in the case of

small nations, the fellow-members cannot know

or meet each other, but they consider themselves

or imagine themselves to be members of the

nation. This community is limited in having

boundaries, and it is sovereign, because the state

attempts to assert its legitimate power over a territory.

Finally, it is a community, because irrespective

of social class divisions, members of a

nation imagine themselves to be what Anderson

calls a “horizontal community.” For example, Indonesians,

who occupy a complex and sprawling

archipelago of islands with diverse cultures and

religions, have acquired a national consciousness

as a result of their struggle against Japanese and

Dutch occupation. The Indonesian nation is an

imagined community in this sense.

Anderson also argued that the spread of print

culture and the growth of literacy in modern

times have facilitated or made possible a situation

whereby people can imagine themselves as part of

an integrated, horizontal, political community.

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