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and psychically reproduced, psychoanalysis, post

Freud, has questioned his emphasis on the part of

the father in the life of the infant and the child.

Although debates still continue about the meaning

of the father, there is a general consensus

that his authority cannot be understood without a

more dialectical account of relations between

women and men, mothers and fathers. This discussion

provides the context for work on language

and the recognition that it is saturated with assumptions

about the relative power of women and

men. These exchanges (involving figures such as

Jacques Lacan and Monique Wittig) have informed

the study of literature, just as the recognition

of the almost universal authority of men has

informed studies of the law (see law and society),

work, the body and politics. For example, it was

through the recognition of patriarchy as a crucial

research term that feminist historians were able

to demonstrate the ways in which patriarchy was

a form of authority which crossed class and ethnic

boundaries: as Barbara Taylor was to write in Eve

and the New Jerusalem (1982), her study of gender

and labor relations in Britain at the beginning of

the nineteenth century, “the men are as bad as

their masters.” For many feminist historians and

social scientists this comment reflected their own

findings on the ways in which human society

worked and represented itself: in a wide range of

contexts and meanings it was the male, and the

interests of men, which were given priority over

those of women. At the same time it was also

observed that the recognition, from the eighteenth

century onwards, of the detailed biological

differences of men and women made possible the

emergence of social understanding which did not

understand women as, in biblical terms, “Adam’s

Rib.” Many parts of the West have now attempted

to produce “gender neutral” (and non-patriarchal)

forms of social practice and regulation, although

in other societies the patriarchal authority of

men, endorsed by religion, remains dominant.



This term is used to describe relationships that

distribute power and authority within organizations.

Usually referring to Max Weber’s use in

Economy and Society (1922 [trans. 1968]), patrimonialism

is a system of rule that is based upon

personal–familial, rather than rational–legal relationships.

Central to the notion of patrimonialism

is that the leader of the organization distributes

power and authority according to his or her

wishes. At the same time, patrimonialism also

refers to systems in which authority may be

claimed, based upon birth right, heritage, or tradition.

Patrimonialism derives from the Latin patrimonium

that refers to a “paternal estate” and the

model of the traditional patriarchal family, where

a man, in a system of patrilineage, is the ruler of

the household. As relationships with the patrimonial

organizations are based upon personal patronage

(or lack thereof), the exercise of power is

highly informal, subjective, and open to change. In

contrast, state bureaucracies in western democratic

societies operate through the formal separation

of public and private spheres. Such

organizations insist on the primacy of rational or

technical competency as legitimate sources of authority

and social status. More recent work has

blurred the neat distinction between the two forms

of organization by suggesting a notion of neopatrimonialism.

In these accounts, organizations (often

implicitly or clandestinely) combine both rational–

legal sources of authority and those of patrimonialism.

An example of this might be where the

head of a privately financed company nominates

or promotes close friends or family members.


pattern variables

– see Talcott Parsons.

peace studies

Peace studies is an interdisciplinary academic enterprise

that is the institutional outgrowth of various

political and ideological programs of the

global left in the 1960s. As an intellectual field,

peace studies focuses on the development of

patriarchy peace studies


nonviolent strategies for redressing interpersonal,

institutional, national, and global conflicts. As

such, peace studies represents a significant challenge

to dominant perspectives in social science

and philosophy, such as realism, elite-centered

analyses of conflict, and just war theory. In contrast

to such perspectives, peace studies stresses

ideas such as pacifism, mercy, reconciliation, constructive

engagement, and forgiveness, and has

been primarily concerned with nuclear disarmament,

the avoidance of international conflict (especially

war), and redistributive efforts in the

name of social justice. The field is characterized

by a strong activist agenda: knowledge about

various types of conflicts is seen as a means towards

conflict resolution at all levels of social life.

Peace studies is a utopian intellectual movement,

characterized by a historicist and teleological

view of progress defined as the absence of war,

a preference for nonviolent means of conflict

resolution, and the desire for more equitable distribution

of economic resources. Much of the

discourse of peace studies focuses on the critique

of western political and cultural formations, to

the detriment of understanding other systems of

social, political, and cultural domination, such as

communist totalitarianism (see Communism) and

religious fundamentalism. While a widespread

movement with many notable practitioners, the

overtly ideological agenda of peace studies has

made it difficult for the field to gain legitimacy

as an intellectual endeavor in the contemporary

academic environment. TOM CUSHMAN

peasant society

– see peasants.


For centuries, peasants were the internal other of

European society but also its “folk,” lingering repositories

of primitive innocence but also of

superstition and dull conservatism in the midst

of a progressive and enlightened civilization. In

classical social theory, they are of central concern

first to the Marxists, who from Marx onward had

little confidence in their revolutionary potential.

Max Weber addresses them most systematically in

The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilizations (1909

[trans. 1976]). They become the specific subjects of

ethnographic research only in the 1920s and not

in significant numbers until the later 1940s.

Their politico-economic condition is the key to

their typological distinctiveness. Thus, in Peasants

(1966), Eric Wolf characterizes them as “rural

cultivators whose surpluses are transferred to a

dominant group of rulers that uses the surpluses

both to underwrite its own standard of living and

to distribute the remainder to groups in society

that do not farm but must be fed for their specific

goods and services in turn” (1966: 3–4). As A. V.

Chayanov in The Theory of the Peasant Economy (1986)

was the first to underscore, the peasant economy

is further a family economy. Its labor units are

households. Its goal is not profit but securing the

survival of the household through the course of

its yearly cycle. In The Moral Economy of the Peasant

(1976), James Scott characterizes its attendant

ethic accordingly as a “subsistence ethic.” Wolf

appropriately notes that subsistence itself demands

more than the provision of a nutritional

minimum over and above what must be expended

as tribute or the rental of land. It further requires

the production of a surplus sufficient to cover the

expenditures of sociality and the ceremonial life,

including those associated with such central rites

of passage as marriage and death and dying.

Peasants are indeed noted for their religious

devotion around the world, but also for a devotion

that is often at odds with the churches to which

they might belong. Their systems of belief tend to

be syncretic, relatively informal, and practically

oriented – popular heterodoxies at the fringes of

the cultivated orthodoxy of a clerical or elite tradition.

Such a tendency led Robert Redfield in Peasant

Society and Culture (1956: 70) and elsewhere to

press a broader distinction between the “little

tradition” of the typical peasantry and the “great

tradition” of “the philosopher, theologian, and

literary man.” The distinction is an appropriate

register of stratification not merely of a political

but also of a cultural order. Spatially, such stratification

is often manifest as the distinction

between the countryside and the city, but peasantries

can and do exist in societies, such as that of

early feudal Europe, having no urban centralization

at all. Temporally, it is almost always manifest

as what in Vasilika (1962) Ernestine Friedl

describes as “cultural lag” (see W. E. Ogburn). In

their beliefs and practices alike, peasantries reveal

the influence of the great traditions that encompass

them and frequently seek to emulate their

stylistic and even intellectual standards. Distortions

in the processes of cultural diffusion, however,

leave them stylistically and intellectually

behind or out-of-date, even in the age of effectively

simultaneous media of transmission such as


That peasants are inclined to emulate the advanced

cultural fashions with which they happen

to come into contact suggests, after Norbert

peasant society peasants


Elias’s and Pierre Bourdieu’s work, that they

harbor certain values more similar to those of

aspiring middle classes than those stereotypically

ascribed to them. There are in any event no clear

empirical grounds for declaring the destiny of

peasants in developing or developed capitalist

economies to point any less to embourgeoisement

– at least the petite embourgeoisement –

than to proletarianization. The egalitarian but

sometimes proto-fascist populism of which peasants

everywhere are putative carriers is similarly

ambiguous. In part, these ambiguities reflect the

often notable socioeconomic diversity of peasant

populations, whose better-off and sometimes even

rich members may find themselves in overt social

conflict with their poorer relations. In another

part, however, they inhere in what even charitable

analysts judge to be a political sensibility that

remains as personalistic and short-sighted as its

economic counterpart. Peasants can and do rebel;

as Wolf (1966: 107) and others have pointed out,

and in further contrast to their stereotypical

conservatism, they often heroize the rebel figure.

What galvanizes them when they rebel, however,

is rarely the unbroken domination and exploitation

to which they are subject, but instead

the unexpected imposition of some particularly

onerous collective burden. What inspires them is

rarely an articulate program of socioeconomic

change, but instead a millenarian vision of imminent

and total redemption. Norman Cohn in The

Pursuit of the Millennium (1957) and Eric Hobsbawm

in Primitive Rebels (1959) document the long

European history of peasant millenarianism (see

religion), and examples are readily available from

elsewhere. Peasants so inspired have almost never

furthered their practical interests. Most often,

they have been brutally repressed.

Yet the destiny of the peasants of the future is

probably neither redemption nor complete failure.

It may rather be much the same as the destiny

of the majority of the peasants of the past – to

drift towards other socioeconomic positions, of

greater or of lesser means and prestige, that only

add to the ambiguities of the position from which

they began. As Michael Kearney has argued in

Reconceptualizing the Peasantry (1996), typologization

can do more to obscure than to elucidate

the frequency and the ubiquity with which peasants

keep one foot in the household but another

squarely planted in the market. It can also

obscure the frequency and ubiquity with which

petits bourgeois and proletarians do the same –

and with the advent of consumption-driven and

flexible capitalism, the higher reaches of the

middle classes seem in ever greater numbers to

be joining them. The future may not thus bring

the disappearance of the peasant; it may instead

bring the peasantification of ever broader fractions

of the market society as a whole.


pedagogical practices

The sociology of education took a specifically practical

turn in the 1960s and 1970s in relating to the

problems of the science of pedagogy – the science

of the communication of knowledge content.

Whereas the political sociologist Harold Dwight

Lasswell (1902–78) had developed a theory of

mass communication, arguing for distinct kinds

of control, content, audience, and effect analyses,

the work of Marshall McLuhan destroyed this neat

categorization, claiming that the “medium is the

message.” The study of the transmission of knowledge

raised questions about the a-priori status of

curriculum content as well as about the status of

language as a medium of transmission. These

issues related to those highlighted by poststructuralism.

The work of Pierre Bourdieu at this time

focused more on the epistemological dimension of

pedagogy, while the work of Basil Bernstein was

part of the contemporary linguistic turn of analysis.

These forms of sociological pedagogy defied

the attempts made to absorb it into the science

of sociolinguistics or, by Ju¨rgen Habermas, to generate

a theory of autonomous communicative

action. The most systematic attempt to produce a

sociological pedagogy was made by Bourdieu and

J.-C. Passeron in Reproduction in Education, Society

and Culture (1970 [trans.1977]). They defined pedagogic

action (PA), pedagogic authority (PAu),

pedagogic work (PW), school authority (SAu), educational

system (ES), and the work of schooling

(WSg), in order to present a framework within

which the functioning of pedagogical practices

can be understood, both within the confines of

institutionalized education and in relation to

more general processes of cultural communication

within society. DEREK ROBBINS

peer group

– see group(s).


This term is used to refer to theories of punishment,

forms of punishment, and penal conditions.

It refers to the systematic application of clinical,

social scientific, or managerial expertise to the

peasants penology


study and evaluation of penal measures, especially


The birth of the modern prison or penitentiary

occurred in the eighteenth century. Prior to industrialization,

life was cheap, and capital and corporal

punishment predominated. The modern

prison represented progress from a brutal and

barbaric system of punishment to benevolent discipline.

The social role of the prison has been of

considerable interest to Marxist historians such as

George Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer in Punishment

and Social Structure (1939), to historian David

Rothman in The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order

and Disorder in the New Republic (1971), and to philosopher/

historian Michel Foucault in Discipline and

Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975 [trans. 1977])

among others. Certainly, it is thought that the

prison might have an ideological function as

well as representing progress from previous

barbaric punishments.

The inception of modern penological thinking

with questions such as “what is punishment for?”

can be partially attributed to Christian reformers

such as John Howard (1726–90) – who believed

that punishment should be about the religious

reformation of the offender and reflect humanitarian

magnanimity – and utilitarian rationalist

Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), who thought that

punishment should be directed more instrumentally

at the refinement of techniques of behavioral

control – hence his idea of the Panopticon: a circular

architectural structure in which complete

surveillance of the offender was possible. Thus,

while Howard traveled the world denouncing

poor prison conditions that would arguably militate

against the reclamation of the offender’s soul,

Bentham was concerned with the formation of

discipline via prison architecture as if surveillance

would lead to order within and without prisons.

Bentham’s thinking went beyond this, however,

and he promulgated consequentialist theories of


Consequentialist theories of punishment are essentially

those that justify punishment by making

claims about the desirability of its future consequences.

These theories are sometimes known as

reductivist, because they claim that the incidence

of crime will be less than it would be if no penalty

were imposed. Bentham’s “felicific calculus” is

thus that punishment of the individual is justified

if it can be shown that the good derived thereby

outweighs the pain. Such consequentialist theories

include those of general deterrence, individual

deterrence and incapacitation, and rehabilitation.

Nonconsequential theories of punishment revolve

around retribution and desert theory. The idea of

retribution derives historically from the Roman

concept of lex talionis, illustrated by the biblical

phrase “Wherever hurt is done, you shall give life

for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand,

foot for foot, burn for burn, bruise for bruise,

wound for wound” (Exodus 21: 23–5). Classical

desert theory was predicated upon the assumption

that offenders are rational, autonomous individuals

who, having made the decision to offend,

“deserved” punishment for their wrongdoing.

Modern desert theorists focus on notions of proportionality

in sentencing according to the seriousness

of the crime, and on desert theory as a

communicative device for censuring wrongful behavior

in such a way that it permits the offender

to rejoin the moral consensus.

For much of the twentieth century, penological

projects focused on the monitoring of sentencing

and the manipulation of penal regimes both

within and outside custodial settings. Optimism

that penal interventions could work were at their

highest in the 1960s (the so-called rehabilitative

ideal), but this was short-lived because systematic

analysis of the effects of such interventions led to

the sobering conclusion that “nothing works.”

Since the mid-1990s there has been a resurgent

international interest in “what works?” Research

findings from meta-analytical studies have

prompted the development of a panoply of institutional

and community-based programs based on

cognitive-behavioral ideas. The findings from

these studies, however, are not encouraging and

early 21st-century penological thinking indicates

moves away from such programs towards education

and training for offenders.



The study of personality builds on the everyday

recognition that people around us are different in

their social behavior, and seem to be disposed to

react in particular ways. It seeks to characterize in

a rigorous way the basis of that difference by

identifying characteristic patterns of behavior

that are distinctive and consistent across time.

Some accounts of personality try to use these

characterizations as a basis for predicting future

behavior by establishing lawlike generalizations

about factors that underpin variation in all

people. These accounts, sometimes referred to as

nomothetic statements, adhere to a scientific

model of inquiry which sees the testing of predictions,

ideally in an experimental setting, as the

best way to establish a secure understanding. They

penology personality


are part of a tradition in psychology that focuses

on individual differences, for example intelligence.

Other accounts, sometimes referred to as

idiographic accounts, focus on the individual in

depth and pursue an understanding of that individual

using a variety of interpretive or phenomenological


Many nomothetic theories have antecedents in

classical descriptions, and many can ultimately be

linked to Hippocrates (470–410 BC) who defined

the four humors: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm,

and blood. This system had two dimensions (hot

and cold, and dry and wet) on which all people

could be placed, with different individuals being

characteristically hotter or colder, and wetter or

drier. These terms still exist in everyday speech

as choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic, and sanguine,

but in personality theories the humors are

now referred to as “traits.” Five traits (extraversion,

neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness,

and openness) are widely accepted as

defining the essential descriptive framework that

best captures individual variation. Idiographic

theories have often drawn on the same tradition,

but in the modern era are much more closely

associated with clinical work and individual psychotherapy.

The clinic is where many of them

were first developed, and the best known is

Sigmund Freud’s work on psychoanalysis.

The personality literature is very diverse in

terms of its theoretical and methodological assumptions,

and most of the critical debates from

across the social sciences are to be found here.

One important critical line that intervenes in these

debates concerns how much of the individual’s

behavior is to be understood in terms of personality.

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